By Trevor Smith
Australia Bureau Chief
BYRON BAY, NSW –– Further to our October article about Derryn Hinch “The Human Headline,” Derryn triumphantly returned to the airwaves on Melbourne’s 3AW on December 22 last year. Hinch’s switchboard on the first program back was packed with well wishers and supporters.
Opening with the words, “As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted,” Hinch told his audience, “I handled it; I didn’t get bored.” But being under house arrest was tough he said. “I was made a non-person.” Was five months punishment worth it to try and change what Hinch regards as a bad law? “My bloody oath it was. And if necessary, if an obscenely bad law does not change, I would do it again,” he said.
Hinch was unrepentant about naming pedophiles, telling listeners in his opening editorial: “In my weekly sessions with case managers from the Department of Corrections, they did their job and tried to get me to pledge that I would never do such a thing again. I pointed out, with respect, if seven High Court Judges, and other judges from the Supreme Court and Magistrates’ Court hadn’t convinced me that what I did was wrong then they didn’t have much of a show.”
He argued that the toll on the victims of pedophiles is worse than the excuses used by courts to protect their identities. “One judge talked about the ‘emotional and psychological effect on the respondent if material is published.’ What about the victims –– and future victims? What about the emotional and psychological effects on them…whenever released on parole they must be on such a short leash they could well attack again.”
Dramatic developments at Fairfax
Still in Melbourne, in dramatic developments at Fairfax Radio, general manager Graham Mott has decided to step back from the day-to-day operations of the network, citing his recent battle with cancer and the stress of running the lengthy but fruitless network sales process. His place will be taken by Adam Lang, currently at Southern Cross Austereo.
Following the unsuccessful sales process that ended in October, Fairfax Radio acting executive chairman Michael Anderson undertook a review of the entire Fairfax Radio operation which includes 2UE in Sydney, 3AW and Magic in Melbourne, 4BC and 4BH in Brisbane as well as 6PR and 96FM in Perth. With the review yet to be finalised, Mr. Mott had advised Mr. Anderson that he intended to step down from the position of general manager for the network.
However, Mr. Mott will stay on as a program consultant to provide his replacement with invaluable expertise drawn from 43 years in the business. Before moving into general management, Mr. Mott was a successful programmer at a number of stations including WSFM and 3MP taking both stations to the top echelon of the ratings.
Mr. Lang, who Mr. Anderson says was only appointed after Mr. Mott had decided to step back, won’t start until March this year.
2011 ratings wrap-up
By way of wrapping up 2011, I thought looking at the Australian talkers ratings shares published in Nielsen Survey #8 would be a good way to kiss the old year goodbye.
In Sydney 2GB finished the year strongly with a #1, 10+ share of 14.2, ABC702 (think BBC) came in at #2 with a 10.3 while the much talked about 2UE failed to live up to claims they would reach an 8 share by year end, coincidentally coming in at #8 with an overall share of 5.3 –– down from 6.1 in Survey #7.
The Melbourne Nielsen book found 3AW at #1 overall with a 13.6 ominously down from a 16.4, while ABC774 enjoyed 2nd position with a 12.1 while Sport/Talk SEN found itself at #10 with a 4.2 and the much hyped MTR 1377 languished at #12 with a 2.3.
Brisbane found ABC612 at #5 with a 9.9 overall share while news/talk 4BC came in at #8 with a 6.8 share.
Adelaide saw Interactive 5AA arrive at a #2 share for the end of the year with a 13.9 while ABC891 enjoyed the #3 position with 10.9.
Finally way over on the west coast in Perth, the yearly battle for ratings supremacy resulted in ABC720 registering #4 with a 9.3 while News/Talk 6PR enjoyed the #6 position with a 9.3.
By way of conclusion from all your mates down under, here’s wishing and hoping that all our U.S. broadcasting brothers and sisters enjoy a healthy, happy and prosperous 2012.
Trevor Smith is a legendary Australian radio broadcaster who has recently assumed the role of Australia editor/bureau chief of TALKERS. He is president of Aloha Media, producers of documentary content for radio and television broadcast all across Australia. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.