By James Manning
Listening to your audience key to a long career in AM talk says morning host.
Adelaide talk station Fiveaa was the first capital city station owned by the DMG Radio Group, the company Mediaweek featured last week in our celebration of the birth of Nova FM.
Fiveaa remains part of the company 20 years after the launch of the Nova FM brand, remaining the only AM station in the Nova Entertainment network.
During the past two decades Fiveaa has only had two breakfast teams – and one morning show.
That 9am-midday morning host has been Leon Byner, a successful fixture in the Adelaide market much the same way other commercial talk radio host Ray Hadley is in Sydney and Brisbane at 2GB and 4BC, and Neil Mitchell is in Melbourne at 3AW.
Although there was plenty of activity out of Adelaide’s DMG Radio HQ 20 years ago building the FM network, Byner told Mediaweek: “Although I took notice of what was happening, it was all peripheral to me, I just worried about my job.”
His job was keeping most of the huge breakfast audience the station attracted tuned to the station. Leon Byner started at Fiveaa in 2000, at a time when the station’s ratings climbed significantly. He noted the Adelaide licence was originally an easy listening/beautiful music station 5AA. “It then morphed into a racing station and then it became talk after that. For the time I have been there it has always been a talk station. It is unique in that we are a talk station while the rest of the network is music.”
Because it was the only commercial talk station in the market, Byner noted its closest competitor has been the Adelaide ABC station. “We have generally had more than our fair share of the talk market and we still do. We have now been a very successful station for a long time.”
Those breakfast shows during Byner’s time at Fiveaa started with Tony Pilkington and Keith Conlan. The duo was ultimately replaced by David Penberthy and Will Goodings. “The breakfast shift and the morning shift have both been very stable with very few changes. No doubt part of the reason the station has been very successful.” Tony Pilkington now follows Byner in afternoons at Fiveaa.
There has been some recent upheaval at the station with the sacking of longtime Adelaide radio host Jeremy Cordeaux after comments made about Brittany Higgins. Byner’s time on air has not been totally without controversy. In 2004 Byner admitted he broke broadcasting laws by failing to disclose personal deals with several people including the city’s then Lord Mayor and was suspended for a number of weeks.
Having been on air for so long now, Leon Byner said he feels like he has a new generation of listeners coming through. “If you talk about stuff that is relevant to people and you listen to the callers, you will reach a wider demographic. We like to make sure the topics we discuss stay current.
“I am very cognisant about reading the zeitgeist. Talk radio needs to evolve and that is what we have done over recent years. The current menu includes Covid of course, but also political issues and the way women are being treated. Flexibility of subject and accessibility for people to ring in and comment is really important. If you read the room correctly you will get the response. The microphone to me is a mirror and you tend to get back what you give out.”
Byner noted that talk radio had been unique over recent times. “You don’t normally get subjects that last for a year,” he said about Covid-19. “This has had such an impact on people’s health and their ability to travel. The impact on health is more understood now, but it is the impact it has on lives when it comes to doing things outside of the home that continues to be important.
“While we acknowledge that as an important story, there are still many other things people are interested in. We have been very lucky that our state doesn’t have a lot of the disadvantages that Covid has delivered elsewhere. We can say that as a country too.”
While some commercial talk radio is branded as being conservative, Byner said his program doesn’t fit that description. “I don’t think our show is overly conservative. It can depend on the subject, we have a few local issues where many of our calls don’t express conservative views. I like the broad church approach. If somebody has an opinion on an issue they get on the phone and talk about it. Because we do that, and we listen and engage, we tend to get a diversity of subject.”
Finding solutions for his listeners is also a big part of the show. “It’s amazing the number of people who call me and ask ‘Can you help me with this?’ Quite often we can because we know the right people to talk to.”
After two decades plus on air, Leon Byner sounds like he has plenty of energy left to keep going. “I am pretty motivated. I remain interested in what is going on around me. When I am out I want to hear what people are saying and what they think. I often find that gets reflected when people call in. The public has a pretty good feel for what the important topics are at any given time and I tend to follow that.”
Talk radio specialist promises: ‘You won’t ever hear us sitting on the fence’
Steve Price is back in daily radio. Just days after ending its relationship with Nine Entertainment on the TV side of the business, SCA is launching a major play in the talk radio space. In doing so SCA will be going head-to-head with Nine Radio’s jewels in the crown – 2GB and 3AW.
SCA has signed Price for a new daily live-streamed 7am-10am show, to be heard exclusively on the LiSTNR app. Over the years Price has been a major part of the success at first 3AW and then later at 2GB.
Australia Today with Steve Price is being branded as the country’s first digital audio live-to-air conversation and it launches on Wednesday April 7.
Price will share the airwaves with journalist Natarsha Belling who joined LiSTNR last year as the host of the daily breaking news program Your Daily Agenda.
The new program will tap into the network of SCA journalists in 46 markets, as Australia Today with Steve Price will talk live and directly to locals across the nation via the LiSTNR app.
The show builds on the significant presence LiSTNR already has in the news/talk area with other programs including The Briefing, Pyne Time, Peacock Politics, Global Truths and more. If LiSTNR decides to launch a streaming talk channel it just needs to push the button.
Steve Price said: “What a privilege to be given the chance to launch a show that will give all Australians the chance to have their say. Our rural neighbours have endured unfathomable hardship with bushfires and floods, the whole country has been impacted by Covid-19 and the issues rolling out of Parliament House right now have sparked a cultural reckoning.
“I know there are so many stories and issues impacting individuals and communities across the country not being told and we want to hear about them. Australia Today will open up national conversations around what’s in the news and happening in the world of politics and current affairs with balanced opinion, shaped by the common sense approach I pride myself on. We won’t be wedded to the left or right side of any issue but we will take a position and argue the case. You won’t ever hear us sitting on the fence!”
Co-host and newsreader Natarsha Belling added: “I’m so thrilled to be part of this exciting new venture in delivering breaking news, but also dissecting and discussing the major issues that shape and change our lives. Born and raised in country NSW, I’m a passionate advocate for rural Australia. After recent events there are lots of Australians hurting right now from fires, floods and COVID devastated businesses. This program is about giving all Australians a voice.
“I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Steve before, he’s an excellent broadcaster with a great sense of humour. Sometimes we disagree, but we both love a chat! I cannot wait for the many great discussions and laughs ahead!”
SCA chief content officer Dave Cameron said: “We are thrilled to have secured a broadcaster and journalist of Steve’s calibre to lead our bold foray in to live-streamed, daily news and talkback on LiSTNR. Steve isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade and cuts through so much of the propaganda Australians have to navigate when consuming their daily news; it’s the reason he dominated the AM airwaves for as long as he did.”
Australia Today with Steve Price will be produced by Thomas Blake who has been a talkback radio producer for 14 years at 2UE and 2GB where he worked with Price for nearly five years.
Australia Today with Steve Price kicks off Wednesday 7 April live via the LiSTNR app at 7am. Highlights from the show will be available to podcast after 10am each day.
By James Manning
Newlyweds navigating new relationships still an audience magnet.
It’s not the time of year when we try and read too much into the TV ratings. The official survey stops for the weeks on either side of the Easter public holidays and many of the big shows take a break.
This year, because of the late start to the survey year at Nine due to a delayed Australian Open, Easter has a different dynamic.
Married at First Sight has rampaged right through the first week of Easter TV ratings, delivering Nine a second successive week of 1m+ metro audiences on every night the reality show was on air. It also delivered Nine winning TV shares on the first four nights of the week.
The only other Nine programming after the 6pm News to crack the top 20 for the week were 60 Minutes on 738,000 and A Current Affair on 682,000.
Under Investigation made it just over half a million to 521,000. The next best in primetime was Amazing Grace on 382,000.
Seven News and Sunrise continued to dominate their timeslots. But when it comes to primetime highlights Seven is keeping its powder dry until after Easter and after MAFS.
The Thursday night AFL just made it over 500,000 while Home and Away was on 495,000.
The channel’s best result was the final of The Amazing Race Australia. The reveal of the victor was on 702,000 with the rest of the episode on 618,000.
Gogglebox performed next best with 496,000 on Thursday.
The Sunday Project again outperformed the weekday installment with 434,000 at 7pm on Sunday compared to 379,000 on weekdays.
The Cube continued to slip by just a handful of viewers with 306,000 watching on Wednesday this week after 310,000 the week prior.
10 Bold was the #1 multichannel of the week on 3.9% with episodes of NCIS and Law & Order: SVU the most-watched shows.
Hard Quiz was leading the rankings for the broadcaster with 737,000 tuning in for the series six episode. Australian Story was on 630,000 for a fascinating glimpse of the life of Kate Ellis since she left parliament.
7.30 was all about Alan Kohler looking at retirement this week and in particular an interview with Paul Keating that was stretched out across the four episodes that had an average audience of 618,000.
The Wednesday comedies continued to perform well in the shadow of Hard Quiz – Fisk was on 591,000 and The Weekly did 575,000.
The final installment of Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire attracted the biggest audience of the three episodes – 479.000.
Trainspotters continued to support the channel with 249,000 watching Great Australian Railways Journeys. Australia in Colour was also over 200,000 on 239,000.
Also in that territory were The Great Plague on 218,000 and Historic House Rescue on 206,000.
By Tess Connery
This week’s highest debut comes from Lil Nas X.
British band Glass Animals notch up their sixth week at #1 on the ARIA Singles Chart with Heat Waves. The last British group to top the singles chart, Clean Bandit, also spent six straight weeks in the top spot with Rockabye in December 2016 and January 2017.
The highest-ranking Australian artist this week continues to be Sydney’s The Kid Laroi with Without You at number three. Fellow Sydney rapper Masked Wolf is creeping up on the title however, as he cracks the ARIA top five for the first time, coming in fifth with Astronaut In The Ocean.
This week’s highest debut comes from Lil Nas X as he hits number 16 with Montero (Call Me By Your Name). It’s the second single released from the American rapper’s forthcoming debut album, Montero, set for release later in the year. Lil Nas X spent 13 weeks on top of the chart in 2019 with Old Town Road.
Other new entrants to the chart this week are You All Over Me (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift at number 34, Beautiful Mistakes by Maroon 5 and Megan Thee Stallion at number 40, and What Other People Say by Sam Fischer and Demi Lovato at number 44.
Byron Bay surf rock band Skegss score their first number one album on the ARIA charts (and the sixth Australian number one on the ARIA albums chart in 2021) as they debut in the top spot with Rehearsal. The trio’s second album is the follow-up to My Own Mess which peaked at number two in September 2018.
Skegss’ Ben Reed said “Well this is pretty cool! Was not expecting it, thanks so much!! Day for it.”
ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd said “Congratulations to Skegss on getting their first number one album with Rehearsal! Their good time energy is exactly what we need right now and doubly good that a Byron Bay group tops the chart this week.”
With new album The Bitter Truth, Evanescence take out their fifth ARIA top ten entry at number three. The band’s fifth studio album is their first since Synthesis in 2017.
Tame Impala’s debut album InnerSpeaker returns to the chart this week at number 19 after it was reissued to mark its tenth anniversary. Debuting at number four in May 2010, InnerSpeaker was nominated for Album Of The Year, Best Rock Album, and Best Cover Art at the 2010 ARIA Awards.
The soundtrack to Hamilton returns to the ARIA top 50 this week after the acclaimed musical had its Australian premiere in Sydney. Originally debuting on the chart in 2016, the album is sitting at number 27 this week.
Other new entrants to the chart are Clouds (The Mixtape) by NF at number five, Tonic Immobility by Tomahawk at number 18, Friends Keep Secrets by Benny Blanco at number 39, and Livin’ On Gold Street by Ben Mastwyk at number 49.
January 4 24Goldn Mood
January 11 24Goldn Mood
January 18 Olivia Rodrigo Drivers Licence
January 25 Olivia Rodrigo Drivers Licence
February 1 Olivia Rodrigo Drivers Licence
February 8 Olivia Rodrigo Drivers Licence
February 15 Olivia Rodrigo Drivers Licence
February 22 Olivia Rodrigo Drivers Licence
March 1 Glass Animals Heat Waves
March 8 Glass Animals Heat Waves
March 15 Glass Animals Heat Waves
March 22 Glass Animals Heat Waves
March 29 Glass Animals Heat Waves
April 5 Glass Animals Heat Waves
January 4 Taylor Swift Evermore
January 11 Taylor Swift Evermore
January 18 Barry Gibb Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers’ Songbook
January 25 Illy The Space Between
February 1 Bluey Bluey The Album
February 8 The Kid Laroi Fuck Love (Savage)
February 15 Foo Fighters Medicine at Midnight
February 22 The Rubens 0202
March 1 Tash Sultana Terra Firma
March 8 Architects For Those That Wish To Exist
March 15 Kings Of Leon When You See Yourself
March 22 Dua Lipa Future Nostalgia
March 29 Justin Bieber Justice
April 5 Skegss Rehearsal
By Tess Connery
Star Wars: The Clone Wars has also made a jump on the charts.
After two months consistently in the top spot, Marvel’s WandaVision has finally been de-throned on both the Australian Digital Original chart and Australian Overall chart. New to the position is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. WandaVision is still number one in both New Zealand charts.
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is the third Disney+ show in a row to hit the number one spot after The Mandalorian took the top spot ahead of their second season launch in October 2020. WandaVision took over as the show to beat on February 2nd this year.
With the first episode being released two weeks ago, episode one of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was ranked as the most watched series premiere ever on Disney+ during its opening weekend. It debuted on the charts at number eight on the top ten Digital Originals in Australia, and made number three on the Digital Originals chart for New Zealand.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars has also made a jump on the charts, rising from tenth to sixth on the Australia Digital Original chart. This comes after Disney+ added the original 2003 2D animated version to their lineup, as well as the 2008 3D animated version.
Married At First Sight Australia continues to do well on both sides of the ditch. On the Overall Australian chart, MAFS has come in at ninth this week. In New Zealand the show is sitting fifth on their Overall chart. Despite the higher ranking however, it’s scoring 14.9 points above market average compared with 18.8 points above market average in Australia.
By Trent Thomas
New releases: Nobody, Tom and Jerry, and The Courier.
The Easter weekend was in full swing with three new releases joining the top five in Nobody, Tom and Jerry, and The Courier.
However, despite the new releases, Godzilla vs. Kong and Peter Rabbit 2 both topped the Australian box office this weekend, in their second week of release.
Despite these new releases, the box office was down 9% after making $11.80m but this drop off was mostly due to the massive total of Godzilla vs. Kong last week. The Australian box office has been up sizeably over the Easter period with the last two weekends up by over 100%.
The films to drop out of the top five this week were Raya and the Last Dragon (5 weeks- $6.19m), Nomadland (5 weeks- $2.93m), and Chaos Walking (5 weeks- $3.62m).
The action blockbuster has followed up its massive opening weekend with a strong second week of revenue as the film now has a total of $14.15m. Over the weekend it averaged $9,490 on 495 screens.
It’s not just in Australia where the film is breathing life into cinemas with the monster flick making an estimated $63.5 million in the states on 3064 North American cinemas between Wednesday and Sunday. It was the largest turnout for a movie since the pandemic began.
The sequel starring James Corden has continued its hot run in its second week of release with an average of $5,306 on 469 screens. The film has made a total of $5.53m.
The new action-comedy starring Bob Odenkirk as a family man with a past as an international assassin who is pushed too far made an average of $3,844 on 315 screens.
The Tom and Jerry franchise which started in 1940, has its latest instalment in the form of the Tom and Jerry movie that also features Chloë Grace Moretz. the iconic pair averaged $3,094 on 353 screens in its first week of release.
The historical drama set at the peak of the cold war and starring Benedict Cumberbatch averaged $2,462 on 308 screens.
By Trent Thomas
• Nine wins Monday night by more than 11 points
• MAFS’ final commitment ceremony is the show’s top episode of the year
• A Current Affair also has best rating episode of the year with over 850K
• Seven airs Home and Away Easter special with over 450k viewers
Seven News 1.132,000 (6 pm)/ 1,009,000 (6:30 pm)
Nine News is 1,011,000 (6 pm)/ 1.023,000 (6:30 pm)
ABC News 674,000
10 News First 361,000(5 pm)/249,000 (6pm)
SBS World News 167,000 (6:30 pm)/138,000 (7 pm)
Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 862,000
The Project 292,000 (6:30 pm)/424,000 (7 pm)
The Drum 192,000
News Breakfast 152,000
Late Night News
The Latest 128,000
ABC Late News 115,000
Nine has picked up from the Easter break where it left off with an easy win last night. The broadcasters had a dominant TV share of 28.8% and a network share of 35.8%
This result was helped by Married at First Sight‘s final commitment ceremony which saw 1.12m Australians tune in, this was the top rating episode of the year. The episode saw the social experiment farewell Booka and Brett, as the rest of the couples moved on to the finals vows.
MAFS had a strong lead-in from A Current Affair with 862,000 (highest rating episode of the year) tuning in and was followed by Under Investigation with Liz Hayes which had 539,000.
Seven aired its 90 minute Home and Away Easter special last night with an audience of 479,000. In the episode, Mackenzie had to make a life-altering decision to make about her pregnancy before collapsing to the ground with her and her baby’s life on the line.
Earlier in the day, Seven’s Easter Monday AFL coverage had an audience of 464,000 tune in as Geelong defeated Hawthorn.
On 10, the broadcaster debuted its new show What the Hell Just Happend? with 277,000 tuning in.
The show checks in with Australian media personalities, as they reflect on the year that was, and what could possibly lie ahead.
The show is narrated by comedian, television, and radio presenter Kate Langbroek, and features Urzila Carlson, Harley Breen, Becky Lucas, Michael Hing, Beau Ryan, Jess Eva, Nazeem Hussain, Julia Morris, Waleed Aly, Susan Carland, Eddie Perfect, Myf Warhurst, Joel Creasey, Julie Bishop, Narelda Jacobs, Daniel Doody, Andy Allen, Bianca Chatfield, Jordan Nguyen, and Adam Spencer.
This was followed by Hughesy We Have a Problem with 196,000.
On The Project, 292,000 (6:30 pm) and 424,000 (7 pm) watched as the show covered the vaccine rollout, new research on paracetamol, and how to live a happier life.
The ABC aired Penguins: Meet the Family to 358,000 viewers. The special was a celebration of one of Earth’s most iconic birds, covering all 18 species of the penguin family.
This was followed by Brazen Hussies with 271,000.
The top rating show on SBS was Historic House Rescue with 214,000.
See Also: Easter TV ratings Thursday April 1, 2021
See Also: Easter TV ratings Friday April 2, 2021
See Also: Easter TV ratings Saturday April 3, 2021
See Also: Easter TV ratings Sunday April 4, 2021
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||3.1%||7TWO||4.2%||GO!||2.4%||10 Bold||3.1%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||4.3%||GEM||1.8%||10 Peach||2.7%||Food Net||1.2%|
|ABC NEWS||2.0%||7flix||1.8%||9Life||2.4%||10 Shake||0.7%||NITV||0.1%|
|9Rush||1.0%||SBS World Movies||1.1%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||1.8%||7TWO||2.9%||GO!||2.9%||10 Bold||4.3%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||4.4%||GEM||2.2%||10 Peach||2.1%||Food Net||1.2%|
|ABC NEWS||1.6%||7flix||2.0%||9Life||1.7%||10 Shake||0.4%||NITV||0.0%|
|9Rush||1.5%||SBS World Movies||2.0%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||3.5%||7TWO||4.2%||GO!||3.7%||10 Bold||4.1%||VICELAND||1.0%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||6.3%||GEM||2.6%||10 Peach||3.7%||Food Net||1.0%|
|ABC NEWS||1.9%||7flix||2.4%||9Life||2.1%||10 Shake||0.4%||NITV||0.4%|
|9Rush||1.3%||SBS World Movies||1.2%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.0%||7TWO||1.9%||GO!||2.7%||10 Bold||4.2%||VICELAND||1.3%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||4.5%||GEM||4.0%||10 Peach||3.5%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||2.2%||7flix||1.7%||9Life||2.5%||10 Shake||0.9%||NITV||0.2%|
|9Rush||1.7%||SBS World Movies||0.5%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.0%||7TWO||3.9%||GO!||2.2%||10 Bold||5.1%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||2.3%||GEM||1.5%||10 Peach||2.6%||Food Net||0.7%|
|ABC NEWS||1.7%||7flix||1.5%||9Life||2.1%||10 Shake||0.6%||NITV||0.1%|
|9Rush||1.3%||SBS World Movies||0.9%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC TV PLUS||2.0%||7TWO||5.4%||GO!||3.0%||WIN Bold||6.4%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||2.8%||WIN Peach||2.7%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC NEWS||1.4%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.4%||9Life||2.2%||Sky News on WIN||1.8%||NITV||0.2%|
|MONDAY METRO ALL TV|
Thursday Top Ten
Friday Top Ten
Saturday Top Ten
Sunday Top Ten
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2021. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Nine Entertainment has conceded it is still battling technical problems more than one week after the company suffered a sophisticated cyberattack, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.
In a note to all staff on Monday afternoon, Nine confirmed there remained a long road ahead until its television and print arms could resume as normal.
Many employees have been ordered to continue working remotely where possible until the company’s technology teams are able to get their main systems completely back online.
Facebook’s decision to restrict news content to its Australian users in February badly damaged the company’s local reputation, reports News Corp’s James Madden.
According to a survey conducted by Essential Research on behalf of Reset Australia — a not-for-profit organisation that works to counter digital threats to democracy — 50 per cent of Australians now have a lower opinion of Facebook following the social media giant’s controversial move to ban all local news content from its platform for a week earlier this year.
A further 42 per cent of those surveyed said their opinion of Facebook was unaffected by the ban, while 8 per cent said they had a higher opinion of the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company as a result of the news blackout.
The ABC’s star reporter Louise Milligan has been accused of deleting social media posts that could affect the outcome of Christian Porter’s defamation proceedings against the public broadcaster over an online article she filed revealing a senior cabinet minister was facing historic rape allegations, reports News Corp’s Steve Jackson.
The former attorney-general’s legal team has formally outlined a number of complaints about the journalist’s conduct leading up to and following the publication of the story on February 26; and also raised concerns her use of “encrypted messaging apps that have the capacity to automatically delete communications after a set period of time” might impinge on their ability to recover key conversations relating to the story’s production.
The allegations were contained in a letter sent to the ABC’s Head of Disputes & Litigation Team, Grant McAvaney, by reputational risk lawyer Rebekah Giles on March 23 following a federal court order that Porter provide the broadcaster with “further particulars of identification, republication and/or aggravated damages” relating to his defamation action.
Australia should consider a second national broadcaster to present an alternative outlook to the ABC, Cardinal George Pell believes, reports News Corp’s Tess Livingstone.
Writing in The Weekend Australian from Rome, Cardinal Pell said: “Very sensibly Italy has at least a couple of government-sponsored television stations to reflect the different points of view, which is an option that should be considered by any national conservative government in Australia, where the ABC is dominated by a Gramscian hegemony, hostile to social conservatives, most Christians and often to Western civilisation. The Italian media is divided and disputatious but not monochrome.”
Asked if his view was shaped by the ABC’s coverage of the child abuse charges against him that eventually were overturned 7-nil by the High Court and the ABC’s coverage of a rape allegation against Christian Porter, the cardinal said his was a broad observation but those matters were part of it. “Everybody has a right to due process,’’ he said. “I think they were so convinced that their position was correct that they cut corners on due process and it is always dangerous.”
Asked whether he regretted not following the same path as Porter, who is suing ABC journalist Louise Milligan and the corporation for defamation, Cardinal Pell said: “I don’t regret it too deeply.” Would he still consider doing so? “No comment.”
Four villagers who allege they saw or heard Australian soldiers kick an unarmed farmer off a cliff in Afghanistan before the man was shot dead will be able to testify from overseas in the defamation trial brought by Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith against The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, reports News Corp’s Kieran Gair.
Roberts-Smith is suing news outlets for defamation over a series of reports that he claims falsely painted him as a murderous war criminal during his time as a Special Air Service soldier in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2012. He strenuously denies any wrongdoing.
The newspapers allege Roberts-Smith was directly involved in the death of farmer Ali Jan, an Afghan man who was allegedly kicked off a cliff while handcuffed and then shot dead in Darwan in September 2012.
In a judgment on Thursday, Federal Court Justice Anthony Besanko said three of the civilians had provided “detailed” evidence about the events that proceeded Jan’s death on 11 September, 2012.
Much has been said, and tweeted, about the now infamous article by Aaron Patrick in The Australian Financial Review last week. Despite the headline suggesting the story was about “campaign journalism”, it was almost singularly focused on award-winning News Corp political journo Samantha Maiden, writes News Corp’s James Madden.
For those who perhaps did not make it to page 32 of the AFR last Wednesday — or chose not to visit the AFR website due to fear of catching some kind of cyber bug — here’s a 95-word Dummies summary of the 1800-word feature.
Samantha Maiden is brilliant at her job. She’s led the media pack in applying the blowtorch to the Morrison government which has badly fumbled its response to the emerging reports of abuse of women. Morrison’s office is annoyed with her relentless pursuit of the story, which may explain the PM’s misguided attempt to attack News Corp with a false allegation of staff harassment which apparently involved Maiden. Heaps of people think Maiden is awesome; plenty of people don’t like her at all. Oh, and she once gave her high school principal a bit of lip.
None of that is untrue, but nor is it particularly fresh — especially the scoop that Maiden was once a headstrong teenager.
But what really put Patrick’s article in the crosshairs was the reference to a coterie of female journalists — “a new female media leadership”, as he called them — and their recent “angry coverage that often strayed into unapologetic activism”.
By lunchtime on Wednesday, #IStandWithSam was trending on Twitter, and Patrick and the AFR were groaning under the weight of a spectacular journo pile-on.
When the Australian Financial Review and senior reporter Aaron Patrick set their sights on Samantha Maiden for what is known in journalism as a “hit job”, one could have been excused for expecting it would do the seasoned reporter some damage. Dig up her work history, delve into her childhood, fling around words like “challenging”, “spiky” and “difficult” and the reporter who revealed allegations that Brittany Higgins had been raped in Parliament House might be cowed, writes Guardian Australia‘s Amanda Meade.
What the editor-in-chief, Michael Stutchbury, and Patrick didn’t foresee was that what many believed amounted to the bullying of a top female journalist, who has led the coverage of harassment and sexual violence against women in politics, would backfire so spectacularly.
The only people damaged by Wednesday’s article, “PM caught in crusade of women journos”, are the men who wrote and published it.
As the artist Jon Kudelka said: “Did the AFR seriously just run a comically transparent hit job on Samantha Maiden for being a journalist while female?”
In an unusual show of solidarity, journalists from across the media rallied in support of Maiden, the political editor of news.com.au who honed her steely reporting skills in the rough house of News Corp: at The Australian, The Sunday Telegraph and Sky News Australia.
Journos from Nine Entertainment (publisher of the AFR and its sister papers The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald), News Corp, the ABC, Guardian Australia, Crikey and the Saturday Paper all spoke up.
See Also: Financial Review responds to criticism
Movie-goers sent a message to Hollywood over the weekend: We’re ready to return to theatres – and we’ll buy tickets even if the same film is instantly available in our living rooms – but we want to leave our grim world for a silly fantasy one, reports The New York Times’s Brooks Barnes.
Godzilla vs Kong, a throwback monster movie in which a lizard with atomic breath battles a computer-generated ape on top of an aircraft carrier (before everyone decamps to the hollow centre of Earth), took in an estimated $US48.5 million ($63.5 million) at 3064 North American cinemas between Wednesday and Sunday. It was the largest turnout (by far) for a movie since the pandemic began.
The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Crown and Schitt’s Creek were among the big winners at the 2021 SAG Awards, which aired Sunday as as a one-hour, pre-taped virtual ceremony on TBS and TNT, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Hilary Lewis, Pamela McClintock, and Kimberly Nordyke.
Filmmaker Aaron Sorkin‘s The Trial of the Chicago 7 got a major boost on the road to the Oscars upon winning the SAG Award for best ensemble, the guild’s top honor that’s equivalent to a best picture prize. Last year, the top SAG winner — Parasite — went on to win the Academy Award for best picture in a surprise upset. The win also gives Netflix its first-ever victory in the best ensemble category, where it also had two other films nominated: Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey‘s Black Bottom.
Michael Keaton, as part of the cast of Trial of the Chicago 7, set a record by becoming the first person to win three SAG awards for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, following his awards as part of the winning ensemble in 2014’s Birdman and 2015’s Spotlight.
The ABC’s struggling political chat-fest, Q+A, could be moved to a different timeslot within weeks, following disastrous ratings in the past month that has seen its viewership fall to the lowest point in the program’s 14-season history, reports New Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.
The latest episode of the news and current affairs program on March 25 drew just 237,000, albeit a slight improvement on the previous week’s audience figure of 231,000. That’s less than half the number of viewers the show was drawing in March last year.
The program has been a strong performer for the ABC since its inception in May 2008, regularly winning its Monday night timeslot with former ABC journalist Tony Jones as the regular host.
When Communications Minister Paul Fletcher quietly extended ‘anti-siphoning’ rules that govern the way sports broadcast rights are sold in Australia last month, few media executives were surprised, reports SMH‘s Zoe Samios.
Almost everyone in the industry wants the rules amended, but there are significant disagreements over how, and Fletcher has a lot on his plate at the moment. With the government still battling to rein in Google and Facebook and concerns about global streaming services investing in local dramatic productions, it’s clear he didn’t want or need another distraction.
Still, there is widespread belief that two year extension of the rules giving traditional TV networks first dibs on rights to air certain sporting events merely delays another big media policy fight. “This is one of the biggest issues in the sports landscape,” says Hunter Fujak, author of Code Wars and lecturer in sport management at Deakin University. “These anti-siphoning laws were written at a time where we couldn’t have seen how digital media would evolve.”
Football Australia is set to cash in on the growing popularity of Sam Kerr and the World Cup-bound Matildas, along with the Socceroos and junior teams, after re-gaining the broadcast rights to all national teams, reports SMH‘s Dominic Bossi.
In a major boost for the cash-strapped organisation, and ahead of the Matildas’ first game in over a year on the weekend against Germany, Football Australia has regained ownership of all its match content outside of specific tournament-owned broadcast deals such as Olympic games and World Cups, and will take it to the market next week.
That includes the broadcast rights to all Socceroos and Matildas internationals, friendlies, Asian Cup qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers that it can now on-sell to broadcasters. The rights to the core of those games were previously held by Fox Sports.
The rights to all Australian internationals will be sold independently to the A-League, giving the FA its first test in learning the true value of its national teams in the broadcast market. Previously, Socceroos games were bundled with the rights to the A-League as one package held by Fox Sports while all rights qualifiers were owned by the Asian Football Confederation. The opportunity to sell all national team content gives FA a significant chance to increase its bottom line after suffering a cash-flow crisis last year relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.