In support of the "Save RN Music" petition and Day of Action, copy of message sent to Director Radio, Manager ‘ideas network’, Managing Director and Board Chairman.
I get the massive cuts inflicted on the ABC in general and ABC Radio over the last 20 years, and in particular since 2013.
Your budgets are in chaos and you’ve had to cut deeply, not just ‘to the bone’, but well past that.
[response to this email received at 16:27, same day.]
Not only have I consciously listened to ABC Radio for 50 years, family members have worked there in various capacities.
I do this by choice, not blind habit or misplaced loyalty.
I’m aware of the alternatives and they don’t engage me.
I love the variety, range and thoughtfulness of the schedule.
It surprises & delights, informs in totally unexpected ways and cause me to reflect on things in new ways.
RN has had a great lineup, even as it’s been eroded over the decades. It didn’t used to be a sea of repeats, but that is where budget cuts have left us.
For me, the whole point of the RN schedule is the sheer range of material.
I’ve lived in Cities, on isolated properties and in small country towns - and all the while the ABC, and RN, have been there for me.
Connecting me back to what matters in the world and what it means to be Australian in that world.
Radio National isn’t a Commercial enterprise, it’s not a trying to garner ratings, nor is it trying to pander to a niche audience and drive sales.
RN, like 2-JJ/2-JJJ and ABC-FM, are about celebrating and spreading the things that make our Culture unique, the quintessential Australian things that aren’t covered on mainstream media.
Like a well rounded education or person, music is a vital part of the makeup of RN.
The diversity of programming is one of the exceptional aspects of RN - it isn’t a monoculture, nor a boring uniformity where you can’t find the ’nuggets’ of exceptional value.
And it _is_ unique, unless “talk stations” or “all the golden hits”.
It’s not like there are dozens of other stations like this, even globally.
Downgrading RN into “Spoken Word” is seriously misreading the value of the station and its diverse programme lineup.
People will still listen, the world will still turn and music will still be heard around the land - but it will be a far less bright and interesting place.
You can’t rescind this decision today, but you can fight for preserving something utterly unique in the world and particularly Australian.
I strongly urge you to find the funding to Make the ABC Great Again, if not the whole of the organisation, at least the parts that are unique in the world.
What I’ve not heard anywhere in this discussion is any mention of fighting against Budget Cuts.
It’s like the Board and Management have just lain down and given up.
We have ‘crowd-sourcing’ as a strong force now.
Why weren’t we, the listening public, given the option to vote with our wallets and contribute to keep alive the things we value?
There are also very real commercial ways to generate cash off the website and archival material, including paying for transcriptions services, that aren’t being explored.
Cutting programming without attempting to increase revenue, to engage the strong community support you know you have, seems like a massive failure of management, initiative, courage and innovation to me.
It is utterly inconsistent with the culture of the line staff in how they’ve adapted to changes and overcome challenges.
You’ve not just failed the taxpayer, the rural communities that need this lifeline, those forced to live solitary lives and the music and arts communities,
you’ve failed your staff in not meeting their commitment, sacrifice and rising to on-going challenge.
This is more than simply cutting 4 programmes from the schedule and declaring one to be your favourite.
This is deliberately throwing away an important part of our unique heritage - this is cultural vandalism of the worst kind.
You must know that once killed off, it’s not coming back unless extraordinary measures are taken.