[ASC-list] Defending specialist science programs on ABC

Lomb, Nick NickL at PHM.GOV.AU
Mon Oct 27 00:50:15 UTC 2008


Don't forget that another successful ABC Science program has been cut
recently. That is Stuart Gary's StarStuff on NewsRadio. Judging by
comments that people made to me while the program was regularly
broadcast, it appealed to a wide number and range of people including
people with otherwise little interest in science. After complaints to
the ABC, the presenter has been allowed to put together a weekly podcast
http://www.abc.net.au/science/starstuff/ in his spare time. That is an
unsatisfactory situation and the program is likely to be reaching far
less people than in the past.
 
StarStuff should be included in any expressions of concern about the
loss of science programs on the ABC.
 

Dr Nick Lomb

Curator of Astronomy

Sydney Observatory/Powerhouse Museum

PO Box K346 HAYMARKET NSW 1238

Phone: 61 (2) 9921 3480 Fax: 61 (2) 9921 3489

Email: nickl at phm.gov.au <blocked::mailto:nickl at phm.gov.au> 

http://www.sydneyobservatory.com

  

________________________________

From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Peter Pockley
Sent: Monday, 27 October 2008 10:31 AM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: [ASC-list] Defending specialist science programs on ABC


ASCers are probably aware of the roiling controversy in the general
media about the ABC's decision to cut nine programs from the Radio
National schedule in 2009. Most attention has focussed on The Religion
Report following the presenter/producer Stephen Crittenden's revelation
"live on air" about the cuts which include that program. Not as much
attention has been given to the axing of In Conversation, Robyn
Williams's long-form interview program with scientists on Thursday
evenings, but this is just as significant a dilution of specialist
programming in the ABC. 

As an example of the widely expressed dismay of listeners to the news of
these cuts and the manner of their announcement and defence by the ABC,
The Sydney Morning Herald had six Letters to the Editor on the issues
last Thursday, 23 October, including one by this writer (prominently
placed at top of the page as the "First Word" letter) .

http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/letters/abc-needs-vigorous-discussion
s-not-web-offerings/2008/10/22/1224351346324.html

See also Christopher Pearson's knowledgeable and detailed defence of The
Religion Report in Saturday's Weekend Australian. You could almost
substitute "science" for "religion" in his column and it would apply
closely to the parallel specialisation, too.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,,24546761-13243,00
.html

Here is an issue where religion and science have a common cause and I
suggest it would be highly desirable for the ASC Executive to weigh into
a defence of these and other specialised programs -- publicly and
quickly. 

Individual ASCers might consider adding their tuppence worth, too, and
might suggest to their institutional bosses (where they have one) that
the scientific community should express grave concern at these moves and
that the voices of their representative organisations should also be
heard, just as the Catholic bishops came out collectively in defence of
The Religion Report last week.

To anyone who might think this is just a flash in the pan, remind them
that, a couple of years ago, ABC management axed  the excellent
environment report on Radio National  (produced in the Science Unit),
just at a time that environmental issues were coming to the fore as
global issues of huge consequence. Also point out the huge loss of
in-house expertise and talent in the forced departures of 35 producers
and the like in TV production, including the science producer, Dr
Richard Smith (of the brilliant "Crude" documentary fame).


---------------------------

Peter Pockley, DPhil
Science writer & broadcaster

25 Avenue Road, Glebe, Sydney
New South Wales 2037, Australia
Phone: +61 (0) 2 9660 6363; Fax +61 (0) 2 9660 6239
Email: scicomm at bigpond.net.au

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