To survive life after Hockey, the ABC must change — if it can

In actuality, the headline comes from the Canadian National Post and really reads, To survive life after hockey, the CBC must change — if it can. In this case, however, it is the rights to broadcast the hockey (I don’t have to tell you which kind, do I?) which is why they discuss “life after hockey”. But with some luck we will be saying the same in a few months’ time except with the capital “H”. And from Small Dead Animals there is this assessment from The Friends of the CBC which I hope to see the Friends of our local media commune repeating in the near future:

From the Friends of the CBC

The full brunt of Stephen Harper’s hostility to our CBC is now in full view.

Today is a very bad day for those of us – and that includes the vast majority of Canadians — who believe in and support public broadcasting.

Please stand with me now in support of public broadcasting and to hold Harper accountable for what he has done.

Earlier today, the CBC announced it faces a $130 million shortfall. This is largely the consequence of Harper’s punitive cuts to the CBC’s budget which as of April 1st are now fully phased in.

As a result, the creative energy of 657 CBC people who make programs will be lost to our national public broadcaster and the damage to every program CBC audiences see and hear will be obvious. Sadly, the layoffs will be concentrated among CBC’s younger, digitally savvy staff with less seniority.

Harper is attacking our CBC from the outside. But he also has an insidious strategy to undermine our national public broadcaster from within.

Seven years ago, Harper handed the reins to our most important cultural institution to someone with no senior level broadcasting or management experience whatsoever.

That lack of experience is now painfully clear to see as the CBC – knowing this day would come – has failed to prepare.

CBC’s President Hubert Lacroix owes his job to Harper and, as Harper’s man inside the CBC, appears to us to be doing the Prime Minister’s bidding.

Public broadcasting in Canada desperately needs your help right now.

Please help FRIENDS mount a major campaign to hold Harper accountable and to deter the next attack, which is looming on the horizon.

Harper’s fingerprints can also been seen [sic] in a Senate Committee study of “challenges facing the CBC” that has turned into a campaign to strip all public funding from the CBC and give that money to the private broadcasters.

This is nothing less than a trial balloon straight from Harper that must be shot down immediately. We need your help now to expose this chicanery to public scrutiny.

Just days ago, Senator Leo Housakos, the Conservative Vice-Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications – a man with close ties to Prime Minister Harper – placed this agenda firmly on the Committee’s plate.

Here is the question Housakos asked at the Committee’s hearing on last Tuesday:

“Is there a way to take the money we spend right now on a broadcaster (the CBC) and re-route that money to give that $1 billion-plus dollars to filmmakers and producers of Canadian content so they can make quality content and films? Once they make that quality Canadian content, wouldn’t there be an easier appeal made to the private broadcasters to start running it more.”

That last suggestion, by the way, seems like a good one that should really be looked at.

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64 Responses to To survive life after Hockey, the ABC must change — if it can

  1. john constantine

    The abc have already started transferring tax dollars from PAYE abc employees to australian production companies,and broadcasting that content.

    Pity that these production companies are just tax dodge structures for abc cronies at the moment

  2. Sadly, the layoffs will be concentrated among CBC’s younger, digitally savvy staff with less seniority.

    The greyhairs in comfy chairs, on the half-million dollar salaries, will keep their window seats as long as possible, cut all the staff who actually produce something, then bitch about how it it the government that is slashing the jobs of young digitally savvy staff.

    Riiiiiight.

  3. H B Bear

    Taking money off the ABC and giving it to Andrew Denton, the Chaser “Boys” and Chris Lilley’s production companies is a good idea?

    Umm …. no.

  4. Jazza

    Change a few names here and there, and imagine that Clive Palmer had this pamphlet printed to circulate across Australia to “save” “our” ABC.
    His short tome –nigh on libellous– recently circulated to Qld voters, re Campbell Newman and the Qld Government popped into my mind
    Well I can dream that somewhere there is a prompt for Malcontent to actually agree to defund at least some of the unnecessary public broadcaster to help Hockey’s cause,as long as the British drama doesn’t go before the lefties talking overpaid arrogant presenters– unless the whole caboodle that is the Anything But Conservatives is shut down,a much preferred option!

  5. Wow, what a classic case of projection. Is there a less apt word for the attitude of their ALPBC to the Libs than ‘hostile’?

  6. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    Dagnabbit, I have tried and tried and tried.

    But I just can’t get past the halfway point before the tears of laughter make it impossible to read any more.

  7. john constantine

    Red kerry got the keating interview funded,promoted and done according to abc life values.

    abc life values now reach out to the right sort,allowing them to rise above ‘work made for hire’ and become hollywood style content providers.

    how about a list of abc cronies that sell high priced content to the taxpayer funded abc. not a lot of free market risk when your crony is trying to get rid of this years taxpayer funded slush fund,to make room for next years.

  8. Ant

    Ohhhh, the poor poopies. Nasty Stephen Harper has taken all our lollies away so now we’ll starve.

    That’s what I’m hearing.

    Our ABC toddlers would be same here, with a toddler tantrum a day if the Libs start dragging them out of their leftie sheltered toyshop.

    Best to administer some controlled crying and leave the house until they tire themselves out.

    It’s the responsible thing to do and they’ll thank you later.

  9. Rabz

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the CCCBC is such an abomination it makes our very own ALPBC look like a paragon of moderation and balance.

    Although Harper does seem to be just faffing about the edges.

    Perhaps I send him “the Mantra”.

  10. Excellent precedent!

    $1.2 billion cut please…

  11. faceache

    Please do not forget that all these leftie presenters and commentators believe that they are intellectually superior to everyone else, that their first thoughts on a topic are sheer genius and absolutely correct. They do not require analysis. Unintended consequences are always someone else’s fault. They are incapable of shallow thought. Shame and guilt and contrition are for lesser mortals.

  12. Squirrel

    “Is there a way to take the money we spend right now on a broadcaster (the CBC) and re-route that money to give that $1 billion-plus dollars to filmmakers and producers of Canadian content so they can make quality content and films? Once they make that quality Canadian content, wouldn’t there be an easier appeal made to the private broadcasters to start running it more.”

    That last suggestion, by the way, seems like a good one that should really be looked at.”

    I understand New Zealand started doing something along those lines, some years ago – but if not them, there must be a working model somewhere for channeling public funds to content makers while minimising capture and cronyism. The role of the ABC Shops and the profit (?) they make could be a useful part of this equation. One way or another, a sharper focus on the actual cost of news and current affairs, and on the ABC bureaucracy, should be the objective.

    As to the likelihood of any nasties for the ABC getting through the Senate, the most recent encounter would suggest that the on-air bromance between Clive Palmer and Tony Jones has cooled somewhat, and I would be surprised if any of the PUP Senate group are rusted-on ABC supporters who would defend it to the death.

  13. .

    As a result, the creative energy of 657 CBC people who make programs will be lost to our national public broadcaster and the damage to every program CBC audiences see and hear will be obvious. Sadly, the layoffs will be concentrated among CBC’s younger, digitally savvy staff with less seniority.

    Then fall on your fucking swords, you big wannabe Ted Kennedy “heroes”.

  14. Rabz

    Then fall on your fucking swords, you big wannabe Ted Kennedy “heroes”.

    WTF? The aged commies at the CCCBC want to drown young women?

  15. Kingsley

    I think a board set up to allocate our $1.1b would be a good start. Make the terms fairly short so when a govt comes to power it gets opportunity to place new board members on quickly to move the balance of power it’s way. That swings both ways of course but should ensure at least half the time that conservatives control that board. I would think that all of the free to air players would expand their production operations if $1.1b is up for grabs every year. They will be focused on producing stuff people actually want to watch not the umpteenth docudrama on the Whitlam dismissal.

    Still has to be said though, should we be spending anywhere near $1.1b on this when I’d wager every children’s hospital across the country could spend this on far far more pressing needs.

    On broader topic of ABC and finding some sort of solution to them, I think Joe Hockey said something very interesting in that public QandA near the end of the election campaign when asked if coalition intended to privatise it. Something to the effect of “Tony does the ABC make a profit? No so we won’t be privatising as nothing to actually sell”
    That suggests to me the first step is the ABC must be allowed to carry advertising at least at the same level as SBS to start preparing it for a sale. Indeed if the ABC starts bleating about lack of finding we can say “there we are boys and girls, you can now go out and get all the funding you have ever desired by making your product attractive to advertisers”

  16. Andrew

    After Bishop666 withdraws the $220m contract corruptly awarded and even more corruptly abused, it’s over. Simply closing the AC will irreparably smash their model. When is budget night?

  17. Boambee John

    According to the Canadian Financial Post (10 April), the CBC took in $331m in advertising in the year ending 31 March 2013 (linked through the blog Small Dead Animals).

    If advertising s good enough for CBC, perhaps Their ABC might also be told to raise some advertising revenue?

  18. Diogenes

    They could start by not paying St David of Suzuki – after all he has more money than he can ever need, and is he is really so passionate about the environment. They could then consider not sponsoring events like the MOMA “Trial of David Suzuki”

  19. Habib

    Ther last idea seems a very bad one, what’s wrong with returning it to punters, who can allocate it by putting their bums on seats at movies they want to see. There’s ample evidence of the turgid, predictable, insular cobblers that results from public funding of fillum.

    Even dull dirigibles like Phatty Addams used to be able to knock out stuff punters would pay for, before the sector (and his own ample self) was captured by the no-fun collective.

  20. The lever the ABC has over the government is regional broadcasting. They are the only network that does it well and the punters like it.

    So as a transition measure (to privatisation), how about breaking down the billion dollars per year into specific purpose grants, of which one is specifically for rural broadcasting. So overall funding can be cut (and advertising allowed) with no reduction in regional funding, and thus no justification for reducing services.

    They already do it with state government funding.

  21. Sir Fred Lenin

    I think its a good thing,we close the alpbc and sack the poofters,lesos and soshalist activites,then they form “fillum companies” ,and we appoint an alp/green fascist commisariat to give them our money ,to make alp/green/ communist /fascist fillums ,that of course no one will pay to watch? Sonds like good alp business sense to me .

  22. Tintarella di Luna

    I think the Rabz-Mantra is appropriate.

  23. Gab

    There is absolutely no need or reason to have a government-funded broadcasting entity in this technological age. It’s anathema to a democratic society.

  24. john constantine

    rural broadcasting is where the true fanatics with jobs for life get sent,when they rave too much for even inner city audiences.

    abc rural victorian radio simply reads aloud green press releases word for word at the rednecks.

    it is almost the height of humour to hear abc rural assume the ‘tone of importance’ when disaster strikes. the self importance of abc types reading out of date pres releases,without any comprehension of what is really happenning where. it is actually black humour.

    the great lie is that the rural abc provides emergency services that no-one else will. the truth is that the abc floods rural broadcasting with so much free content that it can not be competed with.

    for true emergency broadcasting,all that is needed is for a requirement of holding a broadcasting licence to be emergency broadcasting services to be provided when needed. provide a discount on regulators fees in exchange,and it still cheaper than funding the feral greens to broadcast hate speech aimed at alienating rural people into ‘tony windsor’ last resort voting. right now that is the groupthink of rural abc broadcasting–create rural independants to fracture the tory vote.

    the ratings for true

  25. Kingsley

    Our local commercial radio station, part I believe of the Macquarie network, also does an excellent job of disseminating info about local bush fires etc including the FM channel for teenagers/twenty somethings. They interrupt transmission regularly even though the announcement would at any time be probably directly relevant to less than 1% of their audience

  26. Zatara

    “…there must be a working model somewhere for channeling public funds to content makers while minimising capture and cronyism”

    There is. It’s called the free market where if you produce what people want they will pay you for it. If you don’t produce what the market wants you get bupkiss.

    Government however has no more business funding “content makers” than they do funding the yarts. If for no other reason than that means Government gets to pick what is funded and therefore produced.

    If you think that means no more valuable documentaries etc. I refer you to the History Channel, National Geographic, and Discovery.

  27. stackja

    Let’s all talk about awful Australia
    Andrew Bolt APRIL 12 2014 (12:36pm)
    How the Left has hijacked our ABC …
    ABC 24 today demonstrates the very worst of the ABC. Waleed Aly introduces Chip Rolley (Anne Summers’ partner) who interviews Antony Lowenstein about our wicked boat people policies.
    Dear God. That’s not debate but a group hug in a Balmain tofu shop.
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/lets_all_talk_about_awful_australia/

  28. incoherent rambler

    Jockey did make an election commitment that he would “eliminate waste”.

    The ABC is both “waste” and a “waste”. He must eliminate it.

  29. jupes

    That last suggestion, by the way, seems like a good one that should really be looked at.

    You must be freaking joking.

    When was the last decent Aussie movie? Giving the talentless leeches of the Australian Film Industry a bucketful of taxpayer’s money is guaranteed to produce unwatchable dross.

  30. kurt

    Fund the abc with a tax on all households. Tax can be opt-outable as proposed in UK for TV tax. Save budget billions. Tax and ABC will shrink over time as people opt out. Also, must ban ABC staff from selling ‘independent’ productions. Clear conflict of interest. How can you get paid for making TV then sell additional TV to your employer?

  31. entropy

    This is the truth of it

    rural broadcasting is where the true fanatics with jobs for life get sent,when they rave too much for even inner city audiences.

    abc rural victorian radio simply reads aloud green press releases word for word at the rednecks.

    it is almost the height of humour to hear abc rural assume the ‘tone of importance’ when disaster strikes. the self importance of abc types reading out of date pres releases,without any comprehension of what is really happenning where. it is actually black humour.

    the great lie is that the rural abc provides emergency services that no-one else will. the truth is that the abc floods rural broadcasting with so much free content that it can not be competed with.

    And this is true too. What the heck to do think the Australia Council is?

    That last suggestion, by the way, seems like a good one that should really be looked at.

    You must be freaking joking.

    When was the last decent Aussie movie? Giving the talentless leeches of the Australian Film Industry a bucketful of taxpayer’s money is guaranteed to produce unwatchable dross.

    as packer said [paraphrased] you lot don’t spend my money half as well as you should do. Imagine Phat Phil pontificating on which fillum gets funded if he had a frigging fabulous ABC sized fund to f**k around with..

  32. johanna

    These idiots seem to think that the way that Hollywood became the powerhouse of movies all over the world was because of government handouts.

    *Beats head against wall.

  33. Kingsley

    I think the idea does have merit at the political level. It causes the ABC to show why what it currently does is better. It shows that they aren’t really doing anything that the private sector couldn’t do albeit with what represents a giant subsidy. Essentially it is the ABC outsourced. Just like contractors in any field it is much easier to simply not renew their contract at contracts end versus laying off permanent employees especially guvvie permanent employees. If this grant commission mechanism was set up it would be far easier to start cutting it back and/or phasing it out altogether. As a middle step I think it had genuine political merit.

  34. mareeS

    DavidLeyonhjelm, specific purpose grants would be a good start, so that as an occasional ABC viewer/listener I could see where my part of the $1.2b is being spent, and then more specifically target my complaints about funding any of it. Better, though, would be a subscription plan to allow viewers/listeners to pay for it on a time or pay-per-view basis, much like everybody does on all other media platforms including PayTV.

    You can opt in or opt out for organ donations, but not for the ABC universal tax. How fair & equitable is that. Or does the ABC need my left kidney?

  35. egg_

    Jockey did make an election commitment that he would “eliminate waste”.

    Yup, advertising or ‘lights out’.

  36. john constantine

    once bbc content is placed on a dedicated bbc channel,we will see how well loved the abc is when people have a direct choice of whether to tune in to the bbc or the abc.

    bring it on-competition.

  37. sdfc

    If Hockey was serious about the budget he would make the family home an assessable asset in determining eligibility for the age pension.

  38. .

    If Hockey was serious about the budget, he’s cut spending and taxes by a large margin and still have a balanced budget and pay off the debt.

  39. Crossie

    If Hockey was serious about the budget he would make the family home an assessable asset in determining eligibility for the age pension.

    Brilliant idea! Tax retires and give to the bloated ABC. You must be a Gillard holdover, she also had no time for pensioners.

  40. sdfc

    The ABC is a very small part of the expenditure.

    The debt isn’t a problem. Just what expenditure to you want cut Dot?

  41. .

    Debt isn’t a problem! FFS you make me sick. You are worthless.

  42. sdfc

    Maybe you could explain how the current level of debt outstanding is a problem

  43. jupes

    Maybe you could explain how the current level of debt outstanding is a problem

    Paying interest is a waste of taxpayer’s money.

  44. Fisky

    If Hockey was serious about the budget, he’s cut spending and taxes by a large margin and still have a balanced budget and pay off the debt.

    Hockey must not pay back a single penny. Labor’s debt, Labor’s problem.

  45. Percy

    Paying interest is a waste of taxpayer’s money.

    What? Why didn’t the meeja tell me this?

  46. .

    “How is it a problem, that future generations have to pay for all of the useless shit that Rudd and Gillard wasted borrowed money on?”

    (PS – don’t get angry answering such a brain dead, rhetorical question)

    Dummy spit? You don’t have functioning brain cells. No one here is therefore accountable to you. You basically surrendered your university degree last night when you declared the fallacy of the broken window, “a fallacy”. You actually think Keynes’ snide suggestion that burying jars of hard currency and having the private sector incentivised to dig them up, really is a good idea.

    Piss off. No one is buying chartalism or any other Billy Mitchellist horseshit around here.

  47. sdfc

    The interest bill is small. It’s not your smoking gun.

    Of course the broken window fallacy is a fallacy. We have an elastic currency.

  48. sdfc

    Actually elastic money is more accurate.

  49. .

    FFS. You are literally too stupid to understand opportunity costs, regardless of the nature of money.

  50. sdfc

    The opportunity cost of allowing a deflation to take hold you mean? You throw out clichés but that’s about all.

  51. .

    “When the government wastes money, there is elastic money and there is no opportunity cost of waste. Investment made minus depreciation adds to the capital stock.”

    “Private investment is not subject to elastic money and therefore there is an opportunity cost.”

    sdfc has now theorised the government can increase GDP even when it makes losses, all it has to do is spend enough and make sure the frequency of such spending also increases and government can always increase GDP growth at a higher rate than the private sector.

    This is simply insane. Short sdfc: major wars create an immediate and permanent increase in living stadnards.

  52. egg_

    Brilliant idea! Tax retires and give to the bloated ABC. You must be a Gillard holdover, she also had no time for pensioners.

    They’re probably Aunty’s biggest audience – give ‘em the choice – lesser pension or advertising on Aunty.

  53. Andrew

    Maybe you could explain how the current level of debt outstanding is a problem

    Um, the fact that we’re not within $70bn pa of being able to service and cap that debt. It increases faster than nominal GDP in the brief period before the last of the boomers retire and turn the whole thing into Greece. The fact that this disastrous state of affairs was attained at the PEAK of the commodity cycle. And the fact that at least 47% like it and will sabotage good government in order to ensure that a potentially manageable problem is never allowed to be managed. Debt will peak at $1tr including States. And that’s in a cyclical economy with the 17th highest total debt in the world (thanks to the massively indebted private sector.)

  54. Notafan

    Harper is doing good work at CBC but no film commission grants except maybe, just maybe, as shared public private ventures with some rules about profit sharing

  55. Crossie

    They’re probably Aunty’s biggest audience – give ‘em the choice – lesser pension or advertising on Aunty.

    No, they’re not, egg. ABC’s biggest audience are the university crowd. Pensioners listen to Alan Jones.

  56. john constantine

    mark scott has said that the abc must stop being middle aged white people talking to middle aged white people, and move on.

    okay, does that mean we can fire every head nodding abc crony over 40?.

    Scott seems to think that means that the abc deserve taxpayer funding to keep running abc’s for burnt out hippies,and duplicate a whole string of new abc’s for the new vision of australia.

    cunning,if a channel spends money ‘politically correctly’ then cutting abc funding can be attacked as an assault on victims. Watch for the new abc channel for disabled kiddies–dare to cut funds for that abbottbeast.

  57. egg_

    mark scott has said that the abc must stop being middle aged white people talking to middle aged white people, and move on.

    Yairs, the Doctors Wives syndrome.
    Yoof have many other sources of information via the web and mobile devices, which Aunty would like to capture, but more likely is catching tech savvy blue rinse set members (Uni Profs who catch Phatty via ‘podcast’* FFS).

    *’Poddies’ according to Phatty. /retch

  58. .

    The fact remains:

    .
    #1262816, posted on April 12, 2014 at 10:06 pm
    If Hockey was serious about the budget, he’s cut spending and taxes by a large margin and still have a balanced budget and pay off the debt.

  59. Cutting the ABC’s budget in two easy steps, without breaking any promise:-
    1. Appoint a board—the Charter Compliance Committee—filled with volunteers only, and costing the Government nothing.
    2. Explain to the ABC that its budget will be paid in two parts: 10% will be provided immediately, and the balance will be provided as soon as the CCC has proof that all the ABC’s operations comply fully with its Charter.
    Otherwise, shut it down etc.

  60. Squirrel

    “mark scott has said that the abc must stop being middle aged white people talking to middle aged white people, and move on.”

    Without the (Anglophile) middle aged white people audience, the remaining rump of the ABC could be merged with SBS, and the savings would be very worthwhile. As egg points out, the youth could go elsewhere.

    I would rather see very tight, carefully monitored public funding for news and current affairs, with local content paid for by advertising and profits (?) from the ABC shops. Arguments for an opt-out tax to fund the ABC are just an impractical (how do you stop freeloaders?) re-hash of the licence fee system which was abolished 40 years ago, and the suggestion that it all be left to the free market will only accelerate the dumbed-down Americanisation of Australia.

  61. johanna

    Deadman, changing the ABC Board’s functions needs to go through Parliament. Not commenting on your suggestion, just noting that.

    BTW, any updates on Alfred’s travails? I fully understand if you prefer not to comment, as he is a minor, trapped in school, and with exams in front of him.

    But it would be good to hear that he is OK.

  62. johanna, I don’t advocate a change to the ABC’s board (which, as you rightly say, requires parliamentary consent); I advocate a new, unpaid board, which has the sole function of advising the minister that the ABC, if it ever do so, complied with the Charter (and that the ABC Board had therefore done its job).

    Alfred tells me that he intends to provide a further update (on his site) soon.

  63. johanna

    Deadman, now that is the kind of sneaky creative thinking that the Coalition needs!

    Best regards to Alfred.

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