Northern based Senator Ian Macdonald has welcomed assurances from ABC senior management that there will be no reduction in funding or staff for regional radio stations across Australia when programming changes come into effect in the new year.
Senator Macdonald said he was assured that while the programming changes will see some early morning programming in regional Queensland broadcast from Bundaberg and the Gold Coast instead of locally and local news bulletins reformatted, these changes will not come at the expense of staff or resources.
“I’ve had assurances from the highest level at the ABC that although there will be changes to local programming in the new year, regional listeners will not be subject to any reduction in services,” Senator Macdonald said.
“I’ve made no secret of the fact that over the years I have been very critical of any rumoured reduction in regional services, so I am pleased to learn today that this won’t be the case when the proposed changes come into effect in the new year.”
The changes to programming in Queensland include:
- New early morning show, to be broadcast from Bundaberg or the Gold Coast from 5am-6am.
- Rural report from 6.15am-6.30am
- Local breakfast program from 6.30am-10am
- New locally-produced show from 10am-11am, the format yet to be confirmed.
- Normal programming resumes at 11am (Conversations with Richard Fidler).
- Local drive program to continue from 4pm-6pm.
- Local news bulletins at 6.30am, 7.30am and 12 noon, with two former local bulletins replaced by locally produced headlines.
While the programming changes appear to be based on creating efficiencies, Senator Macdonald said he acknowledged some staff may be worse off in terms of their overall pay.
He said he was pleased that ABC management had responded to his initial concerns, which had been raised after details of the programming changes were revealed to staff last month.