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Media Flash - Sept. 10, 2001

Media Flash

Australia's Media Independent E-Newspaper - Updated Continuously

Last Updated: Monday, September 10, 2001

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Fairfax Shuts Melbourne Express

* FRED HILMER presented ordinary results for John Fairfax Holdings on Friday (31.1 per cent drop in profit). The same day saw the closure of the badly-haemorrhaging Melbourne Express commuter paper experiment, which has already lost some millions. The idea was a disaster from the start. For all the details, read Media Flash Confidential - which can be expressed to you by E-Mail every week. Click here for a half-price $50 annual subscription.

3AK Battle Continues

* GREGORY FLOOD was flying high. At the start of this year, he was CEO of Melbourne radio station 3AK, set to re-launch against 3AW. A badly-needed promotions campaign was promised. He had just recruited radio legend DERRYN HINCH. But within a month, FLOOD was out of a job. And he had signed a release over almost $1 million that he had found for the struggling station's cashflow needs. The story isn't over. Administrator MICHAEL SCALES has just issued a report, where he anticipates what FLOOD might now do. For all the details, read Media Flash Confidential - which can be expressed to you by E-Mail every week. Click here for a half-price $50 annual subscription.

And ... One For The Conspiracy Thinkers

* CHRISTOPHER SKASE'S death at the age of 53, was predicted in a book by a Australian journalist ... in May 1994. For all the details, read Media Flash Confidential - which can be expressed to you by E-Mail every week. Click here for a half-price $50 annual subscription.

Bush Paper Goes To 'War'

* MICHAEL RAY, Publisher of the High Country Times (Mansfield, Vic.), is going to 'war', especially against commercial opponent (HARTLEY HIGGINS' Mansfield Courier), if last week's Editorial is any indication:

* 'THE HIGH COUNTRY TIMES is going to war. A simple glance through the pages of this newspaper on a weekly basis will show where local business people see the benefit of getting the best out of their advertising dollar. They don't do it out of sympathy for a small, independent family business, they advertise with us because it works. And without doubt, the undisputed guarantee of home delivery by Australia Post every week ensures no home is without a High Country Times. Yet the Federal Government continues to ignore readers from Mt Buller and Woods Point through to Barjarg and Merton by refusing to advertise in our publication.

* RAY continues: 'Certainly the income for this paper from them is important but the principle of a government honestly trying to communicate to the public is put to the test here. Liberal Federal Member for McEwen FRAN BAILEY is trying hard to break this impasse and the Labor Party are taking up the cudgels because if the message is not getting across then it is true the government is wasting millions on their advertising. This paper, for our own sake for the readers to be acknowledged, has now taken the matter to the watchdog of fair trading, the ACCC, because we honestly believe we are being discriminated against as a small publisher. We may not win the battle, but we will the war, because you the readers and our advertisers are proof of the strength of the High Country Times in the community. And because we are the only locally owned and operated paper, your support gives us the confidence to continue to grow.'

Iron Fist Howard's Falklands

* JOHN HOWARD, Aussie PM, is making a worldwide impact with his stance over the Tampa incident. Over the weekend, HOWARD made headlines in the Los Angeles Times, just prior to his appearance in Washington to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty. He has made such an impression that the LA Times called him, four times, JOHN HUNT. Critics say the paper had some of the spelling correct!

* JOHN HOWARD'S appearance worldwide on CNN, trying to defend Australia's week-long position on leaving 460 asylum seekers floating in the ocean, was the big photo opportunity in last week's press. By Sunday, stock footage and stills of Nauru were being used to illustrate the yarn, after the 12,000-population nation agreed to process the refugees over a three-month period, as did New Zealand. The NZ Herald was quick to run an online Saturday coverage of the 'solution', drawing from Reuters and Independent. CHARLES WOOLLEY of 60 Minutes, won the exclusive TV interview with the PM for the Nine Network. There were not too many hard questions.

* PAUL KELLY, International Editor of The Australian, termed HOWARD'S Government as 'inept'. In the week previous, the nation had been termed as 'Fortress Australia' on the front-page. (The Fairfax Sun-Herald used this as their headline on Sunday). Who wanted to own Saturday's front-page coverage in The Weekend Australian? The by-line simply identified 'Staff Reporters'. The paper's Saturday first leading article described the PM as 'ham-fisted'; the second leading article lamented the passing of Skyhooks pop-star GRAHAM 'SHIRLEY' STRACHAN: 'We just liked Shirl 'cos he was good'.

* MICHAEL GORDON, National Editor for The Age, led a piece entitled 'All At Sea' in the paper's News Extra section. Its 'Global Village' section took opinion piece excerpts from international newspapers including Azadi Afghan Radio ('It is a disgrace'), Norway's Aftenposten ('Australians should be compassionate and welcome the migrants'), and RUPERT MURDOCH'S Times (London) - 'Australia's policies combine the commendably liberal with the controversially tough'.

* NEIL MITCHELL, 3AW morning host, seemed to bucket ... then support ... Prime Minister HOWARD. The support coincided with HOWARD'S interview with MITCHELL. MITCHELL'S Program Director, and afternoon colleague, 'shock jock' STEVE PRICE, took the contrary position ... as his usual programming strategy.

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Australian Media Job Directory

The Australian Media Job Directory now appears

in the paid-subscriber-only Media Flash Confidential.

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Nine Sued Over Murder Report

* DAVID DARRAGH, of The West Australian, reports that the WA Supreme Court has been told that a TV news report wrongly identified a Forrestfield businessman as having murdered his wife and then attempted suicide. 'Lawyer MARTIN BENNETT told the Court that a Channel 9 cadet reporter had defamed ANDREW TODD by identifying him as having stabbed his wife, MICHELLE, to death at their home on November 12, 1995.' TODD is suing Swan Television and Radio Brioadcasters for substantial damages. Channel 9 had published an apology one week later, but the station re-published file footage including MR RODD'S business and home, one year later, during a report on domestic violence. The trial continues.

2GB'S Richo: In The News

* GRAHAM RICHARDSON, former Labor Cabinet Minister (and current 2GB afternoon host), 'enjoyed sexual favours from prostitutes paid for by a Gold Coast businessman on at least two occasions, according to previously suppressed prosecution documents,' reported PAUL WHITTAKER last week in a number of newspapers including The Hobart Mercury.. The Queensland police court prosecution brief was obtained by The Courier-Mail newspaper in Brisbane.

Media Peace Awards: Closing Soon

* UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA is inviting entries for its Media Peace Awards 2001. General categories include TV, radio and print media. Special categories include Promotion of Aboriginal Reconciliation; Promotion of Multicultural Issues; Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Women's rights and Issues; Promotion of Positive Images of the Older Person; Promotion of Understanding and Resolution of Environmental Issues. Nominations close September 11. Guidelines are available at

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Small Slide For Southern Cross Profits

* TONY BELL'S Southern Cross Broadcasting Group announced a 1 per cent slide in full-year net profit, to $19.08 million. This was despite a 2.1 per cent increase in revenue, to $193.26 million. 2UE and 4BC revenues were included for three months of the period. Previous five year revenues were $189.2 mil. (2000); $164.3 (1999); $102.7 (1998); 88.6 (1997); and 87.9 (1996).

* JANE SCHULZE'S Weekend Australian coverage of the result was headlined: 'Southern Cross Star Dims'.

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Addy Goes Tabloid

* PETER JUDD, Geelong Advertiser Editor, has announced that the broadsheet will convert to a smaller size on November 21 - the paper's 161th anniversary. 'Our readers have told us they want a tabloid newspaper. We have conducted a number of reader surveys in the past three years and overwhelmingly we have been strongly urged to change the size of the paper,' says Chief Executive COLIN DUCK. JUDD says the Addy was one of the last two regional daily papers in Australia to make the change.

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Phone: (03) 9238 7777. Fax: (03) 9238 7682.

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Radio Producers, Beware

* RADIO WEST'S HOT FM (WA) has been taken to Court over a $16,000 promotion, and NATASHA GRANATH'S West Australian report (Sept. 1) offers a warning to producers: 'ALECIA BLINOVAS was told she had won a radio competition offering prizes worth $16,000. But the promised ride in a Telstra Rally Australia car at Langley Park racetrack turned out to be a three-minute drive in a car normally used for track maintenance. She had also expected to receive accommodation, grandstand tickets, VIP treatment and souvenirs in 'the experience of a lifetime'. But MS BLINOVS, from Collie, said the prize she received was of nominal value. On Thursday she accepted an out-of-court settlement after she sued a South-West radio station for misleading advertising.

* 'MS BLINOVS said in Bunbury Local Court a prize she won in a competition advertised on Radio West's Hot FM in November 1999 did not live up to the station's promise of being worth $16,000 and the experience of a lifetime. She had been left bitter and disappointed. Her lawyer, MAX OWENS, said Radio West had acknowledged that the $16,000 referred to in the station's promotions as the value of the prize was actually the cost of doing the promotion. He said Radio West had misled his client. The trial, scheduled for two days, was cut short on Thursday when both parties agreed to the confidential settlement.

* 'MS BLINOVS said she had later complained to the radio station which had since changed the wording of the promotion to exclude the value of the prize in subsequent promotions last year. Lawyer MICHAEL DEVLIN, for Radio West, said yesterday the station would not comment on whether MS BLINOVS was deliberately misled but the parties had reached an amicable agreement.'

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Melbourne Memo

* NEIL COLLYER'S Fairfax Community Newspapers has suspended publication of Valley Life, a monthly paper serving the north-east Diamond Valley.

* MITCH DALY, at Fairfax Community Newspapers, is offering a Commercial Printing Sales Account Executive position at the Creative Media Solutions division.

* VICTORIAN COUNTRY PRESS ASSOCIATION'S Rathdowne Street premises in Carlton will become a five-level block of 10 apartments, according to the Planning Permit application lodged this month.

* SCOT PALMER reported in the Sunday Herald Sun that football legend JACK DYER, 87, is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. DYER appeared on 3KZ and HSV-7's World of Sport.

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West Wire

* RUSSELL WATERMAN and MIKE PARRY have joined Aussie Star Corporate, which includes RedFM, WAFM and North West Radio. The West Australian says: 'MR WATERMAN, previously Sales Manager at 92.9FM, has been appointed Network Sales Manager. MR PARRY has joined as Network Program and Music Director.'

Your ABC

* SIGRID THORNTON is certainly the ABC's girl-of-the-month. SIGGY is the host to the Saturday night feature on Australian film; is appearing in Sunday night TV re-runs of 1915; and puts on her best speaking voice for a four-piece midweek series on Australian tourism - Selling Australia.

* LYNNE MALCOLM, Executive Producer of ABC Radio Science, is fielding enquiries for three Science Media Fellowships, each of six weeks. 'It is expected the Fellows will be paid by their permanent employers for the six weeks. A grant will cover domestic travel costs, accommodation and other expenses in Sydney.'

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Big Names Dept.

* MICHAEL STUCHBURY, Editor of The Australian, is voicing radio advertisements for the national broadsheet.

* FRED HILMER had a comment about The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age at Friday's drop-in-profits announcement: 'The guts of the franchises of these two papers is their localness ... You can't produce two newspapers on once cost base because that would be madness.'

* PETER ROACH has joined the Board of JOHN B. FAIRFAX'S Rural Press Ltd. He replaces BJ TAPLIN, who until recently was a Director of The Examiner Newspapers Pty Ltd, in which the company has a 60 per cent interest.

* EDDIE McGUIRE, Nine Network and Melbourne MMM broadcaster, had his Toorak (Vic.) home damaged by fire late yesterday (Sunday).

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The Local Report

* JACK WATERFORD, Canberra Times Editor, had an Open Day at the Fyshwick plant yesterday (Sunday). The MAN-Roland press printed the coming week's edition of The Chronicle.

* PATRICK JOSEPH MacNAMARA founded The Southern Queensland Bulletin at Southport (Qld) in 1885. Changing to tabloid in 1928, the paper was also known as The Logan and Albert Bulletin and The South Coast Bulletin, and is now the six-issues-a-week Gold Coast Bulletin. A replica of the first building, with presses, has been built alongside the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame, and will open later this year. MD ROY MILLER hopes The Bulletin's Hall of Fame will become a 'tourist attraction for visitors from Sydney and Melbourne to visit, along with things such as Sea World and Dreamworld.'

Glass House

* STEPHEN MAYNE, Crikey Publisher, must like playing with fire. On Friday, his 'sealed section' newsletter wrongly accused Victorian Deputy Opposition Leader LOUISE ASHER of having a drink-driving record. Wrong, wrong, wrong! We're told this follows a defamatory line (which was quickly removed) about Democrats leader NATASHA STOTT-DESPOJA. Forget about defamation, one day some angered subject might contemplate some summary justice!

* KATHY McCABE and GRAEME HAMMOND put together a Sunday Telegraph piece about CORNELIA FRANCES making mistakes on Seven's The Weakest Link. The yarn - 'Blunders Are The Weakest Link' - was accompanied by a photo with the caption 'Losing ratings: A Contestant On The Show'. The pic shows the prize money in UK £.

* SUN-HERALD has been running ads for the Olympic Volunteers Reunion this month at Olympic Park ... complete with The Daily Telegraph sponsorship logos.

Stix And Stones

* STEVE STICKNEY, Editor at The Manly Daily, examines the off track, off colour, off-putting and just off:

* 'Ah ... tell him we'll be there in eight hours. We're in Brisbane' - keen to interview swim star IAN THORPE, Yankee TV company TNT locates George St okay, but aren't quite in tune with the State of play. Phone call to Thorpe's manager DAVE FLASKAS in his Sydney office.

* 'The invitation, like the exhibition, is meant to be tongue-in-cheek' - um, could you rephrase that? Photographic artist LEE-ANNE RICHARDS can't fathom why the explicit invites to Arseholes, her graphic exhibition at Chippendale's Photo Technica gallery, caused such a kerfuffle. Spike column (SMH).

* 'I plan to live to live to be 100, and then I plan to clone myself with all of my talent but none of my neuroses'' - enigmatic actor MARLON BRANDO plans to kick on. The New York Times.

* 'It's the worst act of prejudice I've seen since they killed Martin Luther King'' - RICHARD WILLIAMS, father of the Williams sisters, puts in a bid to oust DAMIR DOKIC as the biggest loon in tennis with a comment on LLEYTON HEWITT'S verbal potshot during a match against black American James Blake at the US Open. Daily Tele.

Long Shots

By Ash Long, Publisher, Media Flash

* LES CARLYON, once Age Editor, was asked about the journalist he most admired. Interesting subject; bearing in mind that CARLYON would be the answer, if many Australian scribes were asked the same question. CARLYON told a gathering at Old Parliament House of CHARLES ('C.E.W.') BEAN, war correspondent: 'He got the facts right. He did all his reporting first-hand. He did not defer to anyone, but he was never arrogant. He stayed in the background; he never thought he was the story.'

* CARLYON spoke at the launch of the C.E.W. BEAN FOUNDATION, to honour the work of Australian war correspondents.

* BILL WEST of Lancefield (Vic.) - is that the journalist of the same name at the Kilmore Free Press (Vic.)? - won an early morning radio quiz last week with a sports answer. Was there once an unwritten law that media types didn't enter media competitions?

Bottom Line

* BELOW $15: News shares dipped below this for the first time in five months, on Friday.

* 88: number of pages in a re-launched Domain - Melbourne Property Guide, to be published by The Age last Wednesday. Free distribution in selected areas.

* $420,000: payout from The Sydney Morning Herald to sacked NSW Deputy Police Commissioner JEFF JARRATT, after the NSW Supreme Court found the paper had defamed him. The Age said: 'A jury found teh articles defamed MR JARRATT by implying he corruptly received inducements from Motorola to secure the contract' (for police communications).

* 750,000: number of connected Foxtel subscribers, says CEO JIM BLOMFIELD.

* $A38.5 MILLION: annual salary for News Corporation President PETER CHERNIN.

* $100 MILLION: cost so far of establishing Fairfax's F2 online business. A previously set limit is $150 million, reports JANE SCHULZE of The Weekend Australian.

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Australian Media Job Directory

The Australian Media Job Directory now appears

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