ABC annual report reveals exec pay, gender split and radio’s performance

Former Editor & Content Director
ABC Sydney

The ABC’s financial report for the 2020 financial year has revealed managing director David Anderson had a total remuneration package of $998,014. Michael Carrington, director of entertainment and specialist, meanwhile, was on $468,694, Gaven Morris (director of news, analysis and investigations) $495,430, and Judith Whelan (director of regional and local) $429,796. Ita Buttrose, the organisation’s chair, pocketed $205,631.

The report’s release comes as the ABC also revealed to a Senate estimates hearing yesterday that it had shed 229 jobs as part of its five-year plan to deal with its funding freeze – below the projected 250.

The annual report also revealed the national broadcaster skews female overall with its employees. There were 2,0004 females working at the broadcaster last financial year, compared to 1,721 men. Males, however, dominate full-time jobs, with 1,555 compared to 1,491. The company employed five gender diverse people throughout the period.

ABC employee breakdown 

In terms of costs, market research remained steady at $5.7 million, but advertising costs soared from $2.7 million in the previous financial year to $5.5 million.

The report also claimed that “TV and radio audiences soared” throughout the year, and noted how important ABC Radio was throughout the bushfire crisis.

“For many people, when digital and telecommunications failed in bushfire-impacted areas, ABC Local Radio was the only way to access the timely information they needed to survive,” the report said.

Streaming of Local Radio was up 25% on last year, while the ABC listen app jumped 63% year-on-year.

58% of Australians believed the quality of programming on ABC Radio was ‘good’, while 56% of the population believed that commercial radio offered good quality programming.

Research also indicated that 78% of Australian adults aged 18 to 75 years trust the information that the ABC provides – significantly higher than the levels of trust recorded for internet search engines such as Google (70%), commercial radio (60%), commercial TV (59%), newspaper publishers (58%) and Facebook (35%).

The broadcaster, however, did not achieve its ‘radio reach (weekly)’ target as set out in the ABC Corporate Plan.

The measure aims to ensure a certain percentage of Australians are using the ABC’s services in a given timeframe. “This indicates the effectiveness of, and engagement with, ABC programming”, it said.

ABC’s radio reach target was 36.5% of the population. It narrowly missed out with a performance of 36.4%.

ABC Radio’s performance

“Target not met. The ABC has experienced a decline in traditional platforms generally, however reach grew through the Bushfire Season and early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. GfK Ratings measurement ceased from April 2020 due to impacts from the COVID-19 Pandemic; results therefore reflect performance for the nine-month period,” the ABC explained.

It noted, however, that its representation of women in news stories had “greatly increased”.

“Approximately 45% of the talent chosen to appear in stories over the period were women, with the ultimate goal of 50% not far from achievement. Podcast Ladies We Need To Talk continued to provide a distinctive health, sex and relationships podcast made by and for women, which discussed topics that have been traditionally taboo,” the report said.

“On radio, triple j debuted its first female Breakfast duo with Sally & Erica, Lucy Smith started on Mornings and Avani Dias took over from long-time host Tom Tilley on Hack.”

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Brett de Hoedt
22 Oct 2020 - 3:24 pm

“58% of Australians believed the quality of programming on ABC Radio was ‘good’, while 56% of the population believed that commercial radio offered good quality programming.”

Was this a survey of ABC radio listeners? Or were they asking people who did not listen to the ABC for opinions on ABC content? If it’s the latter, it’s kind of a pointless stat.

    22 Oct 2020 - 4:14 pm

    Good question, Brett. I should have been clearer here. Apologies.

    The stat is sourced from ABC’s Corporate Tracking Program, which has 4,752 participants online, aged 18 to 75.

    “The ABC Corporate Tracking Program provides insights into community perceptions and beliefs about the value of the ABC’s contribution to Australian society. The Program comprises surveys that are conducted nationally three times per year among a nationally representative sample of people aged 18-75 years, via an online methodology,” a previous report said – which indicates to me it’s wider Australian society, rather than just rusted-on ABC listeners.

    I hope this helps.

    Vivienne – Radio Today


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