ABC Radio National confirms 2009 broadcast schedule | radioinfo

ABC Radio National confirms 2009 broadcast schedule

Thursday 16 October, 2008

ABC Radio National has confirmed its program schedule for next year (see our earlier story). The new lineup will begin on Monday 26 January 2009, with, as forshadowed, major changes to the daily 8.30 am reports.

Mondays and Tuesdays sees the return of the Health Report and the Law Report. These two programs will be joined by Rear Vision, a show examining the history of events in the news, which will be heard on Wednesdays, replacing Stephen Crittenden’s Religion Report.

On Thursdays, the Future Report (working title) replaces The Media Report. The program will focus on “current world trends of globalisation, communication technologies, and the shifting cultural, social, political and economic responses.”

On Fridays, Movietime will replace Sports Factor, and will feature Julie Rigg’s film culture reviews and interviews.

The network returns with its diverse range of programs presented by leading broadcasters such as Fran Kelly, Phillip Adams, Geraldine Doogue, Robyn Williams, Norman Swan, Rachael Kohn, Ramona Koval, Alan Saunders, Richard Aedy and Michael Duffy.

Along with an increase to the amount of radio drama on offer with an extended Airplay program on Friday nights, a major development for the network will be the introduction of a new radio features program and an increase in online features content. Current programs Radio Eye and Street Stories will finish.

ABC Radio says these program changes “allow ABC Radio National to convert a small number of positions into roles with a stronger online and digital editorial focus and to enable general enhancements to the network’s website.”

Radio National Manager Jane Connors says:

“Decisions to wind up programs are never easy, as all of the network’s shows are made with passion and care, and each have their devoted following. The move of resources and staff, and without job losses, into the development of new content offered in new ways, including online, means ABC Radio National can respond to its hugely successful digital growth and shift in audience trends, especially amongst younger audiences.

“The statistics on ABC Radio National’s digital performance are outstanding and contribute greatly in placing the ABC as a major digital broadcast player internationally.

“2008 has been a strong year for ABC Radio National and with the planned changes, 2009 offers growth in the depth and breadth of its content available, delivered in ways audiences enjoy.”

The influence of online interaction with the network is evident from figures released with the new schedule. In 2006, just a year after the network began offering podcasts, ABC Radio National had a monthly average of 765,000 podcast downloads, representing 55% or the ABC’s total monthly average on 1.36 million.

This year, to September, the networks’ monthly average is 1.7 million podcasts downloaded, 50% of the ABC’s overall average of 3.37 million - a monthly average increase for ABC Radio National of 125%.

ABC Radio National radio programs attract an audience aged 50+ years or older, while online audiences for ABC Radio National are under 50.

In response to the changes announced by RN, the Senate today supported a motion from Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown that calls on ABC management to reveal the criticisms and reasons behind the decision to axe the Religion Report, Media Report and other flagship Radio National programs:

"The Religion Report's insightful reporting and critical analysis has ruffled many feathers over the years - the sign of a highly successful program! Radio National's flagship programs, whose specialist reporters have a great depth of knowledge, are what makes public broadcasting in this country so strong. These programs have a growing audience here in Australia, internationally, and online.

"The decision to cut these programs and dumb down Radio National needs to be explained so that the growing audience of these programs understands what ABC management is doing to their broadcaster." Senator Brown told Parliament.

The motion was agreed to by the Government and Opposition.

Click for the full program schedule at the link below.

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