Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center; padding: 10px 0 10px 0;">Image:Australian Broadcasting Corporation Logo.png</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right;">Type</th><td>Broadcastradio and television</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right;">Country</th><td>Image:Flag of Australia.svg Australia</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right;">Availability</th><td>National; international (via the Australia Network, Radio Australia and ABC Online)</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right;">Slogan</th><td>"There's more to ABC"...</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right;">Owner</th><td>Commonwealth of Australia</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right;">Key people</th><td>Donald McDonald, Chairman; Mark Scott, Managing Director</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right;">Launch date</th><td>1932 (radio); 1956 (television); 2001 (digital tv)</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right;">Website</th><td>www.abc.net.au</td></tr>
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation or ABC (formerly the Australian Broadcasting Commission) is Australia's national non-profit public broadcaster. The ABC provides television, radio and online services throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, and overseas via its Asia-Pacific Television service and Radio Australia. The Corporation runs a chain of ABC Shops selling books and audio/video recordings related to its programs.

Contents

[edit] History

The first public radio station in Australia opened in Sydney on November 13, 1923 under the call sign 2SB with other stations following. A licensing scheme administered by the Postmaster-General's Department was soon established whereby certain stations received government funding but had restrictions placed on their advertising content.

[edit] Radio

Following a 1927 Royal Commission which inquired into radio licensing issues, the government established the National Broadcasting Service which subsequently took over a number of the larger funded stations. It also nationalised the Australian Broadcasting Company which had been created by entertainment interests to supply programs to various radio stations. On July 1, 1932 the Australian Broadcasting Commission was established which took over the operations of the National Broadcasting Service and over a number of years established offices in each of Australia's capital cities.

[edit] Television

In 1956, the Commission commenced television broadcasting and in 1983, with the passing of a new ABC Act, the name was changed to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. As the publicly funded national broadcaster, the Corporation has been run with free-to-air radio and television broadcasting throughout its history.

[edit] Governance

The history of the ABC governance has been one of frequent change. At it's conception on 17 May 1932, the Australian Broadcasting Commission consisted of five commissioners appointed by the Governor-General. From these five commissioners, one was appointed to the office of chairman, and another commissioner was appointed to the office of vice-chairman.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission>Appendix 1: The Character and composition of the ABC'S Governing Body 1932-2001 Friends of the ABC Submission to the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee, Friends of the ABC, accessed from the Friends of the ABC website November 29, 2006</ref> This board of directors then appointed a General Manager, who did not have the office of commissioner.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/>

In 1942, an Act was passed which required that one of the commissioners be a woman.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/> In 1948, an Act was passed to increase the number of commissioners to seven, specifying that two commissioners must be public servants; one each from the Treasury department and the Postmaster-General's department.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/> This requirement for public servants was dropped in the Broadcasting and Television Act of 1956, but retained the need for seven commissioners. This change allowed for each state to be represented by a commissioner.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/>

An increase to the number of commissioners was made in 1967 when nine were required.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/> In 1975, Whitlam introduced without legislation a staff elected commissioner postion.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/> This office was short-lived being discontinued by the Fraser government. <ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/>

In 1976 an Act was passed which raised the number of commissioners to eleven. This change also required two women to be on the Commission, as well as one commissioner from each state.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/>

In 1983 the Australian Broadcasting Commission became the Australian Broadcasting Corporation by an Act conceived by the Fraser Government, and passed by Hawke government. This Act remains as the governing Act for the ABC today.<ref name=FriendsABCSubmission/>

In 2006, the government planned to restructure the ABC board, and the position of staff elected director was abolished.<ref>Restructure of ABC Board webpage of Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, accessed Novemeber 27, 2006</ref> The elected director was nominated and elected by employees of the ABC. Nominees for this director office were to have been employed at least 24 hours a week by the ABC, and the term of office was two years with eligibilty for re-election to a second term. An elected director was not eligible for a third term of office.<ref>Staff-elected Director Scaleplus website, accessed November 26, 2006</ref>

[edit] Structure

[edit] ABC Governance

The operations of the ABC are governed by a board of directors<ref>Establishment of Australian Broadcasting Corporation Board ScalePlus Website, accessed November 26, 2006</ref>. The board is made up of appointed directors, and a board appointed Managing Director. The authority and guidelines for the appointment of directors is provided for in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (ABC Act)<ref name=Abouttheboard>About the board ABC website, accessed November 26, 2006</ref><ref>Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 Scaleplus website, accessed November 26, 2006</ref><ref name=Board>Membership of Board Scaleplus website, accessed November 26, 2006</ref>.

The Governor-General is responsible for the appointments of between five and seven directors, recommended by the Federal Government.<ref name=Abouttheboard/> The ABC act specifies that the Governor General must be satisfied that the recommendations for director appointments are qualified through experience in one of the following areas; broadcasting services, communications, management, financial, technical matters, or cultural or other interests relevant to the oversight of a public organisation engaged in the provision of broadcasting services.<ref name=Board/> The term of the appointment is up to five years, with eligibility for reappointment at the end of this term.<ref name=Board/>

The Managing Director is appointed by the board of directors for a term of five years, with eligibility for reappointment to a second term no longer than five years. <ref>Tenure of Managing Director Scaleplus website, accessed November 26, 2006</ref>

[edit] Current Board

Mr Mark Scott - Managing Director. Appointed 5 July 2006.
Mr Donald McDonald (ABC chairman) AC - Chairman. Appointed July 1996.
Mr John Gallagher QC - Appointed 9 December 1999.
Dr Ron Brunton - Appointed 1 May 2003.
Ms Janet Albrechtsen - Appointed 24 February 2005.
Mr Steven Skala - Appointed 6 October 2005.
Mr Peter Hurley - Appointed 14 June 2006.
Mr Keith Windschuttle - Appointed 14 June 2006.

[edit] Funding

The ABC is non-commercial in its delivery of broadcasting content. It receives the vast majority of its funding by direct annual grants from the federal government budget. This funding is supplemented by commercial revenue collected through sales in ABC book stores. In comparison the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada (CBC/Radio-Canada) and public broadcasting in New Zealand, receive substantial revenue from advertising[citation needed], and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), receives the bulk of its revenue from licence fees and worldwide commercial operations.[citation needed] The American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), is supported partly with federal funding, but is supplemented greatly by public donations.[citation needed]

Prior to 1974 the ABC was funded by a licence fee, but this was abolished.

[edit] Relationship with the Government

Due to the ABC's almost total reliance on government funding, the broadcaster has had a complex relationship with governments. [citation needed] Relations between public broadcasters and the governments that provide all or much of their funding, and establish and maintain their legal status, have typically been through periods of turbulence since the rise of current affairs and documentaries in broadcasting.[citation needed]

The ABC's treatment of current affairs—including This Day Tonight and its successors The 7.30 Report and Lateline on television, and AM on radio—have been criticised by the political right for alleged left-wing bias in its reporting.[citation needed] In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the conservative Liberal Party government made several attempts to curtail the ABC's political coverage by threatening to reduce funding to the news and current affairs division.[citation needed] In the late 1980s, the Labor Party government of Bob Hawke proposed commercialising the ABC, a move that was successfully resisted by the organisation itself and a significant groundswell of devotees among the public.[citation needed] The Hawke government also proposed to merge the ABC and its sister organisation, the Special Broadcasting Service; again, this move was unsuccessful, this time because the enabling legislation failed to pass the Senate.

Soon after coming to office in 1996, the Liberal Party government of John Howard reduced the ABC's operating grants by 10 per cent.[citation needed] From 2003 it also made several controversial appointments of leading Australian conservative figures to the ABC Board, including Janet Albrechtsen,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> , Ron Brunton,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and Keith Windschuttle,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> all notable contributors to the conservative literary and political journal Quadrant and, prior to their appointments to the Board, fierce critics of the ABC.

In 2003, former Communications Minister Senator Richard Alston lodged 68 complaints with the Independent Complaints Review Panel against ABC's AM radio program for its coverage of the US led invasion of Iraq. The panel upheld only part of the lodged complaints. Overall it found no evidence of biased and anti-Coalition coverage as alleged by the Minister, nor did it uphold his view that the program was characterised by one-sided and tendentious commentary by program presenters and reporters. Of the 17 complaints by the Minister that were upheld, 12 displayed serious bias on the part of the reporters or the program's presenter Linda Mottram.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In October 2006 ABC Managing Director Mark Scott formally released a new set of editorial guidelines covering news and current affairs, opinion programs, factual programs and performance pieces. The ABC must express "a full range of views in opinion-based programs and ensure that when an opinion is expressed, it is clearly marked as an opinion."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The guidelines are set to come into effect in March 2007.

Some critics have questioned how well the guidelines will work, arguing that journalism must always involve some subjective selection of opinion since the provision of equal air time to the virtually limitless "full range of views" on any given topic is practically impossible.<ref>{Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Radio

The ABC began as a network of twelve radio stations: eight in the capital cities and four regional relay stations. From its humble beginnings, ABC Radio now includes five national networks, Radio National, ABC NewsRadio, Triple J, dig and ABC Classic FM; around fifty ABC Local Radio stations and a foreign language shortwave radio service, Radio Australia. The twelve original stations were:

Capital cities:

Relay stations:

[edit] Radio news and current affairs

The ABC's news and current affairs coverage is the most independent in Australia as it is free of the commercial constraints of the commercial news networks. It is also widely regarded in the Australian media industry as the best news coverage in the country. News and current affairs programs broadcast on ABC radio stations across the country are:

  • ABC Radio News (Hourly news updates on Radio National, Local Radio, Classic FM and Triple J)
  • AM (Half hour-long current affairs program broadcast on Local Radio at 8am and Radio National at 7.10am) AM website
  • The World Today (50 minute-long current affairs program broadcast on Local Radio and Radio National at 12:10pm)
  • PM (50 minute-long current affairs program broadcast on Local Radio and Radio National at 6:10pm)
  • Radio National also produces other news, business and current affairs programs, such as Background Briefing, the Health, Law, Religion and Media Reports and The National Interest.
  • Hack on Triple J the only current affairs program on FM radio

[edit] ABC Local Radio

For more details on this topic, see ABC Local Radio.

ABC Local Radio is the ABC's flagship radio station in each broadcast area. There are 46 different ABC Local Radio stations across Australia and they all follow a standard format with local hosts presenting light entertainment, talk back, music, sport and interviews. ABC Local Radio also carries nationally broadcast programming, including AM, PM, The World Today, sporting events and Nightlife. ABC's local radio stations cater for a diverse audience, though most are popular with older audiences.

[edit] ABC Radio Grandstand

For more details on this topic, see ABC Radio Grandstand.

"Grandstand" is the banner used for the ABC's coverage of various sporting events broadcast on ABC Local Radio. In many cases, commentators are used to call various sports and are required to have knowledge on a wide range of sports, as opposed to a speciality.

[edit] ABC Radio National

For more details on this topic, see ABC Radio National.

ABC Radio National can be heard across Australia and broadcasts over 60 special interest programs per week. These programs are about a diverse range of topics including music, comedy, book readings, radio dramas, poetry, science, health, the arts, religion, social history and current affairs.

[edit] ABC NewsRadio

For more details on this topic, see ABC NewsRadio.

ABC NewsRadio was previously called the Parliamentary and News Network (PNN). The station was set up to broadcast Australian Federal Parliament and is similar to the BBC Parliament television channel in the UK. It was built around the Parliament's existing broadcast service. PNN was originally set up to relieve other ABC Radio networks from covering Parliamentary sittings. When Parliament is not sitting, the station broadcasts news on a 24/7 format with updates on the quarter-hour. Most of its news comes from ABC News reporters, however it also uses the resources of BBC Radio, NPR, Deutsche Welle and CNN Radio.

[edit] Triple J

For more details on this topic, see Triple J.

Triple J (or JJJ) is a national youth radio network, broadcasting new alternative music, particularly Australian music. The station's demographic is 15–25 years. Triple J was formerly known as "Double Jay" when it first hit the airwaves (as an AM station) on 19 January 1975.

[edit] Dig

For more details on this topic, see ABC DiG.

"DiG" radio broadcasts over the Internet, pay TV and digital radio. It is not available via a standard radio on AM or FM frequencies. DiG broadcasts a diverse range of music and also plays music submitted by listeners.

[edit] ABC Classic FM

For more details on this topic, see ABC Classic FM.

ABC Classic FM was the ABC's first FM service. It was originally known simply as "ABC FM", and for a short time "ABC Fine Music". Its format borrowed heavily from community stations that eventually founded the Fine Music Network, as well as BBC Radio 3.

The ABC, through ABC Classic FM, has helped support the ABC-owned state symphony orchestras, chamber music, instrumental recitals, opera, choral and solo singers.

[edit] Radio Australia

For more details on this topic, see Radio Australia.

The ABC also operates Radio Australia, an international shortwave service with transmissions aimed at East Asia and the Pacific Islands, although its signals are also audible in many other parts of the world. It features programs in various languages spoken in these regions, including Mandarin, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Khmer and Tok Pisin.

Radio Australia concentrates on news and current affairs, but it also features historical documentaries, information about Australian lifestyle and culture, and light entertainment. Although it does produce some of its own programming, most of it content consists of relays produced by the domestic Radio National network.

Radio Australia bulletins are also carried on the World Radio Network, available via satellite in Europe and North America.

It is of little interest to domestic Australian audiences as most of its material is, or has previously been, broadcast simultaneously on the easier to receive domestic ABC networks.

[edit] Television

For more details on this topic, see ABC Television (Australia).

The ABC operates two nationwide television channels, ABC TV and the digital-only ABC2. In addition a separate digital network Australia Network provides commercial digital TV services into the Asia-Pacific region.

On March 7 2005, the digital-exclusive channel ABC2 was launched.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> It is largely a combination of the ABC Kids Channel, short-format news and information programs and retransmission of main channel programs. It screens predominantly repeated ABC news and current affairs programs, compilations of ABC news bulletin stories with some additional reporting, children's programming, music documentaries and state football.

The Australia Network television service was launched in 2002 as ABC Asia Pacific. It is partly funded by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and partly by advertising. The channel is available free-to-air to East Asia and the Pacific Islands via satellite and local cable systems, and has recently been made available in South Asia and the Middle East. It can also be accessed online.

The network is currently available in 8 million homes in more than 35 countries across the region, and more than 190,000 hotel rooms. The network screens a variety of programs, from the ABC TV itself, including tailor-made news bulletins for the region, from the other domestic Australian networks, as well as Sky News and independents. It also carries state-level Australian rules football and rugby league matches, such as the VFL and the Queensland Cup, and British drama serials. One of its foreign affairs programs, Hemispheres, is co-produced with the CBC of Canada, and presented from both Sydney and Vancouver.

[edit] Online

Further information: ABC Online, ABC News Online

An experimental Multimedia Unit was established in 1995, charged with developing policy for the ABC's work in web publishing. This unit continued until 2000, when the New Media division was formed, aggregating the internet output from radio and TV as well as web-original material under one umbrella.

This division had over a million pages of material published by late 2003 and was instrumental in developing ABC content on other platforms such as mobile phones.

In 2003 the New Media division became New Media and Digital Services, reflecting the broader remit to develop digital platforms such as digital TV. In March 2005 the division launched the ABC2 free-to-air digital TV channel, the successor to the shortlived Fly TV and the ABC Kids Channel digital services.

In conjunction with the ABC's radio division, New Media and Digital Services implemented the ABC's first podcasts in December 2004. By mid-2006 the ABC had become an international leader in podcasting with over 50 podcast programs delivering hundreds of thousands of downloads per week, including trial video podcasts of The Chaser's War on Everything and JTV. Among the most notable websites are:

[edit] ABC News Online

A comprehensive local news coverage of Australia, including stories from the ABC's 36 regional bureaux. It also provides extensive national news and international news from an Australian perspective. It provides several daily broadband video bulletins of general news as well as sport, business and rural news.

[edit] ABC Science Online

A good site, The Lab provides a gateway into the world of science, including the unique self-service science forum and the best science news from Down Under.

[edit] ABC Enterprises

ABC Enterprises is the commercial Division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The Division is comprised of ABC Retail, ABC Consumer Publishing and Content Sales, and ABC Resource Hire. It was established in 1974 with all profits from the sale of consumer product and production services returned to the Corporation to reinvest in program-making.

It now operates over 40 retail shops and 80 centres, an international delivery service on the Internet as well as developing and licensing ABC brands and programs, and providing production resource hire to the general public and industry alike.

[edit] ABC Retail

The ABC Shop Online (at http://www.abcshop.com.au) is a shopping website operated by ABC Enterprises. It sells DVDs, CDs, books, toys, clothing, music downloads and mobile phone products related to programming on ABC TV and Radio, and Australian culture in general.

[edit] ABC Consumer Publishing and Content Sales

Develops and licenses products and brands related to ABC programming selling to both the general public and wholesale TV and radio markets worldwide.

[edit] ABC Resource Hire

Offers a range of production services including costume hire, sound stage and studio facilities, venue hire and event staging.

[edit] Orchestras

In the 1920s, recording technology was still relatively primitive. All ABC programs were broadcast live until 1935, including music. For this purpose, the ABC established broadcasting orchestras in each state, and in some centres also employed choruses and dance bands. There are currently six state symphony orchestras:

The orchestras were incorporated in the 1990's but remain wholly under ABC ownership, co-ordinated by Symphony Australia. They have evolved into platform orchestras and play a major role in Australia’s culture life.

[edit] Postal address

The ABC's postal address is "[PO] Box 9994" in the capital city of each Australian state, followed by the postcode.<ref>There is a persistent urban legend that '9994' is in memory of the life-time Test cricket batting average of the Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman (he scored 6996 runs in 70 completed innings, an average of 99.94 runs per innings). Supposedly, Sir Charles Moses, a long time managing director of the ABC and personal friend of Bradman's, arranged for this number to be used. The story has been denied by the ABC, and in fact the ABC was not assigned the postal address until after Moses' successor, Sir Talbot Duckmanton had retired. See: Template:Cite web p8</ref> The ABC's national phone enquiry service also has the number 139994.

[edit] Management

General Managers <ref>Friends of the ABC Submission to the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee, dated August 11, 2001 Friends of the ABC website, accessed November 28, 2006</ref>
  1. Sir Charles Moses (1935–65)
  2. Sir Talbot Duckmanton (1965–82)
  3. Keith Jennings (1982-83)
Managing Directors
  1. Geoffrey Whitehead (1983–86)
  2. David Hill (1986–94)
  3. Brian Johns (1994–99 )
  4. Jonathan Shier (1999–2002)
  5. Russell Balding (2002–06)
  6. Mark Scott (2006–present)

Chairmen
  1. Sir Richard Boyer (1945–61)
  2. Ken Myer
  3. David Hill (?–1986)
  4. Bob Somervaille
  5. Mark Armstrong
  6. Donald McDonald (1996–present)

[edit] References

<references/>

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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