Look, I am no friend of Greg Keane (we have what is know as,”history),but I can only agree to his response to the latest piece of vapidity from the Head of CFM.

We have known, for far too many years, that CFM was to be rationalised into an automated system in order (1) to save a lot of money and (2) appeal to the non-musicality of the management that requires a mechanical approach to radio and a vague and offset attitude to broadcasting in general,It comes as no surprise then that CFM is about to be stripped of its structure and turned into a music machine.It just has taken a long time, that is…

“The decision to adopt digital presentation at Classic FM was flagged in late 2014. Familiarisation “seminars” were held in December of that year and in March 2015. The main thrust of the innovation was supposedly to streamline programming and to make it less labour intensive. Neither seminar assuaged the suspicion that this process (G-Selector) was the thin edge of the wedge in downgrading the network. Despite predictions that it would be “up and running” by February 2015, “programming” positions for the new set up were not advertised until early June. It was clear from the wording that, despite the usual persiflage of management speak, the main criterion for the new roles was the ability to work within a digital format. The interviews were held in early July, and the appointments of the successful applicants were announced a few weeks later. Both successful applicants were from outside the ABC, and neither had any meaningful programming experience. It’s worth mentioning at this point that between March 2014 and September 2015 the network lost, through voluntary retirement, four of its most experienced program producers. Whether some retirements were prompted by the prospect of digitisation or general disillusionment with the direction of the network is anyone’s guess. The contract of another programmer, who had been employed almost continually since 2011, was not renewed beyond the end of August 2015, pending the introduction of G-Selector.   The essence of the process is the choice of music from a digital database which initially consisted exclusively of music already programmed from existing non-digital programs, which had been over a period of many months  “ripped” into the database. What went to air were essentially cannibalised versions of the original programs. Two more people, one of whom also presents programs, were appointed late in 2015. The effect of the new system minimised creative input and because the “programmers” are regularly rotated between programs, effectively eliminated any creative dynamic, symbiosis or personal chemistry of the type that existed between Ivan Lloyd and Emma Ayres or Joanne Mason and Julia Lester, between current presenters and “programmers”. Presenters simply have to make do with what’s sent to them. Most daytime programs are now based on G-Selector, and further plans are afoot to reduce further live presenter involvement. ”  Limelight July 13 2016


I have spent too many years worrying about what may happen at the end of January that the fourth year of not worrying has given me pause for thought.

Yes, it is time again for the annual rebirth of breakfast radio as old lags and newbies get up at 4:30 am to suffer the permanent jet ag of another year in front of a cold microphone, last night’s dirty studio that no one has cleaned up, darkness and empty offices and security guards who will know your name after only a couple of months, empty car parking places and the general sense of aloneness that the earliest of early mornings bring…. Ah, that brings back memories.

So Classic FM is to have a new breakfast announcer who will begin to realize very quickly that the world turns ever so slowly in the morning and so does your brain, yet somehow the cheery air of the enchainee will have to oblige the sleepy listener and set them on their way.And, under the new regime, there will be no producer to shout at, demand constant attention and help when help is needed. Nope, there will be no one there and you cannot escape.You cannot come to work when you feel like it. You cannot fudge your workload onto others. You cannot even get others to do it for you, so you can pass it off as your own.

No, Breakfast radio is bleak and very very exposed. How long will you last? I suspect not very long. The good times are over and although you will be stroked by management, I fear the slow process of breaking you down has started and within a year of two you will resent that alarm clock and those cold cold mornings….

Still, enjoy it while you can because time is short in our new radio world and the front door ca be very very close….


So Jazztrack will disappear soon and be shunted back to the RN who will bury it in a spot so obscure we will be scratching our heads and asking why?I should be pleased.


Because Jazztrack made it to Classic FM through some of the dirtiest internal politics in the ABC’s history.A dirty deed was well done cheap.

In 1985 RN had several Breakfast shows, locally based, and appealing to the individual states they broadcast to.The Head of RN at the time (whose name I have forgotten, that is just how forgettable he was) decided that we should all bid for the new National RN Breakfast,so we were herded into the board room in William St and asked to pitch for it.Many affirmations were presented, and few were listened to.By the following week, we (in Sydney, who had the highest broadcast reach and ratings) were told that it would go to Adelaide and in return Jim Mcleod and his partner, Gillian Waite, would come to Sydney.Jim to present a new programme called Jazztrack on ABC FM and Gillian to present an Arts show on RN mornings, where I was to be the executive producer.

A couple of years later as I had moved on I discovered the whole truth behind the democracy of affirmation required by our poor Breakfast shows.It was, of course, a deal. The head of RN, who was a personal friend of both Jim McLeod and Gillian Waite had promised them a move to Sydney, but Adelaide RN and CFM wanted something in return.The decision had been made months before our little get together and I must admit it still rankles

So when I heard that Jazztrack is off to RN I am sorry, but what goes around, comes around. Dirty deeds have been done cheap.CFM is rid of Jazztrack and the conservatives have got what they have wanted for years.

What goes around…

You may think that this could only be a one off.But as the structure of public media is designed to create only fuzzy images of responsibility in order to diffuse responsibility it is important that alliance deals are made every day, every week to establish the image of a well defined unity.However, beneath all that seeming compatibility there is a cavern of hate and mistrust.It seems strange that the public broadcaster is decimated by financial obligation rather than restructured by behavioural change.Oh change will come but the changes will be to maintain the alliances at the top and destabilise the workers at the bottom…



Oh dear…

They say that if you squeeze a lemon too hard all that is left is the rind and pips.

So if you squeeze a success too hard, it turns into the original pumpkin

[to mix metaphors]



All this week the ABC has challenged the world with its emphasis on mental health issues, including some really good documentaries and interviews spanning the range of mental health issues and broadcast over all its “platforms” so that exposure for an ABC listener and viewer could not be avoided.And it made me think….

I spent 29 years in the ABC and as both a radio producer and, covertly, as a psychologist I came into contact with the best and the worst of mental health problems that emerge. I suspect it was,like all organisations, subject to the ups and downs of the personalities of both managers and managed and the interpretation of the policy (or lack of) towards mental health.

During this time I witnessed bullying of people unable to defend themselves to the point of breakdown by ego driven broadcasters and bosses,the covert transfer of people with mental health problems to areas other than where the manager was,the subtle cover up of suicides (at least 3 I know of, including that of a close friend) where information was “shut down” to other members of staff, unsubtle threats of “do not talk about it or you could get into trouble” with managers,a complete ignorance by many people of what the policy was and how to enact it, unsympathetic defences by bosses of people who could not defend themselves and peer group pressure that helped to drive people away and, in some cases, mad.

Yup, this is the organisation that says it is all over the subject, including rare admissions by celebs and non celebs alike of their pain and distress over mental health issues and for some bizarre reason all I can think of is the fact that perhaps this might, just might, be a start within the organisation to look towards their own and actually cut the ties between the is and the ought…..

I well remember when I asked to move to Canberra I hear the words of my ex boss;”You should see a psychologist” And I always remember my answer,”Yes, I do”. I am one and I wish for a happer organisational future for mental health in the Broadcaster….I am not counting the days though


The ABC is in crisis.But it has a solution.Give in.Yes, give in to the government and activate the toecutters around the building so they can get on with the work of making certain no senior manager will lose his or her job, There are 2 or 3 of them and they work in the following way….A head of department has a holiday..oh dear, we cannot find anyone to replace him or her but we do have a hard working senior manager to oversee the position for the nest few weeks or months….The replacement then goes ahead sniffing around for “wastage”, anybody in any position…..Quick, try the support staff, they are a soft touch and if they are not available for redundancy,try the programme staff or, even better, try the programme  …oh wait, there are technical staff who may be a bit wiobbly on the ground, try them and then when all else fails try looking at the supervisory staff…Do not, at all costs, look at the senior management positions because they are sacred and must not in any way be seen as possinbly redundant

Why? Because as they say, there is honour among thieves…..


Let’s begin with two simple definitions –

A fact is something that can be proven by observation from cause to effect. 

An inference is something that is inferred, or implied, by the existence of two conditions. For example: my dog is asleep; my dog farted; I infer that my dog must only fart when he is asleep.

In order to understand how shock-jock radio works we have to understand how these two definitions become blurred in practice, in order for the broadcaster to shift the argument his or her way.

Let’s take another example from AJ – In a broadcast a few years ago he stated the following – “The Federal Government has given the NSW government 10 million dollars to improve their transport infrastructure” This is a provable fact.It is available to be examined as a fact of government and can be restated as an evidential fact.

The shock- jock will now transfer the basis of fact into inference by personalising the act of the fact.Thus- “This money has been begrudgingly given to the NSW government by a prime minister and treasurer who have lied about the costings of the project” 

Note how the fact of the 10 million dollars has shifted from being an “article of faith” to being an “article of doubt” – an inference based upon the fact of the money and the inferred untrustworthiness of the Federal Government.

I noticed yesterday that the leader of the Opposition did just this in a statement on the interest rate where he affirmed the fact of the interest rate cut and then blamed the prime minister and treasurer for the economic conditions that surrounded it, even though the Governor of the Reserve Bank is the only one person who actually can be inferred as the responsible conveyor of the fact of inference.

The AJ’s of this world use this personalisation of a fact  as the pivot of their arguments all the time because they know, as we all should, that a fact is a fact and an inference is a way of both disputing a fact and creating a “scapegoat” for the fact.

The problem is that over time the intelligent person can, and will, see through this type of argument,but, sadly, the AJ listener for example is not able to see the conditions of the argument as it is overlayed with emotive reaction of the shock jock audience.I have witnessed this on a larger scale with Ray Hadley’s audience, because Hadley does not argue on the ABB1C because he does not know it so he takes the “reactionary” emotion and uses it to constantly infer, and, in fact ignore the facts.

I suspect that this type of argument has now filtered into many areas of public service and private business leaving many to sigh at the very low level of rhetoric that has emerged. We are living in a constant Parliamentary Question Time