Tag Archives: ABC

The ABC “was at war with itself” before Michelle Guthrie was fired

(Source: The Age via Richard Langley and John Figliozzi)

Michelle Guthrie wanted to make one thing clear. “I love my job,” she said when we met one winter morning at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s inner-Sydney head office. Granted, being managing director and editor-in-chief of the ABC at one of the most turbulent times in its history was a big responsibility. But the perks! “Had a conversation the other night with Laura Tingle,” she said, referring to the chief political correspondent for the ABC TV current affairs program, 7.30. “I mean, who gets to do that?” Guthrie laughed, and I looked at her closely, wondering for a moment whether she was sending herself up.

I had asked her how she was coping with the stress. Even then, long before she was sacked by ABC board chairman Justin Milne, who then made his own dramatic exit, it seemed a reasonable question. In the more than two years Guthrie had been running the ABC, the national broadcaster had reeled from crisis to crisis – its budget slashed, its journalism slammed, its value to the Australian people questioned. But she dismissed any suggestion that she allowed this stuff to get to her, insisting that despite the ride’s bumpiness, she was having fun. She gave another example of an exhilarating encounter: a couple of days earlier, she had been leaving the office to catch a plane to Canberra when she spotted Dylan Alcott, champion wheelchair athlete and ABC Radio Triple J presenter. She introduced herself and chatted to Alcott for a few minutes before climbing into her cab. “I get energy from amazing people like Dylan,” she said, adding that she had a spring in her step for the rest of her journey. “I sort of skipped through the airport. It was fantastic.”

Guthrie’s words now seem almost poignant. At the time, her exuberance just struck me as odd. It was as if the small and personable woman beaming across the ABC’s boardroom table was speaking to me from some other plane – one that was slightly out of kilter with reality. In May, the federal Liberal-National Coalition government had announced a three-year indexation freeze on ABC funding – in effect an $84 million cut to the broadcaster’s budget. This followed a $254 million funding cut imposed in 2014 under the then Coalition prime minister, Tony Abbott. More than 1000 ABC jobs had been scrapped over four years, along with many fine programs.

I knew the mood of the remaining 4000 employees was considerably less upbeat than Guthrie’s.

[…]Guthrie, 52, had been appointed to the $900,000-a-year ABC post in 2015, after a stint as a Singapore-based Google executive. A lawyer by training, she had spent 14 years in Rupert Murdoch’s global pay-TV empire – working for BSkyB in London and for Foxtel in her home town of Sydney before taking over from Rupert’s younger son, James, as the Hong Kong-based chief executive of Asian network, Star TV. Heading the ABC made her a public figure for the first time in her career. People recognised her everywhere, she told me. “I get a lot of, ‘Thank you for doing your job. You’re doing a great service for Australia.’”

She had fans within the ABC, too. “There are pockets within the organisation who think she is fantastic,” said Sinddy Ealy, secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union’s ABC section. But Ealy was aware of widespread disaffection: “There is just this really strong feeling that the leadership is not very good.” Her regretful tone was echoed by Norman Swan, presenter of Radio National’s Health Report and a recipient of Australian journalism’s highest honour, the Gold Walkley. “I like Michelle,” Swan said. “She’s a nice person.” But as managing director? “To be blunt, I just don’t think she is up to the job.”

The ABC board was moving towards the same conclusion. As its members held meetings behind closed doors, past and present ABC staffers talked frankly to me about Guthrie and the corporate culture over which she presided. Few of those interviewed held the managing director solely responsible for the malaise afflicting the national broadcaster, but most agreed on one thing: in the lead-up to her removal, the ABC was an organisation on the verge of a nervous breakdown.[…]

Click here to read the full article at The Age.

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Michelle Guthrie sacked as board seeks “fresh leadership” and focus on “long-term interests” of ABC engagement

(Source: The Interpreter via Michael Taniwha)

Restoring Australia’s Pacific media presence

by Kevin McQuillan

The departure of ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie just two-and-a-half years into her five-year term reflects the board’s decision to seek “fresh leadership”, according to Chairman Justin Milne. Announcing Guthrie’s sacking today, Milne said “the board’s foremost consideration was the long-term interests of our own people and the millions of Australians who engage with ABC content every week”.

What Milne didn’t talk about was the millions of listeners, viewers and online visitors to the ABC who have been lost since the federal government and the ABC itself made cuts to its international output. The appointment of a new Managing Director opens up the opportunity for Guthrie’s replacement to re-engage the ABC with its international audience, particularly in the Pacific.

As respected former international broadcasting executives Ian MacIntosh and Bruce Dover pointed out last month on The Interpreter: “Australia’s international voice, once strong, influential and broadcast across much of the Asia Pacific, has become little more than a croak into the ether.”

The demise of a strong Australian media voice throughout the Pacific has seen Radio NZ Pacific (formerly Radio NZ International) become the dominant international media outlet in the south-west Pacific, Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia. Lurking in the background is Radio China International, which has taken many of the ABC’s shortwave frequencies, and is reportedly spending billions in foreign language programming to boost its presence.[…]

Click here to read the full article at The Interpreter.

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Australian Foreign Minister says her party did not support shutting down shortwave

The Shepparton transmitter site of ABC/Radio Australia

(Source: RadioInfo via William Lee and Dennis Dura)

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has told [ ABC’s Radio National ] RN’s Fran Kelly that her party did not support the ABC’s decision to switch off short wave services in the Pacific.

“It is not a decision of the Australian government,” she said.

Bishop has travelled to Samoa to launch a radio transmission facility, funded by Australia’s aid program, to support disaster management and emergency management.

“We have a media assistance scheme to ensure that radio transmission can continue… I would certainly encourage the ABC to continue shortwave transmission in the Pacific.”

Asked by Fran Kelly if that funding could have been given to the ABC given that the cuts were the result of funding decisions at the time, Minister Bishop said: “The ABC determines its priorities…”[…]

Continue reading at RadioInfo.

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Australian Gov’t reviewing media services (including loss of shortwave) in the Asia-Pacific

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, London Shortwave, for sharing the following Have Your Say review of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific:

Review of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific – Terms of Reference

The Government is undertaking a review of Australian media services in the Asia Pacific, including the role of shortwave radio. The review is being conducted jointly by the Department of Communications and the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Purpose

The objective of the review is to assess the reach of Australia’s media in the Asia Pacific region, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used.

Scope

The review will analyse the:

  • coverage and access of existing Australian media services in the Asia Pacific region; and
  • use and value of Australian shortwave technology in the Asia Pacific region.The review will cover:
  • all media distribution platforms (i.e. television, radio and online);
  • commercial, community and publicly funded services; and
  • different types of technologies such as analogue, digital and satellite radio and television services and online services.

Have your say

Interested stakeholders in Australia and overseas are encouraged to contribute to this review. Submissions on any aspect of the review should be uploaded to the review website by 3 August 2018.

Timeframe

The review is expected to report to the Government in 2018.

Background

In September 2017 the Government agreed to conduct a review of Asia Pacific Broadcasting Services as follows:

“The Department of Communications and the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will conduct a review into the reach of Australian broadcasting services in the Asia Pacific region, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used. The review will include public consultation and the report of the review will be made public.”


Consultation Period:
June 04, 2018 09:00 AEST to August 03, 2018 17:00 AEST

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation ceased shortwave broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region in January 2017 ahead of a transition to FM transmission.

The review is assessing the reach of Australia’s media in the Asia-Pacific region, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used.

All media distribution platforms – television, radio and online – are being examined including commercial, community and publicly funded services.

The review is also looking at different types of technologies such as analogue, digital and satellite radio and television services and online services.

Click here to view this information and participate via the Have Your Say website.

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ABC hit with major budget cuts

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who shares the following links to articles regard cuts faced by the Aaustralian Broadcasting Corporation and other Australian media news:

Regarding the cuts to the ABC, note this email from an ABC Director Regional:

(Source: Radioinfo.com.au)

ABC Radio ‘extremely disappointed’ at cuts

A staff email responds to the federal budget.

A staff email from ABC Director Regional and Local Michael Mason has expressed disappointment at the federal budget funding cuts to the ABC announced this week.

[…]The email reads:

Following the Managing Director’s message regarding more cuts to the ABC’s funding, announced in last night’s Budget, I wanted to add my comments.

Like Michelle, I am extremely disappointed in the Government’s decision to freeze the corporation’s annual funding indexation. And I also share the MD’s concern. This move represents a loss of $84 million in funding over three years starting in the next Financial Year in July 2019.

This comes at a time when the ABC is preparing its submission for its next Triennial funding period, which will also start in July 2019. This means our next funding bid takes on even more importance and significance.

We have 12 months to try and reverse that decision and position the organisation as strongly as possible as Australia’s most trusted media organisation and one that is able to meet all its charter obligations.

In Regional & Local we have consistently delivered high quality programming against a falling trend in funding that the ABC has had to work with over the past five years.

I know that everyone, from our stakeholders in Canberra, to the ABC Executive Leadership Group, to our viewers, listeners and on-line audiences, have all been hugely impressed with the work you have done. Our regional and local content is at the heart of what the ABC does and that won’t change.

Once again, we find ourselves in the situation of defending the importance and relevance of our work in order to safeguard its future. I have every confidence that, given the talent and quality in our team, we will meet the challenge, but to do that effectively, we must do it as one.

I will be talking to you more in coming weeks about what is required from R&L to support the ABC’s opposition to this decision and how best we can contribute to the 2019 Triennial Funding bid.

Read more at: https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/abc-radio-extremely-disappointed-cuts © Radioinfo.com.au

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