From Friends of the ABC:
ABC Cuts to Radio National
Radio National plans cuts to 10 programs. Specialist programs gone in 2009 will be: The Media Report, The Religion Report, The Sports Factor, Radio Eye, The Ark, In Conversation, Street Stories and Perspective. Short Story will rely more on repeats from the past.
Australia Talks will be cut back to three days a week.With only one new program to be produced, and existing programs to be rescheduled to fill most gaps, there is a danger that some specialist subjects will be diluted within generalist programming or lost altogether.
The reason given by the ABC is the need to extend RN’s online content. Without sufficient funds, that means diverting production resources from radio.
RN’s importance is in producing specialist programs that provide in-depth consideration of issues and events.
Stephen Crittendon, The Religion Report presenter, has been stood down from his job following his revelations and critical comments on-air about RN’s cuts. Stephen is an excellent broadcaster who deserves support.
Friends of the ABC is outraged at ABC plans to axe nine specialist Radio National programs next year, and to increase the number of repeats.
“These cuts amount to a major downgrading of Radio National,” said Glenys Stradijot, a spokesperson for Friends of the ABC (Vic).
“Radio National is the essence of what public broadcasting should be. It produces programs of depth that are informative and stimulating.
“It is inconceivable that the ABC would cut Radio National.
“With other parts of the ABC having become more populist and lightweight, audience interest in RN has never been greater. Nor has the community’s need for quality content.
“Audiences are fed up with the huge number of repeats already broadcast on RN. They don’t want more.”
Friends of the ABC fears the ABC is cutting RN to divert funds to newer services.
“While it is essential the ABC keeps up-to-date with new ways of delivering content, the public broadcaster’s future lies in its production of quality content. Moves to increase content delivery options must not be at the expense of traditional services that are needed and are accessible to all Australians.
“It’s time the ABC’s managing director told the government and the community how much funding the ABC really needs to remain a quality national broadcaster,” said Glenys Stradijot.