Mediaweek Roundup: The Masked Singer, AFL, Bauer Media + more

Masked Singer Jackie o

ASIO bans Chinese ‘agents’, AAP, 10 News, The Adelaide Review, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Drunk History and Supercars

News Brands

ASIO bans Chinese ‘agents’ after interference probe of journalists, academics

Six Chinese citizens believed to have engaged in espionage or foreign interference in Australia have either been denied re-entry into the country or have left after being questioned by intelligence agencies, report The Australian’s Simon Benson and Ben Packham.

Two academics were offshore when the Australian government cancelled their visas, effectively preventing them from returning to the country, while four Chinese journalists left Australia after being spoken to by ASIO.

The intelligence service’s actions targeting foreign interference come amid high tension between Canberra and Beijing.

The two academics to have had their visas cancelled and been denied re-entry to Australia are Chinese scholar and media commentator Chen Hong and Australian studies scholar Li Jianjun. Two Chinese journalists, the Australia bureau chief of China News Service, Tao Shelan, and China Radio International’s Sydney bureau chief, Li Dayong, have also left Australia after ASIO questioning.

The Australian has established there were a further two Chinese journalists who also left the country under similar circumstances.

[Read more]

Coalition considers AAP’s funding request as anxiety mounts over media concentration

The federal government has acknowledged the role of the national newswire, Australian Associated Press, in fostering media diversity and is considering a request for funding, as concerns mount among crossbenchers over media concentration if the service was to fail, reports Guardian Australia‘s Anne Davies.

Just a month after being purchased by a philanthropic-backed company, AAP 2.0 has turned to crowdfunding to raise money as Covid-19 promoted shutdowns in regional media and remaining subscribers sought shorter contracts.

“The government recognises the important role AAP plays in supporting public-interest journalism in Australia,” the federal communications minister, Paul Fletcher, said.

“We also understand that AAP, like other news businesses, is facing challenging times in the current climate. I will continue to engage with AAP as it seeks to manage these challenges.”

[Read More]

10 News weather presenters join interstate bulletins

10 News First Brisbane & Adelaide weather presenters are set to relocate as part of revamped state bulletins, reports TV Tonight.

From Monday Brisbane’s Josh Holt will present weather for Sydney and Brisbane bulletins, joining Sandra Sully and Matt Burke. He will also present weather for Perth.

Adelaide’s Kate Freebairn will present weather for Melbourne and Adelaide bulletins, joining Jennifer Keyte and Steve Quartermain.

The plan is for Holt to be based in Sydney and Freebairn to be based in Melbourne, but as of next week they will be in Brisbane and Adelaide, respectively.

[Read more]

Publishing

Bauer Media restructures motoring portfolio into New Car & Enthusiast

Bauer Media has restructured its motoring portfolio and appointed three new editors as part of a strategic editorial shift towards Australian new car consumers.

The restructure divides Bauer’s six popular motoring publications into two divisions: New Car, which will focus on informing and educating Australian new car buyers, and Enthusiast, directed at Aussie car fans in the 4X4, modified and classic car genres.

General manager publishing Terry King said this is the biggest restructure in the history of the respected automotive media brands. “This is a fundamental change to how our brands have worked in the past. It’s about playing to our combined strengths, reducing coverage overlaps, and giving Australians what they need most: advice they can trust.”

Glenn Butler, formerly WhichCar brand content director, becomes brand content director, New Car Division. This includes WhichCar, the consumer website and TV show, and motoring magazines Wheels and Motor, both of which will be revamped to align with WhichCar’s mission to educate Australian new car buyers.

A fourth all-new digital publication will join the New Car Division later this year, shining a light on the future of motoring and mobility in Australia and around the world, along with a revamp for season three of WhichCar TV, along with expanding its video channels.

The restructure takes effect Monday September 14 and includes the following appointments:

Dylan Campbell has been promoted to Editor of Wheels and will lead the revamp of Australia’s oldest and most-trusted new car brand as it shifts focus from the enthusiast niche to mainstream consumers. Previously, Campbell was editor of Motor for seven years, and before that held senior roles with Top Gear Australia and Auto Action.

Andy Enright has been promoted to editor of Motor, the performance car media brand with a 66-year heritage. Enright was formerly deputy editor of Wheels and has also worked extensively in the UK motoring scene.

David Bonnici will be the editor of an all-new digital publication under the WhichCar umbrella focused on the future of motoring and mobility, to be launched later this year. From alternative fuels to flying cars, autonomy to connectivity and technology, this digital pureplay will help Australians gain a deeper understanding of important new trends and technologies. Bonnici’s previous experience as editor of Melbourne Weekly and the Emerald Hill Times, plus four years at WhichCar, will give this new player a uniquely engaging voice in the market.

Tim Robson continues as editor of WhichCar.com.au, Australia’s fastest growing auto website in 2018 and again in 2019, reaching more than two million unique browsers in May 2020. Robson’s role has been expanded, with all former Wheels and Motor journalists now unified in the one New Car Editorial Team reporting to him.

All New Car division editors will report to Glenn Butler, who says the restructure strengthens the WhichCar Network’s position as the Australian new car buyers’ most trusted advisor, with the best advice on the best-selling new cars.

“This is all about helping Australians learn WhichCar is best for them. Whether it is expert advice on the most popular new cars, the low-down on fun cars for $50K, or deciding when to go electric, WhichCar.com.au has it covered.”

Terry King said this is the last piece of the puzzle falling into place. “We have been working towards this moment for two years now, looking at how we communicate with Australians, and increasing our reach and publishing platforms. I am super excited to work with Glenn and his talented team as we continue to produce trusted news and reviews for the automotive intender.”

The Adelaide Review magazine will publish its final edition this month

Long-running arts and literature magazine The Adelaide Review will publish its final edition at the end of this month, reports News Corp’s Patrick McDonald.

Publishing director and editor Amanda Pepe announced on its website that, after nearly 37 years, the 488th monthly edition would be its last.

“It is no secret that the upheavals of COVID-19 have hit the media industry in serious and profound ways, compounding the ongoing challenges and disruptions,” she said.

“But, unfortunately, the numbers just do not add up.”

The Adelaide Review was established by the late journalist Christopher Pearson during the 1980s, while the masthead is now owned by Spanish businessman Javier Moll through local publisher Opinion Media.

[Read more]

Radio

Adelaide’s Teenage Joans win triple j’s Unearthed High competition

For the last two months, triple j Unearthed has been searching far and wide for the country’s best music makers in high school.

Yesterday the ABC adio station announced that the winner of this year’s Unearthed High competition is Teenage Joans from Gleeson College in Adelaide, South Australia!

Fronted by what triple j called two of the coolest kids in Adelaide, Tahlia Borg and Cahli Blakers, Teenage Joans make snappy, rough and tumble garage rock.

After meeting through a mutual friend and stalking each other on Instagram, the two teens have been making music together for two years. In that short amount of time, they’ve made a mark on the local Adelaide music scene, supporting acts like Ruby Fields and The Hard Aches on tour and played over 60 live shows in 2019.

triple j Unearthed music director, Dave Ruby Howe says of Teenage Joans, “The Adelaide duo rose to the top of the class this year showing stacks of potential to make a mark on the Australian music scene. On ‘Three Leaf Clover’ you really get a vision of what is ahead for the band. You can already picture the heaving moshes at their live shows, loose road trips in the tour van, and the cult fandom that’s sure to spawn stan accounts and inspire tattoos of their lyrics.”

Teenage Joans join triple j Unearthed High alumni like KIAN, Gretta Ray, George Alice, Montaigne, The Kid Laroi, Hockey Dad and Arno Faraji who have grown into staples on the Australian music scene.

Television

‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ to End in 2021

After 20 seasons spanning nearly 14 years on E!, Keeping Up With the Kardashians will air its final season in 2021, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

“It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the Kardashian-Jenner family said in a statement posted to social media on Tuesday. “After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, hundreds of episodes and several spin-off shows, we’ve decided as a family to end this very special journey. We are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years – through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears, and the many relationships and children. We’ll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we’ve met along the way.

“Thank you to the thousands of individuals and businesses that have been a part of this experience and most importantly, a very special thank you to [executive producer] Ryan Seacrest for believing in us, E! for being our partner, and our production team at Bunim/Murray who’ve spent countless hours filming our lives. Our last season will air early next year in 2021.”

The series premiered on E! in October 2007, helping make sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian household names alongside their mom, Kris, and stepparent Caitlyn Jenner. Their brother Rob and younger sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner became part of the show as well as it chronicled both mundane and extraordinary events in the family’s lives.

[Read more]

History under the influence: Australia stories re-examined, drunk

In any sense, Drunk History remains one of the wilder shows to ever grace commercial TV, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Robert Moran.

Launched as a Funny or Die web series in the US in 2007, when creator Derek Waters enlisted stars Jake Johnson (New Girl) and Michael Cera (Arrested Development) for its debut, the show’s sell was inspired stupidity: “A drunk History Channel,” as Waters once explained it. Over a decade on the series has been exported to at least a half-dozen countries, Australia’s version the latest after its successful run during 10’s inaugural Pilot Week in 2018.

“No one’s ever out of control because we monitor what they’re drinking quite carefully, and there’s a certain point when everyone has to have a glass of water,” explains executive producer Sophia Mogford. “We record with [the storytellers] for about four hours and then we cut that down, so there’s no danger in not getting what we need.

“Some people get more gregarious, some people get more giggly, but you don’t want to get people so sideways they can’t string a sentence together; that’s not the point. The point is getting a bit tipsy with mates and recounting a story. That’s the warmth of the series.”

Filmed last October and November with a vast cast (storytellers include Anne Edmonds and Brendan Fevola, while re-enactment talent ranges from Peter Phelps to Roxy Jacenko), the show’s launch was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic, a delicious irony – real history getting in the way of drunk history – not lost on Mogford.

[Read more]

Jackie O ’not required’ to quarantine on return from Melbourne

The Masked Singer’s Jackie O Henderson has revealed why she was not required to complete the NSW government’s mandatory 14-day quarantine when she jetted into Sydney this week, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.

Speaking on The Kyle and Jackie O Show on Wednesday, Henderson said she was advised by NSW Health that she did not have to self-isolate after travelling from Melbourne because she already completed 14 days of hotel quarantine in Victoria after a COVID-19 outbreak shut down the show last month.

“I was a close contact so I had to quarantine as did pretty much everyone for 14 days,” Henderson said.

“Now because we’ve quarantined for that 14 days, if we had of at the end of that gone back into our Melbourne studios to film that finale, we would not have been able to return to Sydney without having to do another two weeks’ hotel quarantine because we’ve broken the bubble.”

[Read more]

Sports Media

Repco deal to help rev up Supercars with naming rights deal

The Archer Capital majority-owned Supercars motor racing series will on Thursday morning announce auto parts and accessories retailer Repco as its naming rights partner for the next five years, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.

The lucrative deal adds to the popular motor racing series’ relationship with Repco that already sees the brand as the major sponsor of the high-profile Bathurst 1000 annual race and comes at an otherwise tough time for sports to find commercial partners during a recession.

It also is a handy replacement for Virgin Australia, which was the Supercars’ major sponsor for the past six years, under a deal that was to expire at the end of 2020, until the airline entered voluntary administration.

Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer said Virgin remained the official airline partner of the series and that Repco had “invested considerably in our sport” in what is “great news for both parties”.

The deal is also good timing given Supercars is set to extend its broadcast rights deal with Fox Sports this week or next, also likely to involve James Warburton’s Seven West Media in a free-to-air TV capacity.

[Read more]

Leaked documents reveal the full extent of the bloated AFL bureaucracy

AFL staff numbers exploded to a staggering 795 before last month’s cuts were announced, leaked internal documents reveal, reports News Corp’s Michael Warner.

The Herald Sun can for the first time reveal the full scale of the AFL empire, which employs almost as many workers as the 18-team national competition has players.

A not-for-profit organisation that pays no tax, the AFL employed about 100 staff before the appointment of chief executive Andrew Demetriou in 2003.

A dossier detailing the body’s hierarchy has emerged as league chiefs begin slashing jobs because of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The AFL has repeatedly refused to disclose how many staff it employs at its sprawling, two-storey Docklands headquarters and interstate outposts.

Not even club presidents are privy to the information.

But the documents obtained by the Herald Sun reveal there are 367 staff working in departments overseen by AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon, 116 under AFL Media boss Darren Birch, 100 for commercial boss Kylie Rogers and 93 in football operations run by Steven Hocking.

Birch will depart late next month under a plan to reduce the league workforce by about 20 per cent.

The leaked organisation charts reveal there are eight in-house lawyers, 42 staff in the AFL finance division, 26 in strategy and 10 in the integrity unit, including six ex-Victoria Police officers.

[Read more]

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