Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell (Image: ABC)

There are many people inside and outside the ABC who believe the broadcaster shouldn’t chase ratings, as though it would somehow sully its reputation.

That is an irrational stance. The ABC does pretty well on both TV and radio without trying to promote itself in daily battles with commercial and pay TV -- despite funding being slashed year after year by conservative governments and in-denial media ministers like current incumbent Paul Fletcher. It regularly beats Network Ten into third spot in the national ratings.

In many respects, it also does a better job in cross-promoting content than its commercial rivals. Its TV and radio networks take advantage of cross-promoting talent and content across news and current affairs programs like Four Corners, 7.30, Australian Story, Catalyst and Landline. Apart from network programs like 60 Minutes and A Current Affair, there's nothing on Seven, Nine or Ten to rival the ABC’s line-up.