It’s been a grim 12 months in radio news. Newsrooms across the country have downsized, merged or outsourced their news services.
Southern Cross Austereo is the most recent of the media players to announce changes to its news product; specifically on the HIT network.
Last week, it announced a major overhaul. 2Day FM’s Geoff Field, Fox FM’s Joanna McCarthur and Melanie Usher from Adelaide’s HIT107 among those to no longer have home at SCA.
Controversially, that same day, it announced Scoopla co-host Emma Freedman had been appointed to present news updates across the network during the Hamish and Andy Show.
This isn’t new territory for SCA. Prior to Hamish and Andy’s departure in 2010, Erin Ivancic also read a national news bulletin during their show. With their return to their airwaves, it was only a matter of time before SCA revisited the old format. However, this incarnation is slightly different.
“It really came down to providing a national bulletin within a national show,”says Hit Network Group CD Dave Cameron.
“We felt the time was right to have a national news reader, who was an extension of the Hamish and Andy Show, allowing them to have a conversation if they wanted too. A news service that sat inside the show, which we hadn’t really had before”.
“So, yes, we are streamlining news, but it really started with finding the right kind of service that we could put inside our national drive show”.
Southern Cross Austereo joins the list of media organisations that have overhauled their news service and off loaded journos. We’ve seen it with ARN and Fairfax-Macquarie, as well as SEN in Melbourne.
But it’s not just a radio thing. Journalism as a profession is changing. Since 2012, around 2000 journalists have left the industry; print, TV AND radio.
Many had been made redundant. Many retired and haven’t been replaced. Many simply became disenfranchised and left. Oddly enough, despite the job losses, journalism remains one of the most popular courses taught at our universities and colleges.