John Figliozzi, author of The Worldwide Listening Guide, recently posted his summary of Radio Australia cuts on several radio discussion groups. He is also kindly sharing this summary on the SWLing Post. John writes:
Here’s what I’ve been able to assemble from various sources that I consider reliable about what can only be described as a truly catastrophic situation for Radio Australia. Keep in mind that RA management is left with few options, none of them good, in its efforts to preserve and maintain anything resembling a viable service for its regional and international audiences.
- The English Language Programming department (ELP) is effectively gutted. The only remaining RA productions in English appear to be some hourly news bulletins and the Pacific Beat program. All else, including the excellent Asia Pacific program, ceases.
- At least for the time being, RA intends to maintain a 24/7 English language service by pulling all of its content from ABC Radio domestic sources (except for the morsels described above). A revised ELP schedule is in preparation and will be announced and implemented shortly.
- Language services in Tok Pisin, Vietnamese, Khmer, Chinese, French and Burmese appear to remain but only in some skeletal form since about 3/4 to 4/5 of those staffs are to be axed. Again, it appears the plan is to pull some content from domestic sources, this time from SBS whose administration is likely to be housed with what’s left of RA at Southbank in Melbourne as indicated in a previous press report.
- As unbelievable as this may sound, the situation is so dire and so immediate that there will be a culling of half of the journalists on staff via a random process — no evaluations, experience, records of achievement or years of service considered.
- No reduction in shortwave schedules has yet been indicated, but it’s hard to see how that continues unaffected and unabated beyond anything but the very short term.
Personally, I will reserve comment on all this at this time and let the facts speak for themselves. However, some of you will be aware of my admiration and appreciation for Radio Australia over the decades so you are free to draw your own conclusions in that regard.
The Worldwide Listening Guide
Many thanks, John. I have also heard that shortwave services–at least broadcast hours–have not yet been affected. The content, obviously, will be more ABC National focused. How long will they continue shortwave services? Time will tell.
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Follow John Figliozzi on his Worldwide Listening Guide blog.