Jul 15, 2014

Out with radio, in with digital? ABC tries to remain a global broadcaster

Without a television network, are you still an international broadcaster? The ABC has a plan, but after absorbing 80 redundancies, some insiders are sceptical.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

The ABC yesterday informed staff in its Southbank Melbourne headquarters that up to 80 of them would be made redundant. The redundancies will be forced — divisions are being cleared out, and while the union says staff targeted for the chop will be able to argue for their redeployment based on set criteria, the default setting is that they will be shown the door.

According to the Community and Public Sector Union, this will affect 34 people in the Melbourne-based Asia Pacific News Centre, and another 46 in the ABC’s international division, who will be made redundant two weeks from now. The entire English-language division of Radio Australia will go, and there will be reduced staffing across all language programs.

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8 thoughts on “Out with radio, in with digital? ABC tries to remain a global broadcaster

  1. cartoonmick

    NO CUTS TO THE ABC. That was the catch cry before the election. Can you can imaging how bad it would be if they hadn’t made that “promise”?

    I feel this be the thin end of a very large pineapple being applied to the ABC. For there are those, lurking in the shadows out to the right, who would happily see the ABC (effectively) shut down. Or at least have its voice diminished and controlled.

    Baby steps at first, but they will steadily nibble away until they have satisfied their agenda.

    Here be a cartoon on it . . .


  2. Roger Clifton

    Shared intelligence makes for peace between nations. Without Australian journalists speaking from the ground throughout Asia, we are creating a more dangerous and ultimately more expensive place for ourselves and neighbours who have come to rely on ABC analyses.

  3. T.D.G.

    The ABC needs to think about more resource-sharing or even merging its Pacific operation with NZ’s national broadcasters.

    The ABC, Radio New Zealand, and TVNZ are the only western media organisations with any on-the-ground presence in the Pacific. The operations of each in the region are underfunded and under-resourced.

    Each has a limited number of journalists unable to adequately cover stories across the region. Each broadcasts into the region on a shoestring budget, which has either been frozen or cut in recent years.

    The objectives of all three broadcasters in the region are much the same – to assist Pacific broadcaster by providing free content, to provide scrutiny of Pacific governments (which receive substantial aid from Australia and NZ), to promote awareness of their own country in the Pacific, and to increase awareness of the Pacific in their own countries.

    It would make much more sense if they pooled their resources and created a single, credible Pacific news and broadcasting organisation. It would provide a better service for Pacific Islanders and for domestic audiences, who would gain access to a wider range of journalism on Pacific issues. One truly good service would be much better than three cut-price ones.

    Establishing a single Pacific broadcasting service would also serve Australia and NZ’s national interests well. Our interests in the Pacific are practically identical and we should work together to further these.

    Other countries (particularly China) are taking an increasing interest in the Pacific and devoting resources to extending their broadcasting footprint. If Australia and NZ want to maintain their influence, they need to counter this – this is best achieved by working together.

  4. paddy

    They even sacked Karen Barlow!! Bastards.

  5. AR

    “and nation shall speak peace unto nation…”

  6. Itsarort

    Ok, the battle lines are drawn. Now let’s see the non-Coalition aligned parties step up to the plate with their strategic plan for the ABC. Or does Aunty fall into a similar bogan mind-set as asylum seekers and is thus too hot a potato as far as votes vs philosophy?

  7. rubbersoul1991

    Cuts to Radio Australia are a great loss. China Radio International dominates Asia / Pacific broadcasting but is little more than propaganda and soft stories. RNZ and RA are the beacons of journalism for the region but are slowly being ground to dust.

  8. T.D.G.

    Yes, that’s exactly the problem rubbersoul1991. China is throwing ever more money at beaming propaganda into the region. Meanwhile the Australian and NZ governments are not only failing to keep pace, but cutting resources. Unfortunately, it is hard to see anything changing here – consistently conservative governments cut funding to these services and Labour governments, at best, maintain the funding arrangements they inherit.

    In an ideal world, Australia and NZ would each still have a strong international broadcasting presence in the Pacific and Asia. In the current circumstances of ever-diminishing funding, this is impossible. Either we’ll have to accept having a multitude of sub-standard services or seek to pool the limited resources that are provided to make something better.

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