Fans of the ABC’s regional radio coverage in Victoria are dumbfounded by the decision to slash local radio programmes.
Prime time local morning radio shows across the state are being axed in favour of more online coverage.
Morning radio shows in regional areas will be replaced by statewide programmes.
Staff at ABC regional stations in Sale, Wodonga, Ballarat, Bendigo, Horsham and Mildura have been told their local breakfast shows will be cut by one hour from January 2022 and the hour-long local morning shows in each centre will be scrapped.
It will extinguish one of the last and most important sources of broadcast local news and information for many communities.
Nevertheless, the ABC says the proposed changes will increase the amount of local content by bolstering online offerings.
According to an ABC statement:
Audiences are increasingly moving to digital and on-demand services and these changes, which will come into effect in 2022, reflect that shift in audience demand. By moving to a single state-wide Mornings show, we are able to free up content makers to increase the number and frequency of digital and on-demand local content available across the day.
Around 1.2 million Australians each week listen to our regional stations. However, Australians are rapidly moving away from linear programming to on-line and on-demand consumption. Over the past four years the time spent by audiences accessing our regional content has more than tripled, while our reach on our regional social media accounts has quadrupled.
Staff across the regional stations were informed in an email from Victorian and Tasmanian regional editor Jocelyn Nettlefold there would be no job losses.
Jocelyn Nettlefold is reported to have told staff that the programming change is an orientation towards how the ABC can better serve local audiences across all platforms, “now and into the future.”
For any radio listener who has become depressed by this news, we offer you this item from the archives, when it was apparently a lot easier to break into ABC News bulletins.
We give you the news (and Spike Milligan).