ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie is briefing senior management today about changes that are expected to be announced tomorrow in a staff meeting from Melbourne.
The staff meeting is expected to be televised to all other states in the ABC’s operation and will reveal a new structure at the top of the national broadcaster.
The structural changes are expected to do away with the Radio and Television divisions, so that program makers can work across all output platforms.
It is thought that a local division will be established, possibly under the leadership of current Director of Radio Michael Mason.
A Video division is also expected to be created, although the future of the current Director of Television David Anderson may lie in one of the other divisions, not in the Video Division.
There are currently two other divisions, News, headed by Gaven Morris and Regional, headed by Fiona Reynolds. It is thought that there will be another specialist division created to deal with specialist content departments under one divisional head and that these divisions may become part of that.
The impending changes come after previous moves last year that transferred News Radio out of the Radio division into the News division, and brought about strange branding anomalies, such as News Radio no longer being called ‘News Radio,’ but being renamed ‘ABC News on Radio’ to coincide with the overall divisional branding. More than one News Radio announcer has been heard having trouble coming to grips with the new branding on air in their spoken IDs.
At that time, regional radio stations were also realigned to sit within the Regional division rather than the Radio division, causing some objections from regional politicians who feared that local program hours would be cut.
The changes are the latest step in a restructure process begun by Michelle Guthrie. The first step of that process was to make a range of management positions redundant to free up funds for more content creation, and another step was to switch off short wave transmissions, making some immediate savings in the transmission operations budget, but causing some public relations fall out.
Savings in the past year from the short wave switch-off, rationalisation of other transmission assets, and the renegotiation of transmission and distribution contracts are believed to have brought millions of dollars worth of savings to the organisation.