Thursday June 25, 2020

Podcast Week: Howie’s 100, Mushroom launches 180 Grams brand

By James Manning

+ Sami Lukis and Richard Reid go dating, Bang On back, Podshape’s latest

Howie’s hole in one for 100th episode

We mentioned several weeks ago that The Howie Games was getting close to its 100th episode. We can reveal today that host Mark Howard has landed a hole in one for the special occasion with an interview with champion Australian golfer Adam Scott. Howie told Mediaweek one of his three best sporting moments was watching Scott win The Masters at Augusta. “It has taken me three years of going back and forth with management to secure the interview. Adam is global brand ambassador for Uniqlo and they were able to sort it out.”

Golf fans are going to love some of the trivia they get into. “Adam goes into detail about what it was like to win The Masters and he takes me through it shot-by-shot and then the play-off. He was relaxed, fun and it’s very entertaining. I couldn’t be prouder to have him as the 100th guest.”

There is one elusive big guest that Howie is still chasing though. He did admit to Mediaweek some time ago he was very determined to get Kelly Slater on the podcast. It hasn’t happened…yet. “And not through lack of trying. Slater is an even longer-term project than Adam. He comes up in the podcast though as Adam loves to surf and talks about surfing with Kelly Slater at Pipeline. I will get him one day – he might have to be on number 200.

Slater has actually been spending time in Australia during the lockdown. “But that doesn’t mean he’s any easier to get hold of.”

When asked about the one episode so far of Australia’s #1 sporting podcast with the most downloads and the biggest audience reaction, Howie said: “It would have to be Luc Longley. People were blown away when it came out because he just doesn’t speak. It was just at the right time in the right place. Since The Last Dance doco I have been inundated with messages from overseas journalists trying to get his contact details. The producer of The Last Dance said Luc is not a good storyteller. He has told me the best stories in the whole 100 episodes.” [Australian basketball superstar Longley played with the Chicago Bulls, but he was not part of The Last Dance doco about Michael Jordan and his last year the Bulls.]

During COVID-19 The Howie Games has become a Zoom hangout, but this week Howie is planning his first face-to-face interview in many months.

Howie has recently added to his winter sporting duties calling AFL games on Fox Footy. He still calls for Triple M on Friday and Sunday, but fits in Fox Footy on Saturday after Fox Sports TV boss Steve Crawley twisted his arm. “I have been enjoying the challenge as it’s different to calling on radio. It’s been great to work with Jason Dunstall, Garry Lyon, Jonathan Brown and others.”

Listen to The Howie Games here.

Mushroom launches Teskey Brothers podcast 

Mushroom has entered the podcast space with 180 Grams, an ongoing series which will tell the stories behind remarkable albums. Season one of the 180 Grams podcast uncovers the highs and lows and untold stories from Warrandyte locals to international rock’n’soul group The Teskey Brothers.

[180 grams is the weight of a collector’s edition vinyl record. Unlike the stories in the show, 180-gram records glide smoothly on turntables thanks to the weight.]

Across six episodes, as the debut season of 180 Grams delves into the making of The Teskey Brothers’ acclaimed second studio album Run Home Slow and listeners are taken on the journey from pre-production all the way through to sold-out international tours.

Music journalist Mikey Cahill is hosting the six-episode series with new episodes dropping on Tuesdays.

Many people who work intimately with the band were interviewed for the series – 32 in total across the USA, UK, Germany and Australia including Josh Teskey (vocals and rhythm guitar), Sam Teskey (lead guitar), Brendon Love (bass guitar) and Liam Gough (drums) who make up he band. Mushroom isn’t holding back on production with Episode 1 incorporating more than 210 individual bits of audio.

Listen to 180 Grams here.

The romantically challenged Richard Reid

Richard Reid is always a great podcast guest and Sami Lukis has fun with the entertainment reporter and celebrity TV contestant (he won I’m A Celebrity in 2019) on a new episode of PodcastOne’s Romantically Challenged podcast. Is it easier to date if you have a public profile? Reid talks to Lukis about misreading flirting signals from fans, feeling invisible in your 40s and why he thinks men like to date younger.

Listen to Romantically Challenged here.

Life Changing Moments from Podshape’s This is Me

In the new weekly podcast This Is Me everyday Australians reveal their own battles that are both inspiring and uplifting.

The podcast is hosted by Siobhain McGirl (pictured) who is a mother of two that had her very own life changing moment when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer at just 40 years old.

Siobhan’s episode starts the series as she takes listeners through the highs and lows of her battle.

The launch of the podcast and first episode coincide with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, a Bowel Cancer Australia initiative held every year in June. Bowel Cancer is Australia’s second deadliest cancer and claims the lives of 108 Australians every week – but it’s one of the most treatable types of cancer if found early.

Over 10 weeks This Is Me will share other life changing stories from everyday Australians which includes domestic violence, addiction, adoption, gender reassignment and mental health. Podshape plans to use each episode to promote various community charities.

Listen to This Is Me here

It’s back: Bang On with Myf & Zan

After eighth months Double J’s Bang On podcast with Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe is back with three new episodes available.

The weekly podcast covers the biggest conversations of the week, and the hosts share what they’re reading, listening to, reflecting on and the things they simply must recommend.

Episodes are available every Friday as they bang on about music, art, life and more. Bang On is available on the triple j app, ABC listen app, and other podcast outlets.

Listen to Bang On here.

Media spending and COVID-19: Buying & selling in year of upheaval

By James Manning

• Podcast with IMAA’s Dominic Pearman and Nine’s Michael Stephenson
• Pearman on impact at agencies, Stephenson on Nine TV and radio

Listen to insights into how the media and ad sectors are dealing with sector shut-downs and reduced media spends. Joining a special Mediaweek podcast are the Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA) co-founder, and MD and founder of Pearman Media, Dominic Pearman plus Nine‘s chief sales officer Michael Stephenson.

Listen to the podcast here.

Here are some of the highlights:

How the IMAA was founded and reception

Dominic Pearman: I went on a media junket last year and there were about 12 independents and we realised that they were happy to talk to each other. We thought it would be good to form an association and there were five us of initially who agreed to get together. It has been accepted really well with lots of good feedback. We started with 20 members just before COVID, now have 31 and we expect it to grow to 40 or 50.

Michael Stephenson: Not all of the independent agencies are small agencies. There are some big agencies with incredibly large clients and every day they play a more important role in our advertising eco-system. From Nine’s perspective, independent agencies are our second largest source of advertising revenue. We have just gone through the final part of our sales transformation which is largely centred around structuring our teams around our customers. For the very first time we now have teams across the country in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth who are specifically focused on the independent agency secretor.

For us at Nine it’s really important for us to get closer to the outcomes of advertising. What impact has the advertising that Dom and other independents buy from us across television, digital, radio or publishing, have on the client’s business? Did it help them with a new product or enter into a new market? These things are critically important and form a big part of our overall strategy.

Independent media agencies doing it tougher than multinationals

DP: It’s been a great thing to talk to each other. The independents seem to be doing it a bit tougher than the multinationals. I have heard multinationals are down 20-30% whereas many independents are down between 30-50% and some are down even more.

MS: COVID-19 has had an impact on all of us. From an agency perspective it comes from the categories that you leverage to in terms of the impact on individual businesses. If you are highly leveraged to a category like travel, luxury goods or retail then it would have had a greater impact. Some categories are more than surviving, they are flourishing. While many things are changing, the fundamentals have largely not changed. The whole notion of share of voice equals share of market couldn’t be any truer than it is now. There are some excellent examples: Harvey Norman and Nick Scali are two big retailers who are advertising through this environment. They are turning to trusted sources for advertising. Harvey Norman is buying lots of pages in our papers, they are advertising on radio and they are buying big campaigns on television. Their business is growing and they are doing very well.

Future of ad buying transactions

MS: The future of advertising is automated and addressable. Handheld transactions between buyer and seller are a thing of the past. All media will ultimately be bought in an automated transaction – using technology to replace the handheld process.

DP: To me relationships are the bottom line. We are only going to buy off people we like and respect. I have seen it over and over again that different media can get a greater share of the budget when the relationship is strong.

MS: I agree – any of our team will tell you what I focus most on is our people. Without them we have nothing. Automation takes out the manual process of advertising bookings which hopefully frees our teams up to spend more time with clients and agencies and the things that fundamentally make a difference.

Nine’s suite of media assets

DP: They have done a great job. Stepho doesn’t know this, but Nine has ranked #1 in a survey of the IMAA members. Nine was named the best media in terms of relationships and service. We don’t buy the group, we judge each sector on its merits – print, radio or TV. Grouping them in the one company doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to buy across the various media. It is great for Nine because they are able to cross promote across the different media.

Nine and integration of radio stations

MS: My first perception when I walked into Macquarie was how connected everybody was. The amazing talent was very connected to our clients and customers. Nine Radio is now part of the Nine group and it had to evolve as we move into a new world where we are trying to create marketing platforms for brands. With Nine now structured around major agencies, independents and the SME market, that’s where our focus is now for radio. The Macquarie team historically was highly leveraged to the SME market and less to the major multinational agencies. That’s one of the benefits of bringing the business into the Nine group.

After a strong 2019, is the TV competition stronger in 2020?

MS: Having a strong, vibrant television market is great. Looking at linear television in isolation, what we have done over the past few years is build an amazing platform with different programs. We have an amazing slate of Australian content. Some of the other guys might be crowing a little early as I see it. As we reach the middle of the year, Nine has a 39% share of every demo, we are 11 or 12 points ahead of 10 against every demo and six or seven points ahead of Seven in every demo. We are the dominant #1 player.

But that’s not that interesting to advertisers to be honest. Yes, they want someone who is strong. But they want the consistency of our audience and the ability to build reach and integrate brands around our content which are things we do better than anybody else.

ABC Five-Year Plan: $5m pa less on TV shows, Rebranding ABC Comedy

Managing director David Anderson has launched the ABC’s five-year strategy and outlined proposals to address budget cuts while protecting the Corporation’s independence and charter responsibilities for all Australians.

“The ABC Five-Year Plan 2020-2025 will guide us as we continue to transform from a traditional broadcaster to the nation’s most trusted and valued digital content provider across all platforms,” Anderson told ABC employees.

“This strategy lays out the next steps in the ABC’s proud 88-year history, ensuring that now and into the future we remain the home of Australian stories, trusted information and conversations that connect us all.”

Anderson said proposed savings initiatives aligned with the five-year plan, ensuring the ABC is more relevant to more Australians with a greater focus on accessibility and the on-demand digital services audiences now expect.

Anderson said the Federal Government’s indexation pause, which cut the ABC’s budget by $84m over three years with an ongoing reduction of $41m a year from 2022, coming on top of the $64m in ongoing cuts imposed in 2014, made difficult decisions affecting jobs and services inevitable.

“The proposals announced today ensure the ABC can enhance its value to all Australians now and into the future,” he said.  “However, we anticipate we will farewell as many as 250 people through this process, valued colleagues who have made tremendous contributions to the ABC and to our audiences.

“This is a difficult time for us, as it is for the broader economy and community as we all struggle with the events of this year.”

The proposed savings initiatives include:

• Giving ABC Life a new editorial direction and name, ABC Local, sourcing content from across the ABC, including outer suburban and regional areas.

• A greater focus on digital and on-demand news services, including discontinuing the 7.45am broadcast-only radio news bulletin and shifting focus to provide news across all our audio platforms.

• Rebranding ABC Comedy to create a home for a range of genres, such as Arts, Science, Education and Religion. Comedy will continue to be commissioned for ABC main channel and a destination on iview.

• Reducing independent production by approximately $5m p.a., predominately from the factual and entertainment slate, with the ABC prioritising investment in drama and children’s programming.

The proposed initiatives are in addition to reduced numbers in management and support teams and identified savings greater than 2% through current vacancies, redundancies and reducing operating costs.

The ABC has also reduced travel budgets by 25%, with a greater reliance on technology to connect the workforce.

A review of the ABC’s property portfolio will consider options to either improve our accommodation, lease vacant space or relocate if it is more beneficial. Assessing spare capacity for leasing in ABC Ultimo could potentially create a $4 million p.a. saving. A portion of this could be reinvested in services.

Increased investment in regional centres reflects another important commitment in the Five-Year Plan and will see 75% of content-makers working outside the Ultimo headquarters by 2025, ensuring greater engagement with local communities.

Fox Sports Friday: Coverage from 6am of Women’s World Cup announcement

The announcement for the hosting rights of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will be made tomorrow (Friday, June 26) at 2.00am AEST by the FIFA Council, in the hopes that the joint bid made by Australia and New Zealand will be successful hosting the Women’s World Cup on home soil for the first time for both countries.

Fox Sports News (Channel 500), on Foxtel, will provide the best coverage delivering dedicated live programming following the announcement.

Commencing from 6.00am will be a wrap-up of the outcome of the decision with all of the latest reactions from home and in Switzerland where the vote will be held.

Also at 6.00am, we interview FFA chairman Chris Nikou and Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

At 6.30am, coverage continues on Fox Sports News, broadcasting an interview with the Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck.

From 7.00am, Fox Sports expert football commentators Mark Bosnich and Adam Peacock will host a one-hour special where they will speak directly with the FFA CEO James Johnson, FFA’s Head of Game Development Sarah Walsh as well as Westfield Matildas player Steph Catley and New Zealand’s player Rebekah Stott.

New appointments at Carat to strengthen strategy and planning

Carat has announced new appointments to strengthen its strategic and planning capabilities, fuel innovation and transition Carat to delivering best in class consumer and client outcomes in the future.

Linda Fagerlund joins as Chief Strategy Officer, Danni Wright has been promoted to National Head of Strategy & Comms Planning, and Cameron Law joins as Strategy Director, Carat Queensland.

In a new role for the agency, Fagerlund will work closely with Carat ANZ CEO, Sue Squillace, to drive Carat’s brand strategy and focus on elevating and amplifying its product solutions, processes and behaviours to accelerate growth.

Fagerlund has a hybrid and integrated experience in strategy, having worked for 14 years in senior strategic roles across media agencies, creative agencies and the publisher side including Leo Burnett, News Corp Australia, Match Media and Ikon. Prior to joining Carat, she was National Head of Strategy at Spark Foundry Australia, where she built the strategic product and team with a focus on integrated strategy models that bring together media, creative, data and technology capabilities.

Fagerlund will be supported by Carat’s Wright, who has been promoted to National Head of Strategy & Comms Planning. Wright will continue to lead Carat’s national strategy team with an extended remit signalling the agency’s renewed focus on the discipline of Comms Planning. This role highlights the importance of connecting strategic thinking with smart and sophisticated media implementation and ecosystem design.

Law joins Carat following seven years with Ikon as Communications Director, with the last three years spent leading the $40m Flight Centre Travel Group account.

Sue Squillace said: “There is no doubt the appointment of Linda and promotion of Danni will further strengthen our integrated strategic and planning capabilities. They both have backgrounds brimming with client success stories and a huge passion for building brands. We are looking forward to their invaluable contribution to the next phase of Carat’s journey. I also welcome Cameron to our team in Queensland whose appointment reinforces our commitment to growth in this market.

“I’m thrilled to join the team at a very exciting, transformative time for Carat both globally and locally. It’s rare to have an opportunity to help redefine an agency brand that has such a remarkable legacy and scale. I feel privileged to work with Sue again to help take Carat to the next stage of its success,” Fagerlund added.

Wright said: “Even the best comms strategy is meaningless if it doesn’t influence what people actually see or hear from a brand. This is why doubling down on our connections planning function is critical to do justice to the strategic powerhouse we have at Carat. I’m so proud of the Carat Strategy Team and believe that by bringing the distinct role of connections design into the wider team we are going to see their thinking result in even more meaningful outcomes for our clients.”

Law added: “Now is the perfect time to be joining Carat, both at a national and a local Queensland level, as we enter what will be a defining time for the business. I’m lucky to be joining such a close-knit and future-focussed team.”

Both Fagerlund and Wright will join Carat’s executive national leadership team, putting strategy firmly at the core of the agency whilst driving increased diversity.

To drive the Comms Planning discipline, Carat’s strategy department will be joined by new planning specialists. This includes Katy Kamaee and Jay Patel in Sydney, and in Melbourne Jimmy Diamond and Chris Carey, supported by a national comms planning community.

Top Photo: Carat’s Danni Wright and Linda Fagerlund

TV Ratings Wednesday June 24 Week 26 2020

By James Manning

• Seven’s midweek winning combo: H&A and AGT
• Plus The Front Bar with Andy Lee and Tony Barber
• SBS’s best 2020 midweek share: Trains, chocs and Maccas

Seven News 1,162,000/1,101,000
Nine News 990,000/911,000
ABC News 786,000
A Current Affair 698,000
7.30 649,000
The Project 350,000/541,000
10 News 405,000/262,000
Sunrise 279,000
The Latest 225,000
The Drum 223,000
News Breakfast 211,000
Today 204,000
SBS World News 184,000

Seven: The primary channel and the network were well ahead last night.
Home and Away was steady around 650,000 with America’s Got Talent then on 563,000, up from 525,000 a week ago.
The Front Bar did 347,000 in AFL markets with 219,000 in Melbourne. The show featured the first full four quarters appearance from Andy Lee at the bar and then a memorable appearance from TV legend and Gold Logie winner Tony Barber. He was followed by Essendon great and swimming pool builder Paul Vander Har.

Nine: Wednesday could again deliver the week’s lowest share for the primary channel with 16.0%. The Kath & Kim double was on 356,000 and then 319,000.
The midweek movie Crocodile Dundee II then did 238,000.

10: Share dipped into single figures for the first time in survey on a Wednesday this year. The Project had the best primetime audience with 541,000 at 7pm.
Two Bondi Rescue episodes did 346,000 and 282,000.

ABC: Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering were both close to 550,000 with both episodes up substantially on last week. At Home Alone Together was also up – from 331,000 to 389,000 week-on-week. 

SBS: The channel posted its most-competitive Wednesday share this year with 6.3%.
Tony Robinson’s World by Rail led the charge with 271,000.
A repeat of Inside Cadbury: Chocolate Secrets Unwrapped hit a sweet spot too with 233,000.
9.30pm was a contributor too with a repeat of Secrets of McDonald’s on 173,000.

Week 26 TV: Wednesday
ABC14.1%720.8%916.0%10 9.4%SBS One6.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY2.5%7TWO3.5%GO!2.5%10 Bold4.9%VICELAND2.0%
ABC ME0.4%7mate2.7%GEM2.7%10 Peach2.6%Food Net0.8%
ABC NEWS1.8%7flix2.1%9Life2.4%  NITV0.2%
    9Rush1.2%  SBS World Movies1.0%
TOTAL18.9% 29.0% 24.8% 17.0% 10.3%


ABCSeven AffiliatesNine Affiliates10 AffiliatesSBS
ABC11.9%719.0%916.4%WIN9.4%SBS One5.7%
ABC ME0.7%7mate3.7%GEM4.4%WIN Peach2.1%Food Net0.7%
ABC NEWS1.2%7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)2.2%9Life2.2%Sky News  on WIN2.5%NITV0.2%
        SBS Movies1.1%
TOTAL16.6% 29.7% 26.3% 19.4% 9.1%


  1. Seven News Seven 1,162,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,101,000
  3. Nine News Nine 990,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 911,000
  5. ABC News ABC 786,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 698,000
  7. The Chase Australia Seven 677,000
  8. Home And Away Seven 653,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 649,000
  10. America’s Got Talent Seven 563,000
  11. Hot Seat Nine 554,000
  12. The Weekly With Charlie Pickering ABC 553,000
  13. Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery ABC 547,000
  14. The Project 7pm 10 541,000
  15. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 428,000
  16. 10 News First 10 405,000
  17. At Home Alone Together ABC 389,000
  18. Kath & Kim -Ep1 Nine 356,000
  19. The Project 6.30pm 10 350,000
  20. The Front Bar Seven 347,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. The Project 7pm 10 128,000
  2. Seven News Seven 119,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 117,000
  4. Nine News Nine 108,000
  5. Home And Away Seven 105,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. The Project 7pm 10 252,000
  2. Seven News Seven 247,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 240,000
  4. Nine News Nine 234,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 208,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Seven News Seven 319,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 303,000
  3. Nine News Nine 295,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 286,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 273,000
WEDNESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 210,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 206,000
  3. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  4. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 154,000
  5. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  6. Little J And Big Cuz AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  7. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  8. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  9. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 142,000
  10. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  11. Neighbours 10 Peach 138,000
  12. 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown (R) SBS VICELAND 134,000
  13. Play School Nursery Rhyme News Time- ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  14. Rita And Crocodile PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  15. Molly And Mack PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  16. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  17. Rusty Rivets PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  18. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  19. Floogals PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  20. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 70,000
  2. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 69,000
  3. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 64,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 57,000
  5. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 52,000
  6. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 44,000
  7. Aussie Salvage Squad Discovery Channel 42,000
  8. Deadliest Catch Discovery Channel 41,000
  9. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 40,000
  10. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 39,000
  11. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 37,000
  12. PML Later Sky News Live 36,000
  13. Richo & Smith Sky News Live 36,000
  14. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 35,000
  15. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 34,000
  16. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 33,000
  17. The Simpsons FOX8 33,000
  18. Quiz BBC First 33,000
  19. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 33,000
  20. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 33,000

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

ABC cuts mean high profile correspondents could face axe

Emma Alberici’s position as the ABC’s chief economics correspondent appears to be the highest profile casualty of cuts announced on Wednesday at the public broadcaster, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

In documents emailed to staff by Gaven Morris, the ABC’s director of news, analysis and investigations, Alberici’s position was announced as a potential redundancy.

However, it is not yet certain that Alberici will leave the ABC. It is understood she could remain at the public broadcaster in another capacity. In the next few weeks the ABC will undertake a “process of consultation”, in which it will consult Alberici on positions that fit with her skills set.

While there are unlikely to be positions for Alberici on major current affairs programs, she could be offered a presenting job, with suggestions that she may move to another area, such as the ABC news channel.

With between 60 and 70 jobs to go in news, other roles made redundant include the position of Brisbane-based rural and regional reporter Dominique Schwartz – although, like Alberici, she may still be redeployed. Two positions in the ABC’s investigative unit might also go, and another in the arts. However, the ABC’s 7.30 has largely escaped unscathed.

The ABC has also asked for expressions of interest in redundancies.

[Read more]

Arts sector to get $250m in loans, grants as part of COVID-19 package

Thousands of jobs across the entertainment, arts and screen sectors will be backed with a new $250 million targeted taxpayer-funded package, providing new grants and loans over 12 months to ensure the industry survives the coronavirus pandemic, reports Rob Harris in The SMH and The Age.

The Morrison government will on Thursday reveal its tailored survival funding for the sector to support the $112 billion creative economy and the more than 600,000 Australians it employs.

A $50 million fund will be established to support local film and television producers to secure finance and start filming again. Filming of new productions has largely been halted as insurers are not providing coverage for COVID-19.

Grants of between $75,000 to $2 million will be made available in competitive funding from next month to provide capital to put on new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease, including through innovative operating and digital delivery models.

About $90 million in “show starter” concessional loans to fund new productions and events that stimulate job creation and economic activity will also be made available. The loans program will be delivered through commercial banks, backed by a 100 per cent Commonwealth guarantee.

[Read more]

Village Roadshow's Gold Coast theme parks to reopen

Crowds will be able to return to Wet’n’Wild and Warner Bros Movie World by mid-July after the Queensland government approved Village Roadshow’s COVID-19 plans to reopen its theme parks at half their normal capacity, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The two theme parks will reopen on July 15. Sea World and Paradise Country will open their gates again on Friday, and Topgolf reopened on June 12.

“[Village Roadshow’s] Gold Coast theme parks – Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild and Paradise Country – have had their COVID Safe plans approved by the Queensland government and are able to reopen under those plans at up to 50 per cent capacity,” the company said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Village’s cinema operations in Tasmania have already reopened and there are plans to do the same in regional Victoria later this week.

It plans to reopen cinemas in Melbourne in mid-July, assuming coronavirus restrictions will allow it.

[Read more]

News Brands

What the ABC's new strategy means for viewers and listeners

Devoted ABC radio listeners who have spent years tuning in to the 7.45am news bulletin and its distinctive 18-second theme song will soon be disappointed, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

After more than 80 years, the 15-minute bulletin, which runs across ABC Local radio stations and includes the extended version of orchestral tune Majestic Fanfare, will be axed as part of a five-year strategic plan designed to save the public broadcaster $40 million and attract younger audiences.

ABC’s head of news, analysis and investigations Gaven Morris told staff that the audiences listening to the bulletin had dropped faster than ABC Local radio listeners and would be replaced with a five-minute 8am state bulletin and a 10-minute 7am bulletin with the extended musical tune.

“While it’s a familiar component of our service, its audience has fallen more than 20 per cent in four years, at a faster rate than Local Radio audiences,” Morris said. “We would still provide a 10-minute bulletin at 7am – with the extended Majestic Fanfare – as well as headlines at 7.30am and a new five-minute bulletin at 8am.”

[Read more]

Mourning news: ABC's stupid decision to cut its vital organs

The latest round of cuts to ABC staff is a needless disaster, inflicted by a Coalition government seemingly unable to recognise the essential role of our public broadcaster. A huge number of Australians – including Coalition voters – love the ABC and particularly value its role in times of emergency, such as bushfires or pandemics, writes Matt Peacock in The Sydney Morning Herald. [Peacock is the chair of ABC Alumni and a former staff-elected director on the board of the public broadcaster.]

Yet since the Coalition was elected on a promise of “no cuts”, almost a quarter of its staff have been sacked, the result of an ongoing campaign of cuts and denigration by zealots and vested interests in the commercial media. Now we have the lunatic decision to ditch the 7.45 am radio news, a flagship program across the nation.

It’s a stupid decision, and it should resonate among Australians as an alarm that the ABC is being savaged. Hopefully, in a more enlightened future, some of these services can be restored.

Not only is radio news being thinned and bulletins shortened, so too is the original content from popular programs such as Australian Story and Foreign Correspondent being stripped.

Some in the Coalition are now pretending the government hasn’t cut the budget at all. It’s a big lie.

[Read more]

Seven Adelaide presenters Jessica Adamson and Tim Noonan depart

TV presenters Jessica Adamson and Tim Noonan will depart Channel 7 following a restructure of the network’s afternoon news service, reports Antimo Iannella in Adelaide Confidential.

Seven Adelaide’s 4pm bulletin will now be produced out of Melbourne starting Monday, with current host Rosanna Mangiarelli moving to the weekend desk.

Veteran weekday presenter Jane Doyle will remain in her role.

Award-winning journalist Adamson has been with the network since 1997 and has presented Seven’s top-rating weekend news since December 2014.

“It’s been an enormous privilege to tell and present stories to South Australians for the last 24 years,” said Adamson, who was named 2006 SA Journalist of the Year and 2015 Broadcaster of the Year at the SA Press Club awards.

“I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside some of the best in the business on some of the biggest stories including the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, the Banda Aceh tsunami, the Beaconsfield mine disaster and the Tour de France.

“I’ve loved it all, met some amazing people and made lifelong friends.”

Noonan has been with Seven since 2011, working as a news reporter and as a weatherman, with his quirky style winning fans around the country.

Before moving to Seven, he was ABC Radio’s roving reporter in Adelaide for a decade.

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Head of Entertainment & Factual departs ABC after three years

ABC head of entertainment & factual Josie Mason-Campbell departed the ABC yesterday after three years with the broadcaster, reports TV Tonight.

The redundancy follows an ABC restructure which sees ABC factual content makers – currently split between entertainment & factual and specialist – into a new factual & education team, under Aidan Laverty, currently head of specialist.

Michael Carrington, director entertainment & specialist said, “Since joining the ABC in 2017, Josie has led our entertainment & factual team to great acclaim across award-winning and outstanding programs. In recent months, she has also been acting head of distribution, guiding our programming and scheduling across multiple channels to bring high-quality content to audiences when and how they want it.

“Her dedication and drive have delivered diverse and distinctive Australian content to people right across the country and we remain committed to the programs across her slate. The ABC is a better place thanks to her hard work and unfailing enthusiasm for local talent and creativity. We wish her the very best.”

Josie Mason-Campbell said, “I have been privileged to work with the ABC and to lead a ridiculously talented and creatively brave factual & entertainment team and more recently, the programming team.”

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You won't be bored watching Operation Buffalo but you may be confused

The ambition that underpins Operation Buffalo, the ABC’s current Sunday night comic-drama set at a 1950s atomic weapons test site in the South Australian desert, is considerable, reports The Age’s Craig Mathieson.

The series draws together historic satire, bungling farce, contemporary verdicts, and espionage thrills, but somehow it jumbles them up so that they’re trifling. Vast crimes have tiny repercussions, the era’s habits are dislocating, and the comic rhythms bristle. One image does rings true: an experimental bomb that refuses to detonate.

Certainly you won’t be bored watching it. Written and directed by Rake creator Peter Duncan, who created it with Tanya Phegan, Operation Buffalo moves at a frightful clip. Everything is a hustle, a catch-up, a deal – whether the stakes are a matter of the British Empire’s public image or supposed life and death.

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