15 October 2008

Change in the air for Radio National?

Today Paul Collins on Crikey reports about changes proposed for ABC Radio National. Extract:

Several specialist programs are being taken off-air including the Religion Report, the Media Report and Radio Eye. The Reports are flagship programs that deal with issues central to current culture. Apparently they are being replaced by a movie show and something about the future. Specialist broadcasters will spend more time responding to opinionated bloggers rather than making programs. God help us!

Let's be clear what ABC Radio management is up to: it is a case of the bland leading the bland. Specialisation is out. Nowadays the belief is that any old (or, more likely, young) "interdisciplinary" journalist can deal with any topic. Well, I've been interviewed literally hundreds of times on ABC radio and TV. My experience is that while most journalists make a reasonable go of it, they just don't know the detail and often have to be led to the key questions.

An ABC spokeswoman has replied. Extract:

"A number of line-up changes are planned for ABC Radio National next year, these are currently being finalised and will be announced shortly. They do include a number of programs being moved, changed or ended.

"These changes are in part a response to the move in ABC Radio National's audience growth, particularly online. This necessitates a shift in resources - in some cases from on air to online. There will be no job losses."

I shall wait to see what happens. I listen regularly to The Media Report (which is usually of very high quality) and occasionally to The Religion Report and Radio Eye (which often have items which interest me). I'm not necessarily averse to increasing online content (including transcripts) to supplement the material which goes to air: this is already happening with some programs eg Hindsight .

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