Jul 31 2014

Ten: Rising from receivership

Tenhdlin[Part IV of this week's tribute to 50 years of Network Ten. For previous posts refer to Part I, Part II and Part III]

The Nineties started with Australia in the “recession we had to have” and the television industry was caught right up in it. The Seven Network had gone into receivership following the collapse of Christopher Skase‘s Qintex empire, and the Nine Network was bought back by Kerry Packer for a fraction of what he sold it to Alan Bond for only three years earlier.

The Ten Network was also in financial trouble. Frank Lowy, who had bought into the network three years earlier, had sold the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane channels to production house Broadcom, headed by Steve Cosser, at a bargain basement price far below the $840 million he’d spent to buy them. Cosser, a Network Ten journalist in the early ’80s, was appointed Managing Director of Ten but his tenure was to be short-lived.

letthebloodrunfreeNew productions during 1990 had an emphasis on comedy, including slapstick sitcom Let The Blood Run Free (starring Jean Kittson and Peter Rowsthorn, pictured) and Comedy Company spin-offs Larger Than Life and Col’n Carpenter, but there wasn’t much laughing going on behind the scenes. In September 1990, Ten went into receivership and 15 executive staff were sacked. Former Nine Network executive Gary Rice was appointed CEO. Two months later Rice had announced more brutal cuts across the network, mostly from within the news and current affairs portfolio, with the aim of stopping ongoing financial losses which were reported to be as much as $2 million per week. ATV10 had its one-hour news bulletin cut down to 30 minutes, while local current affairs shows from Ten’s Sydney and Brisbane stations were axed.

But while this axing was occurring, the network was assembling a revamped image and programming strategy. In January 1991, the 10 TV Australia logo was gone and replaced with a shiny new logo and tagline — ‘The Entertainment Network’.

neighbours_92The new image sought to re-position Ten as a brand for the under-40 age group. Melbourne-based Neighbours and Sydney-based E Street, both dramas with a focus on youth, were maintained, and some canny programming deals saw Ten capture some of the hottest shows to come out of the US, in particular The Simpsons and mystery drama Twin Peaks, later to be joined by Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Seinfeld, Baywatch, NYPD Blue, The X Files, Law And Order, Northern Exposure, Picket Fences, The Nanny and daytime talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.

Local production was slowly cranked back up with game shows Blind Date (a rework of Perfect Match) and Let’s Make A Deal and talent quest Star Search. Ten Eyewitness News was soon to reinstate the one-hour format that had been axed amid the previous year’s cutbacks — with former Melbourne newsreader Jo Pearson welcomed back to the ATV10 newsdesk alongside David Johnston, and in Sydney Katrina Lee and John Mangos fronted the new-look bulletin. Melbourne radio talkback host Neil Mitchell had his own “talk back TV” show, Mitchell On Sunday, and former Good Morning Australia co-host Gordon Elliott hosted a local version of US current affairs show Hard Copy.

Newsreader David Johnston had branched out to host a new weekly interview program, Meet The Press. The outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991 led to Ten running continuous overnight news coverage from the US CNN network, with Ten Eyewitness News also launching its own national late night news bulletin from Sydney — initially fronted by Eric Walters, then Anne Fulwood and later Sandra Sully.

jackimacdonald_0002The network had then signed up big names Bert Newton, Derryn Hinch and Jacki MacDonald. Hinch’s current affairs show had just been axed by Seven and he took the same program to Ten where it lasted another two years. Former Hey Hey It’s Saturday star MacDonald (pictured) had made a surprise move to co-host Ten’s new lifestyle series Healthy Wealthy And Wise, and Newton was signed up to host The Morning Show as well as a revived version of his former Nine Network show New Faces.

The Morning Show soon became Good Morning Australia, picking up the title after the breakfast show of the same name had been axed. Ten Eyewitness News made the bold move from its regular 6.00pm timeslot to become ‘First At 5′, giving it a one-hour head start on Seven’s and Nine’s news bulletins.

The year 1992 saw the network sold to Canadian media company CanWest and in the same year ATV10 moved out of its original building in Nunawading. The station took up more modest premises within the Como Centre building in inner suburban South Yarra, but the station maintained links with Nunawading where the site would operate as an outsourced production facility, in particular for Neighbours but also for other large scale productions as needed.

tonybarber_0001In 1993, Jeopardy marked Tony Barber‘s (pictured) return to television after quitting Nine’s Sale Of The Century two years earlier. The program lasted only six months in the competitive 6.00pm timeslot up against news bulletins from Seven and Nine. Subsequent attempts to fill the timeslot included youth magazine show Level 23, drama series Echo Point and quiz show Battle Of The SexesEcho Point was an attempt to build a teen-based soap to work alongside Neighbours but was axed after six months. The network had better luck a few years later with another teen soap, Breakers, that screened out of prime time but lasted two years.

With E Street axed in early 1993 Ten added new drama Heartbreak High and adopted A Country Practice which had been axed by Seven. Ten went on to pick up other titles discarded from other networks with varying degrees of success — including lifestyle show Live It Up (from Seven), Beyond 2000 (from Seven), Full Frontal (also from Seven and re-named Totally Full Frontal), Sex (from Nine and re-named by Ten as Sex/Life) and Good News Week (from ABC).

The days of the big-budget, epic mini-series productions were over but Ten had made other inroads into adult drama, including State Coroner, Big Sky and Medivac. The 1977 Granville train disaster was the basis for a two-part mini-series, The Day Of The Roses.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival continued to be covered by Ten through the decade, with the network also going to Canada to cover the 1994 Commonwealth Games from Victoria, British Columbia. The National Basketball League also got prime time exposure when Ten gained the broadcast rights from Seven.

davidjohnston_0002In late 1995, David Johnston (pictured) made a sudden decision to leave ATV10 and go back to rival HSV7 almost 20 years after leaving there. His departure led to Mal Walden taking the prime anchor spot alongside Jennifer Hansen. With sports presenter Steve Quartermain and weather man Mike Larkan, the team were a consistent presence at Melbourne’s Ten News for many years. Presenting Ten News in other cities during the decade were Ron Wilson and Juanita Phillips (later Jessica Rowe) in Sydney, Glenn Taylor and Tracey Spicer (later Marie-Louise Theile) in Brisbane, George Donikian and Nicky Dwyer in Adelaide and Greg Pearce and Christina Morrissey in Perth.

The Panel, from the Working Dog team, was a surprise hit with its low-key chat format, while a daytime stalwart dating back to the 1960s, Beauty And The Beast, made a return to the network.

Meanwhile, a relatively unknown comedian called Rove McManus had been hosting a late night comedy show on the Nine Network. Nine decided not to extend Rove beyond its initial ten-week run, but it wasn’t long before Ten snapped him up…

Source: From The Word Go! Forty Years Of Ten Melbourne, 2003. Herald Sun, 27 November 1990.

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/ten-rising-from-receivership.html

Jul 30 2014

ATV10… A new decade, a new channel

atv10_1980_2[Part III of this week's theme commemorating 50 years of Network Ten which made its first appearance on 1 August 1964 with the launch of ATV0 (now Ten) in Melbourne. Refer also to Part I and Part II posts]

The dawn of the 1980s marked a significant chapter in the life of ATV0 as it made the switch to ATV10 on Sunday, 20 January 1980 at 2.00pm.

At the time it was believed to be the first time anywhere in the world, outside of the US, that a major city television station was changing its frequency.

The changeover, largely intended to address negative connotations from the ’0′ call sign and that pockets of the Melbourne area could not receive an adequate Channel 0 signal, was not an inexpensive exercise as it required the installation of a new transmitter as well as an overhaul of all on-air presentation with new station identifications and promos. An extensive advertising campaign, including a letterbox drop across the entire Melbourne area and setting up a telephone hotline number to assist viewers with the re-tune, attempted to ensure that all of Melbourne was ready and excited about this ‘new’ channel.

ATV also had to foot the bill for nearby Gippsland station GLV10 to shift to an alternative frequency, Channel 8, to free up the 10 frequency for use in Melbourne. This in itself was also complicated as there were concerns that Gippsland viewers in certain areas would lose reception of Melbourne channels 7 and 9 due to transmission on Channel 8. This necessitated the distribution of “filters” to be attached to TV sets to avoid the Channel 8 transmission interfering with reception of channels 7 and 9.

As a result of ATV’s new frequency the 0-10 Network became known as Network Ten.

grahamkennedy_0004Graham Kennedy (pictured with Prisoner stars Fiona Spence and Patsy King), last seen on the channel as host of Blankety Blanks, was hired to front TV and radio commercials promoting the landmark changeover from Channel 0 to 10 and was the first to welcome viewers to the new ATV10. “It immediately appealed to me because it will be an historic occasion. A television station changing its frequency will probably never happen again in our lifetimes,” he told The Age prior to the change. His appearance in the advertising campaign also triggered a possibility of making a return to the station for a variety show, despite his assertion 18 months earlier that he’d never work for the channel again when he accused ATV0 of handing a poor lead-in audience to his Blankety Blanks which in turn affected its ratings. “I really meant it when I said I’d never appear on 0 in Melbourne,” he told TV Week at the time. “But now that Rupert Murdoch has taken over, and ATV0 has become ATV10, it’s looking good. Rupert and I have had talks about a program which would probably do quite well on a Saturday night. It’s based — but not tightly — on the show Chevy Chase does on NBC called, I think, Saturday Night Live. But I suppose it would inevitably resemble a 1980s In Melbourne Tonight if I was in it.”

The planned variety show did not eventuate, as Kennedy spent most of the year working on movie projects and a comedy series for ABC radio and was a partner in establishing Sydney radio station 2Day FM.

mikewilliamsonannetteallisonATV10 did make some attempts at other variety projects. The Saturday Night Show, hosted by Michael Williamson and Annette Allison (pictured with studio guest Syd Heylen), provided a mix of variety and harness racing — a format made popular in the ’70s by HSV7‘s The Penthouse Club. The channel also tried The Ted Hamilton Show, starring Ted Hamilton, then best known as an actor in Division 4, and Sue McIntosh. Neither program survived to see 1981.

Ten also tried an Australian adaptation of the hit British series Are You Being Served?, featuring John Inman reprising his role of the camp Mr Humphries, joined by Shane Bourne, June Bronhill, Tony Bazell, Kerry Daniel and Reg Evans. More successful was Young Talent Time, which celebrated 10 years in production in 1981 and continued through until 1989. Over its 18-year run the series, hosted by Johnny Young, launched the careers of Debra Byrne, Philip Gould, Denis Walter, Sally Boyden, Karen Knowles, Tina Arena and Danni Minogue.

Jimmy Hannan, star of variety show Jimmy in the 1960s, returned to the Nunawading studios to host Personality Squares in 1981, while Greg Evans and Kerry Armstrong hosted magazine show Together Tonight.

Evans then returned to Ten in 1984 to host Perfect Match, a show that displayed the same risque humour and innuendo that made Blankety Blanks successful a few years earlier.

The changeover to Channel 10 in 1980 coincided with a revamp of the 6.00pm Eyewitness News. Former newsreaders Bruce Mansfield and Annette Allison had been dumped at the end of 1979, their roles replaced over the summer by Michael Schildberger and Peter Hanrahan. The revamp into 1980 saw David Johnston return to full-time TV, after leaving HSV7 a few years earlier, joined at the newsdesk by reporter Jana Wendt. The new decade saw greater resources thrown at the news bulletin, including greater capacity for live crosses during the bulletin plus instigating meteorologist Rob Gell‘s four-day weather forecast.

jopearsonThe new-look Eyewitness News gave Ten a much-needed ratings boost. So much so that Wendt was soon made an offer to join the rival Nine Network as reporter for 60 Minutes. Taking her place at the newsdesk from early 1982 was Jo Pearson (pictured), a newsreader and journalist from sister station TVQ0 in Brisbane. The David-and-Jo combination, no doubt helped by her subsequent marriage to weatherman Rob Gell, became a ratings giant — with Ten eventually coming neck-and-neck with leader National Nine News in the all-important news battle.

Eyewitness News‘ ratings hit a high in 1987 when rival HSV7 sacked longtime newsreader Mal Walden. The impact of Walden’s sacking saw Seven’s news ratings hit record lows. David Johnston, a former colleague of Walden’s at Seven, threw him a lifeline and offered him a job presenting human interest stories under the title Mal’s Melbourne.

By the close of 1987, Ten was dealt a blow when it was announced that husband-and-wife team Rob Gell and Jo Pearson had accepted an offer to join the Nine Network. Ten responded by expanding Eyewitness News to three newsreaders, with Johnston joined by Walden and newcomer Tracey Curro. The triple-header format was short lived and Walden was soon moved to the weekend bulletin. Curro later went to the Seven Network‘s Beyond 2000.

prisoner_thefreakIn the area of drama, Prisoner (with Maggie Kirkpatrick as Officer Joan “The Freak” Ferguson pictured) continued production well into the 1980s, finally coming to an end in 1986 after 692 episodes. It was joined briefly by Holiday Island — a series produced by ATV10 and Crawford Productions. Holiday Island infamously tried to emulate a tropical Queensland island resort on the grounds of the Nunawading studios… during a Melbourne winter. The end result was not successful and the series was axed after only a few months.

ATV10 was also a network partner in the commissioning of an in-house drama, Arcade. The series, from the creators and writers of Number 96, depicted life around a suburban shopping mall. Despite the huge expense, in particular constructing a mock shopping complex in the main studio of Sydney’s TEN10, the series only lasted six weeks.

Ten did have better luck with production of another Crawford series, Carson’s Law. The 1920s period drama set in Melbourne starred Lorraine Bayly and Kevin Miles and ran for two years. There was also a move into children’s drama with The Henderson Kids in 1984, followed up a few years later by The Henderson Kids II. The series was an early acting role for Nadine Garner and also featured Ben Mendelsohn, Nicholas Eadie, Antionette Byron, Peter Whitford and a young Kylie Minogue.

Special Squad, starring Alan Cassell, Anthony Hawkins and John Diedrich, was filmed in the streets of Melbourne with few scenes based within a studio.

neighbours_88In 1985, ATV10 took a gamble when it picked up Neighbours which had been axed by the Seven Network after six months. It was the first time in Australia that a drama series had been axed by one network and picked up by another. Production began at Nunawading late in 1985 and, coincidentally, the street location that forms the exterior setting for the fictional Ramsay Street was located only a short drive from the Nunawading studios. Neighbours made its Network Ten debut on 20 January 1986 and was soon to dominate the 7.00pm timeslot. The series made international stars out of relative unknowns including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Craig McLachlan and Guy Pearce, and many more in the decades that followed. Production of the series also made good use of the old Holiday Island set constructed on the grounds of the studio by re-using it as part of the Lassiter’s retail and hotel complex depicted in the series.

The Eighties was also the decade of the big budget mini-series. The Ten Network invested big in event mini-series, usually mining Australian history or literature for series ideas. The decade started with Water Under The Bridge, adapted from the novel by Sumner Locke Elliott, and later led to others including Sara Dane, The Dismissal, Bodyline, The Thorn Birds, The Cowra Breakout, The Dunera Boys, The Harp In The South, Poor Man’s Orange, Vietnam, Waterfront, The Last Bastion, The Dirtwater Dynasty, The Heroes and Bangkok Hilton.

The melodramatic Return To Eden, starring Rebecca Gilling, Wendy Hughes and James Reyne, was a ratings hit which later spun off into a regular series.

The channel’s annual Deafness Appeal continued throughout the 1980s. The 1984 telethon featured a reunion of cast members from the 1970s early morning show The Early Bird Show. The audience response to the reunion sparked a revival of the show on Saturday mornings from 1985 and broadcast across the Ten network. Original co-host Marie van Maaren was joined by Darryl Cotton and the show, five hours each Saturday morning comprising studio segments interspersed with cartoons, continued through until 1989, when it was re-named Club 10 though the revamped show had only a short life.

royhampson_0001The Sydney-based Good Morning Australia, launched in 1981, sparked a revival of breakfast-time news on television. Mid-morning television continued to be represented with Good Morning Melbourne taking over from Everyday in 1981. The morning show, hosted by Roy Hampson (pictured) and Annette Allison, continued until 1988 when it was replaced by a national production, ‘Til Ten, from Sydney.

The Comedy Company provided a surprise ratings hit when it was put up against the top-rating 60 Minutes. The show ran for three seasons and led to a number of spin-offs.

As the decade drew to a close ATV10 and its interstate counterparts were going through a period of change. Rupert Murdoch had relinquished his ownership of TEN10 and ATV10 as he had become an American citizen. Both channels then came under the control of businessman Frank Lowy‘s Westfield Capital Corporation in 1987. The company also had interests in Network Ten channels in Adelaide, Perth and Canberra and later bought TVQ10, Brisbane.

ten_1988The year 1988 saw ATV10 and the Ten Network at a ratings peak — helped by the network broadcasting the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games as well as popular shows Perfect Match, The Comedy Company, Eyewitness News and Neighbours. The network’s profile was also boosted during the year with the launch of NEW10 in Perth and the transition of TVQ0 to Channel 10 in Brisbane.

The following year brought a change to Ten’s fortunes. Ratings had taken a dip as established shows were losing some shine and new titles failed to grab audiences. The re-badged Ten News was also being hit by a resurgent Seven Nightly News.

ten1989_0001A change in network branding to 10 TV Australia in July 1989 was accompanied by a raft of game shows, including The Great TV Game Show and The Price Is Right being produced at Nunawading. The ratings failed to rise, although Neighbours was still a strong performer even after the loss of cast members Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. Ten’s overall ratings and financial downfall set the pace for a dramatically changed network heading into the 1990s.

Source: The Age, 17 January 1980. TV Week, 1 March 1980. TV Week, 31 March 1984. From The Word Go! Forty Years Of Ten Melbourne, 2003.

YouTube: TelevisionAU

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/atv10-a-new-decade-a-new-channel.html

Jul 29 2014

ATV0: The Channel 0 Viewers’ Club

[Part II of this week's tribute to 50 years of the Ten Network. Part I can be found here]

channel0viewersclub_0012atv0_convert_0002Television stations of all kinds have always had to come up with ways to entice viewers to tune in and sample their wares. In the case of Melbourne’s new ATV Channel 0 upon its launch in 1964 the task was doubly hard, because for many viewers it wasn’t just a case of turning the dial, because older sets and antennas were not equipped to receive Channel 0 and some technical intervention was required to have sets re-tuned or antennas replaced.

In March 1965, seven months after its debut, ATV0 embarked on the Channel 0 Viewers’ Club — claimed to be the world’s biggest TV contest, promising up to £70,000 worth of prizes, with the major prize being one of ten ‘Triumph 12/50 saloons’, described as “the best equipped car under £1000!”

Other prizes included Astor electrical appliances such as washing machines, record players, refrigerators, clothes dryers, transistor radios and television sets.

channel0viewersclubMore than 650,000 individually numbered cards were distributed to Melbourne households. Viewers were asked to fill in their name and address details on the coupon component and send that back to the station. Then between 7pm and 10pm each night ATV0 would display randomly selected numbers on the screen. If the viewer identifies the number as one on their card they had to contact the station within 15 minutes and answer some simple questions.

Programs during this three-hour period each night included US shows Bewitched, The Flintstones, The Patty Duke Show, Petticoat Junction, The Fugitive, Outer Limits, The Roy Orbison Show, Bonanza , Gunsmoke and Daniel Boone plus movies every night after 8.30pm.

(Click on the images below to open in full)

 

A couple of years later the channel embarked another campaign — Family Funtime – which involved viewers participating in contests being run during various ATV0 programs in conjunction with department store Waltons.

atv0_familyfuntime

Source: TV Times, 17 March 1965. TV Week, 30 March 1968.

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/atv0-the-channel-0-viewers-club.html

Jul 29 2014

ATV0… from Go!! to Ten

atv0_open_0002[This Friday, 1 August, marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first channel in what is now Network Ten. Earlier this year we took a look at the countdown to the launch of this new channel -- ATV0 -- plus its first test programs. This week we present some special posts in commemorating the history of the Ten Network and in particular ATV0, now Ten Melbourne. This is Part I.]

It had been over a year in planning, costing millions of pounds and involving hundreds of people — and on Saturday, 1 August, 1964, Melbourne viewers became the first in Australia to have access to a third local commercial station: ATV0.

Opening night was a star-studded affair as various dignitaries and showbusiness identities descended towards the station’s new studio complex, a modern television oasis amid farms and paddocks in what was then the outskirts of Melbourne.

vikkihammondGuests arriving at the special event were interviewed by station personalities, newsreader Barry McQueen and children’s show host Nancy Cato, before the channel made its official debut at 7.00pm. Station owner Reg Ansett and general manager Len Mauger made brief opening speeches before the main event – This Is It! — a one-hour extravaganza of music, variety and comedy based around Melbourne’s excitement for the new channel, featuring Diana Trask (then just recently returned from a successful tour of the United States), Brian James, Wyn Roberts, Vikki Hammond (pictured), Lionel Long, Elsie Morrison, Harold Blair, Kathy Gorham, Keith Michell, Lou Toppano and host Ray Taylor.

The Age later reviewed This Is It! as a bold start for the channel:

This Is It! was at best an exercise in presenting something different by taking Melbourne, and its history, on a gay jaunt. This it set out to do with varying degrees of success, diverting only in two instances to pay tribute to the war effort, and Dame Nellie Melba. The program showed more boldness than finesse in dealing with the “sacred cows”, notably the RSL (in the Mafia reference), and by sending up Melbourne’s love of sport with a film simulating the birth of Australian Rules football.

We saw Ray Taylor, who is being “groomed” as the station’s star personality. He will please viewers who have been clamouring for more sophisticated, revue-type entertainment. This looks like his field.”

This Is It! was followed by Seven Wonderful Nights, a half-preview preview of the upcoming week of shows to come from the new channel, then The Dinah Shore Show (featuring a performance by Joan Sutherland) and Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll, the film adaptation of the play written by Australian Ray Lawler.

Rival channels weren’t about to give the new channel a free kick for its first night, either — in particular HSV7, who at the last minute strategically programmed a Beatles special followed by the TV premiere of the film Guys And Dolls.

atv0_readysteady0Once the excitement of opening night had settled it was quickly down to business. In its first week of broadcasting ATV0 had launched The Children’s Show (later to become The Magic Circle Club) with Nancy Cato, Michael Boddy and Alec Finlay, teen music show Go!! hosted by Alan Field, current affairs programs The Pacemakers (with newsreader Barry McQueen), In Close Up and Focus, the Friday night show Philip Gibbs’ Sports Angle and the Saturday night Ray Taylor Show, featuring a newcomer to Melbourne TV who would stay with the channel for the next quarter of a century – Roy Hampson.

barrymcqueenATV0 also showed bold initiative with its news service — launching a 45-minute news bulletin screening each weeknight at 6.15pm, fronted by Barry McQueen (pictured), giving the channel a 15-minute head start on the half-hour bulletins of rivals HSV7 and GTV9. Weekend news bulletins were shorter — 15 minutes — but screened at 5.45pm, before the rival channel bulletins.

The channel didn’t just hope to rely on its own production to gain viewers, it also had an impressive line-up of overseas programs, some of which were snapped away from rival channels. Programs like Sargent Bilko, Bonanza, The Patty Duke Show, The Greatest Show On Earth, The Fugitive, The Phil Silvers Show, Outer Limits, Ivanhoe, Burke’s Law, Grindl, The Steve Allen Show, Temple Houston, The Richard Boone Show, The Grey Ghost and The Bill Dana Show were among those launched in ATV0′s first week.

jimmyhannanLocal production later expanded with the lavish variety series Showcase, produced by Crawford Productions and hosted by Gordon Boyd, plus a new variety series, Jimmy, hosted by Jimmy Hannan (pictured). The success of Go!! later led to the pop music genre being covered further with Kommotion on weekday afternoons and the Saturday morning show Uptight.

There were also brief attempts at comedy with sitcoms Hey You, starring Colin McEwan and Ernie Bourne, and Good Morning Mr Doubleday.

As the 1960s continued ATV0 expanded into daytime TV. Programming hours were extended to mornings and 1967 saw the launch of a daily magazine show, Chit Chat, with Roy Hampson and Katrina Pye. The half-hour show was created with a tiny budget (with the only assurance that the show would continue only as long as it made money, hence the eventual addition of what we now know as product placement or infomercials) and program preparation in the early days was often just a matter of scanning the morning newspapers for items of interest to discuss on air. The show continued in various guises, changing its name each time a new producer would come on board, for the next 20 years but Hampson remained as host right through the until the axe finally fell on what was then Good Morning Melbourne at the close of 1988.

Despite its popularity, The Magic Circle Club came to an abrupt end in 1967 but while most of the cast moved across to ABC to start up Adventure Island, the character of Fredd Bear (played by Tedd Dunn) continued on at ATV0 with the popular Fredd Bear’s Breakfast A Go-Go, hosted by Judy Banks and featuring Michael McCarthy and Colin McEwan.

ATV0 was the first channel in Melbourne to broadcast complete Australian Rules football games when it started broadcasting VFA (now VFL) matches on Sunday afternoons. Live broadcast of sport in the home market was usually frowned upon as it was thought to have an effect on gate attendances. In the case of VFA the Sunday afternoon broadcasts served to increase the alternative league’s profile and boosted audiences at the grounds.

Regular broadcasts of country horse racing also became a daytime fixture for the station, with one race meeting in 1967 making its own history as the first live colour telecast in Australia, eight years before the official adoption of colour TV in Australia.

atv0_roserudkin_0001Breaking into a market with three well-established players is hard enough, but ATV also had to deal with the reality that so much of its potential audience may not have had the ability to tune to Channel 0, as older sets did not include that channel on the dial, and some TV antennas were also not designed to receive the low-band frequency. A major breakthrough for the channel came in 1969 when Ansett and sports editor Philip Gibbs organised a boxing title fight between Lionel Rose and Alan Rudkin. The broadcast set a new ratings record — 67 per cent of Melbourne households — that would not be broken until the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

thelongarm_0001While the Sixties saw ATV0 make its debut with an emphasis on youth and variety shows and local sport, the turn of the decade into the Seventies saw the channel make its first steps in the production of drama.

Unlike rival dramas that were produced by independent producers, such as Crawford Productions, The Long Arm (pictured) was an in-house production, starring Robert Brunning, Sandy Harbutt, Bill Hunter, Barbara Mason and Lyndal Moor. The series debuted in April 1970 but was axed only three months later.

matlockpolice_0001Despite the disappointment of The Long Arm, ATV0 had more success with its next drama venture — a rural cop drama from Crawford Productions, Matlock Police. The series, set in a fictional town in country Victoria, starred Grigor TaylorMichael Pate, Paul Cronin and Vic Gordon (pictured). The first episode featured brief glimpses of nudity as a group of hippies are seen skinny dipping while trespassing on a rural property. Nudity was not a tactic employed often by Matlock Police, but rather it became a trademark for the two drama series that were to follow.

With financial problems mounting, not just for ATV0 but also its interstate counterparts, the re-named 0-10 Network made a last ditch effort to turn the situation around — the controversial Number 96. Production started late in 1971 and its debut in March 1972 became known as ‘the night Australian television lost its virginity’. The Sydney-based series set around the residents of a fictional apartment building, where sex and social taboos became the norm, was a ratings hit and turned the network’s fortunes around.  By 1973 it was Australia’s top-rating series, a previously unheard of achievement for the third commercial network.

ATV0_TheBoxThe success of Number 96 led to ATV0 responding with its own take on adult drama — The Box. The Box, launched in February 1974, was a series set behind the scenes of a fictional TV station, UCV12, although some elements were thought to be inspired by real-life people and events from within the television industry — much of which still can’t be confirmed to this day!

By 1974, ATV0 was operating at full steam, with the Nunawading studios producing a range of programs for broadcast across the network. As well as Matlock Police and The Box the studios were producing Young Talent Time, The Price Is Right, variety show It’s Magic, Australian Popular Song Festival and the TV Week King Of Pop Awards. The Roy Hampson Show (later to become Everyday and then Good Morning Melbourne) continued as the flagship of the morning line-up and the channel had started an annual telethon for the Nerve Deafness Foundation.

0-eyewitnessnews1978Bruce Mansfield had taken over as chief newsreader at Eyewitness News as Mike Willesee became network director of news and current affairs. Mansfield continued to front Eyewitness News through to the end of the decade, joined in 1978 by Gail Jarvis and then Annette Allison (pictured with Mansfield) in 1979.

Sporting telecasts continued covering horse racing meetings and Sunday afternoon VFA.

In July 1974 the channel adopted the slogan ‘First In Color’ (with American spelling) as Australian television approached the full-scale introduction of colour transmission.

bernardkingtommyhanlonjnrThe conversion to full colour transmission in March 1975 was soon followed by a new variety show, the talent quest Pot Of Gold hosted by Tommy Hanlon Jnr. The daytime show provided some performances not always memorable for the right reasons but would be best remembered for the blunt assessments offered by lead judge Bernard King. There was also variety in the evenings with Ernie Sigley‘s Ernie in 1976 and later Something Special and Peter Couchman Tonight.

Outdoor game show Almost Anything Goes, based on a European format, was produced from the grounds of the Nunawading studios and screened on Sunday nights. The format was revisited a decade later as It’s A Knockout.

Despite the channel’s commitment to horse racing, Melbourne viewers continued to be denied the chance to see the Melbourne Cup live on TV. Melbourne’s four channels could offer no more than delayed coverage of the race hours after it had been run. It was 1978 before ATV0 became the first channel to show the Melbourne Cup live to Melbourne viewers. The Melbourne Cup Carnival would continue to be a flagship for the channel’s sports coverage for the next 20 years.

Sitcom The Bluestone Boys tried to make laughs from prison life, and the short-lived The Tea Ladies, starring Pat McDonald (post-Number 96) and Sue Jones, attempted political humour as told by a couple of tea ladies working in Parliament House.

Five years after the demise of Fredd Bear’s Breakfast A Go-Go, ATV0 re-entered breakfast television with a similar program, The Early Bird Show. The weekday program was hosted by Michael McCarthy and Marie van Maaren and continued through to 1980.

Daryl Somers and Ossie Ostrich left Hey Hey It’s Saturday at Nine and made the move to prime time at ATV0 with The Daryl And Ossie Show. The game show, intended as a replacement for the Sydney-based Blankety Blanks, lasted only eight weeks before Daryl and Ossie went back to Nine to revive Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

Almost a decade after ATV0 made ratings history with its Rose-Rudkin title fight, the channel again rewrote the record books with the landmark US mini-series Roots in 1977. The series hit a rating of 54 (per cent of households) and its sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, was also a strong performer.

As Number 96 and The Box were on the way out, Crawford Productions and ATV0 attempted to fill the void with Hotel Story, a weekly series based around a large hotel. Despite a strong cast, including Terence Donovan, June Salter, Carmen Duncan, George Spartels, Camilla Rountree and Max Meldrum, production was axed before the first episode went to air. Amid the publicity of the abrupt cancellation ATV0 went on to rush the few completed episodes to air to let the viewers see what the fuss was about.

prisoner_ep1_1The channel had much better luck with its next drama series, Prisoner, which became a hit not only in Australia but also sold well overseas. Prisoner was not only taped within the studios at Nunawading but the station building itself became the star of the show as the exterior setting for the fictional Wentworth Detention Centre. Almost 30 years since its demise the series still claims a dedicated fan base and has inspired a modern-day adaptation, Wentworth.

atv0_1979By the close of the decade, Reg Ansett was set to hand control of the channel that he launched over to Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch had gained control over Sydney’s TEN10 and through an investment in Ansett Transport Industries, acquired a controlling interest in ATV0. The broadcasting authority was soon to deny Murdoch’s takeover of ATV0, leading to a two-year battle before the sale was finally approved. But one of Ansett’s last legacies for the station was to make moves to change ATV’s broadcast frequency from Channel 0 to 10, bringing the station into line with its Sydney counterpart and with the hope of addressing growing problems with viewers unable to receive the 0 signal in parts of Melbourne.

Source: The Age, 6 August 1964. TV Times, 29 July 1964. TV Times, 12 August 1964. TV Times, 26 August 1964. TV Week, 12 March 1966. TV Times, 1 April 1970. TV Times, 14 February 1976. From The Word Go! Forty Years Of Ten Melbourne, 2003. Television In Australia — Its History Through The Ratings, Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, 1980.

ATV0_letusentertainyou

ATV0 magazine advertisement, 1969

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/atv0-from-go-to-ten.html

Jul 28 2014

1994: July 23-29

tvweek_230794Cover: Heather Locklear (Melrose Place)

Jimeoin swings back!
As his comedy show Jimeoin returns for a second series, the Irish comedian has just returned from a working holiday in the United Kingdom. He admits he is “having discussions” with the production company behind the acclaimed UK sitcom Drop The Dead Donkey about the prospect of a series of shows. “The idea being talked about is appealing to me because it would involve producing six half-hour shows,” he told TV Week. “The attitude to television production is a lot different in the UK than it is here. Over there, performers are not forced to burn their ideas to death. Here, a network sees a good idea and performers are forced to keep doing it until everyone is sick of it.”

markmitchelltiffanylambMark and Tiffany switch over to TVTV
Mark Mitchell and former Paradise Beach star Tiffany Lamb (pictured) will host the new-look TVTV when it returns to screens in August. The show is moving production from Sydney to Melbourne, and the two new hosts hope to be able to boost the show’s single-figure ratings. “I’m not there to lambaste or debunk,” Mitchell said. “I’m not setting myself up as a critic. I’m there to please the audience and not end up on Media Watch.” Mitchell will also present a new segment featuring material from Australia’s television archives. “It’ll be a tribute to TV that will keep going for the next two years until TV’s 40th birthday in September, 1996,” he said.

Meet the new (born) Neighbours
There’s a baby boom happening in Ramsay Street, with Neighbours characters Cheryl (Caroline Gillmer) and Gaby (Rachel Blakely) both set to give birth on the same day. Gaby gives birth to Zac, while Cheryl has an emergency caesarean to give birth to Louise 10 weeks early after complications that threatened both their lives. Having babies on the set is a challenge. “We’re only allowed to have the baby on set with the lights up for 30 seconds at a time. Then the lights automatically go down,” Blakely told TV Week. “So everything has to be done in chops and changes. It’s hard to pick up emotionally where you left off. But the baby, Jay, has been a dream to work with, so far!”

brunolawrence_0001Bruno produces the goods
Actor Bruno Lawrence (pictured) says playing the part of producer Brian Thompson in ABC series Frontline is one of the best roles he has ever played and he has incredible praise for the team behind the show. “They have incredible knowledge and understanding about television, and how it affects the public,” he told TV Week. Lawrence is passionate about making quality television and as a young actor-producer in New Zealand often found their local industry a challenge. “I hated New Zealand television. It was the enemy. It was full of these failed Poms with bureaucratic attitudes. I’d suggest programs and they’d talk bull**** to me.”

Briefly…

  • Paradise Beach star Isla Fisher has moved on after the show’s demise to a role in Home And Away. Her new character, Shannon Reed, is described as tempestuous and environmentally conscious. She will be seen on screen from September. Meanwhile, fellow Paradise Beach star Raelee Hill, recently seen in a guest role in Blue Heelers, has joined the cast of Neighbours.
  • Network Ten has made a secret pilot for a proposed new drama series set in an acting agency. The pilot, with the working title Good House International, stars Deborra-Lee Furness, Rowena Wallace, Elaine Smith, Melissa Thomas and The Seekers’ Judith Durham. If the pilot is accepted the network is looking at a 12-episode series.
  • The new Seven Network series Fire has signed up two more cast members, with Max Phipps and Peter Phelps joining Shane Connor. But production on the 13-part series has stalled as producers are having trouble casting the lead female role.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

TVTV will return on 1 August with Mark Mitchell and Tiffany Lamb as the new hosts. With all due respects to the previous incumbents, they certainly bring with them a higher profile. The reborn TVTV will be almost a total overhaul and some aspects of the new-look show have been invented out of necessity. The set, for instance, will be the show’s production office… its real production office. Otherwise, studio space availability would have meant it being recorded earlier in the day than desirable. TVTV has one of the toughest timeslots on the schedule, head-to-head against a soap on Network Ten and two shows — Real Life (Seven) and A Current Affair (Nine) — which, in the fierce battle that continues between them, can spend on promotion in a week more than TVTV would spend on production in a year. For television buffs, however, TVTV is more interesting than them all and I happen to think that its survival is important, whether it is produced out of Sydney, Melbourne or Albury-Wodonga.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, July 23-29):
Saturday: A Country Practice moves to the earlier timeslot of 5.30pm (Ten).

Sunday: In Halfway Across The Galaxy And Turn Left (8.30am, Seven), the gang tries to get along without X (Lauren Hewett) when she gets sick. Sunday AFL includes Brisbane Bears v Fitzroy (1pm, Seven), live from Brisbane, followed by West Coast Eagles v Richmond (4pm, Seven), live from Perth. Documentary series Our World (6.30pm, Nine) presents Alby Mangels’ Africa: Crossing The Kalahari. Sunday night movies are White Sands (Seven), Man Trouble (Nine) and Rapid Fire (Ten).

Monday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Danni’s (Eliza Szonert) stardom is halted by financial troubles. In Talk To The Animals (7.30pm, Seven), Jane Holmes previews the latest animated feature at the Disney Studios in Los Angeles, Dr Harry Cooper assists a vet at an operation on a dog, and Richard Fitzgerald learns about the life cycle of the hummingbird. In Frontline (8pm, ABC), the quest for ratings overrides the quest for the full story… with devastating results.

Tuesday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Cheryl’s (Caroline Gillmer) health is improving, but her baby is still in a critical condition. Frank Wilson and Noel Trevarthen guest star in GP (8.30pm, ABC). In Law Of The Land (9.30pm, Nine), Hamilton (Wyn Roberts) is bullied by angry locals who want the recycling plant to go ahead.

Wednesday: Luke (John Adam) farewells Summer Bay in Home And Away (7pm, Seven). In Heartbreak High (7.30pm, Ten), Rose (Katherine Halliday) shocks her peers and teachers when she announces that she is pregnant, but the most affected by her news is her father.

rachelblakelyThursday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Gaby (Rachel Blakely, pictured) is determined to prove new mothers can be capable business women. Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten) unravels the mysteries of Alzheimer’s with a new approach to an age old disease, and looks at the new generation of sports shoe from Japan that makes present day shoes look prehistoric.

Friday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Angel (Melissa George) fears Shane (Dieter Brummer) has cold feet about their engagement. Comedy series Jimeoin (8.30pm, Seven) makes its return, starring JImeoin with Bob Franklin, Brian Nankervis, Glenn Robbins, Daina Reid, Tamara Cook and Sarah Woods.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 23 July 1994. Southdown Press.

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/1994-july-23-29.html

Jul 23 2014

Obituary: Stephanie Quinlan

stephaniequinlanFormer Western Australian television presenter Stephanie Quinlan has died at the age of 74.

Quinlan’s TV career began in the mid-1960s on programs including Shopping Guide and Televisit.

She later hosted her own morning show, The Today Show, for Perth’s TVW7 in the 1970s and early 1980s, winning a TV Week Logie Award in 1979 for Most Popular Female Personality in Western Australia.

She then became a local fashion identity as a mentor and promoter, and was one of the first to cast Megan Gale for a runway presentation.

A private memorial for Stephanie Quinlan was held in Perth last week.

Source: WA Today, TV Week
Picture: The West Australian

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/obituary-stephanie-quinlan.html

Jul 19 2014

1994: July 16-22

tvweek_160794Cover: Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210)

Game to be mad
The Nine Network is looking to make a local adaptation of the hit English game show Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. The show gives studio audience members the chance to fly out to an exotic destination straight after the show. Our House co-host Graeme ‘Shirley’ Strachan is believed to have been considered for the hosting job.

‘A scandalous waste of public money’
The controversy happening behind-the-scenes in the production of The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh seems far from over. Cast member Philip Quast, who plays the part of the Minister, has described the show as “a scandalous waste of public money”, in particular having to re-shoot the first six episodes completed. The outburst has prompted series writer John Mistro to respond that his experience with the show was so traumatic, he won’t work in television in the near future. Producer Sue Masters concedes she had an uphill battle to boost morale when she was hired to replace the show’s first producer, Denny Lawrence. “It was difficult for me coming into a situation where the previous producer was fired,” she said. “I felt very sad for Denny that his version of this show was not what the ABC wanted.”

mikemoore_0001Talking manure with Mike Moore!
Burke’s Backyard‘s recent coup in scoring Elle Macpherson for a guest appearance has faded into insignificance with news that host and producer Don Burke has snapped up Frontline‘s Mike Moore (Rob Sitch) as guest celebrity gardener. “We regard Mike Moore (pictured) as one the great icons of Australian television, and of course to nail him was, well, the office celebrated for a week. It was huge,” Burke told TV Week. “Naturally the problem when you do Mike Moore is that there’s nowhere else to go, nobody else to do. I don’t know… we’ll just have to settle for Ray (Martin) or Jana (Wendt) now.” Former ABC reporter Moore will take Burke’s Backyard through his lofty rooftop garden that acts as his haven from the hectic world of current affairs. “You’re watching the tragedies and disasters of the world go through the autocue machine every night, and to come up here and get back to nature a little is my piece heaven,” Moore told TV Week. Moore added that his move from ABC to Frontline hasn’t changed his focus from serious current affairs. “I haven’t changed and our commitment to the stories hasn’t changed — as long as they involve diets and cellulite, we’ll do any story. People say we’re not political. Well, wait until they see the story on Melrose Place that we’ve done. It’s a showstopper.” Meanwhile, the celebrity-smitten Burke will return the favour by making a guest appearance in an episode of Frontline.

ronnieburnsRonnie hopes to Strike It Lucky
Former ’60s rock star Ronnie Burns (pictured) said it was a tough decision to either stay with Ten‘s Healthy Wealthy And Wise or go to Nine to host a new game show, Strike It Lucky. “It was the most difficult time for me. The only person I could discuss it with was my wife, Maggie. I didn’t want any of it to leak out,” he told TV Week. “I was not disgruntled at Healthy Wealthy And Wise, so when this offer came along, I had to think about it long and hard. I’m now confident that I made the right choice.” Strike It Lucky takes on the 5.00pm timeslot, placing it up against Seven‘s Family Feud. “We’re not producing this show just to fill a space, we’re out to win the timeslot.”

Briefly…

  • The Seven Network seems to have lost interest in the new drama series Over The Hill, starring Georgie Parker and Nicholas Eadie. The network is believed to be holding off screening the series until the non-ratings period.
  • Law Of The Land star Shane Connor is the first cast signing for Seven‘s new series, Fire. Producers are down to a short list of six names for the show’s female lead. The 13-part series is to be filmed in Queensland.
  • Sitcom Newlyweds has been renewed for a fifth series. All the original cast, including Annie Jones, Chris Gabardi, Cathy Godbold and Sandy Gore, will return. Filming starts in September.
  • Nine‘s Jim Waley has just filmed a guest appearance for ABC‘s current affairs satire, Frontline. There is talk that Today‘s Elizabeth Hayes is also to be involved in the series in the future. The D Generation had previously hoped to get Hayes on to The Late Show to sing the Isaac Hayes hit Shaft as one of their mistaken identity musical numbers, but it fell through.
  • Marcus Graham has signed to star in the Halifax fp series of telemovies, co-starring with Rebecca Gibney.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“In television terms, David Jason comes close to being a national treasure in the UK. The toughest and possibly most cynical press in the world seems to adore and, more importantly, any new show he does these days has a happy knack of attracting 20 million or so viewers.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne, July 16-22):
Saturday:  In A Country Practice (7.30pm, Ten), unknown to his friends and the residents of Wandin Valley, Danny (Vince Colosimo) has been seeing a psychiatrist over problems from an accident 12 months ago. As the FIFA World Cup draws to a close, the 1986 Official FIFA World Cup Film screens (7.30pm, SBS) ahead of the Play-Off for Third (5am Sunday, SBS).

Sunday: Sunday AFL includes Brisbane Bears versus Richmond (2pm, Seven), live from Brisbane, and Adelaide versus West Coast Eagles (5.30pm, Seven), live from Adelaide. Sunday night movies are Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Seven), Mo’ Money (Nine) and Breathing Lessons (Ten). The FIFA World Cup Final and Closing Ceremony is live from the US (4.35am Monday, SBS).

Monday: With the FIFA World Cup now concluded, SBS launched a revamped evening schedule — starting with debut of Irish drama series Glenroe (7pm), the series return of magazine series The Big Byte (7.30pm) and the launch of news analysis program News Extra With Paul Murphy (8pm). In Talk To The Animals (7.30pm, Seven), Jane Holmes and a group of school children visit a farm in central Victoria, Kelly Pummeroy goes diving with whale sharks off the coast of Western Australia, and Pamela Graham watches a dentist working on a gorilla at Melbourne Zoo.

Tuesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Shane (Dieter Brummer) fears everyone is against his marriage to Angel (Melissa George). In GP (8.30pm, ABC), the very single Julie (Denise Roberts) is swept off her feet by a chance meeting with her local postman, Glen (Ken Radley). In Law Of The Land (9.30pm, Nine), Hamilton (Wyn Roberts) calls a town meeting to discuss the recycling plant, but it degenerates into a bun fight.

Wednesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Angel (Melissa George) accepts Shane’s (Dieter Brummer) marriage proposal. The Movie Show (7.30pm, SBS) returns. Jo Bailey hosts the series return of Looking Good (8pm, Nine)

Thursday: In Getaway (7.30pm, Nine), Lochie Daddo visits Queensland’s islands, Rebecca Harris discovers the untouched beauty of Samoa, and David Reyne tests eco tours and how to get the best out of them. Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten) looks at the underwater PC. Nicholas Hammond, Harry Cripps and Elise McCredie guest star in The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh (8.30pm, ABC).

erniedingo_0001Friday: In Rex Hunt’s The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), guest reporter Melissa George goes behind the scenes at Warner Bros Movie World on the Gold Coast, Ernie Dingo (pictured) practices Tai Chi, and Bridget Adams learns driving techniques at the Westec Rally School in Perth. Friday night AFL features Adelaide Crows versus Sydney Swans (8.30pm, Seven), live from Adelaide.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 16 July 1994. Southdown Press.

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/1994-july-16-22.html

Jul 17 2014

Obituary: John Walton

johnwaltonJohn Walton, one of the original cast members of The Young Doctors, has died at the age of 62.

The Sydney-born actor featured in the 1973 ABC telemovie adaptation of The Taming Of The Shrew and had studied at NIDA. In 1976 he was appearing in a theatre production of Much Ado About Nothing when he was spotted by Reg Grundy Productions‘ casting director Kerry Spence. “I was casting for The Young Doctors at the time and I said to myself, there’s my boy for (character) Craig Rothwell. He’s very matinee idol, good for a soapie,” Spence told TV Times in 1977.

Walton starred as playboy Dr Craig Rothwell for two years. He then appeared in Melbourne-based Crawfords dramas The Sullivans, Cop Shop and Skyways.

Later TV credits included Bellamy, Bodyline, Five Mile Creek, Winners, Palace Of Dreams, A Thousand Skies, The Adventures Of Skippy, GP, A Country Practice, Home And Away, Heartbreak High, All Saints, Blue Heelers, McLeod’s Daughters and Sea Patrol.

He also starred in films including The Lighthorsemen.

A memorial service for Walton will be held at the University of NSW’s Fig Tree Theatre on Saturday 19 July at 11.00am.

Source: TV Tonight, Sydney Morning Herald, IMDB. TV Times, 26 March 1977.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/obituary-john-walton.html

Jul 15 2014

Hunter TV denied access to broadcast

huntertvHunter TV, an aspirant community broadcaster for the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, has been denied access to a broadcast frequency by the communications watchdog.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has denied the application citing the current re-stack of frequency allocations following the analogue shutdown plus “policy uncertainty”. ACMA clarified that its decision was not a reflection on Hunter TV’s proposed service but rather on the technical and political limitations:

“The ACMA is generally not making spectrum available for high power open narrowcasting television in order to preserve options for the use of the unallocated TV channel.”

It was reported last month that Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is looking at reviewing options for utilising the spare sixth channel which could also have repercussions for the existing community broadcasters now in operation in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Broome.

Hunter TV manager Rod Breis has rejected ACMA’s ruling, citing the availability of three frequencies in the local area, and plans to take the case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Despite not having a broadcast licence Hunter TV already has production and playout systems in place and has been producing programs, including a children’s show and outside broadcasts, which can be streamed via their website or viewed on YouTube.

The venture also has the support of local politicians, business owners and the Newcastle City Council.




Source: Newcastle Herald, Hunter TV

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/hunter-tv-denied-access-to-broadcast.html

Jul 15 2014

Les Murray signs off from SBS

lesmurray_0001Les Murray, one of the first presenters on SBS, has made his final sign-off from the network as its coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup has wound up.

A newspaper journalist in the early 1970s, Murray had been a commentator of the Philips Soccer League when the former 0-10 Network had broadcast rights in the late 1970s. It was a league that was generally only afforded off-peak broadcast coverage before the network dumped it after only two years.

He was then a part-time Hungarian subtitler when SBS, then Channel 0/28, was preparing for its first official broadcast in 1980. Just days before the channel launched on air in Sydney and Melbourne, he was seconded to commentate (with the late Johnny Warren) the new channel’s first sports telecast — the Philips Soccer League Grand Final from Canberra.

Ever since then Murray has been a name synonymous with football in Australia and on SBS. At a time when football, or soccer, barely had a profile in Australia, Murray and SBS led its growth in popularity. For over 20 years he hosted the weekly program World Soccer and has fronted SBS’ coverage of the last eight World Cups, starting in 1986 when broadcast rights were shared with ABC.

Murray has also hosted other sports programs for SBS including On The Ball, Toyota World Sports and The World Game.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for services to soccer in Australia.

He says he will continue to be involved in the sport and may return to SBS in the future for guest appearances.

Source: SBSSBS, It’s An Honour, Wikipedia, Sydney Morning Herald

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/07/les-murray-signs-off-from-sbs.html

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