Comment from Wayne Stamm
The demise of the 7.45am news on the ABC has both surprised and angered journalists, supporters and listeners to the broadcaster, but should we be surprised?
Speaking on ABC Melbourne yesterday, Director News, Analysis and Investigations, Gaven Morris said “It’s also reflective of the way radio audiences have changed the way they listen… that bulletin has lost about 20% of its audience over the last 4 years… more listeners are listening on demand on the ABC Listen app.”
I had a similar discussion with a group of radio friends at dinner on Saturday night with one, an ex-news editor, horrified when I suggested it wouldn’t be long before music stations dumped news bulletins all together, after all they went in the USA decades ago.
Mind you, I’ve been pushing this observation for years and so far I’m not even close to getting it right.
Right at the start let me declare that, personally, as a listener, I do not like news-talk stations or the ABC. I like music stations.
My thought is that most news bulletins on music stations are too short and brief to be interesting, and if a story is really important, the announcer will tell me and I will then go to my smartphone news app and look up the story there anyway.
I have a friend who never watches or listens to the news, telling me that if it is really important, someone would tell them.
Another of my dinner party friends says he gets most of his news from Eddie McGuire, and I thought he was kidding, but no, he’s serious, so I’ve been listening for the past week and I think The Hot Breakfast at Triple M Melbourne is a good example keeping the audience up to date with daily issues.
I like the way they integrate important news into the program, and Seb Costello‘s contribution, for me at least, works, though I’m not sure that there also needs to be the more formal(informal) half hour news break.
Why couldn’t the news reader just join the studio team when required at any time during the program? It would allow them to concentrate on the important stories without the need to fill three minutes with five stories and some sport and weather.
We keep hearing that radio listening is habitual, and so is its programming. Every day programs run to a similar time frame so that the audience doesn’t have to look at a clock, watch or phone to know what the approximate time is.
If I haven’t begun making breakfast for my wife by the time ‘You Can’t Do That’ begins on Triple M Sydney, I know I’m running late. I know when the top and bottom of each hour goes by at breakfast because I just heard the news go by.
But do I need the news at the top and bottom of the hour? No, because I’ve already been on to a news site on my phone to see the main stories.
Will that detract from my listening pleasure? No, I don’t think so, I think it will enhance it.
Am I still likely to be alerted onair to stories that really are likely to affect me? Yes, I believe so.
There is still a need for a dedicated and trusted unbiased news source on radio, but is it at a music station? You tell me.