Southern Cross Austereo makes staff cuts across Australia, breakfast shows are networked

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Media company Southern Cross Austereo has announced a restructure of its radio operations, resulting in the loss of 38 jobs.

Regional radio stations within the Hit Network bore brunt of the bad news, in which SCA will delete local breakfast shows in favour of a statewide networked program.

The changes will take effect from next week.

SCA chief content officer Dave Cameron blamed the move on the challenges presented by the COVID-19 environment.

“The changes will mean that unfortunately a number of our local breakfast shows will be impacted, and we would like to thank our dedicated and talented people who are affected today by this new approach,” he said.

The announcement came on the day SCA reported an 18.2 per cent drop in revenue.

Revenue was $540.8 million across the business for the 2019-20 financial year, compared to $661 million the year prior.

In making the announcement, SCA chief executive Grant Blackley said radio continued to be a focus of the company.

“We will continue to build the strength of our radio network by investing in key timeslots and markets.”

Statewide already tested in WA

The statewide breakfast show format has already been adopted in Western Australia, with NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia to follow.

Victoria’s show will be broadcast from Albury, the Central Coast will broadcast to the majority of regional NSW stations, while Townsville will host Queensland’s breakfast show.

In South Australia, the Adelaide show will be broadcast to Mount Gambier.

Breakfast shows in the larger centres of Newcastle and the Gold Coast will remain unchanged.

SCA said while local breakfast shows would disappear from the regional schedule, the mid-morning timeslot would return to local programming.

‘Another sad day for regional media’

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) said of the 38 jobs to go in the Hit Network, 34 were from breakfast shows, four in off-air roles and four in music roles.

MEAA spokesman Adam Portelli said the loss of jobs and shows would be a great loss to the regions.

“It means that the majority of regional communities are now losing their particular voice,” he said.

“All of this, for us, highlights the need for the Federal Government to actually get serious about supporting regional journalism and start putting their money where their mouth is.”

Mr Portelli said the radio job cuts came off the back of recent TV and print restructures that have seen the closure of many local newspapers and the loss of nightly local television news.

The loss of local radio shows took away what had been a traditional training ground for young broadcasters, he said.

“You do find people who get their start, learned their trade at the local radio station or the regional newspaper, who then go on to work in the capital cities for bigger newspapers, broadcasters or TV stations.

“What we’re doing is cutting an important part of the [media] ecosystem by not supporting regional media.”

Hit Network stations

  • hit104.7 Canberra
  • 2Day FM 104.1 Sydney
  • hit101.3 Central Coast
  • hit105.9 Central West
  • hit105.5 Coffs Coast
  • hit102.3 & 105.1 Mid North Coast
  • hit106.9 Newcastle
  • hit93.1 Riverina
  • hit99.7 Riverina MIA
  • hit104.9 The Border
  • B105 Brisbane
  • hit103.5 Cairns
  • hit Central Queensland
  • hit100.7 Darling Downs
  • hit94.7 Emerald
  • hit101.9 Fraser Coast
  • hit90.9 Gold Coast
  • hit Mackay and the Whitsundays
  • hit102.5 Mount Isa
  • hit89.1 South Burnett
  • hit97.9 Tablelands
  • hit103.1 Townsville
  • SAFM Adelaide
  • SAFM Limestone Coast
  • hit100.9 Hobart
  • Fox FM 101.9 Melbourne
  • hit91.9 Bendigo
  • hit Goulburn Valley
  • hit99.5 Sunraysia
  • hit92.9 Perth
  • hit95.3 Albany
  • hit101.3 Broome
  • hit102.3 Esperance
  • hit96.5 Geraldton
  • hit97.9 Kalgoorlie
  • hit106.5 Karratha
  • hit Northwest
  • hit91.7 Port Hedland
  • hit Southwest
  • hit Wheatbelt

By Melissa Martin (Original ABC Article)

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