Jon Faine and Richard Glover appear to be the untouchables in ABC radio’s new line-up for next year.
The major metro markets are moving to shared breakfast and morning presenter models — in Sydney and Brisbane, two hosts will present from 6am to 10am. In Melbourne, Red Symons’ breakfast slot will be filled by Jacinta Parsons and Sami Shah until 7.45am, and Melbourne mornings presenter Jon Faine will maintain his solo slot after AM finishes at 8.30am, meaning Melbourne won’t get the new capital city mid-morning program called Focus, which the ABC says will draw on the ABC’s specialist genre reporters and industry experts.
Also keeping his slot is Sydney’s afternoons presenter, Richard Glover.
In Canberra and Adelaide, the breakfast and mornings presenters will have a half-hour cross-over between programs — a format that has been trialled in Adelaide since long-time breakfast due Matthew Abraham and David Bevan split, with Abraham leaving the ABC and Bevan moving to mornings.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Symons shocked his listeners last week by announcing the ABC no longer wanted him in the job after 15 years, and Canberra’s Genevieve Jacobs has also said she’s been made redundant to free up her time-slot.
But most controversially, the new schedule has cut by half flagship current affairs programs The World Today and PM. TWT‘s presenter Eleanor Hall has been outspoken about the decision on Twitter, saying it was a shame the ABC was cutting the “quality, high rating shows”, and that ABC management didn’t value the programs. Linda Mottram will be the new host of PM, replacing Mark Colvin, who died last year.
In an email to staff yesterday, head of news Gaven Morris said there would be no job cuts, cost cuts of changes in the amount of content with the change in length.
“For a long time now, audience listening habits in the afternoons and evenings have been changing, in PM‘s traditional 6pm-7pm time-slot we have seen a more than 20% decline in audience share and 25% decline in reach in the past five years. While the in-depth journalism PM provides remains as important as ever, clearly listeners are telling us they want to get this information in different ways,” he said.
Morris said the shorter programs would give reporters more time to develop and chase their stories and give audiences more value. He also said local Drive programs would have a greater focus on local current affairs, and would have more news input than they previously have had.
The ABC announced an enormous organisational restructure last month, which will organise staff by genre, rather than the current “silos” divided by platform. Managing director Michelle Guthrie said it was part of her attempt to make the public broadcaster more fit to reach Australians in all demographics in a time where the media landscape is dramatically changing.