December 9th, 2006 at 10:46pm
It’s rapidly becoming an annual annoyance, and this year is bound to annoy more people than usual, as the bean counters at Macquarie Bank who recently purchased part of 2UE’s parent company have waved their magic wand and the afternoon show has disappeared into a timewarp.
Apparently it will return when “Voice of reason” John Stanley comes back from holidays (happy honeymoon John), although I think we can all be forgiven if we don’t hold our collective breaths on that one.
Unfortunately, to make the afternoon show disappear, you have to fiddle with the rest of the schedule, and as such the weekday schedule has changed, and forced a lot of network stations to re-record their promos, and assign staff new shifts at very short notice.
The new weekday schedule looks like this:
New Day Australia: previously midnight-5:30am, now midnight-6am (*)
Breakfast: previously 5:30am-9am, now 6am-10am
John Laws “morning show” (or Tim Webster): previously 9am-midday, now 10am-2pm (*)
Afternoons: previously midday-3pm, now non-existent (*)
Drive: previously 3pm-6pm, now 2pm-6pm
Sports Today: previously and now 6pm-8pm (*)
Nights: previously and now 8pm-midnight (*)
(*) denotes syndicated (networked) programmes.
I can’t say that I’m surprised that this kind of thing can happen at 2UE, they have managed a couple similar minimisations of staff numbers in the last 12 months or so, firstly with a weekend schedule change which went from a multitude of programmes to a mere 4 programmes of six hours each, and then with a mass sacking of producers, newsreaders and others.
Although I’m not surprised that it can happen, I was a bit surprised that it did happen, mainly because less than ten days ago I was informed who would be filling in for John Stanley until he comes back from holidays.
The last week has been an “experiment” on 2UE, with a one week presenter shuffle while Mike Carlton and Peter Fitzsimons went on holidays a week earlier than everyone else, and 2UE tried things just in case Fitz didn’t re-sign with them for next year. The change saw John Stanley and Steve Price co-hosting the breakfast show, Glenn Wheeler filling John Stanley’s shoes on the afternoon show, and Murray Olds holding the Drive Show fort for Steve Price, it looks like Stuart Bocking has been allowed to test the daytime waters, filling in for Glenn Wheeler this weekend (a job which is supposed to be done by John Mangos…perhaps he is another victim of the cost cutting).
Before John Stanley went on breakfast duties I sent him an email wishing him all the best for breakfast and his holiday, in which I said something about hoping that Steve Liebmann would be filling in for him. I promptly received a reply from his executive producer, Kate (sorry, I don’t have the email in front of me, and therefore I don’t have her full name), informing me that Glenn would fill in for a week, and then Murray Olds would fill in until John gets back. I then replied to Kate wishing her all the best for her holidays if she was having any, informed her that I was looking forward to having Glenn on for a week, and that I don’t get along with Murray all that much, but I will get used to him after a little while. I also asked Kate to say hello or woof to her three-legged dog Flash for me.
On reflection, I can only hope that the schedule change is not designed to help me avoid Murray during my lunch breaks…don’t get me wrong, he irritates me and I have been known to send long angry emails to him arguing against things he says, but I still like him for one reason or another, and I can’t help but feel sorry for him as he has just lost a six weeks or thereabouts hosting position.
I suppose I should be happy that 2CC’s daily dose of local content just jumped from 6.5 hours to 8 hours, but it is going to be very strange having Mike Jeffreys on until 10am, and Mike Welsh starting at 2pm…I’m almost certain that I’m going to forget the schedule has changed and assume that they have satellite issues at least once.
Actually I thought I was hearing things when I heard a Drive Show promo during John Kerr’s New Day Australia on Saturday morning which said that the drive show runs from 2pm-6pm. I ruled out “hearing things” and the promo being incorrect when I heard it the second time, I instead thought that I must be going mad…but as a source said to me “So no, your (sic) not going crazy. 2UE is.”
Of course, the “Tim Webster, weekdays from 10am-2pm” promo proved beyond all reasonable doubt that 2UE are nuts, you would have to be nuts to move your most sought after network programme. Somewhere in the order of 65 stations have just had to rearrange their schedules and staff, and are probably seriously reconsidering their contract with Southern Cross Syndication…I bet the advertisers aren’t pleased that the ads they booked for the first hour of John Laws/Tim Webster are now in the final hour of the preceding show. Advertisers between midday and 2pm will either be incredibly pleased at the larger audience, or bitterly annoyed that they are being associated with the Laws brand.
In some ways it is quite funny that this schedule change will take effect when Mike Jeffreys returns on Monday, I hope he has been informed that he won’t be required on-air until 6am, and will have to stay on-air until 10am. Mike, in my experience, can use a nap by about 9:30 so it will be an interesting show.
Apparently it will all go back to normal when the voice of reason returns and waves his reasonable wand…I can only hope that Southern Cross don’t pay out his “end of 2008” contract before he gets back from holidays.