2020 is certainly going to be the worst year of our lives.

Frank Avis by | April 28, 2020 | 2020s

PM Morrison is right about that. I went through WW2 and the Coronavirus is worse than that.
2020 is certainly going to be the worst year of our lives. PM Morrison is right about that. I went through WW2 and the Coronavirus is worse than that. At least, back in the '40s, we could see the enemy. Clearly it'll be worse than the Great Depression because our world economy will be savaged and, at the same time, we'll be fighting for our lives. So the obvious conclusion is that this is the biggest threat to humanity since the Spanish Flu of 1918-19, which took 50 million lives – more than 12,000 of those here in Australia. So, I've lived for 82 years and never seen anything like it. I'm just as frightened as you are, wherever you're reading this. I know this isn't going to be pleasant reading but a researcher is supposed to report his findings honestly. You look at all the evidence in wide context and then simply connect the dots. In this case, the dots are not leading us to a good place. Truth is, humans think we're so special, that we are so superior to all of the other animals. The coronavirus tells us that the universe can simply roll right over us, like a Mack truck, whenever it chooses to do so. It killed the dinosaurs, and nearly everything else, 65 million years ago. It nearly wiped us out with the Lake Toba Supervolcano 70,000 years back, the Black Death in the Middle Ages, then the awful Spanish Flu and now another stealthy virus that has spread across the Globe. The world is random: we're not that special after all. Sorry to be the bearer of ill tidings. Anyway, I'm sitting here waiting for the Survey 2 figures to come in wondering... will I ever get back to my coffee and toasty at Gloria Jeans... will I ever be able to meet my mates again for our Thursday morning golf comp and will I ever be able to sit in the food court at our Shopping Centre and just say hello to some passing stranger?

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.

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Carole Helen Miller

by Carole Helen Miller | July 15, 2020

My sincerest apologies Mr Avis for reading your latest posting today. Unfortunately illness has kept me away from my desk, and hence, computer for some time. Now, due to the diligence of my physician I am almost well, well well for a 78 year old! Keep it up. Loved the photo. Love your remarks and would have loved to record the conversation in the lift. My kindest thoughts as always.


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This is the history of radio newsman Frank Avis who worked in the Australian electronic media from 1954 to 1996.


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