Tuesday August 18, 2020

Fred Botica
‘Sure beats working’: Fred Botica celebrates 40 years of 96FM

By James Manning

He has been working harder than ever the past couple of weeks, but at over 70 years of age, Fred Botica doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Nor does the breakfast host at 96FM want to.

“It has been pretty full on at 96FM with our 40th anniversary celebrations. But it’s been great. It’s been an exciting time celebrating the arrival of what was the first FM station in Perth.”

When Botica finished at Mix 94.5, he reminded Mediaweek he was actually hosting drive, not breakfast. “When Mix 94.5 took Lisa and I off breakfast it really annoyed me. We even had a #1 result on our last survey after they’d given me notice to go. I took long service leave and they wanted us to do drive.

When you have done breakfast for nearly 50 years I realised I just couldn’t work at that time of the day.

“After I left 94.5, [Perth radio legend] Brad McNally who was the 96FM program manager asked me to do a special on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. He thought it sounded great and asked me to keep doing The Café, a Sunday morning show I started back in the 1980s. I was doing that and also filling in when announcers went on holidays.”

That eventually came to an end too. “One day I came off the air and could feel the vibe wasn’t very good. After I found out Brad had been fired, I put something online, which I probably shouldn’t have, that said ‘What sort of organisation pays $78m for a radio station and then fires the guy that made it worth that much?’ Soon after that I got a phone call telling me not to go back to work again!”

Fred Botica & Lisa Shaw at 96FM before their surprise first show

Botica found his way back to 96FM last year though after former boss and long-time friend Gary Roberts was brought in for a makeover. “I was away in New Zealand at the time. He rang me and told me he was returning to 96FM. I said that is great. He then said, “And you are coming with me!’ [Laughs] And here I am.”

Botica started in radio in New Zealand, which is where he first came across Roberts. The two were at pirate radio station Radio Hauraki which eventually secured a licence to operate within the law. “Gary came to New Zealand in 1978 and took over as program director.” Botica eventually followed Roberts back to Perth.

When asked if he could still be hosting Mix 94.5 breakfast if they hadn’t pulled him off air, Botica replied: “Most definitely. Without a doubt.”

Botica stopped breakfast radio in 2014, eventually returning in 2019.

One of the big differences of course between then and now is Covid-19, with Botica noting everyone in the industry has to work a lot harder to generate the same outcomes that they used to enjoy.

Perth radio used to be pretty competitive 20 years ago with Austereo (under Gary Roberts running Mix 94.5 and 92.9) and Southern Cross Broadcasting (then 96FM owner and no relation to what became SCA) dropped bombshells on each other. It ramped up another notch in 2002 when Roberts moved across to launch Nova Perth.

The boardroom bickering didn’t impact on then Perth breakfast leader Botica too much, he said: “I used to just go to work and do my own thing. I didn’t really think about what other stations were doing, instead focusing on what I had to do. It’s not a good idea to do something reactionary.”

To fans of what 96FM labels “real music”, Botica agreed that the station has never sounded better. “When Gary brought me on he told me the target was going to be 45-60 and it is the people that used to listen to 96FM that we are appealing to now. I am hearing from many people who have returned to the station.”

The relationship with Gary Roberts has never been stronger, according to the breakfast star he rehired 12 months ago. “I have known him now for over 40 years and we still get on very well.”

As to having commercial negotiations with a good friend, Botica said it was easier because of that. “You get to talk to each other in an honest way without having to go through a difficult negotiation. I’ve never had any problem with what I’ve been paid to be quite honest.

As to how long Botica might remain on radio, he said there was no plan. He then referred me to his autobiography Sure Beats Working, the title an indication Botica is not about to stop what he loves.

Buy a copy of Sure Beats Working here.

With no travel between Australia and New Zealand, Botica is not able to visit his children and grandchildren. “FaceTime has been the best thing for us though. I think I talk to the family more now than I would if I was in New Zealand. We keep in touch very regularly, but it is a shame not being able to go there.”

The voice of Seven Perth no longer

For many years Fred Botica has been the voice of Channel Seven, Perth, doing the voice overs for promos and program introductions and ads. But no longer. “Gary organised the Seven job for me when I first joined 96FM. I had been at Seven since 1986 and it ended just a little while ago, just over a month. They made me an offer that I said no to and said goodbye. They were obviously cutting costs.”

what is google news showcase
Mel Silva’s Google letter to Australians triggers industry backlash

The managing director of Google Australia & New Zealand Mel Silva (pictured) yesterday provoked media companies with a letter addressed to all Australians.

Read the letter and the then below the responses from the media industry and ACCC.

Open letter to Australians from Google

We need to let you know about new Government regulation that will hurt how Australians use Google Search and YouTube.

A proposed law, the News Media Bargaining Code, would force us to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube, could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia.

The way Aussies search every day on Google is at risk from new regulation

You’ve always relied on Google Search and YouTube to show you what’s most relevant and helpful to you. We could no longer guarantee that under this law. The law would force us to give an unfair advantage to one group of businesses – news media businesses – over everyone else who has a website, YouTube channel or small business. News media businesses alone would be given information that would help them artificially inflate their ranking over everyone else, even when someone else provides a better result. We’ve always treated all website owners fairly when it comes to information we share about ranking. The proposed changes are not fair and they mean that Google Search results and YouTube will be worse for you.

Your Search data may be at risk

You trust us with your data and our job is to keep it safe. Under this law, Google has to tell news media businesses “how they can gain access” to data about your use of our products. There’s no way of knowing if any data handed over would be protected, or how it might be used by news media businesses.

Hurting the free services you use

We deeply believe in the importance of news to society. We partner closely with Australian news media businesses — we already pay them millions of dollars and send them billions of free clicks every year. We’ve offered to pay more to license content. But rather than encouraging these types of partnerships, the law is set up to give big media companies special treatment and to encourage them to make enormous and unreasonable demands that would put our free services at risk.

This law wouldn’t just impact the way Google and YouTube work with news media businesses – it would impact all of our Australian users, so we wanted to let you know. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to get this proposal changed so we can protect how Search and YouTube work for you in Australia and continue to build constructive partnerships with news media businesses – not choose one over the other.

You’ll hear more from us in the coming days – stay tuned.

Thank you,

Mel Silva, Managing Director, on behalf of Google Australia

Free TV Australia responded:

Google’s cynical ploy to mislead and frighten Australians shows why the Code is necessary

Free TV Australia said that the deliberately misleading “Open Letter to Australians” published today by Google highlights exactly why the mandatory Code is urgently needed.

Free TV Chief Executive Officer, Bridget Fair, said: “Google has shown once again how important free, strong independent news media industry is in Australia so that they can hold Google to account for pushing such deliberately inaccurate information to its users.

“These are the statements and actions of a monopolist flexing its considerable muscle to try and divert attention from the real issue – paying a fair price for the news content that creates value for the platforms.

“Google’s letter is straight out of the monopoly 101 playbook trying to mislead and frighten Australians to protect their position as the gateway to the internet. We’ve seen this kind of tactic before from big businesses trying to stop regulators from evening up the playing field so that they can hold on to excessive profits. Hopefully they will not succeed.

“The ACCC Code is about ensuring a free and vibrant Australian news media sector into the future. This breathtakingly misleading letter is not about consumer safety, it’s about Google maintaining money, control and market power.

“The facts are that nothing in the draft Code would require the platforms to provide any personal information about any Australian to any media company.

“To suggest otherwise is fake news.

“The draft Code recognises that the data of Australians is valuable and requires that the platforms be transparent about the value they currently extract from accessing Australian news content. 

“It also requires that Google and Facebook tell registered media companies what types of data they collect from Australians who access news content but which they keep for themselves and do not pass on to the media companies. Any data that Google agrees to provide would have to be under existing Australian privacy laws.

“While it’s high time that the platforms woke up to the fact that Australians take privacy seriously, it’s cynical in the extreme to use this newfound concern to mislead Australians,” Fair said.

Nine Entertainment Co released the following statement:

“It is disappointing that the global digital platforms are highlighting selected elements of the draft Code and presenting them in a way which does not accurately reflect the framework in which the draft Code will operate. For example, the suggestion that news media businesses will get access to data not available to other content providers is not consistent with the Draft Code. The implication that data provided to news media businesses will not be protected ignores the impact of privacy legislation on those news media businesses,” said a Nine spokesperson.

“At Nine we maintain our position, which, at its core, means our premium journalism and content have a clear monetary value which these platforms should remunerate us for. We look forward to working with the ACCC on finalising the Code and then negotiating a fair outcome for our business with the digital platforms who will be subject to the Code.”

The ACCC also responded to the Google letter:

The open letter published by Google today contains misinformation about the draft news media bargaining code which the ACCC would like to address.

Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, unless it chooses to do so.

Google will not be required to share any additional user data with Australian news businesses unless it chooses to do so.

The draft code will allow Australian news businesses to negotiate for fair payment for their journalists’ work that is included on Google services.

This will address a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook.

A healthy news media sector is essential to a well-functioning democracy.

We will continue to consult on the draft code with interested parties, including Google.

Box Office: Unhinged still #1 as chart gets a shake up

Despite some new and not so new additions to the Australian box office top five Russell Crowe’s Unhinged has maintained its spot on top as it continues its strong run since release.

Joining Unhinged on the charts at #2 is the George Lucas classic Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope which was originally released in 1977.

Two new releases have joined the top five in the comedy-drama Made in Italy and the action film Force of Nature starring Mel Gibson.

Overall the Australian box office’s revenue was up 20% on last weekend making a total of $2.07m

#1 Unhinged $452,515

After three weeks the film’s total now sits at $2.36m as it continues to be the highest-grossing film since cinemas began to re-open. This past weekend it averaged $2,285 on 198 screens.


#2 Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope $313,379

With new releases at a premium at the moment cinemas have gone back to a classic with the original Star Wars film A New Hope being shown on 182 screens making $1,722.


#3 Made in Italy $256,527

Art mimics life as the father-son duo of Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson star together as a father and son who try and navigate their grief after losing the family matriarch. Neeson’s wife and Richardson’s mother Natasha Richardson passed away two years ago. The film averaged $2,138 on 120 screens.


#4 Force of Nature $204,868

The second new release in the top five this week averaged $1,394 on 147 screens.


#5 Train to Busan 2 – Peninsula $172,316

After a strong promotional release last week the Korean zombie film averaged $1,814 on 95 screens.


Ninja Warrior
TV ratings: Monday Week 34 2020

By James Manning

• New look State of Origin helps Nine to another victory
• The Masked Singer lifts as 929,000 watch celebrity reveal

Seven News 1,168,000/1,111,000
Nine News 1,025,000/994,000
ABC News 806,000
A Current Affair 777,000
7.30 650,000
The Project 371,000/576,000
10 News 418,000/287,000
Sunrise 271,000
Today 241,000
SBS World News 202,000
News Breakfast 200,000
The Drum 196,000
The Latest 138,000
Nine News Late Edition 135,000

Monday TV

Seven: Home and Away launched into the new week with 626,000 after a week 33 average of 574,000.

Farmer Wants a Wife is getting serious with more ladies departing after the final one-on-one dates and next is a two-part final to reveal the choices. Monday was up week-on-week with 719,000 last night after 696,000 last week. The episode again won its time slot nationally thanks to a big regional audience. The unbackable favourites are Alex and Jessica, Neil and Justine, Harry and Stacey and Nick and Liz.

Two US dramas followed with 9-1-1: Lone Star on 304,000 followed by Chicago Fire on 194,000.

Nine: A Current Affair investigated people who are already buying cruising tickets for when the industry restarts. The Monday episode was on 777,000 after a week 33 average of 687,000.

The final of the two-part Australian Ninja Warrior: State of Origin saw NSW drop out early on leaving three states to battle it out. After 877,000 watched the preliminary rounds on Sunday, there were 736,000 watching Ben Polsen and the WA team win the new competition. The ratings were well short of rugby league numbers, but at least the audience was getting some State of Origin action and helped Nine win the night in primary and combined share.
With the Warriors battling it out until nearly 9.30pm, an episode of Witness to Disaster followed with 128,000 watching in Sydney and Brisbane. Footy Classified got an early slot in other markets with 144,000 watching, 87,000 in Melbourne.

10: The Project 7pm averaged 501,000 last week and the Monday episode delivered 576,000.
Episode three of The Masked Singer was on 767,000 initially before climbing to 929,000 for the reveal after audiences of 735,000 and 828,000 for last week’s Monday launch episode. The singer unmasked was Christine Anu, the first contestant of some vocal ability to be revealed.
Have You Been Paying Attention? featured Glenn Robbins and Ash London plus Urzila Carlson doing back-to-back duty for 10. The audience of 712,000 was up considerably on last week’s 618,000.
The primary channel had the top three programs 18-49 and 25-54, and four of the top five 16-39. 

ABC: Part two of the life of Joel Edgerton brought to an end two great episodes of Australian Story. Part 1 was on 625,000 a week ago with 588,000 last night.
Four Corners then looked at the second wave of Covid-19 with 583,000 watching.
Media Watch then did 567,000 followed by Q+A also examining the latest on Covid-19 on 327,000.

SBS: Part two of The Blitz: Britain of Fire was on 209,000 at 7.30pm followed by two hours of 24 Hours in Emergency on 144,000.

Week 34 TV: Monday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 14.0% 7 17.4% 9 19.7% 10  15.8% SBS One 4.8%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 2.9% GO! 1.5% 10 Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 2.9% GEM 2.5% 10 Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 2.1%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.2%     SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 18.3%   25.0%   27.0%   21.4%   8.3%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.5% 7 21.4% 9 16.2% WIN 12.3% SBS One 4.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.1% 7TWO 4.5% GO! 2.1% WIN Bold 5.5% VICELAND 1.6%
ABC ME 0.3% 7mate 3.5% GEM 4.0% WIN Peach 1.7% Food Net 0.5%
ABC NEWS 1.1% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.2% 9Life 1.9% Sky News  on WIN 2.0% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 1.0%
TOTAL 16.0%   31.7%   24.3%   21.6%   7.4%


88.2% 11.8%
Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,168,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,111,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,025,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 994,000
  5. The Masked Singer Australia – Reveal 10 929,000
  6. ABC News ABC 806,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 777,000
  8. The Masked Singer Australia 10 767,000
  9. Australian Ninja Warrior – State Of Origin Nine 736,000
  10. Farmer Wants A Wife Seven 719,000
  11. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 712,000
  12. The Chase Australia Seven 654,000
  13. 7.30 ABC 650,000
  14. Home And Away Seven 626,000
  15. Australian Story ABC 588,000
  16. Four Corners ABC 583,000
  17. The Project 7pm 10 576,000
  18. Hot Seat Nine 568,000
  19. Media Watch ABC 567,000
  20. 10 News First 10 418,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Masked Singer Australia – Reveal 10 254,000
  2. The Masked Singer Australia 10 214,000
  3. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 213,000
  4. Australian Ninja Warrior – State Of Origin Nine 161,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 137,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. The Masked Singer Australia – Reveal 10 434,000
  2. The Masked Singer Australia 10 368,000
  3. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 365,000
  4. Australian Ninja Warrior – State Of Origin Nine 283,000
  5. Nine News Nine 279,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. The Masked Singer Australia – Reveal 10 479,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 407,000
  3. The Masked Singer Australia 10 397,000
  4. Nine News Nine 338,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 337,000
Monday Multichannel
  1. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 202,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 193,000
  3. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 186,000
  4. Little J And Big Cuz ABCKIDS/COMEDY 169,000
  5. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 163,000
  6. Kiri And Lou ABCKIDS/COMEDY 162,000
  7. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 141,000
  8. Little J And Big Cuz AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 141,000
  9. Doc Martin PM 7TWO 141,000
  10. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  11. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  12. Andy’s Safari Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  13. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  14. Neighbours 10 Peach 119,000
  15. Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  16. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 116,000
  17. 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown (R) SBS VICELAND 115,000
  18. Dog Loves Books AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 114,000
  19. Law & Order: SVU (R) 10 Bold 113,000
  20. Bob The Builder PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 113,000
Monday STV
  1. Live: AFL Round 12 Richmond V Gold Coast FOX FOOTY 185,000
  2. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 86,000
  3. Alan Jones Sky News Live 77,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 74,000
  5. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 69,000
  6. Live: On The Couch FOX FOOTY 65,000
  7. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 44,000
  8. AM Agenda Sky News Live 43,000
  9. PML Later Sky News Live 43,000
  10. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver COMEDY CHANNEL 37,000
  11. Newsday Sky News Live 37,000
  12. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 36,000
  13. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 34,000
  14. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 33,000
  15. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 30,000
  16. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 30,000
  17. Bargain Hunt Lifestyle Channel 29,000
  18. NCIS FOX Crime 29,000
  19. American Dad! FOX8 29,000
  20. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 29,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Zenith Australia promotes Elizabeth Baker to national head of investment role

Zenith Australia CEO, Nickie Scriven, has appointed Elizabeth Baker (pictured) to the role of national head of investment, moving from her existing responsibilities as Sydney head of investment.

Baker commences in her new role, effective immediately and will report directly into Scriven. “Lizzie has been with Zenith for 17 years and has been instrumental in the development of our agency’s investment product and expertise. I am delighted to welcome her to our national executive team, and I look forward to her ongoing contributions to Zenith, delivering unmatched value and growth to our clients,” Scriven said.

On her appointment, Baker said: “In an ever-changing media environment, I look forward to the challenge of continuing to find, in collaboration with our media partners, smarter and more innovative ways to deliver the best investment outcomes for our clients.

“I am thrilled to take on this national role. It will be a privilege to lead what is an exceptionally-talented investment team across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

Baker replaces Anthony Ellis, who has taken on the broader position of managing director of Publicis Groupe’s investment arm, Publicis Media Exchange ANZ.

A new head of investment in Zenith Sydney will be announced shortly.


From the ashes of Bauer NZ a new publisher reveals new brands

New Bauer Media owner Mercury Capital had been planning to sell some of its recently closed titles after the surprise shut-down earlier this year. It recently announced the sale of Metro and North & South. It is also resuming publishing of some of its key titles.

However former key Bauer New Zealand staff, including former CEO Paul Dykzeul, are behind the resurgence of magazines in the country with more detail being released about the launch of the magazine business School Road Publishing.

See also:
Ex-Bauer boss and award-winning magazine editor believe in print
• New media venture School Road Publishing launching four titles

New Zealand’s newest independent media company, has announced four new local magazine brands helmed by some of the country’s most-experienced magazine editors.

The new titles, launching from October, are:

• Haven, edited by Vanessa Marshall• 
• Thrive, edited by Wendyl Nissen
• Scout, edited by Sarah-Kate Lynch
• Woman, edited by School Road Publishing group publisher Sido Kitchin

“I’m incredibly proud of this line-up of exceptional editors. These wonderful women bring remarkable talent, experience, confidence and creativity to this new publishing venture,” says Kitchin. “This great collective of editors all have distinct styles, but Sarah-Kate, Wendyl and Vanessa share an exceptional writing gift and an innate understanding and ability to connect with readers through the power of great storytelling.”

Photo L-R: School Road Publishing editorial team – Wendyl Nissen, Vanessa Marshall, Sido Kitchin and Sarah-Kate Lynch

The company has released details about its four new titles:


Kitchin will take the helm of Woman, a fortnightly print and digital magazine she describes as “about New Zealand women, for New Zealand women, by New Zealand women”.

“Wonderful everyday Kiwi women love their magazine fix, but the closure of so many titles this year has completely disrupted the magazine landscape. Our world has changed dramatically in 2020, and so has what’s most important to New Zealand women, so it’s my privilege to respond with a fresh magazine that speaks to them about what’s really driving them today. Woman will be inspirational but real, with a proudly Kiwi heart and soul.

“I am excited that as well as beautiful print editions, we will reach a whole new audience through our digital platforms from launch.”


Haven is a new monthly home and living magazine which will be edited by Vanessa Marshall, who joins School Road Publishing from Bauer Media’s Nadia magazine, where she was editor for three years. An established lifestyle journalist with a passion for interiors, food and lifestyle content, she brings close to 20 years’ experience across significant brands. For more than a decade she was lifestyle editor, then director of Woman’s Day and New Zealand Woman’s Weekly before becoming editor of premium food title, Dish.

“I am thrilled to launch Haven magazine, a brand-new home title for a brand-new world. With many of us spending more time at home than ever, our homes are our safe haven from the challenges we face beyond our front doors.”

Packed full of inspirational and achievable interiors advice, Haven is a home and decorating magazine that will help make your dream home a reality. With a focus on affordable products, DIY projects, relatable interiors, family entertaining and easy gardening ideas, Haven’s mission is to bring great design to the masses.


Wellness title Thrive will be edited by Wendyl Nissen, a journalist, broadcaster and acclaimed magazine editor who is the author of 10 books, mostly about living a chemical-free, wholesome and back-to-basics lifestyle. The former editor of Australian Woman’s Weekly, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Day gave up her corporate life 20 years ago and now happily lives in the Hokianga with her husband, 18 chickens, two dogs and two stray cats.

“A return to a simple life is something I have been passionate about for more than 20 years,” says Nissen. “Thrive is a nurturing and inspirational monthly wellness magazine for anyone who believes that caring for ourselves and others, living healthily and sustainably and getting back to basics is a way of life they want to embrace. In a world which can be full of stress and confusion, Thrive will be a guide to a much less complicated and more fulfilling life.”


Helming monthly domestic travel magazine Scout is Sarah-Kate Lynch, who has published 12 best-selling books, edited the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, won awards for her columns and TV shows and spent the last nine years as travel editor of Woman’s Day.

“I was born with itchy feet and have jumped at every chance my whole life to go here, there and anywhere – but right now there’s nowhere I’d rather be than in Aotearoa. To edit a travel magazine focusing on everything our own glorious backyard has to offer? What a gift. I can’t wait to get amongst it,” says Lynch.  “What we have right on our doorstep in New Zealand is 268,021 square kilometres of beautiful beaches, mountains, lakes, rivers, towns, cities, bush walks, bike tracks, train journeys, national parks and gorgeous islands. Whether you’re parked in your armchair or packing your bags, Scout will take you there.”

News Brands

Racing boss Peter V’landys wins access to ABC emails in defamation trial

Secret correspondence between senior ABC 7.30 staffers about an exposé on animal cruelty against former racehorses will be released to NSW racing boss Peter V’landys after a judge rejected the public broadcaster’s bid to keep the documents under lock and key, reports The Australian’s Kieran Gair.

In a major victory for V’landys, Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney on Monday ordered the ABC to hand over internal correspondence between journalists who were involved in the “production and publication” of the confronting exposé, ‘The Final Race’.

V’landys, the chief executive of Racing NSW and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman, is suing the ABC and journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna for defamation in the Federal Court over the segment which aired on 7.30 last year.

The matter returns to court in September.

[Read more]

Diversity: Australian media is still living in White Australia

Few would argue that Australian media does well at representing cultural diversity. Certainly not in a way you’d expect when we are a multicultural society, often trumpeted as the most successful of its kind in the world, writes columnist Tim Soutphommasane in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Now, for the first time, we have the numbers that show us just how representative – or rather, unrepresentative – the state of play is.

In our report, Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?, we gathered data to provide the first comprehensive picture of who tells and produces stories in Australian television news and current affairs. We examined about 19,000 news and current affairs items broadcast on free to air television during two weeks in June 2019.

In their frequency of appearance on screen, we found that more than 75 per cent of presenters, commentators and reporters have an Anglo-Celtic background. While about 18 per cent have a European background, only 6 per cent of those on screen have an Indigenous or non-European background. Within our sample, none of the commercial networks had more than 5 per cent of presenters, commentators and reporters who have a non-European background.

[Read more]

Tim Soutphommasane is a professor at the University of Sydney and a former Race Discrimination Commissioner. He is a co-author of the Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories? report initiated by Media Diversity Australia.

ABC response to “Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?” report

The ABC has welcomed the release of the “Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?” report into cultural diversity in television news and published this response:

The findings broadly reflect the results of our own tracking and show that, while we’re making good progress in how we reflect the diversity of the Australian community, we can certainly do better.

As the national broadcaster, the ABC has a responsibility to represent all Australians in our content and services and in our workforce. Ensuring we look and sound like contemporary Australia in all we do is central to our role. A broad range of perspectives, people and content makes us stronger, more creative and better able to engage with Australia’s many communities.

The ABC’s Diversity & Inclusion Plan 2019-22, which complements the key content priorities in the Content Plan, sets out our vision for diversity and inclusion and is centred around three strategic goals:

• Recruiting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce
• Fostering an inclusive, collaborative and accountable workplace culture
• Reflecting and representing the diversity of the Australian community in our content and the services we provide

As of July, our workforce representation of Indigenous employees was 2.9%; culturally diverse content makers 9.6%; culturally diverse executives 8.3%; and employees with disability 4.9%. More information on our goals for Indigenous representation are in the Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 (Elevate RAP).

Achievements over the past year include:

• Overhauling our recruitment processes to enhance our ability to recruit for diversity Introducing compulsory online cultural awareness training
• Launching an Indigenous recruitment strategy, which aims to bring 20 new and prominent Indigenous roles into the ABC
• Partnering with First Languages Australia to offer Indigenous language lessons to enable us to embed Indigenous language in our work
• Establishing two new ABC Employee Network Groups – ABC Belong (focussing on Cultural Diversity) and ABC Inclusive (focusing on employees with disability) and continuing to support ABC Pride (focusing on LGBTQI+ inclusivity)
• Launching training in relation to both Disability Awareness and LGBTQI+ awareness, which will be made part of our induction program

We’ve also just announced a series of staff forums, led by managing director David Anderson, to get direct input from our people about the ABC’s efforts to promote diversity so far and how we can accelerate it.

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TV news directors respond to diversity report

The response from various television news directors have been collected on the Media Watch website.

Craig Macpherson, Seven

We are very aware of who our audiences are and the makeup of our workforce. Improving diversity is an ongoing challenge but this report does nothing to help the industry as a whole. It’s an exhaustive deep dive into names on a two week roster with shallow outcomes. It does little in looking at the supply system of prospective employees from all walks of life. There is a scant acknowledgment in the report that Free To Air TV employers simply aren’t hiring culturally diverse employees because they’re not applying.

Darren Wick, Nine

We all acknowledge that diversity in all media/newsrooms – not just television – is a challenge both in Australia and globally. However, I don’t think simply counting surnames on TV is an effective way of addressing the issue or helps in finding practical solutions to these challenges.

This report has clear errors / ignores the significant contribution of someone like Brooke Boney on Today, where she is one of four main hosts on the desk, instead simply listing her daily and regular contribution on the program at somewhere between 0.1 and 0 percent. This is not reflective of the real changes and proactive appointments we have been making in improving diversity in our television business.

Ross Dagan, 10

We are committed to diversity on and off-screen and have a number of initiatives in place to continue and grow diversity representation across our business.

We also believe that diversity goes beyond just ethnicity but also includes a balance of gender, age, geography, economic factors and physical ability.

While we acknowledge that more needs to be done when it comes to diversity, we are working to ensure better representation on and off-screen across these categories.

In the last year alone, we’ve launched three distinct university scholarships that better enable students from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds to embark on a pathway into our newsrooms.

Jim Carroll, SBS

We’re pleased the report reinforces SBS’s leading role in including and representing the diversity of Australia across our news and current affairs. SBS is unique in the Australian media, reflecting the diversity of Australia through the people presenting and telling stories, as well as through the stories we cover.

National Indigenous Television (NITV) – part of the SBS network – was not included in the report but plays a critical role in ensuring First Nations people are front and centre of coverage exploring issues with an Indigenous lens, and bringing those stories to a wider audience.

Currently, all hosts of SBS and NITV news programs are culturally diverse or Indigenous.

We’re focused on providing news and current affairs that is inclusive of contemporary Australia, that understands and reflects the nuances that make up our nation’s diversity, and in doing so, providing all Australians with distinctive and trusted news and current affairs, in service of our charter.

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Brisbane radio milestones for Nine’s 4BC and SCA’s Triple M

There were two significant milestones at the end of last week in Brisbane radio. One was a 40th birthday and the other a an incredible 90th anniversary.

Brisbane Triple M launched into the Brisbane market 40 years ago and it follows other 40th anniversaries for commercial FM radio stations from Perth to Sydney and Melbourne. The first song on 4MMM was The Little River Band’s Cool Change. On Seven News last week current Triple M Brisbane breakfast host Marto recalled being a schoolboy who listened to the new station in morning on his way to class.

An early FM 104 promotion involved asking listeners to bring in their old AM receivers. They would be given a new radio and then the old one would be smashed live on air. The station became so successful it later attracted a bid from Christopher Skase who paid $50m for the licence and premises. The Brisbane station also introduced the annual Sky Show which also was a successful event in other markets.

The other radio milestone in the market was the 90th birthday of Brisbane’s first commercial radio station 4BC. The station went to air on August 16, 1930. Interesting it was launched by a city retailer wo later went on to be Lord Mayor of Brisbane – John Beals Chandler.

4BC’s new owner Nine Radio has recently launched dedicated Brisbane breakfast and drive shows with Neil Breen and Scott Emerson after the station previously featured all content networked from its Sydney sister station 4BC.

Tom Malone and Basil Zempilas agree 6PR host will quit if elected Lord Mayor

The hotly-contested race to be the next Lord Mayor of Perth has so far attracted six candidates. Three of them have media backgrounds, but none are as high profile as 6PR breakfast host and Seven sports presenter Basil Zempilas.

Yesterday Zempilas revealed to The West Australian that he would stand down from his radio role if elected. If Zempilas is appointed Lord Mayor it means that Nine radio boss Tom Malone would be faced with finding yet another new breakfast combination after recent breakfast changes at Nine’s other AM news stations 3AW, 2GB and 4BC.

Zempilas said: “Tom Malone and I both agree that should I be successful, talkback radio and the Lord Mayor’s role are probably not a perfect fit together.”

However Zempilas did not rule out returning to radio, perhaps returning to FM radio that was not a talkback station.

He added that he will be continuing his work with Seven.

The other candidates for lord mayor include former ABC journalist Di Bain and a casual 6PR presenter Mark Gibson.


Buckle up as SBS commissions new heist series The Unusual Suspects

SBS has announced the award-winning creative team behind its new original Australian fiction commission The Unusual Suspects, as pre-production commences in Sydney.

Produced by Aquarius Films for SBS and About Premium Content, with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW, the four-part heist caper is a fun, yet gripping story about female friendship and a celebration of Filipino culture and community.

Set in Sydney’s glamorous Eastern suburbs, this tale of female empowerment will be led by a female cast – to be announced in coming weeks – and produced by award-winning filmmaking duo Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford (whose recent credits include Lion, nominated for six Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards as well as Berlin Syndrome, Dirt Music, The Other Guy and The Unlisted).

When a $10 million necklace is stolen from self-made Filipina businesswoman Roxanne Waters’ home during her twins’ extravagant birthday party, the ensuing police investigation threatens to expose cracks in Vaucluse’s sparkling façade, shedding a light on hidden rivalries, shady business deals and forbidden affairs.

The team bringing the series to life include Emmy Award-winning Natalie Bailey (Retrograde, Run, Avenue 5, The Thick of It) and Melvin Montalban (Rope Burn, Cupid), as directors, associate producer and co-writer Vonne Patiag (Halal Gurls) and writers Jessica Redenbach (Spirited, Rush) and Roger Monk (Nowhere Boys, The Secret Life of Us).

Best known for his short films, music videos and commercials, The Unusual Suspects marks Montalban’s television directorial debut alongside Bailey, whose career spans 25 years both as a performer and behind the lens.

Melvin Montalban said: “To be working and learning under experienced helmer Natalie Bailey is a wonderful opportunity. And, as a Filipino-Australian, to direct a largely Filipino cast is an equally exciting prospect. I can’t wait for the opportunity to share the experience of Filipino domestic workers in a heartfelt and genre-bending way.”

Natalie Bailey said: “I’m thrilled to be working back in Australia with Aquarius and SBS, the most forward-thinking channel in Australia. It is a rare opportunity to direct a female-centred series, let alone one with such a dynamic heist at its core. The Unusual Suspects explores the bonds of female friendship and experience while cutting to the heart of some of Australia’s ethical blind spots – wealth disparity and the exploitation of immigrant workers.”

Producers, Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford, said: “The Unusual Suspects is a female friendship story about a group of women from different walks of life wrapped up in a wildly entertaining heist caper with an important message at its heart. This is Aquarius’ first collaboration with SBS and we are extremely excited to be moving into the production phase with such a strong creative team.”

SBS director of television and online content Marshall Heald said: “The Unusual Suspects uses the hook of a heist genre to unpack the complex relationships between a diverse group of women. SBS has a proud history of producing original and exceptional drama and this latest chapter marks our first foray into dramedy. The talented creative collective behind this exciting new commission will ensure The Unusual Suspects entertains and enthrals whilst telling a story that explores a different facet of the Australian multicultural experience with female friendship at its core.”

The Unusual Suspects is an Aquarius Films production for SBS with major production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW. The series is financed with support from Cutting Edge. International distribution managed by About Premium Content.

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