ABC Adelaide sound library axed as jobs shift to eastern cities

Further job cuts expected. 

The ABC has closed its Adelaide sound library as part of plans to rationalise that area of operations. As reported in January here on radioinfo, the ABC plans to centralise its CD collection, cut music library staff, and eventually rationalise its vinyl record collections,

The closure came just days before the March South Australian state election, with reports suggesting that the eastward drift of ABC jobs away from South Australia over several years contributed to the decision. 

Answers to questions on notice provided to South Australian Labor Senator Penny Wong reveal that the library was closed despite its headquarters being moved just last September at a cost of at least $20,000.

Until the recent closure of the Adelaide facility, ​the ABC maintained physical Sound Libraries comprising CDs and vinyl in each of the capital cities. The introduction of the Broadcast Music Bank  enabled digital delivery of music as FLAC files to music programmers.

This service has replaced the physical loan of CDs, with content makers now able to access the content via their desktops and drag and drop files directly into their production and playout systems.

InDaily reports that the closure of the Adelaide sound library led to two staff members losing their jobs, with the loss of two or three further senior staff expected over the coming months. ​Thousands of items from the library are to be shipped to Melbourne and duplicates disposed of.

The ABC says there are no plans to do anything with its vinyl collection, which numbers about 373,000 across Australia, and there are no longer any library staff in Adelaide to oversee the collection.

Former ABC Adelaide sound librarian Andy McCarthy, who worked at the ABC for 33 years, said ​“It was depressing… like having to make preparations for your own funeral.

“It was a death of a thousand cuts, slowing moving Classic FM away from Adelaide. That (Classic FM) was basically the work of the sound library – you could see the writing was on the wall.”​