The backlog is long, I’ve been slack, people have been pestering me, and after speaking to a “Pete” on the phone yesterday afternoon (he knows who he is…isn’t that a strange expression, of course he knows who he is, that why he was able to tell me!) who was particularly convincing…it’s time for the radio reviews to resume and 666 ABC Canberra just happens to be next on the list. The is their first radio review in the series, although I have previously reviewed them informally .
This is a review of 666 ABC Canberra from 5pm-6pm on Monday the 26th of February.
- 5:00pm: News, Sport, Weather. I didn’t know that the ABC started news bulletins in the somewhat commercial style of playing a news related quote…apparently they do…followed by headlines and then the stories. There’s a strange hum on some of the reports which sounds like the reporter is sitting on a microwave though, and it is quite distracting. The newsreader also seemed to stumble over words a lot…I probably just caught her at a bad hour. Chris Kimble (spelling?) did a good job with the sport, but those word stumbles cost the newsreader a lot of time and the weather turned into a two liner. (9:58)
- 5:09pm: Drive with Louise Maher (8 second intro). Louise summarises some local news issues and eventually starts a traffic report which only includes two breakdowns on the Tuggeranong Parkway…no information about traffic flows whatsoever, perhaps they should learn to use their Australian Traffic Network subscription properly…or do they not pay enough for access to that kind of information?
- 5:12pm: Louise promotes an upcoming interview with Pauline Hanson, but talks with an anti-Hanson (and anything which isn’t one of the big three political parties) Queensland professor first.
- 5:14pm: Louise talks to Pauline Hanson, tries to convince her that everything the professor said was gospel, asks Pauline for her policies (she’s running for the senate, they review decisions, not make them), then asks if she will be working with One Nation Party senator Len Harris…who just happens to not be in parliament any more, Pauline corrects her and she sounds absolutely shocked and struggles to come up with a question, eventually settling on who Pauline would like to work with…Pauline re-emphasises the fact that she is running as an independent. Louise then moves on to illegal immigrants, effectively telling everyone to vote Labor in the process, and then asking Pauline for her views…a subject she Louise quickly moves away from after trying to talk over the top of Pauline…we move on to what Pauline thinks of John Howard and Kevin Rudd…that’s funny, no talking over the top of Pauline while she explains why it will be tough for John Howard to win the next election, some failed attempts to talk over the top of Pauline Hanson when she disagrees with Kevin Rudd’s ideas…and then it’s back to how wonderful the professor is. After the interview it was interesting to hear Louise emphasise the word “again” in the sentence “Pauline Hanson, the former leader of One Nation, who has announced today that she will be standing for parliament again (pause) this time as an independent for a Queensland seat in the senate”.
- 5:23pm: Louise mentions open line and SMS numbers and the temperature.
- 5:23pm: Promo for “666 Community Choir” (30 seconds)
- 5:24pm: Louise runs through the traffic again…same as before, but asks people to ring the 666 open line if they spot a traffic problem, which is a bit counter productive. ATN provide traffic reports to more than just the ABC, and on some other stations people are invited to call them direct, one does have to wonder if the ABC’s busy producers find time to give ATN traffic details that are phoned in.
- 5:24pm: News headlines with newsreader (I’m not going to try and spell her name) without word stumbles, well done! (1:07)
- 5:25pm: More promos for upcoming interviews, and time for (quite literally) a chat with Nick Bright from the weather bureau, a couple minutes later they get to the weather, unfortunately it’s a really uninteresting blow by blow description of which wind will cause various types of weather over the next few days, the capital city summary is much better, and then Nick provides the sunrise and sunset times, followed by a braindead statement from Louise “They days are getting shorter aren’t they?”…that should be fairly obvious Louise, happens for this half of the year every year…choice quote from that segment from Louise “You should know not to believe me”.
- 5:29pm: Promo for “keeping the capital in touch with the country” or something like that (30 Seconds).
- 5:29pm: Louise promises to play some music this week from The Triffords, babbles about her recent visit to the coast and how she saw birds while she was there…and then her threat comes true and The Triffords start playing…typical ABC Canberra music I’m afraid, not even worth mentioning.
- 5:33pm: Louise then threatens to play another one of those songs tomorrow…glad I won’t be listening!
- 5:33pm: The time for another Louise, chief political correspondent in Parliament House Louise Yaxley (spelling?). The two Louises discuss federal politics. Interesting discussion about how few people in the seat of Bennelong actually know who Maxine McKew is, followed by more anti-Hanson chatter, and a replay of something Peter Costello said in question time…if there was a reason for it, I certainly can’t find it.
- 5:38pm: Time for a “delightful” piece of music from Gary Lewincamp (or something like that)…delightful isn’t quite how I would describe it…how about terminally boring repetitive guitar solo which goes on for about three minutes too long.
- 5:41pm: News headlines including a whole heap of quotes without attribution (2:11).
- 5:43pm: Finance report with…wait for it…Commsec! Yes it’s a plug for the Commonwealth Bank on your ABC…ahhh the irony of it all…this gets classified as an ad I’m afraid as the ABC have their own finance reporters and don’t need to use brokers to tell them what’s going on. (1:28)
- 5:44pm: Promo for “PM” program (43 seconds)
- 5:45pm: Louise mentions phone number and SMS number, and repeats parts of her opening remarks of the hour.
- 5:46pm: Interview about world paragliding championships with Godfrey Winness (spelling?)…the peculiar statements from Louise continue, surprised that people from Iceland can paragilde, sadly the topic is interesting but Louise makes no attempt to do anything other than read from a list of questions and force Godfrey to sound like a PR robot.
- 5:52pm: Louise mentions that she will talk to the creators of the film “Happy Feet” shortly, and launches into another song…something with an untuned guitar and a mumbling singer…does this station hire tone deaf people to choose the playlist?
- 5:55pm: Not a minute too soon, but a few too late, the song ends and Louise announces that “Happy Feet” winning an Academy Award is “the best news from the Oscars”…and then talks to Greg Smith from animation firm Animal Logic who, not surprisingly, animated the film. It’s really quite funny how Louise doesn’t talk over the top of people she likes…another interview wasted, it was a whole heap of self-praise and “we’ve set the new standard” for Animal Logic…pity really.
- 5:59pm: Not a pity however is Louise Maher signing off for the night and giving us a 10 second promo for the news, PM and the quiz which follows it.
Advertising: 3 minutes and 22 seconds
News: 13 minutes and 16 seconds
News: It is important to note that this is the news bulletins and updates, not the chatter about the news. It was actually quite well balanced, which is much more than I can say for its TV counterpart, lots of detail and quite good. I was a bit concerned about the amount of dead air between stories and after audio clips, and that weird humming noise on some of the reports was very loud and disturbing, not to mention that the weather reports were overly brief and they had a few too many unattributed audio quotes. It was a good effort, but the problems have dragged the score down from what could have been a perfect five.
Talk: Louise Maher has an amazing ability to only ever talk over the top of people she is disagreeing with, and not allow any consideration of ideas which differ from her own. She also seems fairly inept at interviewing anyone on anything outside of politics. The traffic reports fall in to this category as they were never mentioned in a news bulletin and Louise only ever made passing references, and never told people where the queues were building, not to mention there were only two traffic report.
The number of calls and text messages Louise received was fairly indicative of how interesting her program was.
Oddly, it could have been worse…that’s about the only thing that saved Louise from a worse score.
Music: Tone deaf!
Overall: A really bad hour on the ABC I’m afraid…even overly giggly Alex Sloan in the morning (see the informal review) was better than this tripe…the news was really the only thing going for the station. Whilst the average of those scores is closer to 1.5 than 2, I’m willing to give them a 2 simply becuase of the time spent on the decent news service.