with Mick O'Regan
Talk-back and the rulers of radio
14 February 2002
The history and power of talk-back radio;
and media diversity - can editorial diversity be protected if media ownership becomes more concentrated.
Mick O'Regan: Welcome to The Media Report.
This week our themes are strangely intertwined: the power of talkback radio, and the purpose of media diversity.
Last week, commercial radio in Australia went into a spin. First, Jeff Kennett announced his career move to become an announcer in Melbourne station 3AK. Then the king of Sydney talkback, Alan Jones, dropped his bombshell, leaving market leader 2UE for rival station 2GB.
Alan Jones: This is the Alan Jones program. Alan Jones expresses his views. If those views reach some kind of consonance with people who listen to my program, well so be it. But that's not something that I set out as an instrument of what I'm doing. I just say it as I see it and if people don't like it, they'll switch off, that's why the knob is there.
Mick O'Regan: Commercial broadcaster, Alan Jones.
So why is talkback radio so important? And when did talkback emerge as the hallmark of commercial radio? That's something we'll explore later in the program.
In a moment, the other issue dominating the media debate just now: whether new rules for media ownership will diminish diversity.
All that's before us, here on The Media Report on Radio National and Radio Australia.
Mick O'Regan: Well, Parliament's back, and one of the new pieces of legislation that's likely to feature prominently in this first session concerns media ownership. To kick off his third term in government, John Howard has signalled that changing media laws is a priority. In the public debate over recent weeks, fears have been expressed that changes will weaken media diversity, an issue the Prime Minister is aware of despite his reluctance so far to spell out the... [continues]
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