Mediaweek Roundup: David Speers, Alan Jones, Masked Singer + more

• Southern Cross Media, Broadsheet Media, Sky News, Alan Jones, Gyton Grantley, Poh Ling Yeow, BBL, Cross Court, and Gerard Whateley

Business of Media

Southern Cross plunges to five-year low after revenue warning

Southern Cross Media’s shares tumbled to a five-year low after the company reported an 8.5 per cent hit to revenue due to a ‘weak’ advertising market, reports The AFR’s Natasha Gillezeau.

In an update to the market, the media company, which has Australia’s largest radio network and operates the Hit and Triple M radio stations, said the weakness was across both radio and television segments.

Southern Cross Media chief financial officer Nick McKechnie said the main factor behind the update was ad spend had missed expectations for the quarter.

“We’re seeing weaker ad markets across first quarter, which seems to be linked to a lower desire to invest and spend in advertising,” said McKechnie.

“We’re seeing it as being broad in the market, SMI data is showing all sectors were back about 9 per cent, we think its kind of broad-based linked to the level of consumer and business sentiment in the economy.”

[Read the original]

See also:
SCA reports slump in earnings – Sept Quarter revenue down 8.5%

Broadsheet celebrates decade of digital with anniversary print product

Broadsheet Media is celebrating its 10th birthday and a decade in publishing. Broadsheet was established in Melbourne in 2009 to bring its readers the best of Australian city culture after founder and publisher Nick Shelton returned from a stint in London to find that no Australian media outlets were reporting on city culture in the way people were experiencing it.

Since then, Broadsheet has expanded to cover Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane and has a staff of almost 50 full-time employees despite never having sought external capital investment – a result of consistent profitability.

“Broadsheet’s growth over the past 10 years can, in large part, be attributed to the quality and reliability of our content. As a result of that our readers trust the Broadsheet brand – we value that trust above all else,” said Shelton.

Along its journey, Broadsheet has created unique products for its readers on and offline.

“We did our first pop-up cafe as part of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in 2011, but since then we’ve done two restaurants, in Melbourne and Sydney respectively; we’ve produced five books, including three hardcover cookbooks; and most recently we wrapped up our Broadsheet Kitchen series, a new dining concept designed to support the next generation of culinary talent in Australia.”

Nick Shelton

Nick Shelton

This month the brand launches Broadsheet Editions: a curated edit of images by past and current Broadsheet photographers available to readers for purchase – printed, framed and delivered.

Shelton added:  “We’re really only just getting started. I’ve got a first-class, passionate team with both strong editorial and commercial leadership at the helm driving more sophisticated products every day for our readers and clients. I’m proud to have hit this milestone, but for me goals are like a horizon – you never really reach them; you just keep evolving and striving to get even better.”

To celebrate the anniversary, Broadsheet has produced a special edition Broadsheet print paper in both Melbourne and Sydney, which will be complemented with digital content reflecting on what has made the cities great over the past 10 years as well as looking forward to what’s in store.

News Brands

Busy night in Canberra: TV news lobby + David Speers farewell

It has been a busy night in Canberra for politicians and TV news executives.

An event for Free TV featuring TV news chiefs has coincided with a farewell for Sky News political editor who is relocating to Melbourne as he joins the ABC.

The Australian reported Sky News Australia chief executive Paul Whittaker said Speers helped build Sky into a “leader in political news and nat­ional affairs coverage”.

Other guests at his farewell included Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and politicians from both sides of the house.

Guardian Australia political editor Katharine Murphy said Speers’ was “saying farewell in characteristically classy fashion, thanking the mentors and colleagues”.

Former Sky News colleague Jennifer Bechwati, now with Seven, called Speers: “Undoubtedly one of the best political journalists of our generation. A great mentor and friend.”

Canberra power broker Grahame Morris said: The most extraordinary collection of politicians and journos at David Speers’ farewell from Sky News tonight. Without a doubt the most influential journalist in Australia since Laurie Oakes.

Karen Middleton from The Saturday Paper said: “Tributes from across the political spectrum – a testament to the quality of his work.”

Meanwhile, Free TV Australia was hosting an event at Parliament House in Canberra on the eve of the Government handing down its response to the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry.

The event included a panel discussion moderated by Seven Network’s Melissa Doyle.

The event was co-hosted by Free TV CEO Bridget Fair and the co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Free TV Group, Senator Andrew Bragg and Susan Templeman MP.

See also:
TV news directors from Seven, Nine, 10, Prime & WIN lobby Canberra

Sky News host Alan Jones breaks down on live TV talking about farmers

Sky News hostAlan Jones broke down in tears on live television on Tuesday night while “fighting” for hope-starved farmers, reports News Corp’s Campbell Gellie.

Jones, who grew up on a dairy farm in southeast Queensland, choked-up and called for a break as he tried to say that his father would have been ashamed of him if he didn’t fight for the desperate farmers.

His comments came in a week where farmers called into his 2GB radio show in tears and broken by the drought.

During his tribute last night, Jones said Prime Minister Scott Morrison “just didn’t understand”.

“I begged him to provide fodder water and freight so farmers wouldn’t have to send their breeding stock to slaughter,” he said.

“Ten minutes later, William, a farmer from up near Gunnedah, rang in and started to cry.

“His family had been in farming for 70 years, he is sending 90 breeders to the sale yard in Gunnedah today.

“We will fight, because I have been exactly where the people of Bourke are.

“My old man would be ashamed of me if I didn’t fight, I can’t speak for Canberra … take a break.”

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Alan Jones takes the PM to task over the drought in heated interview

Alan Jones has taken the Prime Minister to task in a heated interview about the ongoing drought crippling rural Australia, reports 2GB.

Scott Morrison is hitting back at criticism of the government’s drought relief programs, insisting they are investing in immediate and long-term solutions.

The PM says he’s delivering on what he promised, putting an additional $318.5 million into helping struggling farmers.

“Wherever you look at it, it’s meeting the immediate needs of farmers,” he tells Alan Jones.

“It’s about meeting the needs in communities that are affected by the drought and then it’s investing for the longer term in the water infrastructure.”

Alan Jones came down hard on the Prime Minister, demanding to know what is being done right now.

“Prime Minister, they’re gone. They’re gone! They can’t survive today. I’m not talking about long-term viability, what can you do today?”

Morrison eventually admitted there’s very little his government can do to fix the situation.

“We can’t kid ourselves that there’s a magic wand and a magic cash splash that’s going to make this thing totally solved.”

The openline went into meltdown in response to the Prime Minister’s interview.

Listeners were shocked and disappointed at Morrison’s answers, with some calling for him to resign.

[Listen to the 15-minute Morrison interview]


Gyton Grantley returns to life of crime as Carl Williams for third hit

Gyton Grantley will reprise the role that made him famous, playing Melbourne criminal Carl Williams for a third time in a new show to air on Nine in 2020, reports The Age’s Karl Quinn.

[The show is expected to be showcased at Nine’s 2020 Upfront today.]

Grantley, who is currently playing the adult Ron Weasley on stage in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will appear in Informer 3838 as the central figure in the gangland wars that rocked Melbourne for more than a decade from the mid-1990s.

Convicted drug trafficker Williams was beaten to death in April 2010 by a fellow inmate in Barwon Prison, where he was serving a minimum 35 years on multiple murder counts.

Grantley shot to fame in 2008 playing Williams in Underbelly, winning both the audience-voted most popular actor and the peer-voted most outstanding actor award at the 2009 Logies.

He reprised the role in 2014 for Fat Tony & Co, the eighth crime-themed instalment from Underbellyfranchise creators Screentime. Informer 3838, which gets its title from the codename assigned to gangland lawyer-turned-informer Nicola Gobbo by her police handlers, will also see the return of a number of other characters and performers from the original Underbelly.

Andy Ryan, Nine’s co-head of drama, hailed the return of Grantley to the role that made him a household name.

“Gyton’s killer performance as Carl Williams in the original Underbellyhas gone down in TV folklore,” he said.

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Deni Hines, Paulini revealed as The Masked Singer hits ratings high

The big reveals on 10’s The Masked Singer just keep on coming – and Tuesday delivered double the fun, report News Corp’s Nadia SalemmeandZoe Smith.

Two singers were forced to unmask – the Spider and the Unicorn.

Former Australian Idol contestant Paulini was unveiled as the woman behind the Spider after wowing judges with her cover of Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi.

The next reveal did not come as a surprise to many, with Deni Hines unmasked as the owner of the soulful voice behind the Unicorn.

Hines said she loved the series as it allowed her to be judged “purely” by her voice.

Before her unmasking, Hines, the daughter of soul singer Marcia, had the audience and judges jumping with her cover of the Bruno Marshit Locked Out of Heaven.

Speculation had been rampant for weeks that Hines was the star underneath the elaborate costume.

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Celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow closes Adelaide store for TV commitment

Celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow is returning to television – but the move means the closure of her Jamface Stall at the Adelaide Central Market, reports News Corp’s Robyn Douglass.

There is, as yet, no hint of what the new TV role is, but the Adelaide cook, who debuted as runner-up in the first season of MasterChef Australia in 2009, announced the Jamface stall’s closure on her Instagram account on Monday.

Poh said the closure was due to a “full-time return to my media and art career.”

The stall, which had its last trading day on Saturday, has been open since late 2015.

But lovers of Poh’s lunchtime treats, especially pastries and desserts, will still be able to enjoy Jamface products at the Adelaide Farmers’ Market at Wayville every Sunday.

Poh would be filming interstate on weekdays but flying home on weekends for her “beloved farmers’ market”, which is where Jamface began in 2014.

Poh has made a number of TV series; three seasons of Poh’s Kitchen for the ABC from 2010-12, and two of Poh & Co for SBS in 2015-16.

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Sports Media

Australian Test captain to call BBL matches exclusively on Seven

Australian Test captain Tim Paine will join Seven’s commentary team this summer for the 2019-20 BBL season.

Paine last month became the first Australian captain in 18 years to retain the Ashes in England, when he led the Aussies to a 2-2 result in the Test series against Joe Root’s team.

While the 34-year-old will continue as Test skipper, he will join Seven as a guest commentator for 10 BBL matches once this summer’s series against Pakistan and New Zealand have concluded.

Paine has enjoyed an outstanding career in the BBL with the Hobart Hurricanes as a wicketkeeper and top-order batsmen, and was a key member of the Hurricanes teams that reached the BBL Final in 2013-14 and 2017-18.

Seven’s new head of sport Lewis Martin commented:

“It’s a wonderful and rare opportunity to hear the insights of a current Test captain, but also to have a ripping bloke like Tim join our team.”

Lewis Martin was formerly managing director of Seven Melbourne and he takes on the role as head of sport from Saul Shtein who left Seven earlier this year.

Nine’s tennis show Cross Court with Todd Woodbridge returns Sunday

Nine’s weekly program Cross Court, a magazine-style show dedicated to all things tennis, returns this Sunday, October 20, at 11am on Nine and 9Now.

Hosted by tennis legend Todd Woodbridge, winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, Cross Courtis promising the latest news from the world of tennis, as well as player profiles, grassroots initiatives and classic moments ahead of the 2020 Australian Open coming to Nine in January.

Additional reporting will be provided by Aussie stars Jelena Dokic, Dylan Alcott and Sam Groth.

This week’s show will profile reigning Australian Open champion and world number one, Novak Djokovic. The Serb has won more AO titles than any other player in the Open era and will be out to claim number eight when the tournament begins at Melbourne Park in January.

From Rafael Nadal’s extensive pre-match routine to Dylan Alcott’s must-listen-to song, the program will also take a look at some of the wildest player superstitions.

Cross Court will relive Dylan Alcott’s fifth title win at the 2019 Australian Open in the men’s quad wheelchair singles, and from Queensland viewers will meet Chloe Johnston, a woman with Asperger syndrome, and see how tennis has transformed her life.

Cross Court is produced by Nine in collaboration with Tennis Australia.

Channel 7 tried to poach Fox Footy, SEN presenter Gerard Whateley

An untimely change of management sunk an audacious Channel 7 plan to lure Fox Footy’s Gerard Whateley, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

It’s understood talks were well down the track for Whateley to secure his “dream” job with Seven, which would have involved covering Australia’s summer of cricket, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and AFL.

With legendary broadcaster Bruce McAvaneyscaling down his commitments, the versatile Whateley was seen as a perfect fit for the network.

All of these top secret negotiations were happening midway through the year with the blessing of Channel 7 CEO Tim Worner.

But everything changed in August when Worner resigned abruptly.

He was quickly replaced by James Warburton, a former Channel 7 executive who had moved to the 10 Network.

His arrival signalled a major cost-cutting overhaul of the business and unfortunately the Whateley plan got caught up in the slashing.

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