Viewers in the Riverland and South East districts of South Australia now have no local television news service following regional network WIN‘s immediate closure of the local news bulletin.
Staff were notified today (Monday) that the local edition of WIN News was being axed, effective immediately.
The axing is reported to have resulted in 10 editorial staff being made redundant, although WIN is believed to be considering redeployment opportunities for staff willing to move to other areas.
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union spokesperson Angelique Ivanica said it is a sad day for the local community:
“It is a sad day for the people who will lose their jobs and the wider community who will have no news. The region will be shut out because of the centralisation of media — they will be provided with no news, which is a massive concern.”
The axing of the regional SA news comes two years after WIN merged the separate news bulletins for Riverland (Loxton) and South East (Mount Gambier) into a single nightly newscast.
Although WIN maintained local news gathering facilities in Loxton and Mount Gambier, their local news bulletin was compiled and presented from the studios of WIN’s Adelaide station NWS9 – while on-air co-ordination of WIN’s national network is centralised at the MediaHub facility in Sydney.
With a total potential audience of 127,300 across the Riverland and South East regions, WIN is the sole local commercial TV broadcaster — providing a local relay of the three capital city networks and their associated digital multi-channels, a total 15 channels plus datacast channel Gold. This is in comparison to ten years ago when WIN was providing one channel in each of Riverland and South East SA — stations RTS5A and SES8 respectively.
SES8 was first launched in 1966 and RTS5A in 1976. The two stations were bought out by WIN in 1999 and both converted to digital-only transmission in 2010.
While local networks in the aggregated regional markets of New South Wales/ACT, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania have a regulated obligation to provide at least a minimum amount of local news coverage the same rules do not apply in South Australia.
WIN provides local news bulletins across its regional Victoria, Southern NSW/ACT, Queensland and Tasmanian networks. In Western Australia, regional WIN and Perth station STW9 broadcast a statewide news bulletin.
Pictured: SES8 “My Local TV Station” in 1993.