ABC Regional Radio stations in some states are rejigging their breakfast and morning lineups to extend the breakfast show until 10am.
While the changes are aimed at better resourcing the programs, it has been interpreted by some as a cut.
radioinfo has been told there will be no job losses associated with the schedule changes, but some politicians are not convinced the changes are a good move.
Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told the Sydney Morning Herald he is very disappointed by the decision to change the lineup:
“If this is so good, and they claim it will deliver better services to regional communities, well, why not deliver better services for the people in Sydney and do the same thing for them? I think the ABC has lost its way.”
The member for Herbert, Ewen Jones, told the SMH he is “furious that the Mornings program on his local ABC North Queensland would no longer exist” while colourful Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald said the ABC had cut regional broadcasting to “pay for yet another coffee machine at Ultimo.”
The Director of ABC Regional, Fiona Reynolds has told radioinfo that the format change is being made so that additional production support can be directed to prime time. She explains:
The changes to the 2016 program and bulletin schedule, which regional staff were briefed on yesterday, ensure audiences are our number one priority and allow our staff, particularly news reporters, the ability to get out of the office more to gather local and distinctive content. The 2016 schedule reflects a team approach to meeting audiences needs – a key objective of the new ABC Regional division.
The changes are minimal and will mean audiences will now have one extended local Breakfast program which runs from 0630 – 1000 and a locally presented and produced program on local life between 1000 and 1100.
This means in Townsville, audiences will still hear two local radio programs – the extended Breakfast program and the new local life program between 1000 – 1100. Two local presenters will still required. We will be discussing these opportunities with our existing presenters before finalising the on air line-up.
The feedback we had from staff during extensive consultation earlier this year was that they want to be on the road more gathering original stories and reporting in to radio programs, online and through social media on issues and events as they happen. The revised bulletin schedule will allow this to occur.
The 2016 schedule improvements are solely based on meeting audience expectations. Content gathered from our staff on the road will be fed into the extended Breakfast program and on digital platforms so it can be shared across regions and nationally