Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A messy media post (but with pretty pictures)

This is not a good post. It is all over the place and I am trying to say too much in one post. Nevertheless, so much writing has gone into it, so I will publish it.

"This week up to 17 Catalyst staff will leave the building, one of the top teams in the world dedicated to science communication, with not a farewell, a handshake or a stale biscuit – like felons out onto the street," Williams wrote in an email to fellow staff.

So wrote Robin Williams, presenter of ABC Radio National's Science Show. I think the cancelling of Catalyst with the loss of a number of experienced ABC science journalists is appalling. The show is to be replaced by a number of one hour science specials over 2017. Yawn. My boredom threshold likes bite sized Catalyst style reporting. I hardly think one hour science shows will have much appeal. Young people have an even lower boredom threshold than I do, so if our ABC is trying to attract younger audiences, then I am not sure that is the right way to go about it.

The standard cry is, 'The ABC needs to attract younger audiences'. I have been hearing this this since I became a viewer of and listener of our ABC back in about 1980. At times our ABC does attract younger people with specific shows or even radio stations like Triple J. I would guess many of the audience of Rage will go on to be people of influence in society. But when people get to a certain age, they often gravitate to our ABC. That is its prime audience and ABC management would do well to remember that. 

Closer to my heart is ABC Radio. 774 ABC Melbourne is to be rebranded as ABC Melbourne, or something like that, as are all local radio stations. Who cares. I already say ABC Melbourne if I refer to the radio station.  There does not seem to be changes aside from that to ABC local radio. Good, although I have increasingly turned off local radio because of the amount of music played and focus on music. Our local station has a musician as a presenter in the afternoon, so I just switch off. The 'Drive' presenter has advertised his Tracks of Your Life ad nauseum, and while I don't mind him as a presenter, again too much music.

So, I do not like music on my local radio talk station. It is boring. And that brings me to Radio National. I haven't listened to it for years. It has music but that is to be done away with. Good. It is better known as a talk documentary station. When I say I haven't listened to RN for years, I am a voracious consumer of RN podcasts. Health Report. Law Report. Download This Show. Rear Vision. Science Show, selectively. I say that because the podcast is conveniently broken into individual segments, so you download what interests you. There are so many more podcasts I would like to listen to, but I am time restricted.

While ABC staff have protested against the changes, ABC presenter Emma Alberici says change is necessary for our ABC to be more relevant. Do I see a future Liberal Party politician in the making? 

What you think about in the early hours of the morning can be really weird. This morning at 5:35 Lobby Gore, aka Elle McFeast, came on the radio, replacing former Skyhooks band member and now ABC Melbourne morning radio presenter Red Symons while he is on holiday. I will miss Red during his absence. I like the way he presents. He is somewhat unprofessional and in a minor way he reminds me of ABC Melbourne's breakfast presenter, back then known as 3LO, of Peter Evans. It is a massive compliment to Red Symons, because while he is far better broadcaster than Peter Evans ever was,  I am not sure that there will be a book written called Symonds The Wireless as there was Evans The Wireless, and nor will there be cassette tape compilation of Red Symonds moments on radio. 

I think we were travelling to Bendigo in about 1981 when we first tuned in 3LO and heard Peter Evans, or didn't hear him as was the case, because at some point he did not say anything for many seconds. He came back with, sorry, I had to get my cup of tea, and then went on to complain about the ants in his Doncaster unit. These days with such a pause in voice, auto signal breakdown music would kick in. 

Red Symons has his producer come on to chat at about 6:45 and she is known as Harriet Hashtag, so called because she is well versed in Twitter, especially with news from Scandinavia. Peter Evans used to have his producer come in for a chat too, Jeanie James. I suppose she would be dead now too. I think I met her once at a Friends of the ABC protest meeting at Dallas Brookes Hall in the anti fund cutting to the ABC rally under PM Fraser. Some things never change. But she was never given her own microphone and talked off mike through Peter's , so she could not be properly heard. Microphones must have been expensive back then. As I said, the things you think about and remember at 5:30 in the morning. Photo of Red in the old Skyhooks days.



I can't recall the years now, but at an early point Evans broadcast breakfast radio for the whole of the east coast of Australia before becoming more local to Victoria and other local radio presenters were employed and given facilities. 



I love our ABC and we have been together for a long time. At my age there is not too much I am passionate about, not like with the passion of youthful ideals, but I would go out onto the streets if Our ABC is under direct threat. Time will tell, but I didn't think much of the appointment of Michelle Guthrie as managing director, and it does seem like she is going to shake things up but not necessarily in a good way.

To note, The Fossil as we call her, Caroline Jones is retiring from ABC. In the early days of Australian Story, she used to have a soft focus lens on the camera. It was just so silly and so obvious, like the soft focus on Marlene Dietrich in Just a Gigolo. Fifty years in various roles at our ABC deserves a congratulations to the always perfectly groomed, very smooth and thoroughly competent Caroline. 



While nothing too much new is happening in Melbourne for local radio, it is good to see some openly gay presenters being given roles at our ABC. R was not amused when I told him. Why do they need to tell everyone one? No sweetheart, they are not. They just live an open life and probably don't wear being gay on their sleeve, but nor do they hide it. Kind of like us really, hon.

Josh Zepps (sic), now ABC Sydney radio evening summer presenter, son of the terrific actor Henry Szeps.



ABC TV Canberra evening news presenter in the new year is gay and part Aboriginal. Again, he won't open the news reading with, Good evening, I'm Dan Bouchier, I am gay and part Aboriginal. Google him and you can find out both, but I doubt you will otherwise know, and it is hardly relevant to his news reading ability. 




Other good new radio talent is Sammy Shah. While he does have a Pakistani accent, his English and diction are excellent and he is funny, quick witted and knows about stuffs. I hope to hear more of him on our ABC. Sammy is not guilty by association. He is married and with children. So much diverse talent at our ABC, yet still Macca drones and bumbles on and on every Sunday morning. 



Lastly, about 25, maybe 30 years ago, I would occasionally tune in to 3RRR, a subscription radio broadcaster here in Melbourne. It could be quite challenging to the status quo at times, and hence at times controversial. 3RRR has turned 40 and this appeared outside our state library. I have just noticed, it is the oldest independent radio broadcaster in Australia. Long may 3RRR last and gotta love those old radio cassette players. Don't tell me you breached copyright and recorded from the radio to a cassette tape?

28 comments:

  1. Andrew, I suppose that in our lives as time passes on, we get set in our ways expecting our favourite tv and radio shows to go on forever, which of course doesn't happen. We must just take them in and enjoy them while they last. Perhaps those younger people taking over have different ideas.

    Our own BBC has seen a few broadcasting legends and regular faces pass on this year, thereby making way for newer younger presenters.
    We lost BBC tv and Radio dinosaur Terry Wogan earlier this year. His early morning radio show 'Wake Up with Wogan' was a pleasure to listen to to. His voice was soothing, relaxing and it complimented that peaceful early morning feeling at a time where any kind of a loud noise is very unwelcome.
    Sadly he was replaced by that idiotic motormouth Chris Evans who is like a cross between a pneumatic drill and a faulty house fire alarm. His show even starts off with that famous sound Johnny Wiesmuller used to screech out while banging his chest.
    I just wonder why the BBC feels that we need to be blasted out of bed every morning. Evans is certainly a contrast compared to the quiet soothing voice of Wogan.

    Maybe some of your shows down under are about to become victims of the dreaded 'Dumbing Down' syndrome in the attempt to win new younger viewers.

    They say that tv evening primetime is between 7.00 pm and 10.00pm (10.pm is the main evening half hour news bulletin here).
    And if all this dumbing down gets too much for me then I can just turn off the tv and put on my favourite radio show 'Dinner Jazz' on Jazz FM (blissful as well as relaxing music) a perfect background sound for the evening.
    And to think I'll still have my moments when I just fancy a bit of heavy metal or Garage Dance music. What a contrast.

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    1. DeeJohn, I know little about Wogan, although I know he is quite huge there. Evans sounds awful. Who wants that early in the morning...anytime really.

      Our main tv bulletins are at 7pm. The later news is a national presentation, instead of a state one.

      Nothing wrong with Garage. Plenty wrong with heavy metal.

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  2. Sigh. Efficiency dividends have a lot to answer for.

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    1. EC, quite ridiculous for government funded bodies.

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  3. I turn on ABC News Radio 1026 Melbourne from the minute the alarm first wakes us in the morning until I leave for work. If anything happened to this ABC service, my life would be over.

    The content has to be suitable, but I also like to select the voice (eg Sandy Aloisi). If a host used "you know", "like" or "whatever" in every sentence, it would be awful.

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    1. Hels, I often listen to News Radio, but sometimes the repetition wears me down if I listen for very long.

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  4. I don't know if I should say this out loud but when I was a teenager and Red was on Hey Hey It's Saturday with his big gong.. I found him quite attractive. I think more for the comedy than his appearance, and definitely not his hairstyle, though the hair reminded me a lot of Iva Davies who was someone else I found quite attractive.

    I just google imaged them both and they are both still quite pretty, IMO. Maybe it is just me though. :)

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    1. Snoskred, I never really found Red attractive but I like his wit. Iva Davies was quite nice. I must google him now.

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  5. ABC Radio in the mornings here is not good, we just turn it on anymore but go commercial where the presenter is easier to listen to plus the music is better, mostly.
    Of course never listen to the radio at night, 'asleep'.
    Always listened to Radio once, all day everyday but due to many other 'things' coming our way the Radio has really gone by the wayside for us.

    We have our own TV presenters for the evening news and we do watch them..
    Caroline Jones, always liked her program but at least she knows when to retire.
    There are so many older TV presenters for the news within Australia, both men and women and I wish many of them would retire.

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    1. Hehe at wishing they would retire, Margaret. Your tv news would be state wide, I guess. For some reason I thought the north/south divide might be strong enough for there to be separate editions.

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    2. lol...no, same ABC news State wide.

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  6. My radio is for listening to music until something worthwhile comes on the TV. I don't like talkback shows, I'm not into sitting close by and listening to every word so I know what's being discussed. Music is better for me as it is background and I can do other things, even read a book or blog. Ditto TV shows, I don't use TV to listen and learn, it's entertainment, something that doesn't require 100% attention all the time. I'm very shallow I suppose.

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    1. River, I learn so much from listening to radio talk, ok, mostly pretty useless. I couldn't bear to be without talk radio. Music interrupting talk annoys me. But I do only half listen to radio and at times tune my hearing in or out. No, it is not shallow, just different.

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  7. and yes, I did copy radio music to cassette, just like everyone else did.

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    1. I managed to transfer all VHS to DVD, but I haven't done cassette to ??? Perhaps cassette recordings were only meant to be temporary.

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    2. There are combination machines available now for transferring records and CDs to MP3 and I think they also do cassettes, you just have to do a bit of searching to find the right machine. I remember transferring cassettes to CD and then later saving all CDs to my computer and now of course they are on MP3.
      VHS to DVD was fun to do as I got to watch all the movies as I did it, but the VHS part of the machine broke down when I had only five movies left to do :(

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  8. I used to love Peter Evans (And dear Smocka and Nasty Neighbour Norton...wow....flashes from the past)!!!

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    1. Lee, crossing linguistic generations, OMG, you remember Smocka and Norton!!! Assuming you were Baby Lee when you heard Evans and lived up north in your baby hood, that does then confirm that Evans broadcast for the whole east coast of Australia.

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  9. So you don't like music on your radio station Andrew..well I don't like talking or adverts.. I like music because as therapist to many family and close friends I really get soooo tired of talking and listening 😀

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    1. Grace, I get your point, but the radio is not challenging. Perhaps you shouldn't be such a caring and sharing person.

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    2. It's a curse Andrew 😁😁

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  10. Mostly on radio here if talk radio that is, are the hateful shouting far right conservative people. It's everywhere on the radio, so I rarely listen to the radio. If there is news, it might be five minutes or less. One cannot find mainstream news that gives much of anything here, now, unless you watch public broadcasting. They are the only media now giving anything of world news. the major media players give only brief news on radio and not much better on TV and the rest is all celebrity and political junk news and gossip.

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    1. Strayer, I used to wonder why our tv was so different to British tv. After seeing it last year, we copied the American style and I did not like it one little bit. Not really in Melbourne but Sydney has a couple of right wing shock jocks.

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    2. I agree with what Strayer says about the news programs. We used to get rather well informed, now it's a few seconds per article and the rest is gossip and sports, neither of which I care for. All I really want to see now is the weather forecast, but even that is unsatisfactory. Far too much rambling on about winds and good fishing spots etc, when all I want to know is tomorrow's temperature and if there is a chance of rain.

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    3. River, so often by the time the weather reporter has reached the Melbourne weather forecast, my mind has drifted off and I miss it. I agree, it needs to be more concise.

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  11. Well, well; I'm glad I took the trouble belatedly to read through all this.

    First, my radios (five of them) throughout my apartment are locked to Radio National on weekends and holidays. That is my background noise of choice for those days. I think they have a terrific range of programs.

    Second I didn't realise the connection between Josh Zepps and the Szeps family because of the different spelling. As a child we knew his grandfather well. He was our GP but I don't recall his first name (to this day I only remember him as Dr Szeps).

    Thanks for the reference.

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    1. Interesting Victor, that would be Henry's father? I am enjoying more silence in my life at the moment.

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    2. Yes, Henry's father.

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