Monday, December 22, 2008

Sydney Broadcasting Corporation

In Australia we have the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC if you like. Government funded, just like the BBC in the UK, and it does radio including shortwave radio and a television service to our near neighbours, even as far as China, normal television including digital and online. What it does with its small amount of funding compared to what the BBC gets, is extraordinary. I would go so far as to say it does some things better than the Beeb.

It has changed a lot over the years that I have been a consumer of our ABC. Some areas for better, some for worse. For local people, I go back to the days of Evans the Wireless.

It was probably eight years or so ago and on a Sunday and I was sitting in the car waiting for someone or something, and I thought I would tune into the radio news. It was supposed to be a national news service, but all I heard was about Sydney. Car crashes, delays on roads, punch up at the Coogee Bay Hotel (ok, I am exaggerating there). I got a bit annoyed. This is supposed to be National news for all states, not just for Sydney.

I had heard people refer to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as the Sydney Broadcasting Corporation, and know I knew why.

Alerted to it on that day, I have always kept it in the back of my mind, ever watchful for signs of emergence of the Sydney Broadcasting Corporation. I got a lay down misere tonight.

While your eyes are already glazing over and you have noticed a cobweb in the corner that needs removing, it is my blog and I will proceed. You foreign types need some background. Even local folks probably do.

Christmas and New Year and much of January is our hot summer. There aren't any radio ratings and our ABC takes the chance to save money and networks right across Australia. That means we all lose local content. I am fine with the theory of this, no matter how crappy the programs are.

While they keep saying that we are listening to ABC local radio, it could be coming from any of our states and it has a national flavour. Saves our ABC heaps of money. I fully understand why they do it.

But if they are pretending that a nation wide broadcast is local radio, they really need to get it right.

Alan Brough, broadcasting from Melbourne, went national. He did ok and sounded inclusive.

I cannot say the same for Rhys Muldoon who was supposed to be broadcasting nationally, at least he was to where I am in Victoria, and during his quite boring quiz, he asked the question, 'Who on ABC Local Radio, hosts the Conversation Hour?' He went on to confirm the bias by adding, 'There is only one Conversation Hour Host'. I am happy to get this self confirmed religious Tory type that he is into trouble when this lands on Sue's desk.

Now in Sydney, the ever so book/film/celeb Conversation Hour is hosted by an ex comedian from The Doug Anthony All Stars. In Melbourne, it is hosted by a high rating and very respected radio current affairs broadcaster by the name of Jon Faine. In fact Monsieur Faine (he is presently in Paris) goes Victoria wide and even into southern NSW and Tasmania, the latter two by default of a powerful transmitter. In fact I have been amused by Melbourne to London dot com.

So, there are at least two Conversation Hours in Australia on ABC Local Radio, possibly more. Rhys assumed there was only the one that he as a Sydneysider knows about. Bad karma Rhys and what ammo you give to those who want to refer to our national broadcaster, the ABC, as the Sydney Broadcasting Corporation.

Rhys, if you want to know how to do it, listen to some old tapes of your boss Sue when she was on the wireless. I could never work out where she was. I think Melbourne, but not really sure. She presented nationally, so there was never any state bias.

Gee, how hard is it to check facts for a quiz???


  1. Anonymous1:48 am

    Andrew, It is amazing how various countries networks try to become a sort of Mother of that nation. You could certainly say that of the BBC. It is also now the very epicentre of British political correctness. They too are constantly cost cutting. In the far west in the County of Cornwall, radio and regional tv gets shared amongst say 3 or even 4 nearby counties (Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset) where as before it would have come from just Cornwall. So naturally you'll get less localized BBC news stories.

    But it's amazing how the Jonathon Ross/Russell Brand episode has forced a huge moral clean-up on the Beeb. So no swearing allowed.
    Alas our dear own Channel 4 will have nothing to do with that. Swearing is still the order of the day.

  2. Rhys Muldoon probably thought he was back on Play School.

  3. Channel 4 is still the best of the British channels by far...although the BBC does have Dr Who and Wallace and Gromit, so it does have a couple of redeming features. Not exactly worth the millions spent every day on the rest of the crud, but still...

  4. Anonymous9:27 am

    I was going to say that Rhys is used to talking down to his audience thanks to Play School, but looks like Victor beat me to it.

  5. Deejohn, perhaps we aren't doing so badly here then. The number of local ABC radio stations has increased in the last decade. I was a bit surprised at how BBC presenters seemed to get away with mentions of commercial products by name. We fight very hard here to prevent that. I am pleased to hear that Channel 4 is still approved of.

    Brian, I don't have the figures to hand, but I recall being astonished at the amount of money the BBC gets, compared to our ABC. What do they do with it?

    Victor and MD, I can understand mothers of young children being very aware of Playschool. Your knowledge of him would have nothing to do with him being quite nice looking?

  6. I wonder if the same could be said of the radio station Triple J? When we travel it is the only one we can receive when in remote sort-of areas that has music. Granted, it is not always wonderful music, then again, it is nice to give local(here I go, maybe not local) bands a go and some listening time.
    I think, from what we could gather, that Triple J broadcast from Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane..possibly Sydney too. I had trouble keeping up with where we were receiving our news from

  7. "What do they do with it?"

    Poach all the upcoming stars from the other channels, usually. That and fill their fat, inbred faces. The entire board of directors at the BBC consists solely of lords and ladies, and like the rest of the aristocracy, they waste money with the same ease that their avid viewers waste their lives.

  8. Yep Cazzie, JJJ is precious to local musicians. I thought it came principally from Sydney, but really, I don't know. I love JJJ's news theme, the corrupted Majestic Fanfare. Well, used to be.

    Brian, isn't it odd that Lords and Ladies would know what entertainment the masses want. Who was it who said, 'Feed 'em muck'?

  9. "Who was it who said, 'Feed 'em muck'?"

    Wasn't that Australia's own Dame Nellie Melba (unfortunately)?

  10. Oh! Didn't know they'd thrown a gig to Richard Fidler! Not missing much, am I ? :P
    "local" isn't very local when the (beloved)midnight trivia quiz comes from Sydney, 2am trivia quiz comes from Adelaide(?) and the 4am gardening show is from Woop Woop.(no, I don't sleep much).

    *Nellie Melba didn't actually say "sing 'em muck", tis a myth.

  11. "Your knowledge of (Rhys Muldoon) would have nothing to do with him being quite nice looking?"

    You are getting to know me too well, Andrew.

  12. Who wants to do gardening at 4am!

    And I'm glad, Jayne, that Melba is in the clear. Who said it then?

  13. Non local, local radio seems to arrive earlier each year Jayne, and last longer. Again you have spoilt one of my posts with facts, drat you woman.

    Victor, I had a feeling it was Mae West. But it must have been Nellie, even if that is not correct. I do think Rhys is pretty nice looking too.

  14. Anonymous8:49 am

    Well we all know Sydney is the only city of any merit in Australia, so why report on some country hic town like Melbourne. Yes change the name to SBC.

  15. It was attributed to poor old Nellie in a conversation with a female contemporary who was to sing on an Aussie tour for the first time.
    "Muck" had a different meaning back in the day, it actually meant popular (so, yes, Britney Spears is really singing muck!).
    Nellie had a deep love for Oz and the nastiness behind the comment is completely out of character for her.

  16. Of merit perhaps Anon, if you want to dress badly, not read books, drink bad coffee, attempt to catch a train and obsess about style over substance when really, style is unheard of. :-P

    A kind of Rolf Harris love Jayne? A love from a safe distance?

  17. No, Nellie actually managed to plant her feet firmly back on Aussie soil more often than Rolf played with his wobble board, Andrew :P


Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.