Coronavirus continues to stalk us all with a second wave in Victoria having a devastating impact on the national economy. As I write the borders are pretty much closed and the mighty AFL has done the unthinkable – switching its Grand Final from the iconic MCG to the Brisbane Gabba. Job losses are sweeping the world and whole industries are threatened. I can't see our Airlines making a comeback, even on the domestic routes, before mid-2021, and it's impossible to look to our crucial international connections before late 2021, probably mid-22. Basically, major airlines like Qantas and British Airways, are going to have to be nationalised. They'll probably call it something else but what will almost certainly occur is that Governments will have to put taxpayers' money into the airline industry to get it going. I know our PM ScoMo wants to get international flights going again by early in the New Year but, honestly, I would be amazed if that happened. The other thing is I would regard it as miraculous if the delayed Tokyo Olympics actually went ahead in 2021. There's no way Japan can open its doors to hundreds of thousands of athletes and tourists while the pandemic rages on around the globe. And can anybody see the Olympics going ahead with no one in the stands? Really!
Donald Trump and Joe Biden are trying desperately to fight out a US Presidential election in the middle of all of this drama. Basically the world is in such a mess that it would be an almighty miracle if Trump won a second term. Indeed, it would be a great effort for any Government to win re-election after the year we've all had. Maybe Boris could survive in the UK and ScoMo here in Australia but Trump is the most vulnerable leader in the world post-pandemic. His whole campaign is about the economy, world trade and jobs in the US. We know what's happened to that lot. But it's a lot closer in the US than the polls are predicting with Trump fighting a virtual recluse: Biden has gone through months of campaigning unsighted.
Radio has just revved back into life with our first ratings in six months and Ben Fordham has shocked industry insiders with a sensational 17.3% victory in Breakfast, losing just half a point in replacing Alan Jones. GB won overall with 14.3, ahead of the ABC 10.8, Smooth 9.7, Kiis 8.9 and WSFM 8.6.
It's a superb effort by Fordham, there's no denying that, but remember my comments earlier this year when Jones left the building, asking where would the audience go if they did leave GB? I thought a percent or two could shift to the ABC but noted there was no news/talk alternative among the commercials who would pick up the defectors. And so it turned out to be... The ABC did collect an extra point or two but basically there was nowhere else for the audience to go. They stayed loyal to Fordham and Hadley. 2DAY FM surrendered nearly 2 points and has crashed to 3.4 while CH has held at 4.5 and UE is badly wounded, struggling to hit half a percent. This week also marks the final shift of one of the giants of the business, with 93-year old Bob Rogers completing his final shift at 2CH. He did it all – every format – but the one I remember is his innovative talk show on 2UE at the height of his career. Fact is this bloke is a full-on radio icon.
It continues to be pretty average in TV land although I do have a new series of VERA, the grumpy and frumpy UK detective, to keep me company for a while. The plots are excellent and the scripts and characters are reasonable, not LEWIS or WAKING THE DEAD, but fair to average. The 9 Network has offered us "Halifax: Retribution" a police drama series featuring Rebecca Gibney and Anthony LaPaglia, back home after his famous run in "Without a Trace" in the US. The quality is good and the major actors are trying really hard but viewers actually know they're acting and the quality of the supporting cast is just not quite there. But overall the production is first rate, a bit unsophisticated possibly, and I'm watching it and enjoying the show which is what it's all about. Should be reasonable numbers for 9. And I've caught up with a brilliant British dramatisation of the infamous Skripal poisoning, a 4-part series called THE SALISBURY POISONINGS. This is a superb documentary-style depiction of the poisoning of a former Russian secret agent and its impact on a British city, s seen through the eyes of the local Chief Health Officer. The cast is magnificent. Probably the highlight of my year of TV watching.
Forgive this aging sports follower in observing that this has been a pretty special football season in the UK. Man U, my number 1 team in the Old Country, has returned to the elite, top-four of the competition and the mighty Leeds has won its way back into the Premier League after 16 years in the wilderness – also known as The Championship. Which raises the question... When Man U plays Leeds next season who is your reporter going to be barracking for? I guess I'll do what I do when Hawthorn plays the Sydney Swans... I'll support both of them.
Golf fanatics, like your correspondent, would have been right on to my last blog noting that I turned Rickie Fowler into Ricky Fowler. Sorry about that typo. Perhaps I'm going senile or maybe I just got Ricky mixed-up with Rorie!
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 | April 28, 2020
PM Morrison is right about that. I went through WW2 and the Coronavirus is worse than that.
by Frank Avis | March 17, 2020
We've just lost another big name in radio with the death of Grant Goldman, aged 69.