Another imposter fools 3AW. Beleaguered 3AW Drive host Tom Elliott has interviewed another imposter, less than three months after he erroneously claimed to have scored an exclusive interview with an Islamic State commander.

Yesterday’s show saw Elliott conduct a live interview with someone he believed to have been Australian rapper 360 (real name Matt Colwell), who on Q&A last month claimed he associated the Australian flag with racism. Elliott wanted to grill Colwell on this comment, with which he vehemently disagreed. But the interview took a weird turn after a few minutes, with the person being interviewed claiming to have been inducted into the Illuminati. “I’m an enlightened being. I’m a unicorn. Who are you to say I’m not a unicorn.” The imposter then grilled Elliott on his fact-checking, saying he hadn’t been checked before going on air. Elliott responded saying he and his staff did the best they could. He appears to have twigged that he wasn’t speaking to the real Colwell at this point, rapidly shutting down the interview.

The real 360, meanwhile, was alerted to his impending interview, and filmed himself listening to it on Facebook. The excruciating video ends with a taunt to Elliott. “Isn’t this the second interview you’ve [done with] someone posing to be someone else? Tom Elliott, do you even do journalism?”

So how did an imposter get on 3AW? Crikey understands the fake 360 called in through 3AW’s open line, which is a fairly common thing for politicians and councillors to do. Because it wouldn’t have been the show’s producers contacting Colwell, but happened the other way round, the standard vetting process for guests didn’t happen. — Myriam Robin

Axe the old buggers. You can tell the quality of TV executives by the programs and people they retain during cost cutting pogroms. Nine’s former current affairs supremo Peter Meakin battled hard to keep Sunday, Business Sunday (on which I worked) , The Small Business Show and some marginal news broadcasts in Nine’s schedule during the cost cutting campaigns after the collapse of Nine and Bond Media in the early 1990s and then the ham-fisted cost cuts engineered by John Alexander and his mate James Packer a decade later.

The management of ABC TV is in desperate need of some of Meakin’s steel. At the moment they resemble a bunch of backsliding custards as they buckle to the pressures from Malcolm Turnbull and his mates in the Abbott government. Nowhere is this inherent weakness of current management more apparent than in the decision to axe The Roast (ABC2 at 7.30 Monday to Fridays). The Roasters self-announced their death last night. But what has Richard Finlayson (and others at the top of ABC TV) done by carrying out this stupid decision? Well first up, they have killed off a satirical news show which was having a go and wasn’t afraid to have a go at all sides of politics, not just the easy targets such as Clive Palmer and his PUPs, or Tony Abbott and his government. Greens leader Christine Milne and Labor leader Bill Shorten were not spared.

Like all programs of its type, The Roast was hot and cold, as it should be. The program had minimal resources, but did a good job. It rated anywhere from 80,000 a night nationally to around 130,000. The Roast is one of my favourite shows on TV (like early Fast Forward was) because it was new and had young unknowns working on it who were proving to be very talented. ABC TV has wasted younger talent to protect the older on-air people.

No doubt the management of ABC TV will replace The Roast with a cheap overseas program or repeat (or bring The Tonight Show from the US back to a 7.30pm start). But that will mean a promising Australian TV idea has been axed to save next to nothing. Or will they? While ringing around on this story, I discovered, much to my horror, that ABC TV has commissioned 20 episodes of a new program from Token TV and their client, Charlie Pickering, which will be, yes, you guessed, a satirical take on the news. — Glenn Dyer

We don’t spend too much on advertising, ABC says. The ABC has hit back at reports it spends too much on its advertising, after a report in the Fairfax press reported its ad spend had gone up 40% year-on-year (from $1.98 million in financial year 2012-13 to $2.79 million in 2013-14).

Fairfax reported the spending increase “comes as the ABC steps up self-promotion on social media and invests in other mobile and online services in an effort to make its content more relevant to a modern audience”. Reporting that the ABC News Facebook page is the second fastest-growing of any Australian media organisation, the piece quotes unnamed media buyers who attribute this to the use of paid advertising on Facebook.

In a response released this morning, the ABC says it has spent less than $9000 in the 2014 calendar year, “a minuscule amount compared to other organisations active in this space”:

“The success of the ABC News’s Facebook page is not, as Fairfax reports, a result of paid advertising on that platform, but is a measure of the high level of audience engagement with the content we provide and how much that content is shared.

“In fact, the reports that have generated the most traffic on the ABC News’s Facebook page have required no ad spend at all.”

Where digital advertising is used, the ABC says, it “allows us to be quite targeted and cost effective”. It also notes that its ad spend went down in the 2012-13 financial year. “The ABC’s marketing budget fluctuates year-to-year depending on audience strategy and opportunity for specific content initiatives.”

The report comes after The Australian stated that the ABC spent $10,000 on search-engine marketing in August, a figure that was later disputed by ABC’s spokesman. The ABC’s digital advertising spend with companies like Google and Facebook has caused disquiet among some commercial media operators, who believe it represents the ABC increasing its online audience at their expense, thus depressing how much they can charge for advertising themselves. — Myriam Robin

Correction of the day. From The New York Times

Video of the day. Happy birthday to the Studio 10 team on Channel Ten, who’ve survived their first year on air with few casualties despite Wake Up’s axing. Here’s the cast walking onto the set for the first time a year ago.

Front page of the day. Election season kicks off in Victoria …

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey