Showing posts with label ABC radio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ABC radio. Show all posts

Monday, 10 June 2019

Did ABC Radio bow to pressure from the Adani Group?


One of the worst kept secrets in Australia is that the multinational Adani mining group, for reasons known only to its company board in India, wants to build a mine in the Galilee Basin but has no intention of building a financially viable mine.

And Adani really dislikes the media mentioning this fact......

ABC, Media Watch, transcript excerpt, 3 June 2019:

But now let’s come back closer to home to Adani, whose controversial Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin gets ever closer to construction, despite this scathing piece in The Sydney Morning Herald by Bloomberg columnist David Fickling:

The numbers on Adani simply don't add up
Comparable projects like Glencore's Wandoan have been mothballed for years.
- The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May, 2019

Fickling’s op-ed 10 days ago argued that the Adani mine may never be built — even if it does get final approval — because it’s currently much cheaper to buy coal than dig it out of a brand-new coal mine.

And over at ABC Radio, Saturday AM thought that was worth a story.

But after being worked on by Isobel Roe, a young award-winning journalist in Brisbane, it never made it to air.

So, why was that? Well, Media Watch can reveal that Adani complained to the ABC in advance. And the story was spiked.

So how did this all unfold?

Bloomberg has confirmed to Media Watch that David Fickling was interviewed by the ABC on the afternoon of Friday, 24th of May.

And just over an hour later, at 4.20pm, Adani say Roe contacted them for comment.

And not long after that, at 5.50pm, the producer of Saturday AM, Thomas Oriti, told ABC staff he was killing the story.

Now, newsrooms at the ABC are open plan and not very private and four witnesses tell Media Watch that Oriti made it clear Adani had complained.

Indeed, one claims he told Roe:

‘Sorry. It’s nothing to do with you, but we’re not going to be able to run this’.
- Phone interview, ABC staffer, 31 May, 2019

While another claims he said:

‘It’s not my decision, it’s come from on high.’
- Phone interview, ABC staffer, 31 May, 2019

The ABC denies this and maintains his decision was taken entirely on editorial merit, because the story didn’t stack up.

So what can we be sure of?

Well, there’s no doubt Adani did complain, both to the reporter when she rang and, shortly after, to her bosses. A company spokesperson told us:

… we raised concerns with ABC management when approached to comment on a story that contained inaccuracies and was potentially biased ...
- Email, Adani spokesperson, 31 May, 2019

Adani says it told the reporter she should talk to an analyst more friendly to the mining sector.

And when she asked them to suggest someone, Adani’s PR team cracked it and went over her head to ABC management:

Adani complained that it was not reasonable that the onus for ensuring that ABC news coverage was fair and balanced should fall back onto the company and not onto the ABC’s well-resourced newsrooms.
- Email, Adani spokesperson, 31 May, 2019

A key feature of Adani’s complaint was that the ABC had not given it enough time to respond.

But in fact by Friday afternoon Fickling’s work had been up for more than 36 hours. 

And Adani was able to send a statement to the ABC almost immediately.

So, who at the ABC dealt with the company’s complaint?

We’re told Adani went straight to the top — ABC News boss Gaven Morris — who we understand is the person they normally contact.

So to clarify what happened, we asked Morris a series of questions, which included:

Did Adani contact you last Friday afternoon to complain about the story?
What was the nature of the complaint, and how did you respond?
Why was the story pulled, given that it had been commissioned for Saturday AM only hours beforehand?
Was the decision to pull the story taken after Adani’s complaint?
Why was this complaint handled personally by you?
- Email, Media Watch to Gaven Morris, 31 May, 2019

We did not get a response from Gaven Morris or answers to most of those questions.

Instead, an ABC spokesperson told us:

There was no complaint.
- Email, ABC spokesperson, 31 May, 2019

Which is remarkable, because Adani says there was…..

Full transcript here.

BACKGROUND

“The numbers on Adani simply don't add up”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May 2019 at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/the-numbers-on-adani-simply-don-t-add-up-20190524-p51qoy.html.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Quality of Australian television & radio will take a dive under a re-elected Morrison Government



The ABC is facing "inevitable" job cuts and programming disruption if the Morrison government is returned to power, the national broadcaster's new managing director has warned.

In his first interview in the new job, David Anderson told Radio National's Patricia Karvelas that planning for two possible budget scenarios was at the top of his to-do list, after establishing a new leadership team.

One of those options is a budget in which the ABC's indexation funding is frozen for the next three years.

"If the Coalition is returned, then we have an $84 million budget reduction over the next three years," Mr Anderson said.

"Having been through a number of budget reductions to this point, I don’t see how we can avoid staff cuts and, I think, disruption to our content. I think it’s inevitable."
None of the options available for finding $84 million in savings were great, he said.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

OUR ABC: the fate of public broadcasting is in your hands at the 2019 federal election


Use your vote wisely.......

abc.net.au, 23 October 2018:

Statement by David Anderson, Acting Managing Director of the ABC, to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee 

Thank you Senators. 

I am appearing today as Acting Managing Director of the ABC. It is a privilege to be in this role, overseeing one of Australia’s most loved and respected cultural institutions. 

There is no doubt Senators will have many questions about recent events and strategies. I will do my best to answer them in my acting capacity and from my management position. Accountability is part and parcel of being a national broadcaster. 

So too is independence. I have already stressed in my early conversations with employees that the great faith and trust the community invests in the ABC is built on the foundation of independence. 

The ABC is funded by government and it is ultimately answerable to the people of Australia. They are the ones who expect us to report without fear or favour, to live up to standards of quality and excellence, to shun commercial and other agendas, to hold the national conversations and to reflect the nation back to itself. 

The other absolute I have, as a long-term content manager within the Corporation, is the primacy of content. Across the ABC’s history we have been adept at using technology to improve the ways we bring our programs and services to our audiences. 

Even in my time at the national broadcaster, the distribution platforms and channels we use have changed dramatically. They will need to change even more over the next decade as we seek relevance and reach in a challenging digital media landscape. 

But it is the content that we carry on those platforms that ultimately matters. 

 Vibrant new kids’ programs that delight and educate our children; 

 Agenda-setting journalism that shines a light into dark corners and holds regulators and lawmakers to account; 

 The rich, direct and often lifesaving conversations we have with our regional and rural audiences; 

 The insightful work of Radio National; 

 Our commitment to the promotion and support of cultural endeavours, particularly music, the arts and creative communities; 

 Colourful dramas like Mystery Road that use local actors, local crews, local locations and local stories to entertain us; 

 And our ability to unite the nation, whether it be on Australia Day, the approaching Remembrance Day/Armistice celebrations or through our in-depth coverage of the drought; 

 And this week, of course, the Invictus Games. 

It is the distinctive content that makes the ABC unique and a priceless national asset. 

While the recent weeks have been testing, I am very proud of the passion and energy shown by our 4000 employees. They have not been distracted. They remain committed to serving Australians. 

As the Acting Managing Director, my early objective has been to work with the Board, bring stability to the organisation, demonstrate leadership and to press for the resourcing we need to deliver the Charter remit and the services the community expects. 

I note there has been a lot of talk recently about ABC budgets and future demands. I would like to bring these facts to the table: 

 20 per cent of the ABC Budget is actually fixed costs for transmission – the infrastructure that delivers our programs to audiences across the nation. 

 The $84 million efficiency cut over three years comes on top of the 2014 decision to cut the ABC budget by $250 million over five years. The cumulative impact of these measures is a significant reduction in our operating budget at a time when we are facing rising costs of production and the need to increase our investment in digital products. 

 We have been given no certainty about the future of funding for a program that directly employs 81 journalists, including specialist reporters and outer suburban bureaus such as Geelong, Parramatta and Ipswich. 

As a long-serving content manager and leader, I can personally attest to the financial pressures affecting the Corporation. I can vouch for the efforts of management to maximise every dollar spent on audiences and to plough efficiency savings into content. 

I am making it clear to stakeholders that the next triennial funding round, scheduled for resolution in next year’s Budget, should be used as an opportunity to reposition the ABC for the future. 

If the ABC is important now in bringing diversity to the media landscape, then it will be even more essential over coming years in providing quality, independent, local content to Australians. The ABC will be the innovator. We will provide the creative jobs that are necessary for this new era. We will continue to provide the highest quality independent journalism. 

Thank you. I am happy to take questions.

Twitter, 24 October 2018:







Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Oi, Scott Morrison! Hands off, it's not your ABC



Sunday, 20 May 2018

A call to arms in support of Our ABC


The Guardian, 17 May 2018:

The announcement in last week’s budget that the ABC’s funding indexation will be frozen for three years from July 2019 is the latest in a series of extraordinary attacks by a government that displays an unprecedented level of hostility to the national broadcaster. It represents a real cut to the broadcaster’s operating costs of $84m.

Added to the $254m cut over five years announced by then-communications minister Malcolm Turnbull in November 2014, and a $28m cut to the enhanced newsgathering service in the 2016 budget, this brings the money taken out of our national broadcaster since the election of the Coalition government to over a quarter of a billion dollars.

Contrast this with the former Labor government’s approach. In 2009, when I worked in the office of communications minister Stephen Conroy, the ABC was awarded the largest funding increase since its incorporation in 1983, with $136.4m in new money to fund the creation of the ABC Kids’ channel and 90 hours of new Australian drama. Four years later, the ABC was given $89.4m to set up the newsgathering service and enhance the digital delivery of ABC programs.

In addition to record funding boosts, Conroy, arguably the best friend in government the ABC has ever had, also ensured the ABC charters were amended to specifically require them to deliver digital services; overhauled the board appointment process to put it at arm’s length from the government of the day; and, in a move that enraged the Murdoch empire, created legislation that specified that any international broadcasting service funded by the government could only be delivered by the ABC. This came after the government’s refusal to award carriage of the Australia Network to News Corp in 2011, a decision that was regarded both at home and internationally as common sense by everyone other than the owners of Sky News.

All this is now under attack. The Turnbull government seems determined not only to undo every measure of financial and legislative support implemented by the last Labor government, but to undermine the ABC’s operations so thoroughly that its ability to provide the services its charter requires will likely be devastated.

The legislation passed in early 2013 prevented the incoming Coalition government from reopening the tender process to award the Australia Network to Sky – so they shut it down entirely instead.

Five years later, the Lowy Institute laments that “[o]nce a significant player in what the British Council calls the Great Game of the Airwaves, the ABC’s purpose-designed, multiplatform international services have suffered near-terminal decline”.

"We must rise up against this concerted campaign of funding cuts and attempts to limit the activities of our national broadcasters"

As far as the board appointment process goes, Turnbull as prime minister and his communications minister Mitch Fifield are doing their best to ignore it: two recent appointees, Minerals Council boss Vanessa Guthrie and Sydney Institute Director Joseph Gersh, were not recommended for appointment by the independent selection panel. Fifield is relying on clauses in the legislation governing the appointment process that allow the minister to appoint from outside the recommended list in exceptional circumstances, but has publicly offered no reason why these candidates were more urgently required on the ABC board than those recommended as more qualified by the selection panel.

It’s also impossible to discover whether the minister has tabled the statement to parliament giving his reasons for ignoring the advice of the selection panel, as required by the legislation. If he has, perhaps those statements explain why Guthrie and Gersh are the most qualified candidates to provide governance of our most trusted source of news.

Despite the selection criteria set out in Conroy’s legislation, the ABC board now includes no one other than the staff-elected director and the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, with media experience and, despite the full board having been appointed by this government, they seem unable to make a case to maintain the ABC’s funding.

But the biggest danger to the ABC is the government’s agenda to reduce its digital services, and it’s here where the ABC – and, in this case, SBS as well – face a truly existential threat. The so-called “competitive neutrality inquiry” into the national broadcasters, currently underway, has ostensibly been launched to satisfy Pauline Hanson’s demands for an inquiry into the ABC in return for her support for last year’s appalling package of media “reforms”, which will reduce diversity and local content across the commercial broadcast media.

Don’t believe it for a second. While Hanson’s hatred of the ABC will assist any future government moves to neuter the broadcaster’s digital activities, this inquiry is yet another gift to News Corp and the commercial media organisations, who have been baying for the ABC’s blood since it arrived on the airwaves more than three-quarters of a century ago.

The $30m of government money given, apparently with few strings attached, to Foxtel last year was really just “compensation” for the fact that the commercial TV operators got a windfall gain with the abolition of their broadcast licence fees and replacement with spectrum fees. This saves the broadcasters around $90m per year (money which is forgone government revenue, by the way) so, of course, Foxtel had to be similarly rewarded for … running a commercial business in a competitive market.

Read the full article here.

North Coast Voices12 May 2018,"Time to show support for the ABC"

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Time to show support for the ABC


The situation in 2018.......

The Guardian, 8 May 2018:

Dear colleagues,

The government has tonight announced it will freeze the ABC’s annual funding indexation for three years from July 2019, which will cost the organisation $84m. This will be compounded by the decision to cease a further $43m in funding to support quality news and current affairs services and follows the cumulative $254m in cuts imposed since 2014.

This decision comes at a critical time for us. As you are all aware from our conversations following this year’s annual public meeting, we are at a watershed moment as a public broadcaster as we continue to strive to deliver the high standards of programming Australian audiences expect, despite escalating global competition and rising production costs.

Let me be frank with you: I am very disappointed and concerned that after the measures we have introduced in recent years to deliver better and more efficient services, the government has now seen fit to deliver what amounts to a further substantial budget cut. This decision will make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations.

However, we will continue to pursue our strategy during triennial funding negotiations with the government this year to achieve the proper levels of funding we require to meet the expectations of not only our current audiences but those of the next generation.

Our priorities have and always will be to our audiences and the programming we create for them. Our success in this is a tribute to the talent, dedication and high-quality work of our teams right across the country and the world.

Our public interest journalism, breaking news coverage and independent analysis are highly valued by the community, including across regional Australia. The drama, comedy and children’s content we deliver every hour are likewise important to the cultural life of the country. And services like triple j, RN and ABC Local remain crucial channels for audiences everywhere to join the national conversation.

Unfortunately, the government has overlooked this contribution and the trust and value more than 80% of Australians place in us as an independent national broadcaster.
In a statement in response I have made clear this decision will have an impact on our audiences.

We will continue to oppose the decision and seek every opportunity to reverse the cuts in the coming months before they take effect.

Michelle Guthrie

Abc.net.au, Statement, 8 May 2018:

The Government’s decision to freeze the ABC’s indexation from July 2019 will cost the broadcaster $84 million over three years and will be compounded by the decision to cease a further $43 million in funding to support quality news and current affairs services.

This decision comes at a critical time for the ABC as it commences triennial funding negotiations with the Government and comes on top of a cumulative $254 million in cuts imposed since 2014.

The ABC’s independence and its commitment to in-depth analysis and commentary has never been more valued or trusted by Australian audiences, nor so critical to the challenges facing the nation.

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie said the impact of the decision could not be absorbed by efficiency measures alone, as the ABC had already achieved significant productivity gains in response to past budget cuts.

“The ABC is now more important than ever given the impact of overseas players in the local media industry and the critical role the ABC plays as Australia’s most trusted source of news, analysis and investigative journalism,” Ms Guthrie said.

“Our talented and dedicated content makers consistently deliver award winning public interest journalism, regional services and critically acclaimed original Australian programs and content.

“Stable, adequate funding is essential if we are to continue to deliver for Australian audiences.”

The ABC’s long-term strategy published at an Annual Public Meeting in February 2018 outlines the broadcaster’s plan to respond to changing audience expectations, and to remain as relevant in the future as it always has been in the past.

The ABC will continue to negotiate its funding requirements with the Government to ensure it can deliver on this commitment to a future which ensures the ABC remains relevant in the digital age.

Ms Guthrie also rejected as unnecessary the proposed efficiency review given efficiency programs introduced by the ABC in recent years.

Time to pick up that pen and object to this funding freeze........

Prime Minister Hon. Malcolm Bligh Turnbull MP
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT 2600
PH: (02) 6277 7700
FAX: (02) 6273 4100

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Michael McCormack MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
PH: 02) 6277 7520

Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts Senator Hon. Mitch Fifield
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT 2600
PH: (02) 6277 7480
EMAIL: Minister@communications.gov.au

Minister for Regional Communications Senator Hon. Bridget McKenzie
PO Box 6100
Senate
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
PH: (02) 6277 3200
FAX: (02) 6277 5755

Local MPs by Electorate contact details here.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

"You're an absolute disgrace" Coalition and One Nation senators


Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie on the floor of the Australian Senate, 14 September 2017.

Senate Hansard,  12 September 2017:
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (13:56): The government wants One Nation support for this package so badly that it has agreed to invite a razor gang into the books of the ABC. And it wants Nick Xenophon's support for the package so badly that it has agreed not to embarrass him into being forced to vote in support of One Nation's proposal. But make no mistake, voting for this bill means voting for One Nation's deal. I know that, One Nation knows that and you can bet your last dollar that Nick Xenophon and his team know that, too. As for what the details are, we still don't know. The government won't tell us and they won't tell us. All we know is that it commits the government to review the ABC and ask if it is reducing the profitability of its commercial rivals. Guess what? The job of the ABC isn't to make money for its commercial rivals. Its job is to guarantee all Australians have access to news, programming and information that affects their lives, no matter where they live or how wealthy they are. The deal the government has made isn't designed to improve the ABC; it is designed to defund it. It's a deal to set up a rigged kangaroo court that is determined to find the ABC guilty and lay the groundwork for slashing the budget of the most trusted news source in the country—or, as I like to refer to it, the eighth great wonder of the world. That is the deal that is before us. That is the vote we are taking—to defend the ABC or to defund it. No amount of tax breaks or inquiries into tech giants can change that. As the old saying goes, if you don't know all the details of the deal, don't vote for it. If you knew all the details of the deal, you probably wouldn't vote for it anyway. A vote in favour of this package is a vote in favour of all the strings that come attached to it. The government could have opted to put the full details of the deal in the legislation, but it decided not to because it is embarrassed by what it has agreed to. And if something is so embarrassing that not even this government would be willing to put its name to it, then it says something about all those who are voting to support it. No matter what else is said, no matter who says it, there's only one thing you need to remember: if you are proud of something, you don't hide it. The deal that has been made between One Nation and the Turnbull government doesn't go ahead unless this vote passes. What we're doing by voting for this media reform package is actually voting for a dirty deal, because the government decided to link the two. We are voting for something on paper and another thing altogether in practice. We're choosing whether to defend the ABC or to defund it. I will not endorse this deal. I am willing to vote to help the commercial players by doing away with outdated media ownership regulations but I refuse to vote for a package that hurts journalism in rural and regional Australia. The bill before us is only half the deal. The other half will not be put to the vote. This is the vote—for the visible half and for the invisible other. It is the only opportunity we will have to oppose the dirty deal the government has made to let loose the razor gangs on the budget of the ABC for the crime of doing exactly what the public needs a public broadcaster to do. I won't be supporting this bill and I am disappointed that I can't. I'm disappointed that I can't support this bill, because I support what it's trying to achieve in principle. The media landscape is changing fast and— The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Lambie. You are in continuation. It being 2pm, we move to question without notice.
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (18:27): The media landscape is changing fast. The industry is changing and the industry's regulation needs changing too. It's ridiculous to say that the only way to defend a struggling industry is to defend the regulation that's preventing it from defending itself against new and enormous threats. But concerns around the potential loss of media diversity as a result of the changes posed are real and valid. It is important that any deal to change regulation also protects media diversity in the process. Nobody wants any one media baron to have excessive power over the political landscape, and the best way to address concerns about private media ownership is to invest in publicly owned media. The government, with courage, would put whatever it's proposing to a vote. That's not what it has agreed to. Instead, reports suggest that the government has made some sneaky handshake deal in a back room somewhere to undermine the operations of the ABC, and it has gone behind the back of the Senate to do it. I won't be supporting this bill, and I'm disappointed that I can't. I'm disappointed that I can't support this bill because I support in principle what it's trying to achieve, but I will not be a part of taking a pitchfork to the ABC.

Friday, 23 December 2016

ABC management continues to disappoint


The Turnbull Government decision to continue the former Abbott Government's white anting of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is alienating ABC listeners in remote Australia.

What the ABC is stating…..

6 December 2016 Press Release regarding ABC Shortwave Radio Services:

The ABC will end its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory and to international audiences from 31 January 2017.

The move is in line with the national broadcaster’s commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings including DAB+ digital radio, online and mobile services, together with FM services for international audiences.

The majority of ABC audiences in the Northern Territory currently access ABC services via AM and FM and all ABC radio and digital radio services are available on the VAST satellite service.

ABC International’s shortwave services currently broadcast to PNG and the Pacific. Savings realised through decommissioning this service will be reinvested in a more robust FM transmitter network and an expanded content offering for the region that will include English and in-language audio content.

Michael Mason, ABC’s Director of Radio said, “While shortwave technology has served audiences well for many decades, it is now nearly a century old and serves a very limited audience. The ABC is seeking efficiencies and will instead service this audience through modern technology”.

The ABC, working alongside SBS, is planning to extend its digital radio services in Darwin and Hobart, and to make permanent its current digital radio trial in Canberra. Extending DAB+ into the nation’s eight capital cities will ensure ABC digital radio services can reach an additional 700,000 people, increasing the overall reach of ABC digital radio to 60% of the Australian population.

ABC Radio is also investigating transmission improvements to address reception gaps in the existing five DAB+ markets. It aims to ensure a resilient DAB+ service in every capital city, with enhanced bitrates and infill where necessary.

“Extending our DAB+ offer will allow audiences in every capital city in Australia equal access to our digital radio offering, as well as representing an ongoing broadcast cost saving owing to lower transmission costs,” added Michael Mason.

ABC International’s Chief Executive Officer Lynley Marshall said the reinvestment from closing international shortwave services would maximise the ABC’s broadcast capabilities in the region.

“In considering how best to serve our Pacific regional audiences into the future we will move away from the legacy of shortwave radio distribution,” Ms Marshall said. “An ever-growing number of people in the region now have access to mobile phones with FM receivers and the ABC will redirect funds towards an extended content offering and a robust FM distribution network to better serve audiences into the future.”

Once international shortwave ceases transmission, international listeners can continue to access ABC International services via:

 ·         a web stream at: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/listen
 ·         in-country FM transmitters, see Radio Australia’s ‘Ways to Listen’ at: 
        http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/waystolisten/fiji
 ·         the Australia Plus expats app (available in both iOS and Android)
 ·         partner websites and apps such as www.tunein.com and www.vtuner.com.

Audiences can access further information via the reception advice line 1300 139  994 or via ABC Local Radio (Darwin & Alice Springs).

For more information
Louise Alley
P: +61 2 8333 2621
alley.louise@abc.net.au
(ABC Radio queries)
Nick Leys
p: +61 3 9626 1417
leys.nick@abc.net.au
(ABC International queries)

Domestic Shortwave Radio Service available until 31 January 2017:

ABC's Domestic Shortwave Service provides Local Radio (not Radio Australia).
The frequencies are:
Site
Day Frequency
Night Frequency
Roe Creek
4835kHz
4835kHz
Katherine
5025kHz
2485kHz
Tennant Creek
4910kHz
2325kHz
Roe Creek site is Alice Springs.
To receive this service you will need a shortwave radio. All three services would be received in parts of the Kimberley Region.


 What the people are saying.....

Click on image to enlarge
ABC News, 8 December 2016:

An Indigenous ranger group in the Northern Territory says the ABC's decision to end its shortwave radio service could be life threatening.

The ABC announced this week its three HF shortwave radio transmitters at Katherine, Tennant Creek and Roe Creek (Alice Springs), would be switched off on January 31, 2017.

ABC Radio will continue to broadcast on FM and AM bands, via the viewer access satellite television (VAST) service, streaming online and via the mobile phone application.

Mark Crocombe from the Thamarrurr Rangers, in the remote community of Wadeye, said the rangers spent days and sometimes weeks at a time away in the bush and out on sea patrols.

He said the group relied on the ABC's shortwave radio for weather reports and emergency information.

"Otherwise you have to call back to the base on the HF radio to ask people [there], but then you can't listen to the report yourself, you are relying on someone else's second-hand report," Mr Crocombe said.

Mr Crocombe said on previous bush trips he had received warnings of cyclones via the ABC's shortwave service, without which he would not have had any notice.

"Sure, it is expensive to keep the shortwave radio service going, but during cyclones, for the bush camps and people on boats, that is their only way of getting the weather reports," he said.

"It could be life threatening, if you are out and you don't know a cyclone is coming."

Mr Crocombe said the VAST service did not work during cloudy weather, especially during monsoons and cyclones.

"The VAST satellite dish is fixed to your house, we are working in the field, and when we are on the boats we are not in mobile phone range, so applications and VAST do not work in the bush," he said……

The national broadcaster said in a statement on Tuesday the move was in line with its "commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings."
But the announcement was met with anger by the Northern Territory Cattleman's Association.

President Tom Stockwell, who lives on Sunday Creek Station with no access to AM or FM radio or mobile phone coverage, said the ABC's decision to focus on digital transmission ignored people in the bush.

"It affects a big area of Australia and it affects those people that are remote from other forms of communication that rely on radio network," he said.

"The ABC argument that it's a 100-year-old technology doesn't stack up. Electricity is 100-years-old — is the ABC going to get rid of electricity as well?

"Anybody who's remote and away from a satellite dish won't get local radio, won't get emergency radio, won't get emergency messages and they're going to use the money to put in another digital platform for crying out loud.

"It's just the most selfish, ridiculous decision I've ever heard," Mr Stockwell said......