Roundup: Bureau of Meteorology, 10 World Cup bid?, Sesame Street

Australia - Matthew Leckie winning goal in Aus V Denmark world cup socceroos ecuador

Liam Bartlett, Fox Corp, Sky News UK, JCDecaux, Crime Junkie

Bureau of Meteorology ditches weather experts for ‘community information officers’

Live weather crosses to radio stations across the country will no longer be delivered by experienced meteorologists – instead they will be provided by a team of less-qualified “community information officers,” reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth

The move has prompted widespread alarm, particularly in rural and regional areas that rely heavily on weather information from meteorological experts.

The introduction by the Bureau of Meteorology of the “suitably qualified science communicators” began last month and it will impact about 700 scheduled radio crosses each week that are aired across more than 100 state, local and community radio stations.

The move – which has not been publicly announced – will affect weather radio crosses on both the ABC and commercially owned radio stations.

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TV’s musical chairs game continues with Bartlett

Sarah Abo’s move to the Today show a week ago appeared to put a full-stop on the seemingly endless game of musical chairs that seems to have taken over Australian news and current affairs in 2022, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

But it turns out Abo isn’t the only 60 Minutes figure off to greener pastures. Diary is reliably informed that long-time 60 Minutes presenter and reporter Liam Bartlett is all but certain to join Seven in 2023.

In early October, Bartlett surprised media watchers when he announced that he was leaving his roles as both reporter on 60 Minutes, and host of the morning program at Nine-owned Perth radio station 6PR.

Now the word out of the Seven bunker is that while final details are still being ironed out, Bartlett will almost certainly be moving to 60 Minutes’ arch rival weekly current affairs show, 7News Spotlight, where he will join the show’s EP Mark Llewellyn.

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Fox Network entertainment now a “small and reducing” part of portfolio, CFO says

Fox Corp. CFO Steve Tomsic said that the company isn’t feeling the same pain in its advertising business that many of its competitors are seeing, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin

Speaking at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York, Tomsic said that while Fox, led by CEO Lachlan Murdoch, isn’t immune from the advertising pressures facing the rest of the industry, its focus on sports and news, combined with the growth of Tubi, have helped mitigate those problems.

“It feels like the market is really heterogeneous at the moment. I think the one thing that is thematic probably across all advertising players is visibility is lower and the money’s coming in later. But then I look at our book, and the bid for sports continues to be there,” Tomsic said, noting strong results for the World Cup and upcoming Super Bowl. “And so we feel really good about where sports is, news linear continues to be quite strong for us. I think the pockets where we see areas of weakness is — to a certain extent — digital news and programmatic, and to a certain extent, DR [direct response advertising].”

On the entertainment side of the business, Tomsic downplayed the Fox network’s entertainment assets (he said network entertainment is “increasingly becoming the smallest component of our advertising book”), noting that it is one of the areas facing pressure, but suggested that growth at Tubi was helping to more than make up for those declines.

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Sky News UK boss set to step down as channel looks to post-TV future

The head of Sky News UK is set to quit after 16 years in the job, as the news outlet faces up to long-term challenges in adapting to a post-television future, reports The Guardian’s Jim Waterson.

John Ryley has been in charge of Sky News since 2006, taking over at a time when the outlet was almost entirely focused on producing its flagship live television channel. Under his leadership, Sky News has transformed itself into a multimedia operation with a large online audience, although it continues to spend a substantial proportion of its budget on its traditional broadcasting.

Sources at Sky News told the Guardian that Ryley’s departure is expected be announced to staff in a call on Monday. Although details are yet to be confirmed, his departure is expected to be announced alongside new hires for Sky News’ data, podcasts, and original journalism teams. However, investment in some new studios will also be paused.

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First came the giant advertising screens – now it’s plus-sized payphones

If you were already struggling to dodge the extra-wide advertising billboards now dotting central Sydney streets, get ready for a whole new challenge: plus-sized payphones, reports Nine Publishing’s Michael Koziol.

The City of Sydney is exhibiting a proposal by advertising firm JCDecaux to replace 38 Telstra payphones with “Smart City Payphone assets”, each with a large advertising screen at the rear. Unlike older phone boxes, they will have USB ports to charge mobiles, and some will offer Wi-Fi.

The new payphones will also be significantly bigger than the ones they replace; about 30 per cent taller and 30 per cent wider, according to an environmental impact statement by consultant Urbis, while the advertising display area will more than double.

It follows a backlash to the 86-inch QMS advertising billboards installed at bus shelters and dozens of other standalone locations around the city. An outcry about the oversized signage prompted Lord Mayor Clover Moore to announce a review.

Under federal law, Telstra is authorised to install telephone booths without council approval, but permission is required when the phone boxes include third-party advertising, the City of Sydney said in a statement.

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‘Crime Junkie’ is Apple Podcast’s most popular show of the year

Crime Junkie, the true-crime podcast led by THR Next Gen 2022 honoree Ashley Flowers, was the most popular show on Apple Podcasts this year, the tech giant said on Monday, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s J. Clara Chan.

To populate the lists, Apple looked at user listenership and engagement between November 1, 2021, through Oct. 31, 2022. Crime Junkie, the flagship show of Flowers’ Audiochuck company, also took the top spots in the top followed and top shared categories, while Audiochuck was honored as the top free channel on Apple Podcasts for the year.

For podcast subscriptions, Morbid — a true-crime show hosted by Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh Kelley that has an exclusive ad sales and one-week windowing deal with Wondery and Amazon Music — landed at No. 1. Wondery retained its spot as the top subscriber channel on the platform.

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Sesame Street actor Bob McGrath, who played Bob Johnson, dies aged 90

Actor Bob McGrath — best known for his role as Bob Johnson on Sesame Street — has died, aged 90, reports The ABC.

McGrath’s family shared on Facebook that he died peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones, on December 4.

He was a founding cast member on Sesame Street when the show premiered in 1969, in his role as a friendly neighbour.

His final appearance on the show was in 2017, marking an almost five-decade-long stint as part of the much-loved children’s show.

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Sports Media

Ten readying for World Cup bid

The heroic efforts of the Socceroos being beamed into Australia on SBS in recent weeks haven’t gone unnoticed by the Ten Network, which controls virtually all of our soccer rights except for the World Cup, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

Ten’s US owner Paramount in 2021 reportedly paid a total of $300m over several years for the rights to the A-League, W-League, and Socceroos and Matildas internationals leading up to and after the World Cup.

But the deal for the big dance in Qatar had already been negotiated with SBS a decade before Ten made its big commitment to broadcast Australian soccer.

However, Diary hears that for the 2026 World Cup (to be jointly hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico), it’s increasingly likely that Ten will provide stiff competition for SBS, which for decades has been the primary host broadcaster for the event in Australia.

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