Clarke To Be Put In Hall

April 21, 2008

Hugely popular ABC comedian, John Clarke, is to be inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame this year.

Clarke, who along with Bryan Dawe have entertained audiences for decades, including through their weekly 7.3O Report skits, has been living in Australia after migrating from his native New Zealand in the 1970s.

Well done to John, and here’s hoping we hear him for many years to come.


ABC To Sell Shops?

April 19, 2008


A bizarre and worrying rumour has emerged.

Crikey is reporting that the ABC is secretly planning to sell off it’s 40+ ABC Shops, possibly to Dymocks, which already operate some of the more than 60 ‘ABC Centres’, within their bookshops.

Such a move seems ridiculous. Why would you sell off the only aspect of the Corporation which makes, rather than spends, money?

Could it perhaps be an identification by ABC Commercial Head Lynley Marshall of the inefficiency and poor management quality of those at the top of the ABC Shop hierarchy? Possibly. Or could she have lookd at the BBC Shops, which were recently closed in favour of an online store? Already ABC Shop Online makes more profit per annum than any other ABC Shop, with the exception of the flagship ‘Queen Victoria Building’ store in Sydney’s CBD.

This news comes on top of the plan to outsource production staff at the ABC (which Crikey estimates could involve the sacking of around 800 staff). The ABC will certainly be a far leaner organisation if these plans come to fruition…but will it be for the better in the long run?  

ABC Online Relaunches

April 19, 2008


The ABC continues to relaunch it’s websites. Following on from the successful recent relaunches of ABC Television, ABC News and Triple J (and the appallingly bad relaunch of ‘ABC Local’, which continues to be very user unfriendly, gaudy and rushed), the ABC has relaunched it’s homepage.

Sporting a new green and grey look, which harks back to the look the homepage had in the early years of the decade, the homepage now is simplified, with less text and more links. Each section has it’s own ‘pod’ and flash is used generously.

Radio streaming from the homepage is also a priority, and local weather and radio remains on the right hand side of the page.

The only problem with the refresh is the lack of innovation it offers users. This was a fantastic opportunity for the ABC to create a homepage which was adaptable to the user. Looking at the recently relaunched BBC Homepage ( ) demonstrates the possibilities. on the BBC Homepage, users can decide what to display: don’t want the ‘Television pod’? click on ‘remove’ and it’s gone! You can customise the news sections displayed, and even what colour you want!

The ABC homepage, while visually an improvement on the past one, is none the less already outdated by not offering cusotmisation. A great opportunity missed.

ABC: 2020 Vision

April 19, 2008

ABC logo

On the eve of the 2020 summit in Canberra, the ABC’s Managing Director, Mark Scott, has unveiled his vision for the state of the National Broadcaster in 2020.

Mr Scott aims to have 6 television channels, including the previously announced ABC3 children’s channel, ABC4: a 24/7 News Channel, ABC5: an educational channel and ABC6: a ‘best of’ channel.

Expansion of the radio networks is also planned, with new stations focussing on Country, Jazz, Swing, Hip-Hop, Metal, Childrens, Rural, Sport and Health.

Further expansion of online services is also advocated.

The central aims of the Corporation will be under the following banners: Universal, Local, International, Quality and Diversity, Innovation and Australian.

Of course all this is only possible if the ABC funding is increased to an adequate level, with July 2009 the date of the next triennial funding agreement starting.  

The full vision is avaialble to read here:

Farewell, John Cargher

April 19, 2008

Radio National

It is a sad day for ABC Radio, with the announcement that John Cargher, presenter of Radio National’s ‘Singers of Renown’ is to retire, after 50 years at the National Broadcaster.

Mr Cargher began presenting his signature programme in 1966, and it was supposed to last for just 13 weeks!

He was also well known for presenting ‘Music for Pleasure’ on ABC Radio for more than 30 years, ending in 1997.

His final broadcast, before a series of retrospective highlights programmes, will be 4:00pm Saturday, 26 April.

A great loss to the ABC, and to his many listeners. May he enjoy a long and happy retirement, surrounded by beautiful music.  

ABC Fiction Award Winner Announced

April 19, 2008

ABC Fiction Award

A thought-provoking fantasy novel offering a highly imaginative perspective on Jesus, betrayal and death has won the 2008 ABC Fiction Award.

The winner of this year’s ABC Fiction Award is Adelaide-based high-school teacher Kain Massin. His novel God for the Killing follows the story of heroine Judith, who was snatched from Nazareth as a child and trained as an assassin by the Romans. Judith finds herself in Judaea 30 AD. charged with a mission to kill the new Messiah, whom she soon learns is actually Joshua, her childhood sweetheart.

Beating 400 entries, God for the Killing was selected by four judges who unanimously agreed upon God for the Killing as the winning entrant for 2008. The judges this year were Lindy Burns, Luke Davies, Murray Waldren and Jo Mackay. 
God for the Killing will be published later in 2008 by ABC Books and Kain will receive his cheque for $10,000 and the Award from Mark Scott, ABC Managing Director, at a function in Sydney on Tuesday 22 April.

(Source: ABC Media Release)

ABCTV Outsourcing Confirmed

March 26, 2008


Today ABC Managing Director Mark Scott revealed that recent rumours about ABC outsourcing television production were true.

 “I think the future for the ABC is to create some programs on its own, to create other programs of partnership,” he said.

“When we do that though, we need to ensure that all the productions we do – done in partnership or done internally – are done to the high standards that the ABC sets – our editorial policies, high standards for integrity and quality.”

However others, particularly the ABC staff union, are concerned that this will mean a loss of the ABC’s unique programming streams.

Graeme Thompson from the union explains: “If the ABC becomes nothing more than a broadcasting stick or tower for other people’s programs, it’s going to be increasingly hard to distinguish what’s different about the ABC from its commercial competitors.”

Worrying indeed. How would ‘Compass’ be altered if created by an outside production company? Less willing to be honest? Less broad in its spectrum of interest? We already know what a ‘Catalyst’ programme would look like if made by outsiders – it happened in 2001 when Jonathan Shier axed ‘Quantum’ and replaced it with a bought programme. The resulting disaster of a programme led to ‘Catalyst’ being commissioned. Let us hope that Kim Dalton learns the lessons of history…