• Breakfast teams outside of Sydney & Melbourne overlooked
• Three new podcast categories for original and radio show podcasts
• 260 stations enter 37 categories with more than 200 finalists
Finalists in the 30th annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) have been released featuring new categories and first-time nominees, plus Australia’s top radio presenters competing for the coveted Best On Air Team in both the AM and FM (Metro).
Two-time winners in the FM category Kate, Tim and Marty (Kate Ritchie, Tim Blackwell & Marty Sheargold, Nova Entertainment 2016, 2017) are amongst the finalists that include five-time winners The Kyle and Jackie O Show (Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson, KIIS 1065, Sydney); Jonesy and Amanda (Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller, WSFM, Sydney winners in 2012 and 2014); Hughesy & Kate (Dave Hughes & Kate Langbroek, Hit Network, SCA), Fifi, Dave, Fev & Byron (Fifi Box, Dave Thornton, Brendan Fevola & Byron Cooke, Fox FM, Melbourne) and first-time finalists in the category, Kennedy Molloy (Jane Kennedy & Mick Molloy, Triple M Network, SCA).
The Metropolitan Best On Air Team AM title will be a contest between last year’s winner, The Continuous Call Team (Ray Hadley, Bob Fulton, Darryl Brohman, Erin Molan, Mark Riddell, Chris Warren & Mark Levy, 2GB, Sydney, Macquarie Media Limited); Breakfast with Steve & Basil (Steve Mills & Basil Zempilas, 6PR, Perth), David & Will (David Penberthy & Will Goodings, FIVEaa, Adelaide, Nova Entertainment) and Laurel, Gary & Mark (Laurel Edwards, Gary Clare & Mark Hine, 4KQ, ARN, Brisbane).
Another highly competitive category is Best Talk Presenter, with all four finalists this year from Macquarie Media Limited: Ray Hadley (2GB), Ben Fordham (2GB), Neil Mitchell (3AW) and Tom Elliott (3AW).
Best Music/Entertainment Presenter has been split into two categories this year with Nova stablemates Ryan Fitzgerald, Tim Blackwell and Kate Ritchie up against Carrie Bickmore (Hit Network) for Best Entertainment Presenter. Best Music Presenter finalists are Melissa Doyle (smoothfm) Steve Fitton (WSFM), Ugly Phil O’Neil (Triple M, Sydney) and Katie Mattin (Nova 106.9 Brisbane).
This year’s metro finalists for Best Newcomer On-Air include Brendan Fevola (FOX FM, Melbourne), Grant Denyer (2Day FM), Xavier Ellis (hit92.9 Perth) and Libby Trickett (Triple M Brisbane).
Three new podcast categories have been introduced for the 2018 ACRAs to celebrate the best original podcasts produced in Australia. Four awards will be presented – Best Original Podcast (Branded); Best Original Podcast (Unbranded) and Best Radio Show Podcast (Metro and Non-Metro).
Entries were received from 260 metropolitan and regional radio stations across Australia. Stations outside the metropolitan areas are well represented at the ACRAs with more than 200 finalists from country and provincial stations. This year the gala black-tie event will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday October 20 and will start at 6pm (red carpet 5pm).
Chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia Joan Warner said: “There is a wealth of talent across metropolitan and regional Australian radio and we look forward to celebrating the 30th year of the ACRAs,” Warner said.
Organised by Commercial Radio Australia, the national Awards cover 37 categories. Winners are announced in each category across four areas: metropolitan, provincial, country and Syndication/Production Company and encompass all areas of commercial radio broadcasting including news, talk, sport, music and entertainment. The ACRAs differ from television’s Logie Awards in that they are peer judged by industry members. The ACRAs follow the Radio Alive 2018 conference, which will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday October 19.
• Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy to provide commentary, Fox Cricket logo released
Fox Sports has announced three new signings to the growing Fox Cricket commentary team as part of what the broadcaster is labelling the biggest shake-up in cricket broadcasting.
Former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy and current stars Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy have joined the team.
Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne lead the new lineup, combining with Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Mark Waugh, Allan Border, Isa Guha, Mel Jones, Kerry O’Keeffe, Michael Vaughan, Brendon Julian, Jessica Yates and Mark Howard.
Ian Healy said he was looking forward to being part of the team: “I’m very happy to be joining Fox Sports in what is a very exciting time for cricket in this country. Fox Cricket is going to give the viewers at home exactly what they want and deliver a level of coverage they’ve never seen before. I feel lucky to be part of it”.
Fox Sports has also revealed the new logo for the Fox Cricket channel.
Foxtel’s dedicated 4K channel (channel 444), which begins in October, will bring cricket fans Foxtel in 4K just in time for the November 4 Australia v South Africa ODI. This will kick off Foxtel’s sports coverage in 4K, bringing the game to fans like never before.
Fox Sports’ cricket coverage will include Australia’s Test and ODI Series against Pakistan beginning October in the UAE.
Top Photo: Ian Healey
Since launching its website in 2014 The Betoota Advocate has added another dimension to the Australian media landscape through the use of satire.
By Trent Thomas
Similar to the American website The Onion, The Betoota Advocate labels itself “Australia’s oldest newspaper”, which has more recently made the transition to digital.
In just a few years The Betoota Advocate now grown to over 500,000 Facebook likes and performs well in the 18- to 30-year-old demographic.
This success has seen the brand bleed out into other areas, which include alcohol (Betoota Bitter) and a clothing line (Betoota Outfitters).
This is not bad for a newspaper meant to based out of a town with a population of zero.
Really based in Sydney, Errol Parker (editor-at-large) and Clancy Overell (editor) are the pen names of the founders, who recently spoke with Mediaweek about some of the fictionalised history behind Australia’s oldest newspaper.
As the story goes, Overell was “born into the role of editor like any good media professional – it was promised to me, it was written,” he told Mediaweek.
“I am a 4th generation editor of The Betoota Advocate from a relatively well-respected family out here in the shadow country. I started as a cadet, then bounced around for a few years. I had tried to make a career in rugby league football but a knee injury put an end to that so I took a 10-year sabbatical.
“I then returned as a sports reporter to The Betoota Advocate and then sports editor. I then spent five years as the Charleville correspondent, then headed back and took the editor’s role from my father, who was in the role for a couple of decades.”
Overell met Parker at a race meet in Central Queensland in 2014. Parker had just returned from working in the industry in England and Overell offered him a job.
According to Parker the success of the site is due to an intern. “Clancy took the newspaper online in 1996 and it was there for people who had since moved out of the circulation area.
“It wasn’t until 2014 that our intern at the time had a bit of a brainwave and said, what about we put you on social media, and it went gangbusters from there.”
The Betoota Advocate has emerged as a part of the Australian media during an interesting time.
With Australian politics in a state of flux, media consolidation, a difficult economy and a change in the consumption habits of the public, The Betoota Advocate seems to have found a niche through its flat hierarchy approach to parodying Australian culture.
According to Overell: “When your looking down the barrel of a leadership challenge or a federal election, every media organisation is put under the microscope of where their allegiances lie.
“And obviously there are some blatant ones – there are some blatant right-wing ones and some blatant left-wing ones. We like to align ourselves as apolitical but we get accused of being centralist, which we aren’t either.
“We kind of bounce along the spectrum and report where we find news worthy events and we skewer all ends.
Parker agrees and also brings up the importance of telling a wide array of stories that cover a broad cross-section of the public. “You need to treat everyone with the same respect. Everyone’s story is worth telling and it is up to the person who reads it.
Overell agrees: “It has certainly had an effect on our popularity since going online because, while it might seem mundane or niche, you need to write for everyone and while we are writing for the town it translates right across the country.
“The little stories you are writing that might seem insignificant or unreliable are there for someone else and there are a lot of someone elses in Australia.”
Following its success, The Betoota Advocate has announced that it will tour Australia in November/December 2018 through TEG Dainty and Nice Events.
The national tour is described as a no-holds-barred live show in true Betoota-style, filled with its trademark approach to news.
The tour starts in Townsville on Saturday November 3 and will feature Darwin, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Wollongong, Newcastle, Perth, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Canberra before finishing in Sydney at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday December 1.
According to Parker, now seemed like a good time to do the tour: “In this news climate there have been a lot of changes in the industry and we thought it was time we really told the story of our newspaper and how we managed the journey from being an old media organisation to being one that is growing and thriving in this media age.”
Asked what areas of Australia excited them the most, Overell answered: “We are looking forward to starting in the deep north, in Townsville. We are excited about every show but Melbourne and Sydney are less exciting because they are one and the same, those two. But we have a lot of readers in the area so it will be good to touch base with those cities.
“As for seeing the country, it doesn’t get much better than the coastal delights of Townsville, Newcastle, and Wollongong. Even the Gold Coast has its own thing going.”
While there are a lot of laughs expected, Parker also points out that there is an important message as well: “The most important thing to take away is that there is hope for journalism in this country. It isn’t all doom and gloom. It’s about just battling it out and hoping for the best.”
Each performance will be localised with its own special spin as each city will have a show tailored for its audience.
With the merger of Nine and Fairfax still fresh and the possibility of more media consolidation on the horizon, Overell said they don’t expect much to change in regards to The Betoota Advocate’s independence for now. “There would be more dignity in being bought out than merging, I’d have to say.
“At the moment we are expanding and bucking the trend of what’s happening in the media landscape right now and we are on the up and up expanding and building up and building profits.
“If that well dries up, which it doesn’t look like doing, we might have to make some of those scary decisions before we retire and pull our parachute and retire to the beach.”
• Townsville Saturday 3 November – The Civic
• Darwin Sunday 4 November – Darwin Entertainment Centre
• Toowoomba Tuesday 6 November – Empire Theatre
• Brisbane Thursday 8 November – Qpac
• Gold Coast Friday 9 November – Nightquarter
• Wollongong Sunday 11 November – Anita’s Theatre
• Newcastle Tuesday 13 November – The Civic
• Perth Friday 16 November – Astor Theatre
• Melbourne Saturday 17 November – Hamer Hall
• Hobart Sunday 18 November – Odeon Theatre
• Adelaide Thursday 22 November – Aec Theatre
• Canberra Friday 30 November – Llewellyn Hall
• Sydney Saturday 1 December – Sydney Opera House
IAB Australia has announced that Seven West Media (SWM) has joined the organisation’s board and that SWM’s chief digital officer Clive Dickens (pictured) will represent the company on the IAB board.
The company’s appointment to the IAB board follows SWM’s decision to sell its 50% stake in Yahoo7 to joint venture partner Oath as part of its strategy to fully own and operate its direct-to-consumer products.
The announcement comes as the IAB accelerates its efforts to grow sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising across all platforms, most recently working with the AANA and MFA to launch the Australian industry’s first Digital Advertising Practices.
IAB Australia chairman Cameron King said: “The addition of Seven West Media to the IAB Australia board will strengthen and broaden our industry insight and expertise and enable us to continue our work driving investment in, and advocating for, digital advertising.”
The acting CEO of IAB Australia Gai Le Roy said: “We are delighted with Seven West Media’s decision to step up its involvement with IAB Australia and join the board. We are fortunate to continue to attract engaged and active board members who are committed to demonstrating and improving the way digital advertising delivers on business objectives for Australian businesses.”
Clive Dickens said: “Our digital business has evolved significantly during the last two years and we have built one of the largest live streaming ad-funded broadcast video on demand (BVOD) platforms in Australia, so the time is now right for SWM to join the IAB board.
“Seven believes in a strong IAB, and values its role in creating a stable and vibrant digital industry through its important work in areas including independent measurement, standards and global best practice. We believe we have a valuable contribution to make to the IAB, and are looking forward to playing an even greater role in the future of the Australian digital industry.”
Seven West Media joins fellow IAB Australia Board members News Corp, REA Group, Carsales, Google, Simpsons Solicitors, Fairfax Media, Nine and Facebook. Current member Yahoo!7 will be replaced by Oath once the transaction with SWM is completed.
Dickens has held the role of chief digital officer with Seven West Media for four years, and is responsible for the digital strategy, execution and revenue for all SWM businesses. He is also non-executive director for Airtasker, Freeview Australia, Yahoo!7, Health Engine and Code Club.
Earlier this year, 2CH brought together two broadcast veterans to form Sydney’s newest breakfast show.
By Kruti Joshi
Indira Naidoo has an extensive background in television, having worked as a presenter on ABC and SBS. Meanwhile, her co-host Trevor Sinclair has been working in radio for 42 years – 40 of them in Sydney, he told Mediaweek.
“There is rarely ever a suburb in Sydney that Trevor hasn’t heard of or doesn’t know where it is,” Naidoo said.
The duo wrapped up their show at 9am and, at 9:05am, they were in the studio talking to Mediaweek.
Four months ago, the 2CH breakfast show adopted a cow. This was in its first week on-air.
Sinclair explained: “There was a dairy farmer in the west of Sydney – one of the few remaining in the Sydney basin – who was struggling to keep his herd alive through the drought. He’d put out a call for people to adopt a cow. So we did that.
“Then the audience got involved because we had to name the cow.”
A poll was put up on the 2CH website. It was a close call between Daisy and Moo, so the hosts combined the two names to Daisy Moo.
“No one in radio was talking about the drought four months ago,” Sinclair said.
Naidoo added: “It’s about picking those little community stories that we can see are going to have resonance and a growing impact. We didn’t know that the drought would become a problem across the state. However, through Daisy Moo, we can talk about the serious issues like the drought and have the community really come together. This is genuinely a part of the culture we have at the station.”
While 2CH uses the AM frequency, it is a music show. “There is no other radio station in Australia that is playing the diversity and the eclectic music that we are playing,” Naidoo said. “The 60s and 70s music was some of the best music ever written, recorded and sung.”
Sinclair said: “We would have the largest music universe of any radio station in Sydney. We are not repeating songs as often. When you put that with the combination of conversations that touch people, it forms a really unique offering.”
As with any other radio show, news is an important part of 2CH breakfast. Sinclair says, “It’s not heavy news but it’s topical news.”
This approach to content seems to be working with the station’s listeners. All the growth signs are pointing upwards, Sinclair said.
Publicis Media has appointed Blue 449 CEO John Preston to the newly created role of chairman of Publicis Media Australia. He will work alongside Matt James, CEO of Publicis Media Australia and New Zealand.
A three-decade veteran of media in the UK and Australia, Preston is the founder of multi-award winning independent media agency Match Media, which he established in 2003. Publicis Media acquired the company in June 2015 and it was rebranded to Blue 449. Preston became its CEO for Australia.
James will continue to have full strategic, operational and financial responsibility of Publicis Media, overseeing its agencies Starcom, Zenith, Spark Foundry, Blue 449 and Performics.
Reporting to James, Preston will support the Publicis Media board and James at a strategic business level both for the group and its clients. Preston will also continue as CEO of Blue 449 until the end of the year.
“John has been a critical part of the Publicis Media team since the acquisition of Match Media and, with Duncan Parfitt promoted to Managing Director of Blue 449 last year, this gives us the opportunity to not only evolve John’s role but to harness his 30-year experience and success in supporting the ongoing development of Publicis Media,” James said.
“John is one of Australia’s most respected media professionals, with a wealth of knowledge, an entrepreneurial spirit and proven leadership skills. I have no doubt he will bring a valuable and positive perspective to our strategic direction and I look forward to working with him to further develop Publicis Media Australia’s success.”
Preston said: “I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to contribute in a broader role with Publicis Media. My role will be to bring an independent and fresh perspective to decision-making, working with Matt James to develop strategies to drive Publicis Media forward.”
Preston will commence his new role on September 1.
• Singles: Dean Lewis #1 again, Ariana Grande gets 2 in top 10
• Albums: Superstar top 3 – Ariana, Human Nature & Barnesy
By James Manning
Dean Lewis has held onto #1 for a second week with Be Alright charting for eight weeks. Lewis celebrated with his dad this week, whom he credited with teaching him guitar and everything he knows about music. Tickets for a December tour sold out quickly this past week and before that Lewis is playing dates in Europe and then the US.
With a number one album this week, Ariana Grande is also a force on the singles chart with five in the top 50 and another at #52. Breathin is new in the top 10 at #8 (and her 10th top 10 single) while God Is A Woman jumps from #17 to #7 on its sixth week after previously peaking at #5.
New in the top 10 is George Ezra with Shotgun, up from #11 after six weeks, for Ezra’s third top 10 single.
Calvin Harris and Sam Smith have Promises at #30 and they are the only other artists to debut inside the top 50.
Ariana Grande’s fourth album sees her land her third ARIA #1. It is four years since her first album chart-topper (My Everything in September 2014) and just over two years since her most recent (Dangerous Woman in May 2016).
Human Nature have been working their new album hard on a busy promo tour with visits to radio that included Alan Jones at one end of the spectrum to Kyle and Jackie O at the other. They were all over the TV, including Sunrise, the Morning Show and Paul Murray Live, and they travelled to shopping centres including Castle Towers. After all that hard yakka they came oh-so-close to landing a #1 debut with Romance Of The Jukebox. The album, which is the group’s 11th top 10 ARIA album, features great cover versions – our favourites: Love Is All Around (a Troggs tune best known for its versions in Four Weddings And A Funeral and then Billy Mack’s Christmas version in Love Actually), Love Train, Love Is All Your Need and Love Hurts. I Say A Little Prayer is also a treat with guest vocals from the great Dami Im.
It’s good to see Jimmy Barnes back in the chart too… and it’s not even Christmas. This time he’s charting with the soundtrack to Working Class Boy, which opened in cinemas with a limited release over the weekend. Remarkably this is Barnesy’s 19th entry into the top 10 on the album chart as a solo artist. Eleven of those times Barnes saw the album make it to the top.
With the passing of Aretha Franklin there was much interest in her catalogue this week with The Very Best Of Aretha Volume 1 – The 60s new at #13. Also charting for her this week were 30 Greatest Hits (#16), The Queen Of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings (#17), Together – The Very Best Of Aretha Franklin & Otis Redding (#19), Original Album Series (#22), A Brand New Me: Aretha Franklin (With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) (#23) and Best Of Aretha Franklin (#25), and the re-entering the chart Respect – The Very Best Of (#20).
Respect is also #50 on this week’s singles chart.
Also new to the chart this week is Aussie country artist Travis Collins with Brave And The Broken entering the chart at #15.
Top Photo: Ariane Grande credit: Sky Cinema / Shutterstock
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth surged straight to the top of the charts in Australia and New Zealand last week. A PC game topping the retail charts is definitely a noteworthy result bearing in mind just how much of the PC gaming world has embraced digital downloads, though it’s not a surprising one considering the recent news that Battle for Azeroth is the fastest-selling World of Warcraft expansion to date.
By Luke Reilly Games Editor, IGN Australia
The seventh expansion to Blizzard’s record-holding MMORPG, Battle for Azeroth racked up 3.4 million in day-one sales. Not a bad effort for a game released 14 years and seven prime ministers ago. Or maybe that’s eight, now. I’m nearly out of fingers.
Madden NFL 19 sank one spot, to second place. It’s still slightly puzzling to see such a niche sports game rank so highly down under but, again, it’s indicative of how otherwise quiet August has been this year.
First-person stealth and survival game We Happy Few is the only other new game to wrangle its way into the charts this week, and it finds itself in sixth spot. Developed by Compulsion Games (which was recently acquired by Microsoft) We Happy Few is set in a dystopian version of 1960s Britain, where players must escape from a town hooked on a hallucinogenic drug called Joy, which keeps the inhabitants unaware of the decay around them. We Happy Few was briefly refused classification in Australia back in May, during the lead-up to its release, but that effective ban was overturned upon review in July and the game has been released unmodified.
• Nine starts the new week with primary and network #1 ranking
• Bathroom blow-out on The Block lifts audience to season high
• Seven’s Sunday schedule gets it last lift from AFL this season
By James Manning
Nine’s second-half reality format The Block is again delivering big time as it powered Nine to a primary channel victory in Week 34. It was Nine’s third successive weekly win, which is how long The Block has been running.
Seven meanwhile ranked #1 network – the total of the combined channel share. Seven has been the #1 network all people for the last 11 weeks.
Sport and multichannels were again key factors in Seven’s network win. Seven was #1 on four nights with help from live AFL on Friday and Saturday. 7mate and 7TWO were the top multichannels.
The Pilot Week adjusted metro numbers after all eight programs screened:
Kinne Tonight 378,000 (After the preliminary overnight number was 404,000)
Trial By Kyle 372,000
Drunk History 366,000
Skit Happens 347,000
Bring Back…Saturday Night 203,000
Making a hard commercial call using the above data alone, Trial By Kyle would perhaps be most likely to be the show commissioned to series.
Kinne Tonight did relatively well and could well be tested with further specials.
Drunk History did well too, and has a good case for another appearance. It is also a format others could be interested in if Network Ten passed on it.
Skit Happens, Taboo and Dave were all further back in the ratings. Harley Breen could be the winner out of that trio with further TV work. Dave O’Neil did very well considering he possibly had the toughest timeslot in the week – 8.30pm Friday.
Ironically the best-packaged program, Bring Back…Saturday Night, pulled the smallest audience. “Is this happening, is this real?” said Rove as he introduced the program on Saturday night. He could have easily been referring to the ratings, which were disappointing. The show bounced from one topic to the next with a mix of old and new faces and was very entertaining, but those numbers? There is no way to judge a format like this though in one outing.
The final AFL Sunday match for 2018 helped push up Seven’s Sunday share in southern markets. However the one-sided clash didn’t contribute as much as it could have perhaps with the channel reporting its lowest Sunday primary channel share since the last Sunday in June.
Seven News ranked #1 at 6pm with 1.17m.
Little Big Shots then did 864,000, which is close to last week’s 883,000.
Matt Doran then reported on a strange encounter he had with a woman known as the catwoman and her much younger fiancé on Sunday Night. The episode did 530,000 after 567,000 last week.
The much-hyped episode of The Block featuring a reveal of the most expensive bathroom yet on the series helped pushed the audience to 1.29m, easily the biggest audience yet this season as the format began its fourth week on air. Former judge John McGrath returned to the show last night as the judges hammered the bathroom that eventually led to a walkout.
60 Minutes followed on 714,000 after 616,000 a week ago. The program had reports from Tom Steinfort, Allison Langdon and Liz Hayes last night.
The Sunday Project featured an interview with Jane Fonda in the studio. The first 30 minutes did 242,000, which grew to 372,000 after 7pm.
Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures was on 513,000, well down from 629,000 last week. It launched on 882,000 four weeks ago.
TEN then stayed with Working Dog and its movie from 2000 The Dish, which did 290,000.
Rake was the channel’s best after the ABC News with the drama on 573,000 after it launched with 715,000 last week.
The final of the four-part UK Grand Designs: House Of The Year did 529,000.
The 7.30pm doco The Pharaoh In The Suburbs, part of the Treasures Decoded season, did best with 227,000.
The channel then replayed Egypt: What Lies Beneath at 8.30pm to 205,000.
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||4.1%||GEM||1.7%||ELEVEN||2.0%||Food Net||0.9%|
|ABC ME||0.8%||7mate||5.4%||GEM||2.8%||ELEVEN||2.7%||Food Net||1.3%|
|ABC ME||0.8%||7mate||4.7%||GEM||2.6%||ELEVEN||3.0%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||4.9%||GEM||5.3%||ELEVEN||2.9%||Food Net||1.0%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Last week’s big winner was the media: a tumultuous seven days have underlined the solid business model of political instability, reports The AFR’s Neil Chenoweth.
Covering the story when you live in interesting times turns out to be quite profitable for all media organisations, though some can capitalise more on it than others.
The Trump presidency has seen major jumps in circulation for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, and higher numbers for cable news.
It’s not a new story. In 2012 The Australian Financial Review traced the huge sales turnaround in Harbour Radio, which holds Sydney radio station 2GB, after Tony Abbott became leader of the opposition in December 2009.
Macquarie Media’s market valuation is up $99 million (36 %) in the last month on the back of the Fairfax-Nine merger, apparently on the basis of synergies between Nine and the radio stations.
Fresh takeover talks between Optus and listed telecoms group Amaysim are understood to have emerged in recent days on the back of news of a mooted $13 billion merger between Vodafone Hutchison Australia and TPG Telecom, report The Australian’s Bridget Carter and Scott Murdoch.
It is understood executives from the country’s second-largest telco Optus approached Amaysim’s key players in recent days about an acquisition of the company.
The parties engaged in takeover talks in 2016, as revealed by The Australian at the time, but no deal eventuated.
Optus is owned by Singapore telco SingTel, which is known to be reluctant to outlay money on acquisitions.
While the Optus Australia management may be eager to embark on a deal, whether one occurs depends largely on the attitude of its parent.
The Nine Network’s political editor Chris Uhlmann used an interview on Nine’s Today show last Thursday to launch an extraordinary spray against what he saw as “bullies” in both the media and the party who had been, in his words, “waging a war” against Malcolm Turnbull, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.
Uhlmann singled out media parties he described as “players” in Turnbull’s downfall, including Sydney radio station 2GB, “led by Alan Jones and Ray Hadley”, and “News Corporation”, including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and tabloid newspapers around the country.
“The ACCC are a bit concerned about Channel 9 owning Macquarie Media,” Hadley told The Australian. “I think we allayed their fears, no matter who owns us. We’ve been owned by John Singleton, Fairfax and we might now be owned by Channel 9. We’ve been No. 1 for 14 years, and not too much is going to change.”
Meanwhile, the two men who will be most responsible for managing the big media personalities in the Nine/Fairfax tent were keeping up a brave face about the Uhlmann-Hadley clash.
Nine’s chief executive, Hugh Marks, supports Uhlmann’s right to have an opinion. “Chris Uhlmann made a statement of opinion, which triggered debate around the media, and I’m really comfortable with that,” Marks told The Australian. “In fact, I feel it is important in an independent media environment that a range of opinions are heard and challenged.”
Nine’s head of news and current affairs, Darren Wick, says he had contacted both Hadley and Uhlmann since Thursday’s blowup.
“They both had their views, and they had their comments to make,” Wick said. “No-one knows his audience better than Ray Hadley. I’ve spoken with both Chris and Ray. They’ve both had their say, they’re both fine, and everyone’s happy to move on. Frankly, I think it’s important we have a diversity of viewpoints. Let’s put it down to a crazy week in politics.”
Normally, Canberra press conferences are a shouting contest to attract the prime minister’s attention, reports The AFR’s Aaron Patrick.
This time Malcolm Turnbull decided to choose his own questioners, a seemingly minor switch that actually sent a clear message about who he blames for his downfall.
The reporters called upon, in order, were: Laura Tingle of the ABC’s 7.30; Philip Coorey, political editor of The Australian Financial Review; Katherine Murphy, Guardian Australia’s political editor; Chris Uhlmann, Nine Network’s political editor (who wasn’t present); Kieran Gilbert, the Sky News chief political reporter; and David Crowe, the chief political correspondent of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Turnbull ignored newspaper writers from News Corp Australia, which publishes something like 60% of the papers read each day, something few political leaders would be willing to do, even those heading off into a comfortable retirement.
The snub wasn’t missed. “[It] was just a giant F you to the conservatives,” Daily Telegraph columnist Joe Hildebrand said on Studio 10, a TV show.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has launched an incendiary attack on Tony Abbott and News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, who he claims have undermined Australian democracy and contributed to the “orgy of political violence” that led to Malcolm Turnbull’s ousting, reports Fairfax Media’s Nick O’Malley.
In an opinion piece written for Fairfax Media on Monday, Rudd writes that Australian politics has become toxic and unstable due to an obsession with opinion polls and the juvenile culture of a “Young-Labor/Young-Liberal generation of ‘child politicians’”.
Rudd courted News Corp editors during his time in politics and was the godfather to the son of Chris Mitchell, former editor-in-chief of The Australian. However, he is particularly critical about News Corp’s journalism in the op ed piece.
According to Rudd, Murdoch does not run a news organisation but, instead, “operates as a political party, acting in pursuit of clearly defined commercial interests, in addition to his far-right ideological world view”.
Read Kevin Rudd’s column:
The strain of cuts and restructures at the ABC – as well as demands from digital editors – is driving tensions inside its newsrooms, particularly in Sydney where staff have called in the union, report The Australian’s Paige Taylor and Stephen Brook
Last Wednesday staff in the ABC NSW newsroom, the biggest in the country, met the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance to discuss their concerns over rosters after a restructure. The meetings attempted to workshop solutions to take to management.
A spokeswoman for the ABC told The Australian: “There was no ‘crisis meeting’, because there is no crisis. There has been a short-term rostering issue in the NSW newsroom, which will be resolved in a few weeks.”
US correspondent Mike Amor is parking his passport and returning home as Channel 7 Melbourne’s weekend news presenter, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.
Amor will read his first bulletin in his new role on Friday after a 17-year stint based in LA as Seven’s chief man on the ground.
In that time, he has covered an extraordinary array of major news stories including September 11, five US elections, five Olympic Games, hurricanes, two World Cups, the birth of Prince George, and too many mass shootings.
Amor, who grew up in Bendigo, said he was looking forward to returning to Melbourne with his wife and son.
He takes over the role vacated by Jennifer Keyte, who took on the weekday news anchor role at Channel 10 in June.
“I have been in the bureau effectively since October 2000 so it is a long time. It is a long time to have been on the road. It has been an amazing journey,” he said.
Rebel Wilson has repaid almost $4.2 million of the record compensation payout she won in Australia’s biggest defamation victory, reports News Corp’s Shannon Deery.
The figure includes $60,000 in interest, or an estimated $225-a-day between when she was awarded the record amount and ordered to pay it back.
The Hollywood actor was forced to repay Bauer Media, the magazine publisher found guilty of defaming her in a series of articles, after Victoria’s highest court ruled the majority of her compensation had been wrongly awarded.
Wilson is now seeking to challenge that decision in the High Court, whose decision, if she is granted leave to bring the appeal, will end a saga that has lasted more than two years.