'No impact on radio' from WIN Newsroom closures | radioinfo

'No impact on radio' from WIN Newsroom closures

Thursday 20 June, 2019

A spokesperson has told radioinfo that the WIN newsroom closures will have "no impact on the company's radio stations."

WIN owns i98 in Wollongong and C91.3 in Campbelltown.

WIN will close NSW newsrooms in Orange, Dubbo, Albury and Wagga Wagga, plus will shut down its newsroom is Queensland's Wide Bay area, which covers Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

Weekday television news programs in each region will finish tomorrow week, Friday 28 June.

The closures will affect 35 to 40 staff, including casuals, across the local television news services. Some of these employees will be given roles in other parts of the business, while others wil be  made redundant.

The decision was taken “based on the commercial viability of funding news in these areas,” according to WIN, which blamed digital competition and unequal regulations for the closures.

WIN has told radioinfo in a statement: 

Changing content consumption habits and increased competition from digital content providers, that don’t face the same regulatory conditions that challenge traditional media, has led to a reduction in demand for local news bulletins in these regions. 

 

In our other markets nothing has changed. WIN remains committed to local news and content but in a regional media environment that has its challenges and faces increasing program supply and infrastructure costs, WIN needs to continue to review its operating model to ensure the ongoing success of the business.

 

WIN’s priority in the short term will be working with the staff impacted to attempt to redeploy them into other roles in the Network.

 

Commenting on condition of anonymity, several WIN insiders told radioinfo that the company’s radio stations are doing well in both revenue and ratings, while the tv operation is not.

“Those news rooms are closing because they DON’T have a radio station to financially prop them up,” commented one source.

 

“WIN Wollongong is hemorrhaging money. Their 6pm news has often 13, 000 viewers, yet i98 will get more than that with a facebook video taken on an iPhone.. i98 is breaking records financially and in audience cume, year on year - yet there is massive cost-cutting,”  said another source.

"5 years ago - 50,000 a night was seen as a bad night… now 15,000 is a good night," one source informed us about the tv ratings figures, also telling us the the switch of network affiliation has hurt revenue. "Clients regionally still don’t get it - they buy yearly packages with 9, thinking it’s still WIN."

 

One reason Channel 9 switched allegiences, according to one insider, was that WIN did not want to invest in new platforms or try new ways of gathering and disseminating news content via social media. The network has only recently, belatedly begun disseminating sponsored news content on social media, but it seems to have come too little and too late for the axed newsrooms.

The same source says the company is cutting costs in radio as well as tv, and is not investing in new platforms such as podcasting or new formats. "They're cutting costs all round to support tv," said the source.

 
The NSW National Party has condemned the closure and has vowed to pull its advertising from WIN TV unless the newsrooms are reinstated:

"Rural and regional people need strong and diverse media coverage and moves to reduce those services will only weaken our communities...

"In the first six months of this year we spent close to $3 million advertising on regional television in NSW, but as of this moment I have instructed our party to immediately cease all advertising with WIN TV until they reverse this decision." 
 

The National Party has also promised to look into tax concessions for regional media: "People need to realise that regional media is more connected to their audience than city media is. We'll work with our Parliamentary members on steps to help ensure regional news is more viable, including possible tax concessions."

 

 
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