Linda Bracken speaks to radioinfo about Triple J redundancies

Triple J Manager Linda Bracken says the state based positions being lost at the network (see earlier story) are part of a larger strategy which will improve the network in the long run.

radioinfo: How many positions are being lost from Triple J?

Bracken: Half a position from Western Australia has already been made redundant, and there are two other positions – Jim Trail’s position in Canberra and John Thompson-Mills’ position in Adelaide.

radioinfo: Is the reason budgetary?

Bracken: It is part of an overall strategy we are working on for a sustainable long term national structure for the network.

We don’t have people in the Northern Territory and other states, so this structure was very inconsistent and that’s why we have been looking at changing it.

radioinfo: Can you reveal more details about that restructure?

Bracken: No. Ask me next year.

radioinfo: Are they all state positions that are going, will there be others?

Bracken: No, it’s only these state positions.

radioinfo: Will this decrease the quality of the Triple J output?

Bracken: When you look at this as part of a bigger picture you will see that in fact it will increase the quality of what we are doing. Next year will see some innovative and exciting changes happening at Triple J.

radioinfo: Is this decision, as the MEAA says, because you can now use unpaid labour from your youth training initiative to do the work that paid staff were doing?

Bracken: That claim is completely wrong.

First the MEAA don’t cover the positions which are affected, the CPSU covers them. These positions were never journalist positions.

The MEAA is confusing a journalism training project with these redundancies. There is no cross over with what the state staff were doing.

Also, in Western Australia the WAAPA project we were working on has finished anyway, so it would not be possible to use those work experience students to replace any work that was being done.

radioinfo: What will happen to the workload of the former employees – will it be absorbed back to the bigger centres or will some functions/programs no longer take place?

Bracken: Our focus next year will be on a national approach to youth affairs (I wish we could think up a better term than youth affairs – yuk!). We will use all the ABC’s resources around the country where we need to… A lot of what those positions were doing will no longer exist.

We have been giving a lot of thought and having many consultations over the past year about our role in the national landscape and these changes are a part of what we need to be doing to move towards fulfilling that role in a sustainable way into the future.


Bracken would not be drawn into a discussion of just what was on the agenda, but radioinfo’s own analysis of the changing radio landscape confirms the need for Triple J to make changes.

In capital cities around Australia the network has been battling a multitude of new and relaunched local stations such as the DMG Nova group, the strategic changes being made at Austereo’s Triple M network and a batch of hot new community stations like FBi Sydney, SYN FM Melbourne, Fresh FM Adelaide and Groove FM Perth.

Next year there will also be more new licences in several capital cities.

While Triple J had some success in winning the battle against the changing radio landscape throughout this year, the long term trend in capital cities has been downward for the ABC youth broadcaster.

In Sydney this survey Triple J increased by 0.2 to an overall share of 5%, but in Melbourne it lost 0.8 to record one of its lowest results ever in that city with 2.7%. In Brisbane Triple J dropped 0.9 to 6.4%, in Adelaide it was down 0.5 to 5.9% and in Perth the station scored 6.6%, up 0.2.

While Triple J might be said to have finished the job it began almost three decades ago as far as serving young listeners in capital cities, it is youth in country areas, without Novas and youth community stations, who are still desperately seeking what Triple J has to offer. The new changes being planned should take this changing radio landscape into consideration.

Triple J is not expected to announce any news about further changes until well into the new year when analysis is complete and staff have been consulted.