Mediaweek Roundup: Mark Di Stefano, Ray Hadley, Nova + more

• Craig McLachlan, Red Room, Ben & Liam, Stan, Cricket Australia, Rugby Australia, and Summer of Cricket

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FT suspends Aussie journalist accused of listening to rival outlets’ calls

A Financial Times reporter has been suspended after the Independent accused him of listening in on sensitive Zoom meetings held by its senior managers telling staff about salary cuts and furloughs, reports The Guardian’s Mark Sweney.

Mark Di Stefano, who joined the FT from BuzzFeed in January, has been accused of listening to the audio feed of video conference calls held by the Independent and its sister title the Evening Standard about responding to the financial impact of coronavirus.

In each case Di Stefano, a prolific tweeter with more than 100,000 followers, broke the news of the meetings on Twitter at the same time as staff were being informed.

A story on the measures being introduced by the Evening Standard, which is edited by the former chancellor George Osborne, was subsequently published by the FT. A summary of the cuts at the online-only Independent was published in the FT’s daily live blog.

The FT began investigating Di Stefano after the Independent contacted senior figures at the paper with its allegations.

The Independent editor, Christian Broughton, said: “We respect freedom of speech and understand the challenges of news gathering, but the Independent considers the presence of a third-party journalist in a staff briefing to be entirely inappropriate and an unwarranted intrusion into our employees’ privacy.

“Our spokesperson had a full statement prepared for the press. Any interested reporters only needed to call and ask.”

[Read more]

See also: Mark Di Stefano’s media journey from ABC copy boy to The FT

Craig McLachlan has attempted indecent assault charge dropped

A single charge of attempted indecent assault has been dropped against actor Craig McLachlan, but a Melbourne magistrate has ruled he has a “case to answer” on 13 other accusations, reports ABC’s Danny Tran.

It comes after two other charges against McLachlan, 54, were dropped in March.

McLachlan, who has long maintained his innocence, is facing a contested hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court over the allegations, which include that he rubbed his penis against a complainant and forced his tongue into her mouth.

The charge of attempted indecent assault was on Monday dropped during an administrative hearing, which was held to determine whether certain evidence was admissible.

The case will return to court in November.

[Read more]

Radio star Ray Hadley bullied staffer daily for 20 years, court hears

The first explosive details of a bullying and harassment case filed against Sydney radio star, Ray Hadley, have been aired in court, including allegations he bullied his former panel operator Chris Bowen daily, over 20 years, reports The Australian’s Deborah Cornwall.

In a fiery exchange before the NSW District Court on Monday, Bowen’s barrister, Shaun McCarthy, said Hadley routinely called his client “little bald fat c..t” and subjected Bowen to “vile homophobic slurs” and made “disgraceful remarks about his loved one”.

Hadley’s barrister, Callan O’Neill responded, insisting the damages claim against his client for intentional infliction of mental harm suffered from a “lack of factual underpinning”.

McCarthy said there was “a serious concern” Hadley’s legal team was still pressing for the names of witnesses. Bowen, he said, held “genuine and reasonable concerns about those witnesses being intimidated” if they were identified before the hearing commenced.

The case has been listed for a directions hearing on 12 June.

[Read more]


Nova announces another virtual Red Room with UK’s Yungblud

Nova’s Red Room Live Stream is returning with Yungblud the next artist to hit Nova’s virtual stage on Friday 8 May.

Hosted by Tim Blackwell, the UK singer/songwriter/actor Yungblud will perform his blend of punk fury and popmelodies, including his new single Weird!, live for winners from his epic home set up. Listeners will also be treated to an intimate one-on-one fan Q & A.

Listeners can win their exclusive invitation to take part in Nova’s Red Room Live Stream with Yungblud by entering at and listening to Nova’s night show.

With more than 50 million Australian streams and over two million Instagram followers, including in excess of 75,000 in Australia alone, Yungblud released his debut EP Yungblud in January 2018. His debut album 21st Century Liability followed in July and in October 2019 he launched his second album Underrated Youth. Yungblud’s latest single 11 Minutes, featuring Halsey and Travis Barker, has been certified platinum in Australia. With over six million Australian YouTube views, Yungblud also played sold out sideshows at Falls Festival last year.

Iso haircuts at Nova 919: George Costanza for Ben, Ronaldo for Liam

Isolation is getting the better of many people and boredom is clearly setting in. With many stuck at home, more and more people are deciding to try their hand at what should clearly be left to the experts – “iso-haircuts”. After Nova 919’s Adelaide breakfast hosts Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton’s producer Wolf came into work Monday morning with a bleach blonde iso haircut, the hosts decided to give it a go.

Ben & Liam said: “We saw everyone getting iso haircuts and thought why don’t we get involved. The only difference was the listeners choose the haircuts and they didn’t hold back with their suggestions.”

After compiling listener’s suggestions on a spinning wheel, with inspiration that included the Joe Exotic, the Dusty Martin and the Peter Garrett, the duo each spun the wheel to decide their new “do”. Ben went first, spinning up a Seinfeld classic – “The George Costanza” – with Liam following with “The 2002 Ronaldo” inspired by the star soccer player’s World Cup look.

Ben & Liam took turns styling their co-hosts look, with the results shocking listeners, colleagues and their partners.

Ben & Liam explained: “Getting the haircut wasn’t scary. Explaining it to our girlfriends when we get home is the scary part.”

Liam played audio this morning on the show of how his partner reacted when he arrived home on Monday. After trying to convince her it wasn’t that bad, she said: “It looks !@#$ing awful.”

They have to keep the new looks for a few days too. They spun the wheel to decide how long you should keep the new styles. The boys spun 13 and 14 days – it’s going to be a long two weeks for their partners who have to look at the results.


Stan secures new Anna Kendrick rom com series Love Life for May

Stan has released details of the new ten-episode romantic comedy series Love Life which will premiere 27 May in 4K exclusively on Stan – same day as the US.

Love Life, the first full-length scripted series to star Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick, is about the journey from first love to last love, and how the people we’re with along the way make us into who we are when we finally end up with someone forever.

The romantic comedy anthology series is from creator and co-showrunner Sam Boyd (In a Relationship) and is produced by Lionsgate Television and Feigco Entertainment. The series will follow a different protagonist’s quest for love each season, with each half-hour episode telling the story of one of their relationships. Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, A Simple Favour) stars in the first season along with Zoë Chao (Downhill, Strangers), Peter Vack (Someone Great, The Bold Type), Sasha Compere (Miracle Workers, Uncorked), and Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Another Year).

Kendrick serves as an executive producer alongside Paul Feig (A Simple Favour, Bridesmaids) and Dan Magnante (Someone Great). Sam Boyd, who wrote the pilot and directs, also executive produces with co-showrunner and executive producer Bridget Bedard (Transparent and Ramy).


Surprise upside to lockdown version of Working Dog’s HYBPA?

Next Sunday night Tom Gleisner will step into 10’s Como studio in South Yarra to begin filming the 8th season of Have You Been Paying Attention?

Aside from a small crew, including longtime Working Dog floor manager and unabashed loud-laugher Annie Maver, he’ll be alone. Production has had to incorporate social distancing measures both in front of and behind the cameras, reports TV Tonight.

“When we started approaching this season with the restrictions we thought, ‘What if we put perspex screens between each other, like cab drivers?’” Gleisner tells TV Tonight.

“Or we thought about having two people in the studio and then three remotely. But we sort of figured that’s a bit of an unfair advantage.”

This season begins with guests in lockdown answering questions from their own homes.

“We do pre-record, so if we have a moment where it really does go off the rails, or the NBN goes down, we can just pause and regroup.”

Joining Sam Pang and Ed Kavalee in the first episode are show favourites Kitty Flanagan, Marty Sheargold, and Urzila Carlson. Guests have already held lockdown rehearsals.

But there’s also an unexpected upside to the changes for the show which usually includes a guest quizmaster. Suddenly there’s a chance to include international guests on camera too.

“That’s the plan but don’t hold me to that. But we hope we can have some interesting guests from lockdown from the other side of the world,” he confirms.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Broadcasters on brink but Cricket Australia digs in on TV rights

Cricket Australia is expected to resist any moves by its television partners to secure markdowns on their next payments under the $1.18 billion broadcast deal, believing they should pay full freight if the summer goes ahead as planned despite the financial woes caused by COVID-19, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Barrett.

As former CA chief executive Malcolm Speed on Monday weighed into cricket’s cash crisis, saying current boss Kevin Roberts had “stumbled” in explaining the situation, attention turned to the plight of the code’s two major broadcasters and the potentially disastrous impact of COVID-19 on the game.

Both Foxtel, majority owned by News Corp, and Seven West Media, owned by billionaire Kerry Stokes, were in strife before the virus forced the country into lockdown and their problems have since deepened.

Sources within CA indicate there is an expectation at Jolimont that broadcasters may claim they are not in a position to fully meet their contractual obligations this summer. Their next payments, due in September and worth a combined $100 million, are being relied upon by the governing body to help restore its finances. Roberts said its coffers would be depleted by August if staff were not stood down, cuts not negotiated with state associations and “creative solutions” not found with players.

Seven, which has an agreement worth $80m a year, tried unsuccessfully to offload Big Bash League rights to Network Ten to reduce debt.

[Read more]

Rugby boss calls 10 boss as NZ announces review of Super Rugby

Rugby Australia interim executive chairman Paul McLean has smoked the peace pipe with outgoing 10 chief Paul Anderson after he criticised the organisation’s handling of Raelene Castle‘s resignation, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Sam Phillips.

The Herald on Monday revealed McLean ignored a text message from Anderson last week, when the outgoing 10 boss had sought further information about Castle’s sacking.

McLean on Monday reached out to Anderson to apologise and briefly discuss the process the RA board is putting in place to find the right person to replace Castle.

“Paul and I spoke this afternoon and I was able to update him on the plans we are putting in place,” McLean said. “I apologised for inadvertently missing his message last Friday and we had a good conversation.”

[Read more]

David Barham’s recommendations that can save summer of cricket

A report tabled before the coronavirus pandemic crisis rocked cricket lays out a series of suggestions to resuscitate the Big Bash League as the administration faces the very real prospect that it may be the only source of revenue this summer.

The Australian’s Peter Lalor reports on details of the report compiled by former television sports chief David Barham, which was commissioned by Cricket Australia in the summer as broadcaster concerns grew about falling ratings and declining crowds.

Barham was credited as the man who took the BBL to the next level of popularity when he was at Channel 10. He is understood to have consulted widely and written a 50-plus page report full of suggestions to return the product to its glory days.

At its peak the BBL would regularly outrate the Australian Open tennis tournament and was a massive success for its broadcaster, who signed up a lucrative list of advertisers attracted by the competition’s demographics and popularity, but it has lost its gloss in recent seasons.

The report says cricket needs to remember that the BBL is a made-for-television product built on innovation and entertainment. It urges cricket chiefs to pay it more respect or it will further degrade one of its better assets.

One of Barham’s key calls is to free a window from the end of the Sydney Test to the end of January and somehow compel the big local stars to play for a franchise.

Warner, as an example, is not signed to a BBL team and has played over 120 matches in the IPL but just three in the BBL split between two franchises. Smith got to play a handful of games last year while Cummins opted to rest.

[Read more]

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