Matthew Reddin

Tonight on your ABC (on zero budget)

The ABC has had its funding “frozen” in the budget. No matter though, it’s just a matter of tightening one’s belt. And making do with less. Well, nothing.

 

 

Tonight on “your” ABC (snigger), it’s a brilliant lineup of post-Budget-cut programming to keep you mildly entertained and comparatively misinformed.

Start your evening with the final episode of The Drum, where a bunch of eccentric inner-city latte-sipping, agitprop, chardonnay-socialists from well-heeled think tanks wax poetic about how senior members of the Turnbull government are out of touch, all the while condescendingly looking over the top of their ostentatious eyewear. Good times, it was fun while it lasted.

Your evening is incomplete without all the fun of that new quiz show we run where the contestant pool is made up of unsuccessful local council candidates, model rail enthusiasts and amateur vivisectionists. Marvel as they compete for the ultimate prize – a hearty handshake and the knowledge that they’re among life’s winners.

Gruen is back, and better than ever, in that now the advertising is real and the panel does what it can to out-gush each other on the relative merits of free-market capitalism. The Checkout is also now an actual checkout, where you can see where your eight cents is going every day.

On Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, watch as Julia Zemiro delivers pizza to someone’s home. Because that’s her job now. Because budget cuts.

At 8.30, prepare to be wowed with a new episode of Three Corners. It’s 75% of the best local investigative journalism, where our last remaining part-time in-house reporter asks the likes of Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison the tough questions, such as “How is it that you got to be so awesome?” and “Is it part of the job of Treasurer that you can be both hard-working and sexy?”

All in all, a big night of what used to be remarkably good value: a state-funded broadcaster doing its best with massive budget cuts as a direct result of a conservative government acting out of spite because of unfavourable coverage.

Then there’s an all new episode of the latest six-part comedy we somehow commissioned, starring a comedian the head of production saw at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival a few years ago, whose bit about coming from a small country town made the programmer and his wife share a knowing smile.

On your radio dial, make sure you tune to Single J, the youth-oriented radio station playing a non-stop loop of the first three Hottest 100 CDs – all the hits of 1993-1995 for which we could afford the royalties.

While you’re here, why not check out the newly re-branded ABC for Kids, which we’re now calling ABC Classic: the only place you can see repeats of Gardening Australia and various other ABC-owned properties we don’t have to pay residuals on. Thrill to the joys of a 1991 episode of Country Wide, then laugh yourself silly at the edgy comedy stylings found in a 1990 episode of The Big Gig (tonight features Rod Quantock delivering a particularly sharp aside at the expense of one Mr Andrew Peacock). Tim Bowden fans better get ready, as there’s a Backchat marathon coming soon – before you know it you’ll be either praising or condemning our programming decisions from the late 1980s. It’s nostalgic, and it’s cheap!

And back by popular demand, it’s the ABC Test Pattern! Relive the glory years of your youth when Channel 2 would shut down for several hours in the mid-afternoon before Dr Who, where we’d simply place a clock* on the screen, backed by whatever classical music was available in the “public domain” section in the music archives. We hope you loved it then, because from July 1, it’s going to be all you’ll see on News24.

(*programming note: this feature will also be replacing Media Watch, because it’s a clock – you know, an actual watch, and since we’re talking budget cuts, we’d throw in a very cheap joke).

All in all, a big night of what used to be remarkably good value for money: a state-funded broadcaster with close to no government oversight as to content – a medium for the people not beholden to corporate interests, now doing its best to maintain its function in a competitive marketplace with massive cuts to its budget as a direct result of a conservative government acting solely out of spite because of unfavourable coverage.

That’s right, it’s your ABC (… actually, it’s now just the AB. The “C” has been removed for budgetary reasons and is to be found in the Treasury office.)

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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