ABC Friends News

DISAPPOINTMENT OVER DUMBING DOWN

MEDIA RELEASE

December 6, 2017

ABC DUMBING-DOWN PROMPTS “DEEP CONCERN”

Public Laments Disappointing ABC Programming Decisions

The Victorian branch of ABC Friends expresses its deep concern over recent programming announcements for 2018 which appear to represent a dumbing down of ABC offerings, and providing less news and current affairs.

This is in spite of promises of higher quality in the face of the plague of fake news in other media.

“It was always going to be a most challenging time for Michelle Guthrie to head the ABC as CEO when appointed last year,” Victorian ABC Friends President Peter Monie said today.

“With reducing funding and continuing attacks from the political right, from competitors and with the unrelenting criticism of everything ABC by the Murdoch media, life was clearly not going to be easy.”

However, Friends nationally were disappointed when Ms Guthrie said she wanted the ABC to appeal to 100% of Australians, that she did not see it as her role to fight for extra funding. She followed this by comparing the relative costs per listener of Triple J and Radio National.

On the positive side, the CEO has attacked the ABC critics, indicated her disappointment at the loss of the Australia Network and has worked tirelessly to ensure more diversity of programming and of ABC staff, while reducing overall levels of management.

The latest Annual Report shows that there has been a reduction in funding in real terms of 30% over the last 31 years and a reduction in staff numbers of some 600 since 2013.

Michelle Guthrie, with her concentration on the actual delivery of radio and television programs through the various new media platforms has, apparently, devoted too little thought to ensuring the depth, quality and variety of content to be offered by the ABC.  This applies particularly at the flagship Radio National, which should set the gold standard for intelligent engagement with its listeners.

“And now in South Australia and the ACT there is evidence that local programs will be further cut, at a time when the ABC has committed to more regional programs,” Mr Monie said, “not less. If these developments have been correctly reported, how can the ABC expect its Friends and Shareholders to continue supporting the national broadcaster?”

Further comment: ABC Friends VIC President Peter Monie: 0402 207 730