Community TV gets a three-year extension

Some common sense prevails… for a while anyway.

Community TV stations C31 Melbourne and 44 Adelaide have managed to secure a further three-year extension to their free-to-air broadcast licences.

The decision, granted by the Federal Government, comes just days before both channels were scheduled to go off-air following the previous 12-month extension granted last year.

The campaign to save the community TV sector was supported by members across multiple political parties, as well as Lord Mayor Sally Capp and Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece.

The full announcement from C31:

NEWSFLASH: COMMUNITY TV STATIONS WIN THREE YEAR EXTENSION

With less than seven days until switch off, an amendment to broadcast legislation was passed in the Australian Senate overnight and confirmed in the House of Representatives today, providing an extension of three more years of free to air broadcast access to Community TV stations C31 Melbourne and Geelong & Channel 44 Adelaide, through to June 30, 2024.

A renewal term of three years is a welcome relief for C31 Melbourne staff, volunteers, program makers and the wider community whose support has been unwavering over the past seven years as the Community Television sector has continued to fight to retain their free to air broadcast licences. This decision ensures that Community Television’s valuable contribution to the wider arts industry can continue until at least 30 June 2024 and assists the sector in building its financial and digital capacity to continue broadcasting to audiences around the country.

C31 Melbourne General Manager Shane Dunlop says, “It is with great pride and considerable relief that we announce today’s news. A licence renewal of three years will finally provide Community TV stations with the stability we have gone without for almost a decade. We are glad that common sense has prevailed, and we look forward to the next three years, continuing our 27-year tradition of providing an accessible, vibrant, and important service to Melbourne’s diverse communities and beyond.”

C31 Melbourne Chair Mike Zafiropoulos AM continued, “The C31 board would like to acknowledge the efforts of our wonderful staff, producers and program makers over the last few months. We have also been overwhelmed by the showing of public support and are heartened by the collective resolve to fight for a positive outcome for Community Television in Victoria. Thank you.”

ALP Senator Marielle Smith said, “Taking community TV off air was a destructive and wasteful decision – it costs the Government nothing for them to keep broadcasting, and there’s no plans to use the spectrum for years. This result is an admission that the Government got it wrong, and a huge win for our community and for the Community TV stations.”

C44 General Manager Lauren Hillman added, “This is a huge win for the Community TV sector in Adelaide and Melbourne and we are honoured to be recognised and valued by the Australian Senate. The power of community should never be underestimated, and we are so very grateful for all the support across the board which has resulted in this fantastic outcome for the Community TV sector.”

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie MP, who was instrumental in the negotiation to provide Community TV with this lengthy renewal said, “I would like to thank Communications Minister Paul Fletcher for listening to our community and our valid arguments for keeping C44 and C31 on air and working with me to draft an amendment to set this timeframe in legislation. I would like to sincerely thank Senator Rex Patrick for putting up my amendment in the Senate when my Centre Alliance colleague Senator Stirling Griff had to take a leave of absence. The amendment does set a clear deadline for 2024 but this will allow C44 & C31 to work through the Media Reform Green Paper process and give the station sufficient time to really plan its future.”

The Australian Community Television Alliance – ACTA recognises the last seven years have seen unprecedented political support across all parties for Community TV. C31 Melbourne also extend their sincere gratitude for the advocacy and support from;

Senator Marielle Smith, Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland MP, Amanda Rishworth MP – Australian Labor Party
Rebekha Sharkie MP – Centre Alliance
Senator Rex Patrick – Independent
Senator Simon Birmingham – Liberal Party of Australia
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Tammy Franks Greens MLC, Adam Bandt – Australian Greens
Rod Barton MP – Transport Matters Party
Minister Luke Donnellan MP, Minister Ros Spence MP, Minister Danny Pearson MP for Essendon – Victorian Labor Party
Lord Mayor Sally Capp, Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece – City of Melbourne
Commissioner Viv Nguyen, Deputy Commissioner Bwe Thay – Victorian Multicultural Commission
Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians – Commission for Senior Victorians

#KeepLocalTV

Source: C31, Paul Fletcher MP

 

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/06/community-tv-gets-a-three-year-extension.html

Obituary: Mike Bailey

Mike Bailey, former ABC and Seven Network weather presenter, has died in hospital, surrounded by family, after a recent illness.

He started as a cadet journalist at ABC in 1968 before leaving in 1972 for ATN7, Sydney, as news reporter and weather presenter. He returned to ABC as weather presenter in Sydney in 1985.

He left ABC in 2007 for an attempted move into politics, contesting Joe Hockey in the North Sydney electorate.

He also wrote for the The Sun-Herald newspaper and worked in radio, including 2GB, 2KY and Radio 2. He later returned to television to present the weekend weather reports for Nine News in Sydney.

He was a course co-ordinator and lecturer in Journalism at Macleay College in Sydney. He continued to act as facilitator, host and guest speaker for many functions for both corporate and charity groups. In 2020 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Mike Bailey is survived by his wife, former Romper Room host Helena, and son Michael.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald. TV Week, 22 July 1995.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/06/obituary-mike-bailey.html

Obituary: Dinah Shearing

Dinah Shearing, veteran actress from Australian film, stage, radio and television, has died peacefully at the age of 95.

Born in Sydney to English parents while they were visiting Australia, Shearing was twelve before she was to return with her family to settle in Sydney.

Despite an early interest in art and working as a sketch artist for a Sydney department store, Shearing was soon to study singing and scored her first role in the play Winterset. She continued to be a regular performer in theatre, often in Shakespearean plays, and on radio. She made her TV debut in the ABC play A Phoenix Too Frequent in 1957.

She later starred as Lady Macbeth (pictured) in ABC’s 1960 production of Macbeth, earning strong praise from TV Times critic Lesley Dare: “Miss Shearing brought out every nuance of the part in a performance both subtle and beautiful.”

Shearing took time out from performing to bring up two children. She returned to TV in 1970, making a guest appearance in the drama series Delta.

Later TV credits included TV Spells Magic, Catwalk, The Sullivans, All The Rivers Run, Five Mile Creek, The Harp In The South, E Street, A Country Practice, GP, All Saints and an ongoing role in the Nine Network soap Family And Friends.

She became a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 1993 for services to the performing arts.

Her last credited TV appearance was in the science fiction series Farscape in 2002.

Dinah Shearing is survived by her two sons and four grandchildren. Her husband, artist and playwright Rod Milgate, died in 2014.

Source: The ABC Weekly, 29 October 1949. TV Times, 1 September 1960, 15 September 1960. IMDB, AusStage, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Morning Herald, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/06/obituary-dinah-shearing.html

Judi Farr in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Veteran Australian actor Judi Farr has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List for “significant service to the performing arts as an actor”.

With a career across film, stage and television, Farr came to fame as Rita Stiller in the 1960s sitcom My Name’s McGooley, What’s Yours? (pictured above with co-stars Gordon Chater and John Meillon)

She reprised the character in the spin-off series Rita And Wally, in 1968.

Later television credits included The Link Men, Division Four, Matlock Police, The Fourth Wish and Number 96 (guest starring with Mike Dorsey, pictured below)

Her next major TV role was as Thelma Bullpitt (pictured) in Kingswood Country, starring from 1980 to 1982.

More recent TV credits include All Saints, Grass Roots, Please Like Me, CrashBurn and A Place To Call Home.

Other television identities recognised in this year’s honours list include:

Network Ten showbiz reporter and Studio 10 co-host Angela Bishop — “For service to entertainment journalism”.

Seven Network presenter Mark Beretta — “For service to the community through charitable organisations”.

Nine Network reporter Simon Bouda — “For significant service to the television and print media, and to the community”.

Source: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Listener In-TV, 10 June 1967.  TV Week, 21 December 1974. TV Times, 12 April 1980. 

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/06/judi-farr-in-queens-birthday-honours.html

Obituary: Peter Sharp

Peter Sharp, prominent television and football identity in Tasmania, has died peacefully at the age of 78.

Born in Tasmania, Sharp’s early career was in Melbourne — as a sports commentator and reporter at ATV0 in the  1960s and ’70s.

He was soon to return to Tasmania, where he appeared as a presenter and commentator on TVT6 (later to become TAS TV and WIN) in Hobart. He hosted the local World Of Sport and also appeared on the daytime program WIN Today.

His many years covering Tasmanian football, which also included The Sunday Tasmanian newspaper and radio 7HO, led to him being inducted into the Tasmanian Football Hall Of Fame in 2010.


YouTube: Brent Costelloe

Source: Tasmanian Football Hall Of Fame, WIN News

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/06/obituary-peter-sharp.html

Obituary: John Gregg

John Gregg, veteran actor on film, stage and television, has died at the age of 82.

Born in Tasmania, Gregg was set to take over running the family farm but instead wound up scoring an audition at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Hobart.

He had a season with the Melbourne Theatre Company and in 1964, made his television debut in an episode of Consider Your Verdict.

Later that year, he starred in ABC‘s production of the Shakespeare play Othello.

Judith Arthy and John Gregg in Othello

Further television credits included Australian Playhouse, Wandjina!, The Adventures Of The Seaspray, Hunter, Riptide and Dynasty.

He had an ongoing role in the ABC drama Contrabandits in 1967-68, and the lead role of Jeff Mallow in the 1969 series Delta.

Delta

He appear on various British television series during the 1970s, returning in Australia towards the end of the decade. He had a guest role in Chopper Squad before playing the lead role of radio talkback host Steve Black in The Oracle.

He continued to alternate between the UK and Australia, with further local credits including A Country Practice, Bodyline, Homicide Squad, Tusitala, Captain James Cook, Rafferty’s Rules, Cluedo, GP, Heartbreak High, Grass Roots, Home And Away, Rake, Crownies, Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story, House Of Bond and Operation Buffalo.

Gregg was also a prolific commercial voiceover artist and recorded five novels for ABC radio.

He was a passionate member and ambassador for the Sydney Swans AFL team.

John Gregg is survived by wife Jane, four children and eight grandchildren as well as stepchildren and their respective families.

Source: TV Tonight, Sydney Swans, IMDB, EM Voices. TV Times, 18 November 1964, 12 November 1969

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/06/obituary-john-gregg.html

Obituary: Mary Rossi

Mary Rossi, one of the pioneers of daytime TV in Australia, has died at the age of 95.

A celebration of her life was held in Sydney on Monday.

Rossi was the first host of ABC‘s Woman’s World program that aired in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Beginning during the first week of ABC television in November 1956, Woman’s World was one of the first programs on Australian television aimed at the housewife audience, covering a broad range of topics and interview subjects.

Rossi hosted the show from Sydney and soon alternated hosting on different days with other presenters including Gwen Plumb in Sydney and Joy Wren, Jean Battersby and Nance Donkin in Melbourne.


YouTube: ABC News (Australia)

A mother of five when Woman’s World began, Rossi challenged the view that women should retire from professional life when they have children. It was a topic that raised itself every time she would add to the Rossi clan — ten children in all!

In 1960, she was asked by TV Times: “Why do you conduct a women’s session when you have a home, a husband and (then) six young children to look after?” She responded: “I’m doing this job because I love the feeling, the self-satisfaction of doing a job well. That’s corny, but I happen to mean it.”

She also reinforced the importance of the family unit. “One of the most important, rarely-mentioned functions of a married woman’s life is helping her husband and family meet recurring crises. And where can you turn for human comfort and advice if there is no solid, family structure? There are organisations of course: the church, and other similar institutions, and these are important. But they don’t have the personal warmth and nearness of your own family.”

By 1970, Rossi had stepped away from television and her professional life embarked on another great love — travel — establishing the tour company Mary Rossi Travel, which continues to operate today.

In 1975, she was named NSW Mother of the Year, and in 1979 awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Mary Rossi is survived by one brother, nine of her ten children (including former TV journalist Emma Rossi, pictured), 34 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren. Her husband of 63 years, Theo, died in 2010.

Source: TV Times, 15 December 1960. ABC Weekly, 3 November 1956. TV Week, 9 April 1994. Mary Rossi Travel, Sydney Morning Herald

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/05/obituary-mary-rossi.html

WIN to axe local news and jobs

Regional network WIN has announced plans to axe local news services across regional Queensland and Victoria in favour of statewide “regional” news bulletins.

At the same time, WIN is expected to maintain region-specific bulletins in Canberra and Wollongong and combine the remaining Southern NSW regions (Orange, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Griffith) to a single bulletin.

The move is to take effect when WIN, currently a Network Ten affiliate, switches to a Nine Network affiliation in those markets from 1 July.

WIN already provides a statewide bulletin in Tasmania but years ago axed its local news service in its regional markets in South Australia and Western Australia.

As many as 19 journalist and camera operator roles are set to be lost in Victoria alone, according to ABC.

WIN chief executive Andrew Lancaster said that efforts will be made to redeploy staff within the organisation.

The axing of local news comes after the Nine Network has already announced that it will cease to provide a local news service to its regional partner, Southern Cross Austereo, when its affiliation swaps to WIN on 1 July.

It is not clear what level of local news will be provided by Southern Cross Austereo in the regional Queensland, Victoria and Southern NSW/ACT markets after 1 July, when it is expected to reconnect as an affiliate to Ten.

Source: ABC News

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/05/win-to-axe-local-news-and-jobs.html

Obituary: Lorrae Desmond

Australian showbusiness legend Lorrae Desmond, known by many as Shirley Gilroy in A Country Practice, has died at age 91.

News of her passing was circulated on social media by former colleagues, including former A Country Practice co-stars Shane Withington and Wendy Strehlow.


Born Beryl Hunt in Mittagong, NSW, she had early ambitions for a showbiz career. Her career began in the United Kingdom as a recording star. She then became a regular performer in the UK, featuring in theatre, cabaret, pantomime, television and radio.

On her return to Australia in the early 1960s, Desmond presented her own musical variety show on ABC, The Lorrae Desmond Show. The show’s popularity led her to be the first female, and first ABC personality, to win a TV Week Gold Logie, in 1962, with the show winning a Logie for television variety in 1963.

She also starred in two Noel Coward plays, Red Peppers and Family Album, adapted for television by ABC in 1962.

She went on to perform for Australian troops in Vietnam, the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya and Somalia in the late 1960s. On television she starred in The Jack Benny Show In Australia and and made guest appearances on Entertaining With Kerr and dramas Homicide and Riptide.


YouTube: GaelB100

In the 1970s she played Marion Carlton in Number 96 and appeared in Shannon’s Mob and The Outsiders.

By the end of the decade, Desmond scored an ongoing role as bookshop owner Molly Sparks in the Ten Network series Arcade (pictured above with co-star Peggy Toppano). The series was to be short-lived but it led to her being cast in a new Seven Network series, A Country Practice. Desmond was one of the show’s longest-serving actors, playing the part of Shirley Gilroy (née Dean) for over ten years. In 1984, she won a TV Week Logie Award for Best Supporting Actress In A Series.

In later years she guest starred in Home And Away. One of her last television appearances was on stage at the TV Week Logie Awards in 2017.

Earlier this year she was awarded a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the 2021 Australia Day Honours List. Her honour was in recognition of “significant service to the performing arts as an actor, entertainer and singer”.

Source: IMDB, Wikipedia, The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. TV Times, 1 August 1962, 21 November 1962.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/05/obituary-lorrae-desmond.html

Classic TV Guides: Homicide Squad

 

In May 1981, the Seven Network and Crawford Productions had announced plans to produce a new Sydney-based crime drama, The Squad, with a telemovie pilot soon to go into production. It was heralded as the first Sydney-based series from the Melbourne-based Crawford empire, which had several successful cop dramas under its belt by this stage.

Leading the cast of The Squad was John Gregg (Contrabandits, Delta, The Oracle), Frank Gallacher (Against The Wind, The Last Outlaw, Water Under The Bridge, Skyways), Ken Goodlet (The Long Arm, Bluey, Cop Shop, The Last Outlaw), Louise Howitt (Young Ramsay), Roger Ward (Number 96) and NIDA graduate Andrew Clarke.

It seems that Seven wasn’t all that impressed with the pilot, eventually re-named Homicide Squad, that resulted. ATN7 in Sydney waited to broadcast it after the end of the 1981 ratings season in November. HSV7 in Melbourne held on even longer, belatedly airing it during the May school holidays in 1982 — another non-ratings period at the time.

The Age‘s TV critic Brian Courtis was brutal in his review of Homicide Squad, stating that it “does for television drama what Sale Of The Century does for the arts”.

TV Week movie critic Ivan Hutchinson was a little more charitable, labelling it an “interesting thriller” and that “viewers should not necessarily be discouraged by the fact that the planned series failed to eventuate. Decisions about the future of series are not always made on the grounds of quality.” He still only scored it one-star out of a possible four.

The Melbourne broadcast of Homicide Squad is among the latest addition of Classic TV Guides:

Source: TV Week, 2 May 1981, 15 May 1982. The Age, 18 May 1982.

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2021/05/classic-tv-guides-homicide-squad.html