EXCLUSIVE: Expert Warns ABC Will Become Radio Only If Cuts Continue

As $84 million dollars in budget cuts and 250 job cuts for the ABC were announced, questions were raised over how much longer the service will survive.

Figures from Roy Morgan suggest the ABC still holds high trust ratings through its public reputation.

A news poll on our Facebook page, showed 44% of viewers think the ABC is still relevant to the Australian public. However 56% believe the ABC needs to be reformed in programming and content to ensure relevance.

“I think the ABC certainly is in real trouble, and the future of the ABC is in some doubt. It could be reduced to pretty much only a radio organisation in the end,”

Political expert Dr Ian Cook, said the ABC has struggled with maintaining its basic mandate to connect and provide information to as many Australians as possible.

Will the ABC continue to deliver content if there are further cuts to staff?

Dr Cook said the ABC’s capacity to produce Australian content is an important public role, so the question is if we get rid of the ABC will we keep Australian content?

75% of ABC content, productions, dramas programs and more will be outsourced.

Also, new media technologies that have been developed are affecting the ABC’s relevance and news delivery methods.

“Social media, online, and web delivery has changed what people expect of news, and the ABC are struggling because it’s not exactly clear what its mandate is, and the question of how do we service the Australian population is a much more difficult question than it used to be,” Dr Cook explained.

Dr Cook said distinguishing ABC Television and Radio from being tied into old media is preventing from moving into the new media world, and that would be a very different ABC to what we’ve been relying on so far.

“I don’t think that television or radio is dead, I think they will persist and the ABC will be a part of that,”

“I don’t think the ABC needs to go online as a major media provider because there is still a mandate of functions to be had and we can’t ignore people who aren’t online – they’re important, they have needs and we need to service them too,” he commented.

Dr Cook suggests a three different media models which could be implemented to move towards becoming a more financially independent broadcasting service.

The three alternatives include advertisements with additional government support, using television and radio licensing, or creating a personality based subscription media.

“We need to look at these new business models in terms of commercial organisations; it looks like most other media groups,”

“I think the model where advertising with Government support is probably the most acceptable, and licensing would be the second most acceptable,”

“But what’s the difference between a license or a tax? There is no difference…”

Dr Cook said it needs to look at it’s radio arm and the extent of generating funds through that, as it’s the strongest part of the ABC

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