Senior sports journalist and TV presenter Jim Wilson has been named as the new host of 2GB’s drive program.
Wilson, 52, has appeared across Nine’s various radio stations for over two decades and will replace Ben Fordham in the drive slot. He is currently a mainstay of news and sports broadcasts at the Seven Network, where he has been a sports presenter and sports editor. He joined Seven in 1992 from Nine and he will be resigning from Seven to take on the radio role.
“Jim’s rich and varied career and the tapestry of his life make him the perfect choice to take over the 2GB drive slot,” said Tom Malone, Nine’s managing director – radio. “He is already well known to our audience in Sydney and is a talented broadcaster.”
Wilson said: “I could not be more excited to be taking on the mantle of 2GB drive. Radio is a medium I love, and I’m thrilled to get the mic full time on Sydney’s number one station, 2GB. It’s a terrific stable and I’m ready for the next exciting chapter in my work life after more than 30 years in the industry.
“To everyone at Seven, a huge thank you for your support and kind messages. I’ve been lucky to work alongside some of the best in our business. But this was an opportunity I simply couldn’t say no to.
“I love live broadcasting and telling people’s stories. Drive is fast and furious, breaking news, and its fluid. I will be firm, fair and listen to all sides – and we will have a laugh.”
Jim Wilson is married to journalist and newsreader Chris Bath and has two teenage sons. Jim’s dad was Melbourne Herald and Herald Sun foreign correspondent Bruce Wilson and his sister the late Rebecca Wilson spent time in radio during her journalism career at Sydney FM station Vega and 2UE.
Mark Levy will continue to host 4BC drive while a search is finalised for a permanent host in Brisbane.
“I want to thank Mark for filling in on 2GB and continuing to do so on 4BC. He’s a very good broadcaster and a very important part of our team, and as he’s made clear, his passion is with Wide World of Sports and The Continuous Call Team,” said Malone.
Russel Howcroft has been chosen as the new co-host of the top-rating 3AW breakfast program. It’s the second time a member of the Gruen TV team has worked on Melbourne breakfast radio. Wil Anderson was with Triple M breakfast for two years until late in 2019.
Howcroft, best known for his role as a panellist on the long-running ABC TV series, will team up with Ross Stevenson from Monday, August 3.
Howcroft’s appointment will follow John Burns’ retirement after his 75th birthday next month, as announced by 3AW last year.
Howcroft developed a love for radio when he filled in on the Weekend Break program in 2011 and is excited about his latest career move.
“As a proud Melburnian, I’ve spent my life listening to 3AW and waking up to the brilliant, razor-sharp and distinctively Melbourne voice of Ross Stevenson and John Burns,” said Howcroft.
“To be asked to join the king of radio, Ross Stevenson, each morning as one half of AW’s award-winning breakfast team is an honour and a delight. I can’t wait to jump in the chair, get the first cup of coffee into me and join in the daily chat that gets Melbourne talking and laughing.”
Tom Malone, managing director of Nine Radio, has welcomed Russel Howcroft to the 3AW team.
“Russ embodies the spirit of what 3AW Breakfast is all about,” said Malone.
“He loves Melbourne. He loves footy. He loves telling stories. And he has a long-held ambition for radio. I know that his zest for life and passion for thought-provoking conversation will resonate with our loyal listeners, while also introducing a new audience to 3AW. I’d like to thank John for his enormous contribution to 3AW over decades and we’ll be sure send him off in style next month.”
Ross Stevenson, who has helmed the 3AW breakfast program for many years, paid tribute to Burns, his on-air sparring partner since 2001.
“Today marks the end of an era as we begin our farewell to the incomparable John Burns,” said Stevenson.
“He is an absolute radio legend and a bona fide legal genius, and it has been a true privilege and an unrivalled joy to sit alongside Burnso all these years. I’m also looking forward to welcoming Russel to the studio. He’s a Demons supporter like Burnso, he’s bald and he enjoys the occasional long lunch . . . so if I just squint my eyes . . .”
The move to 3AW means Russel Howcroft has resigned from his current position as chief creative officer with PwC, a role he has held for the past three years.
Prior to that, Howcroft was executive general manager of Network Ten from 2013 to 2017. With a marketing background, Howcroft held many positions in the field, most notably as CEO of advertising agency Young & Rubicam Brands.
He is also Chair of the Australian Film Television & Radio School and sits on the committee of the Melbourne Cricket Club.
John Burns’ final day with 3AW Breakfast will be Friday, July 31, after which he will continue to appear as a regular contributor across 3AW’s suite of programs.
Howcroft only started hosting a new podcast for SCA’s PodcastOne just three weeks ago.
• Boomtown to launch education program and media first industry portal
The easing of COVID-19 restrictions from this month, allowing metropolitan-based Australians the ability to travel within their states and territories, will not only aid regional Australia in its recovery, but offers renewed opportunity for advertisers to connect with Boomtown audiences and domestic tourists.
Boomtown, the Australian-first collaboration focused on highlighting the benefits of advertising in regional Australia, said regional towns and centres are expected to swell as city residents who have been locked down and unable to travel, look to travel to regional areas and support their economies.
National research conducted by the Tourism and Transport Forum found almost two in five people were planning to travel within their own state in the next two months, growing to almost two thirds within the next six months. Three in four expected to maintain or increase their travel spending despite COVID-19.
In addition, media owners have seen dramatic spikes in their audiences during the pandemic as Australians turn to trusted news and entertainment sources, which is expected to continue.
“As restrictions ease and Australians are able to travel within their own states and territories, we are seeing advertisers concurrently starting to ramp up activity to coincide with anticipated metro and regional consumer spending increases,” said Boomtown chairman and SCA chief sales officer Brian Gallagher.
“Several studies have indicated that Australians want to support local businesses and locally made products and regional Australia will benefit from that. Share of voice opportunities for advertisers are high making it a perfect time to add regional to media plans and reach an extra 36% of Australians.”
Boomtown has several initiatives underway, including a new education initiative and the launch of an industry portal designed to simplify access to regional audiences.
The Boomtown industry education program is designed for young media buyers to arm the industry with the knowledge and tools to understand and book regional media. It will include masterclasses in collaboration with the Media Federation of Australia (MFA) and NGEN, called the NGEN PLUS Boomtown Masterclass: Rethink Regional.
The masterclass series will run across the country, with dates to be announced soon.
“The Boomtown committee sees education as critical for media agencies to not only understand the potential of regional advertising but also to understand the regional audience and have the knowledge and tools to plan and buy regional media. Boomtown has developed a strong syllabus that really offers a good insight into regional media audiences and the landscape. We will have Boomtown representatives sharing their knowledge and looking at the future of regional media,” said TRSN group general manager – national sales and marketing, Jeremy Simpson.
The industry portal is an industry first and offers agencies a one-stop platform to locate regional media coverage areas of the Boomtown media owners along with category insights. Customised searches can also be briefed to Boomtown media owners through the platform. It aims to ease the process of booking of Boomtown media by offering all relevant information in a single platform.
ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network Australia has announced two new commercial partnerships with podcast creators Audioboom and Kast Media to expand its podcast offering.
As part of its growth strategy, the iHeartPodcast Network has added new titles from Kast Media including: On Purpose with Jay Shetty, The Fighter & The Kid, and Impaulsive with Logan Paul. New titles from Audioboom include: Casefile, No Such Thing As A Fish, The Totally Football Show, and F1: Beyond The Grid.
On joining ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network Australia, Colin Thomson, founder & CEO from Kast Media said, “We are excited to join ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network, adding our thought-provoking and entertaining shows to Australia’s largest podcast network. The partnership aligns with our mission to create content that brands can integrate and be a part of.”
Stuart Last, CEO of Audioboom said, “Our podcasts feature well-known personalities and top talent from across the world, attracting global audiences, including significant numbers in Australia. The experience of ARN’s iHeartPodcast Network in monetising audiences makes them the perfect fit to further expand our advertising potential across the Audioboom roster. From the entertaining No Such Thing As A Fish to the true crime grit of the Australian-made Casefile, we know clients across Australia are going to love speaking to these new listeners.”
On the two new partnerships, ARN’s head of commercial audio & podcasts Corey Layton said, “ARN continues to dominate the podcast space, and these new partnerships with Audioboom and Kast Media will further extend and diversify our offering, giving brands access to some of the world’s most compelling and popular content.”
The announcement comes as ARN releases new podcast listener data for May with leading podcast technology provider Megaphone. Again showing growth month on month, the data captured for May shows strong audience growth with an increase of 6% compared to April. Overall, listening on the iHeartPodcast Network from when the pandemic was declared (mid-March to May) is up 22% compared to listening pre-pandemic (January to mid-March 2020).
Growth in genre listening also shows an increase in listening across May. Comedy and Catch-up Radio had the biggest increase in listeners with each category up by 33%, listeners for the Business and Finance categories were up 17%, while Entertainment and Lifestyle continued as the most popular podcast category overall.
Layton continued, “May was ARN’s strongest month for audience growth this year, as we continue to see more and more people turning to podcasts for entertainment, education and escapism.”
Of the increase in audiences and new partnerships, ARN’s chief commercial officer Pete Whitehead added, “ARN continues to expand its client integration offering with the most diverse range of content partnerships, across platforms that continue to grow in listenership. Podcasts continue to lead as a format for content generation and ARN has the very best range of integrated commercial partnership opportunities available for clients.”
By James Manning
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s Los Angeles-based culture editor-at-large and TV critic Michael Idato (pictured) joined the Mediaweek podcast last week.
Key topic of discussion was Idato’s role in the new TV podcast Televisionaries.
“The podcast was born out of the television section for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, driven by The Guide and the Green Guide. Some of the people you will hear on it are also from The Spectrum sections of the paper.
“The key things about our TV print sections, and I have been with the papers for 20 years now, we refer to the TV sections as critical guides. It is not just a television listing, but it helps the reader find their way to the TV program.”
Idato noted that the Televisionaries contributors have a wealth of experience in the sector. “If you put Debi Enker, myself, Louise Rugendyke and Paul Kalina together, between us there is over 100+ combined years of television reviewing.”
One of the attractions about Televisionaries is its length. If you are looking for TV recommendations, you can get in and get out under 30 minutes to give you more viewing time!
Idato noted they take some effort to produce each episode properly. “When you look at podcasting it is a crowded space with many people seemingly starting up podcasts. The Herald and The Age have decided they won’t just launch 1000s of podcasts. Every podcast that has been launched by those mastheads has been carefully curated. There is a process through which any decisions made about new podcasts are made very carefully.
“People don’t have an infinite amount of time. The last thing you want is to hear people who think they know a whole lot about something banging on about it for hours on end. In the process assuming the time of the listener isn’t precious. About 25 minutes is a polite amount of time to intrude on someone’s day. After that time you risk outstaying your welcome.”
Idato added that there was a place for longform podcasting, but just not on Televisionaries.
Idato said the contributions the TV writers make in the podcast is not to convey just what they each think of a show, but to explain whether the program is good.
“There are many things I was not a fan of, that were brilliant. A good critic should understand the difference between what merely pleases you and what is actually substantial and has merit.”
As to the amount of TV being made in the new golden age of television and his ability to keep up, Idato said:
“There are many more TV shows, there are almost certainly not many more great TV shows. At any given moment in time there are still only about 10 extraordinary pieces of television that matter.
“I watch a lot of TV and I write about what I watch. I watch the pilot episode of absolutely everything and then I have to make a choice whether I stay with a show professionally or I invest in other shows personally, things that aren’t work-related.
“I am able to also share the load. Certain writers are focused on certain shows and developed an expertise around those shows. Debi Enker for example is very good on MasterChef.”
Idato said he has two giant monitors on his desk – one for his computer and the other his TV. “The TV runs constantly, even while I’m working.”
Truescope is the innovation of Croll and business partner Michael Bade. The Australian entrepreneurs have designed and built a media intelligence platform to help inform communicators about breaking news across all media types and identify issues, fake news, and trends in real time.
The business launches in Australia and Singapore today and harnesses the duo’s expertise delivering real insights for clients across many markets. The platform is live in Singapore and is expected to be operational for clients in Australia by August 2020.
Croll has built an expert team of technologists and product innovators to create an offering that, he says, more accurately reflects today’s media landscape and communications needs. While technology is the power behind the insights, the true intelligence comes from its people.
“I’ve been exposed to many global media intelligence companies and worked with some of the industry’s most forward thinking operators, and I can honestly say that we have the right idea, team and the talent in place to be able to deliver something meaningful for the industry” he said.
“We think our approach to people, product and scalability is revolutionary in this space, and we all have the unequivocal mindset that the client experience (CX) is central to everything we do. We’re ready to build bridges between new technologies and the communications industry so our clients can immediately understand the value Truescope brings and see how different we are to what has come before us,” said Croll.
Truescope aims to be the first smart media intelligence platform in the market. Its capabilities combine and transform big data across media types and languages, into a single, coherent, and easily searchable database. With each media item, machine learning and natural language processing is used to distil sentiment to help discover potential effects on brand reputation and assist businesses in measuring awareness and communications effectiveness.
“We’ve spoken to some of the country’s best communicators in corporate and government organisations as well as PR and communications agencies, and it’s encouraging to know that what we’re delivering is exactly what’s needed – so we’re definitely ready to shake this space up a bit,” said Croll.
Top Photo: Michael Bade and John Croll
The 32nd Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) will now be celebrated in 2021, with event organiser and industry body Commercial Radio Australia making the decision to pause proceedings for 2020 and bring the event back bigger and better next year.
Celebrating excellence in commercial radio broadcasting across entertainment, news, talk and sport, the ACRAs are awarded in metropolitan, provincial and country categories, with entries coming from commercial radio stations across Australia.
Just six weeks ago CRA said the 32nd annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) would go ahead later this year but in a different format to the traditional ceremony as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to now cancel the ACRAs this year comes after a detailed examination of the possibility of undertaking the event in a virtual format in 2020, in response to Government restrictions on interstate travel and event size as a result of COVID-19. The event was originally scheduled to take place on the Gold Coast in October.
CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner said that shifting the 32nd ACRAs to 2021 is a move that will be of benefit to the industry in current circumstances and will allow the focus to remain on navigating COVID-19 impacts and ongoing recovery for commercial radio stations across the country.
“After carefully considering the options available for such a big and complex event, it was determined that a virtual event would not be able to do the awards justice.
“While this news is disappointing, we know radio teams are working as hard as ever in these times to keep Australians informed and entertained, while also navigating the uncertainty of the situation surrounding COVID-19.
“A move to celebrating the 32nd ACRAs in 2021 will allow their focus to remain where it’s needed and means that we can put our resources behind delivering something very special when we resume the event next year. We look forward to celebrating the hard work and resilience of our members in person in 2021,” said Warner.
CRA has confirmed there will be one ACRAs event next year with awards to cover two years.
Top Photo: 2019 ACRA winners Jonesy and Amanda from WSFM
By James Manning
• Singles: DaBaby run at #1 continues, Brando only new entry
DaBaby is not about to give up top spot quietly. Rockstar featuring Roddy Ricch has now topped the chart for four of its eight weeks charting. Getting new music even near the top continues to be a challenge. There was just one new entry in the top 50 this week. The only change to the top 10 was the re-entry of Supalonely from Benee at #6 after a previous chart peak of #8. The top three songs in the ARIA Singles chart – Rockstar, Roses and Blinding Lights – have been on the chart for a total of 53 weeks.
The sole new entry is US singer/songwriter Brando with Look Into My Eyes at #41. Brando last charted in Australia featured on Loud Luxury’s Body in 2017.
While this column took a break on the long weekend last week, we need to congratulate Tones and I for a year on the ARIA Chart with Dance Monkey which in its 53rd week is still top 20 at #18. Her new single Ur So F**kInG cOoL spends a second week on the chart at #44 after debuting at #49 last week.
Lady Gaga spends a second week at #1 with Chromatica. It will need a special performance from fans to break her record for weeks at #1 which is currently the soundtrack for A Star is Born which topped the chart for 11 weeks.
There are three new entries in the top 50, two of them cracking the top 10:
#4 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever with Sideways to New Italy. The second album from the Melbourne indie guitar band has debuted top five after their first Hope Downs peaked at #24 exactly two years ago.
#5: The Ghost Inside with The Ghost Inside. Many artists release a self-titled album the first time they emerge from the studio. Not so with this US metalcore band who have released The Ghost Inside as their fifth album. This is their second time to crack the ARIA Album chart after their fourth album Dear Youth peaked at #16 in 2014. The delay between recordings is from a hiatus they took after their tour bush crashed in 2015 which killed the drivers of both vehicles while drummer Andrew Tkaczyk lost one of his legs.
#25: Run The Jewels with RTJ4. The second album to chart here from the duo of rapper Killer Mike and rapper and producer El-P which has been released to great reviews as it is addresses political issues facing people in the US right now.
Big Brother coincided with the return for the AFL on Seven and combined to secure Seven a big win. The reality show and the returning sport together with Seven’s news were an unbeatable trio.
The channel and the network have ranked #1 with their most competitive performance since December last year and its best during survey since James Warburton took over from former boss Tim Worner.
Share doesn’t indicate audience size, but it measures how competitive you are against your opposition and last week Seven was well ahead of Nine and 10.
It wasn’t just Seven’s best win under its current CEO, it was the best overall performance in two years as the station blasted away its competitors as Seven led in all key demos as #1 channel and network.
And get this – Seven’s dominance 16-39 was its best win in that demo in over a decade (excluding Olympic weeks).
Big Brother did particularly well in the Eviction segments where they all ranked #1 in all key demos.
The AFL posted record ratings for its Thursday return as the three nights delivered metro audiences of 1,002,000, 750,000 and 598,000.
7mate was the #1 multichannel of the week.
Primary all people 22.0% (Last week 17.3%)
Network all people 31.1% (25.8%)
Multichannels 7TWO 3.4% (3.4%) 7mate 4.2% (3.1%) 7flix 1.5% (2.0%)
As Seven went up, Nine went down. The channel and the network posted its lowest shares since before the Australian Open in January.
Outside of the news, two episodes of The Voice were the best performers. However they failed to make the top 10 with one just over 900,000 and the other just under.
Its only other programs over 500,000 this week were A Current Affair (718,000 down from 735,000) and 60 Minutes (628,000 down from 716,000).
Primary all people 17.4% (Last week 20.2%)
Network all people 26.0% (28.6%)
Multichannels GO! 2.9% (2.7%), Gem 2.5% (2.7%), 9Life 1.9% (1.9%), 9Rush 1.3% (1.2%)
The channel and the network were both down just over 1.0 week-on-week.
MasterChef continues to be its best performer with the Tuesday episode in the top five for the week on 1,016,000. Another episode was just under a million while three fell short of 900,000 with the Sunday episode on 803,000 on the long weekend.
Have You Been Paying Attention? on 767,000 (down from 814,000) and The Project 7pm (532,000 down from 559,000) were the only other shows over 500,000 with
Despite the drop week-on-week, 10 is claiming second place in the key demos for its primary channel for the week, pushing Nine into third place.
Primary all people 14.2% (Last week 14.3%)
Network all people 20.5% (20.3%)
Multichannels 10 Bold 4.0% (3.7%), 10 Peach 2.2% (2.2%)
The return of Back Roads was the best performer after ABC News. The series six episode was on 650,000.
The Wednesday double of Home Delivery (556,000) and The Weekly (527,000) were the next best.
The only other program over half a million was 7.30 with an average of 513,000.
Primary all people 11.3% (Last week 12.4%)
Network all people 15.7% (17.3%)
Multichannels Kids/Comedy 2.5% (2.7%), News 1.4% (1.8%), ME 0.5% (0.5%)
Who Do You Think You Are? continues to rank as the channel’s #1 on 332,000 and it helped drive share up week-on-week.
Tony Robinson’s World by Rail debuted with 284,000.
The three-part series Filthy Rich and Homeless averaged 262,000 from Tuesday to Thursday.
Primary all people 4.8% (Last week 4.4%)
Network all people 8.3% (7.8%)
Multichannels Viceland 1.2% (1.2%), Food 1.1% (1.1%), NITV 0.2% (0.1%), World Movies 1.0% (1.0%)
By James Manning
• Nine starts week at #1 with The Voice & 60 Minutes both up
• MasterChef #1 entertainment as 945,000 see Khanh depart
• Big Brother’s first Sunday draws smallest audience yet
Seven News 1,152,000
Nine News 1,059,000
ABC News 671,000
Nine News Late 625,000
The Project 320,000/501,000
10 News 330,000/244,000
SBS World News 190,000
Seven: The channel has held its Sunday share steady with another 18.3% on the first Sunday edition of Big Brother. The reality show trailed both Nine and 10 in the slot with audiences of 680,000 and 695,000.
Seven’s Sunday afternoon AFL had an audience of 445,000.
The Sunday movie followed Big Brother with 252,000 watching Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Nine: The Voice was up week-on-week with 924,000 after 874,000 a week ago. Standout singers were harder to find as the blind auditions draw to a close.
60 Minutes delivered on its promise of delivery blockbuster news with Labor Party power broker Adem Somyurek subsequently sacked from the Victorian cabinet this morning. The episode did 827,000 after 628,000 a week ago.
10: Charlie Carrington from Atlas featured on MasterChef for a two round elimination challenge. Eight contestants started the challenge with Reece safe holding immunity. After the first round it was Reynold, Emilia, Laura and Khanh left to battle it out. The two lowest ranked dishes belonged to Laura and Khanh with the axe ultimately falling on Khanh. The show ranked #1 entertainment program last night with 945,000, way up on 803,000 a week ago. That helped 10 rank #1 16-39 for the night and #2 18-49 and 25-54.
ABC: Grand Designs was on 495,000 as the UK program continues to get a better timeslot than the Aussie version.
Episode three of Operation Buffalo was on 500,000, up from 476,000 last week.
A series of Australian movies started around 9.30pm with Muriel’s Wedding pulling an audience of 197,000.
SBS: The final repeat episode of London: 2,000 Years of History had the biggest audience with 190,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||3.9%||GO!||3.9%||10 Bold||3.3%||VICELAND||0.9%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||5.6%||GEM||2.1%||10 Peach||2.2%||Food Net||1.4%|
|9Rush||1.4%||SBS World Movies||1.6%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.7%||7TWO||3.7%||GO!||4.7%||10 Bold||4.1%||VICELAND||1.0%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||7.0%||GEM||3.8%||10 Peach||1.9%||Food Net||1.2%|
|9Rush||1.7%||SBS World Movies||1.1%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.1%||7TWO||2.7%||GO!||2.9%||10 Bold||3.4%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||3.0%||GEM||2.4%||10 Peach||1.6%||Food Net||0.8%|
|9Rush||1.1%||SBS World Movies||1.2%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||5.0%||GO!||3.7%||WIN Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||3.5%||GEM||4.3%||WIN Peach||1.0%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC NEWS||1.0%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.6%||9Life||2.0%||Sky News on WIN||1.2%||NITV||0.1%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
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
The sale of the newswire to a consortium led by former News Corp Australia and Foxtel chief executive Peter Tonagh will end months of uncertainty for AAP staff following an announcement on March 3 that the 85-year-old service would close, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
About 85 to 95 existing staff will take new jobs under the new AAP, including 70 to 75 editorial positions.
The AAP newswire currently has about 180 staff.
The new AAP will be a trimmed-down service covering core topics, including breaking news, state and federal politics, courts and justice, and sport, with a focus also on regional news.
Press release business Medianet, analytics division Mediaverse, the sub-editing business and racing operations will not be part of the new enterprise.
Australian Associated Press’ newswire will be sold to a consortium of investors and philanthropists for $1, but the group will put millions into the loss-making news agency to prop it up until it becomes profitable, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
The sale of the newswire, once it proceeds, will result in at least 100 editorial redundancies, but is considered a better outcome for the newswire than shutting altogether.
Major shareholders Nine Entertainment Co (publisher of this masthead) and News Corp Australia are expected to fund the entitlements of all staff.
Staff in Bauer Media Australia’s headquarters have apparently been burning the midnight oil lately, prompting some to wonder whether it is getting close to selling its magazines business to private equity firm Mercury Capital, reports The Australian’s Bridget Carter.
Some suspect a deal could be reached as early as this week for the company that owns the Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day titles and now others such as New Idea and That’s Life! following its $40m acquisition of Pacific Magazines from media company Bauer.
Apparently, executives at Bauer have been extremely busy of late on what some believe is a transaction.
Sydney-based Mercury, run by former Goldman Sachs banker Clark Perkins, had been in talks to buy the Bauer Australia magazine business last year once it purchased Pacific Magazines from Seven West Media for $40m.
US private equity firm Oaktree Capital offered to buy some of Seven West Media’s debt but was turned away by chief executive James Warburton, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.
Industry sources familiar with the discussions said Oaktree, the firm behind the recapitalisation of Nine Entertainment Co in 2012, contacted the Kerry Stokes-controlled broadcaster midway through the coronavirus pandemic with a “loan-to-own” offer to buy some of the $541.5 million net debt pile.
The offer, presented before a number of acquisition sales were made by Warburton, was rejected. Industry sources said the deal, proposed by Oaktree Capital’s managing director Byron Beath, was opportunistic and that Warburton wanted to back his own strategy instead of looking at alternative ownership or an equity raise. If the deal proceeded and Seven defaulted on anything, Oaktree would have taken control.
Seven West Media’s $87m saving from a renegotiated AFL deal this week will do little to improve financial issues plaguing the company, according to industry insiders and former employees who have raised concern about large debt and job cuts, reports Elias Vistonay in Guardian Australia.
The focus on Seven’s financial position comes as it dropped out of the ASX300, the top 300 companies on the stock exchange, on Friday as the value of Australian media companies continues to decline.
Guardian Australia has also learned of about 50 workers in production at Seven who were either made redundant or whose contracts were not renewed, a move which followed about 50 earlier redundancies in its sales team.
BBC Global News has signed up Blazeaway Media to represent BBC.com and BBC World News, exclusively in the Queensland market.
This dedicated resource in the QLD market will allow the BBC to continue its growth and work with local clients and agencies to deliver market leading advertising and content solutions.
Jamie Chambers, regional director, ANZ, BBC Global News, said: “BBC Global News has enjoyed significant growth over the past 12 months as Australians have increasingly relied on BBC News services for access to quality, impartial and trusted journalism. Having someone of Andrew Knowles’ calibre representing our business in Queensland will ensure agencies and brands can more easily take advantage of these valuable audiences & environments to create effective campaigns in a tough economic environment.”
Andrew Knowles, managing director and founder of Blazeaway Media said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be representing the BBC in QLD. The BBC is a brand I know well after working as sales director with them for three years in Sydney, so to be involved with them again is a privilege. Adding the BBC to our growing list of partners allows us more opportunities to offer clients relevant and meaningful campaigns with highly reputable publishers. I am looking forward to growing the brand and commercial business in Queensland.”
Journalists at Melbourne’s The Age are demanding management hire more non-white staff and deliver key editorial changes in the latest tussle over the lack of racial diversity in newsrooms, reports The Australian’s Emily Ritchie.
More than 50 staff on the Nine-owned paper have signed a petition calling for improved racial diversity and the appointment of an indigenous affairs reporter.
The petition also noted that The Age, which employs about 170 editorial staff, had always been edited by men. It said the newsroom was concerned that “key editorial decisions” were regularly made out of Sydney and that The Age “shouldn’t be a subsidiary” of Nine’s Sydney operations.
The petition, sent to The Age’s executive editor, James Chessell, the newspaper’s editor, Alex Lavelle, and Nine’s chief publishing officer, Chris Janz, also demanded that management meet with staff over the concerns.
The Age’s sister paper, The Sydney Morning Herald, last year hired two indigenous reporters.
Dwindling magazine circulations – along with the prized picture budgets they once sustained – have resulted in a mass exodus of celebrity-hunting “shooters” from the industry, with some long-serving paparazzi estimating their ranks have thinned by up to 50 per cent in the past year, reports The Australian’s Steve Jackson.
Carlo Cossalter, who heads one of the country’s most prominent agencies, Diimex, said the “magazine monopoly” created by Bauer Australia’s acquisition of rival Pacific Magazines for $40m in May had exacerbated a prolonged decline in the profitability of the celebrity photo market.
“The ACCC didn’t do us any favours by allowing that merger to go ahead – now that Woman’s Day and New Idea are owned by the same company, the days of the bidding wars between magazines are dead,” he told The Australian.
2GB’s Ray Hadley is about to become less Sydney-centric, and make the Gold Coast his second workplace. But that can’t happen until Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reopens Queensland’s borders, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.
“When I can get into Queensland, (Nine radio boss) Tom Malone has asked me to broadcast regularly from there,” he says. “They’re building me a studio inside the Nine studios on the Gold Coast. I want to be there in time for the Queensland election in October so I can watch it closely.”
The 2GB and 4BC host plans to spend a week each month on the GC, where he has an apartment on Main Beach.
But Hadley’s workplace isn’t the only thing moving. Hadley also revealed further coronavirus-driven date changes to his marriage to his partner, Sophie Baird. November is now shaping as the most likely date for the pair’s nuptials, although September is still possible.
“At this stage, our marriage has been put back from June to September, then November, depending on the virus,” Hadley says.
A new sports-dedicated radio station in Sydney is part of the plans for a national sports radio network planned by media entrepreneur Craig Hutchison, who has also accelerated the rollout of a group of racing stations across the country, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.
Hutchison, the chief executive of ASX-listed Pacific Star Network, the owner of the SEN radio business in Melbourne and other markets, said plans to convert Sydney station 2CH to sport from its classic music format were under active consideration after his company agreed to an $11.2m acquisition in early June.
Pacific Star has survived the sports shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and has now added live AFL matches to its existing NRL broadcasts that restarted two weeks ago.
Inside a meeting room at MasterChef‘s Melbourne headquarters is a giant whiteboard, so big it covers an entire wall. The controversial “floating sugar balloon” pressure test of 2017 – in which contestants attempted a gravity-defying dessert – was created here, along with a 2016 challenge requiring the use of liquid nitrogen, reports The Age’s Michael Lallo.
“We spend hours, days, weeks on end in this room, coming up with new ideas,” says executive producer Marty Benson. “This year, we had to amp things up.”
Instead of casting amateur enthusiasts in MasterChef‘s current season, Benson invited former contestants to return for a second shot at victory. All have enjoyed successful careers – opening their own restaurants, publishing cookbooks and hosting TV food programs – since first appearing on Network 10’s hit cooking competition.
“You’ll notice there are no immunity challenges against guest chefs this year,” Benson says. “We decided it wouldn’t be fair on the chefs because our contestants are so good.”
Callum Hann, who finished second in MasterChef‘s 2010 season, says this year’s tests are “definitely more intense and difficult”. But it was a relatively simple dish of potato-crusted Murray cod, which he had to prepare under the watchful eye of Gordon Ramsay, that threw him the most.
“It was very achievable but the fact we had to do it at his pace was a heck of a challenge,” Hann says. “People don’t realise how much time you waste on things that aren’t cooking. You might be picking the little safety tab off a bottle or a jar whereas at home, those things have probably been opened already.”
A-League players will undergo COVID-19 testing on Monday, as clubs plan to return to training this week in preparation for a July 16 restart, reports AAP.
While the FFA is still deep in talks with broadcast partner Fox Sports over a revised rights deal, most clubs are expected to be back in training on Tuesday or Wednesday.
FFA head of leagues Greg O’Rourke said with proposed extensions to player contracts only running until the end of August, the need to get the resumption process started is pressing.
“The schedule that we’ve shared with the clubs … is to start the first game on Thursday the 16th of July and finish that a month later and then one week for finals,” O’Rourke said.
Foxtel is keen to sign a new long-term broadcast agreement with V8 Supercars by the end of June that could see a permanent shift in schedules so the pay TV provider could run two marquee sports over summer, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.
Supercars is in the final season of its $241 million six-year broadcast deal with Foxtel and Network 10, but it was forced to suspend its season in March amid the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions on movement and gatherings.
Supercars is working through its schedule for the 2020 season, which could include a night-time finale in Sydney in December. The revised season is due to start on the weekend of June 27 and 28.
Sources close to Foxtel said the pay television broadcaster was looking to sign the revised agreement with Supercars as well as a reduced longer-term agreement that could shift the season to later in the year, giving Foxtel a second marquee summer sport on top of cricket, at least for part of the season. Foxtel’s winter sports drawcards are AFL and NRL.