It is 30 years ago this week that Melbourne’s TV Scene ceased publication after 62 years.
It began as a radio magazine, Listener In, in 1925. By 1937 it had converted to a newspaper format.
With television arriving in 1956, the Listener In showed it was adapting with the times… by adding “TV” to the title. As part of the Herald and Weekly Times (HWT) group, Listener In-TV had a natural affinity to the company’s new television station, HSV7, but was not to ignore Melbourne’s other TV channels, though they may not have always been given the same prominence in coverage.
Listener In-TV would continue to breathlessly cover the local and national showbiz industry and all the celebrity news — with the headlines often dominated by Melbourne’s showbiz elite. People like Graham Kennedy, Bert and Patti Newton, Don Lane, Bill Collins, Mary Hardy, Denise Drysdale and Ernie Sigley were rarely far from the front page.
By 1976 the name had been changed to Scene and the cover pages were now in full colour, with limited colour on the inside pages.
Being a newspaper format Scene inevitably found the going tough up against the glossy, though more expensive, TV Week. An attempt to revamp Scene as TV Scene, with a glossy cover but maintaining the newspaper format, in the mid-1980s failed to achieve any significant growth.
While TV Week was hitting circulation highs of 800,000 nationally during the 1980s, TV Scene with its more conservative and ageing readership was declining — a situation not helped by the growing trend of newspapers publishing their own weekly TV listings.
By 1987, weekly sales of TV Scene had fallen to around 60,000. The media takeover frenzy that engulfed various radio, television and print media assets at the time saw TV Scene move from HWT to the ownership of Southdown Press, publishers of TV Week. Southdown had endeavoured to maintain TV Scene and made budget cuts where possible but found it was unsustainable.
The day after the edition dated 27 June 1987 hit the newsstands, Southdown Press made the decision to wind up the 62-year-old publication. TV Scene’s remaining full-time staff were transferred to TV Week and the title was given a farewell with a two-page pictorial in the centre pages of The Sun newspaper at the end of the week.
Below are just a handful of the covers to have graced Listener In-TV and TV Scene over its long history: