Red Symons gonged from ABC. ABC Melbourne breakfast presenter Red Symons has announced this morning that the ABC doesn’t want him back on the show next year. Symons told listeners he’d been offered other roles at the ABC next year, but he wanted to make a clean break. “Why am I going? They haven’t said, and I haven’t asked,” Symons said to listeners. In a statement, ABC Radio Melbourne manager Warwick Tiernan said: “There is no-one like Red Symons. His unique take on the world and his endless curiosity about the world around him has kept audiences tuning in for 15 years. Without doubt, he will be hugely missed both on-air by his legion of fans and off-air by all his ABC colleagues. We wish him the very best for the future.”

Symons has presented the show for 15 years, but has had a tumultuous year. He had to make an on-air apology over racist comments he made in a podcast to Radio National’s Beverley Wang in June, and in July he suffered a brain injury after falling and hitting his head in the street.

Next year’s line up is yet to be announced.

Bourke to lose its local. Bourke’s newspaper The Western Herald will publish its last edition on December 20. In a note to readers in yesterday’s edition, editor Frank Povah said staff were given termination letters on Monday, advising the newspaper would cease to be a business after the final edition.

It was a bitter blow and very sudden, though not entirely unexpected. The Herald has been on a knife’s edge for several years now — social media, a declining population and straitened economies in rural areas all contributing — and the company has decided it is no longer interested in continuing its association with the paper. We were working hard to develop new income streams, but that has been put aside.

In the piece, Povah said he would remain in Bourke and try to get up a new incarnation of the paper, saying he had previous experience of printing: “It’s all hypothetical at the moment — it may prove impractical — but I felt the need to at least put myself out there, plead my case and let you know what is transpiring. In conclusion, let me say that if there’s any possibility that I can keep a paper in Bourke, I’ll give it a red hot go.”

The revolving door. Seven’s director of network production has resigned, prompting a restructure of Seven Studios management. Brad Lyons has been at Seven for more than 20 years, but will finish at the network at the end of the year.

Daily Mail’s rising profits. It shouldn’t be all doom and gloom about old fashioned media companies judging by the latest result from Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT). The overnight experience of the DMGT, owners of the Daily and Sunday Mail papers, the Metro free paper, the MailOnline and a large business to business (B2B) operation sums up the future for most media companies these days — or rather, those without the magic that phrases like “streaming video” might bring. Shares in the company (where less than a third of revenues now come from print and online media) plunged 25% in early trading overnight Thursday after it revealed a statutory loss because of write-downs of more than £200 million (A$370 million) and a warning that 2018 would be tough. 

The shares fell despite what was expected weakness in the media, but some good news, such as the MailOnline finally moving into profit. A profit figure for the year wasn’t given but revenue rose 28% to 119 million pounds ($210 million) for the year with £36 million (A$64 million) of that coming what seems to be a rapidly growing US operation. 

Print advertising sales fell by 5% but this was much better than the 12% in the 2015-16 year and was “more than offset” by growth in digital advertising of 18%. That saw total combined advertising revenues across the DMG Media rise an underlying 2 per cent to £319 million (A$565 million). Circulation revenues were stable on an underlying basis, with the benefit of cover price increases offsetting the adverse impact from a continued decline in sales of the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday. Debt was also cut by a third to £464 million (A$820 million).

But what was interesting was the way the MailOnline’s ad revenues withstood the depredations from the twin predators in Facebook and Google in the UK and the US. The £26 million rise in MailOnline ad revenues more than offset the £19 million fall in print advertising across the papers, the Daily and Sunday Mails and the Metro. — Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. The Dream Factory — the ABC’s veteran studios — was the subject of a very nice documentary last night put together by the cast and some of the crew and associates of Insiders – Barrie Cassidy was great as the ad plugging debate host, and his noddies during Shaun Micallef’s great final speech were also very convincing. It deserved a lot more than the 381,000 national viewers.

The digital channels had a combined metro share of 33.7% which again meant collectively more viewers were watching their offerings than any of the network’s combined audiences. 

In regionals markets another Seven benefit with the News averaging 523,000, then Seven News/Today Tonight on 447,000, Home and Away was on 417,000, then Elton John’s Song on 317,000, with the 7pm ABC News fifth with 311,000. And tomorrow, apart from the Great Big Scary Rain stories out of Victoria,  the second Ashes test is due to start in Adelaide. Will it be with a pink cricket or waterpolo ball? — Read the rest on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

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