I was recently working on another infamous Letter to the Editor, posing the question "is this the end of globalisation?", only to find that some smartie at the Australian had beaten me by a couple of days. This is the ultimate wake-up call, surely, that nations have to ensure self sufficiency in all of the crucial areas. In our case Australia has to start making things again. We just can't depend in imports in critical areas. The Coronavirus crisis has underlined this massive downside to our global system of trade inter-dependence. Maybe we can even get our Holden back in the next couple of years? And what destruction will we see in world trade when we come out at the end of this black tunnel? What will happen to the airlines and the cruise lines? I mean, do you think millions and millions of tourists are going to start lining up again to sit inside an airline cabin alongside 250 other people on a 14 hour flight to America? Or join 2,500 fellow passengers on board an ocean going liner for a cruise of the Pacific? How long will it be for that trust to return – a generation? And how many airlines and cruise operators will survive to be there for travellers when the crisis is over? Then you realise that Australia is hooked on tourism... it is critical for us. We need those millions and millions of tourists flocking downunder from Europe, the USA, China, Japan, South Korea and so on. I wrote on this website many years ago that Australia was heading for a massive dose of economic reality... that our addiction to imports would eventually cost us dearly. Now I look at this disaster and wonder... is this that moment?
One thing I can observe on reflection is the universal concern for those who succumb to the pandemic. Wherever the deaths occur they are mourned from one end of the globe to the other. This phenomenon requires the poetry of a 16th century genius to do it justice.
"No man is an island entire of itself... Each man's death diminishes me for I am involved in Mankind. Therefore, send not to know FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. IT TOLLS FOR THEE."
–John Donne (1572-1631)
It seems bordering on crass to be reporting on radio ratings but this is what we do so let's have a look at how the cards fell in the last month, the last survey we'll have for a while.
GB had another cracker, up to 14.8, with strong climbs for both Alan and Ray while SMOOTH led KIIS and WS in the FM bracket. CH continues to hold just under 4% and we welcome back the new 2UE to the ratings, with .7, a tough road ahead for them especially in these troubled commercial times.
I hate writing the following observation because I love CNN and later this year will be totally hooked on the channel as I follow the minute-by-minute dissection bu Wolf and the team of the Presidential election. But I'm so upset at how they are demeaning their credibility and journalistic standards with their "anti-Trump" campaign. I know they're trying to counter FOX NEWS which is openly supporting Trump but CNN has taken its campaign into the core of its journalism. Now, you can be critical of the Man in the White House but still conduct yourself properly, seeking to be balanced as per NPR in the United States. They clearly don't love Donald but always seem to be looking for overall fairnesss in their reporting. In recent weeks I saw two CNN anchors – one a former Australian media star if I remember correctly – doing a top of the hour hand-over. These guys didn't even pretend to be even handed. Their banter was full of nods and winks and raised eyebrows as they dumped on the Donald. Later on I saw a woman reporter interviewing a health expert, trying desperately to get him to unload on the President, mainly without success. She finally ended the interview, looking quite downcast about the expert's neutral stance. The next day a major presenter announced he was doing the Five Things You Need to Know about the Coronavirus. All 5 were actually attacks on Donald Trump. They didn't even pretend otherwise. It's now so deeply ingrained in their coverage that I fear it's there forever. I remember the lecture I got in a Las Vegas Convention from a leading US TV journalist who decried the "end of the gatekeeper" – the veteran in the newsroom who is there to protect the product. CNN needs somebody there to say "enough". Hopefully he'd tell his colleagues to just get on with an impartial coverage of the daily news and leave Trump's future in the hands of the voters. Forgive this tirade but it's difficult to sit back and say nothing when you hold the network in such high esteem.
May I pause to show you a little radio trivia. Back in the 80's I took my News and Information lectures on the road out to 2 WEB, Bourke. They were kind enough to present me with a traditional gift from "the Back o' Bourke" – an inscribed Emu egg. I've kept it to this day.
One of the more bizarre side effects of the pandemic was the sight of thousands and thousands of people... most of them women... emerging from shopping centres carrying stacks of toilet paper. Not just the odd roll here and there but shopping trolleys packed high, full of toilet rolls. From day one we went into the "Great toilet paper crisis". I never understood it. We make our own toilet paper here in Australia. There's no issue with imported supplies. As I write the crisis continues. You can't get toilet rolls anywhere. And this is clearly having a psychological impact. Recently I woke up in the early hours and suddenly found myself worried about the crew on the International Space Station. Do they have enough toilet paper to get them through their mission? I know... I know... but it's been that sort of year.
by Frank Avis | October 6, 2020
Coronavirus continues to stalk us all with a second wave in Victoria having a devastating impact on the national economy. Donald Trump and Joe Biden are trying desperately to fight out a US Presidential election in the middle of all of this drama. Radio has just revved back into life with our first ratings in six months. It continues to be pretty average in TV land. This has been a pretty special football season in the UK.
by Frank Avis | June 30, 2020
2GB is front and centre on our radio dial this month with the shock resignation of the News Talk superstar Alan Jones.
by Frank Avis | March 17, 2020
We've just lost another big name in radio with the death of Grant Goldman, aged 69.