ABC Radio staff to meet with management this week

Staff Writer

ABC management is facing backlash from some of its radio journalists after the station pulled a radio broadcast off air during last week’s Essendon plane crash.

Instead, the public broadcaster opted to transmit the audio feed from ABC TV’s News 24.

ABC Radio journalists who were covering the incident believe that the unfounded move to quash radio news with television coverage has set a dangerous precedent for radio’s role in breaking significant news stories, while severely damaging ABC’s reputation.

The plane crash, which saw four American tourists and a local pilot tragically killed last Tuesday, was being closely monitored by ABC Radio journalists for around 45 minutes after the event took place. ABC’s director of news, Gavin Morris, then ordered the switch.

“It was a very odd way of handling things,” a source told Mumbrella this week. “There was no directive of when radio could resume as normal. It was handlead very badly.”

The presenter on ABC News Radio at that point was Glen Bartholomew, an experienced journalist who has worked with the station for over a decade and has in-depth knowledge of the city of Melbourne. The radio journalists believe that Bartholomew was providing superior accounts of the unfolding events.

Unsurprisingly, Morris has an extensive background in television, serving as a reporter on the ABC’s 7:30 Report, as well as a host of other stations and channels. He also headed up the launch of ABC News 24 in 2010.

ABC claims that the decision was made for operational purposes. By merging separate news coverage across all mediums, ABC maintains that the decision allowed the network to present more streamlined coverage of the event.

Disgruntled radio journalists from the network are reportedly holding meetings this week to voice their concerns over management’s decisions.

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