So Sue Howard has gone as Director of ABC Radio.

What happens now?

I can now confirm that Howard’s departure is the precursor – and apparently the prerequisite – for a significant review of ABC Radio.

The review will move fast now, and will be aimed at integrating and developing radio content across platforms, and capitalising on the ABC’s strong regional and local presence, particularly in the bush, in preparation for the National Broadband Network bringing real speed to rural internet connections.

In the short term, over summer Howard’s position will be filled by the head of ABC Local Radio, Michael Mason. Kate Dundas will then take the helm in an acting position next March and April.

Meanwhile there will be fast (by ABC standards) action to achieve the following things:

  • Radio National’s specialist programs will be developed as multi-media “brands”, in a similar way to what has been done with ABC JJJ, which has developed from a radio station into print, television and online iterations.
  • ABC Local Radio will be developed as a leading forum for local, particularly regional, interaction on multiple platforms. This will include more video, more co-operation with television, and more user generated content. This will be done in preparation for the transformations that the National Broadband Network will bring to the regions and the bush.
  • News Radio will be integrated into the continuous news centre.
  • There are plans for a staff training program to assist with these developments
  • There are also plans for some innovative thinking around what can be done with Digital Radio

So that’s it. And while nobody is saying it in so many words, these are the things that apparently Sue Howard resisted.

The Crikey e-mail and website has finished for the year (returning in early January) but this blog will remain open, though perhaps a little more subdued. More media news as it comes to hand.

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