Goodbye Aunty?

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Last week the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company – known as  Aunty to many of us) announced they were closing their bricks and mortar stores in favour of an online store. Their reasoning? Not making money. ABC’s managing director Mark Scott was quoted: “Customers are now getting that content through digital downloads and so all our advice is that the shops are now not making money,” (ABC news)
Well I don’t download shows and I have a wall of shelving to prove I do buy from the stores. Many of my friends do. Every time I go in my local store, they are jam-packed with buying customers. Are we nobodies? Economically it may make sense but as Public Relations, it sucks.

The death knell likely first sounded when our current government back-flipped on yet another promise: no cuts to the ABC or SBS – makers of some excellent quality Australian television and radio, with independant, non-commercial broadcasting.

Currently our ABC produces drama like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (based on a series by Australian novelist, Kerry Greenwood), series showcasing Australian comedians, such as Adam Hills and Wil Anderson (just to name a few), documentaries and in-depth investigative news programs, and lifestyle programs – Gardening Australia promoted organic gardening years before it became popular.  And let’s not forget ABC 3, a dedicated children’s programming channel – all free to air!
Our productive ol’ Aunty.

ABC owns the rights to Bananas in Pajamas which has made them a tidy sum. It brought Playschool, Wiggles and Peppa Pig and Doctor Who to our screens – all great money spinners (for the bean counters).
Our clever and entertaining ol’ Aunty.

As a child, I lived in the country – our only television access was the ABC. I saw man land on the moon and was introduced to Doctor Who – both courtesy of Aunty. She has always been there – loyal to the Australian public. She provides jobs for entertainers, actors, writers, newsreaders, production team and, until now, retail staff. I am proud to spend my 14 cents per day (on 2014 figures)  to keep her creating, broadcasting and employing.
Our loyal ol’ Aunty.

I love my local ABC. Every time I hit the shopping centre, I head for the ABC shop – my oasis in the mass of shoppers and a sure way of calming my anxiety. I love to spend time browsing the books, checking out the new toys, getting to know the merchandise and connect with the people who work there. The staff are a joy – friendly, helpful and willing to engage in conversation. One staff member has been there for so long, he knows me by sight and has already looked up the latest DVD release dates of my favourite shows before I reach the counter and ready for a chat. They are fantastic PR for the ABC, providing the personal interaction that has helped the ABC feel like part of the family. I will miss them.
Our friendly ol’ Aunty.

Call me a cynic, but I do wonder if this is yet another part of our (insert your own appropriate adjective here) Leader’s plan to pick apart our independant national broadcaster, punishing them for not cowtowing to the current powers that be. If funding is cut, then jobs have to go. Stores have to be shut. I think the government knew exactly what is was doing.

Take the personal interaction away and replace it with impersonal online stores and you rip Aunty out of the family and make her a faceless money machine. It’s a perfect recipe to engineer the public’s opinion so, when the PTB play their endgame, to rid themselves of their meddlesome broadcaster, we will just roll over and accept it.

abc loyalty cardI have one of the original ABC loyalty cards with the slogan: Loyalty should be rewarded. Yes, it should. But not with funding cuts and job losses. Make your voice be heard. It’s our ABC.

Dear Australians,
We may not have much option on the closure of the ABC stores but we can have a say about the government’s policy backflip on ABC funding. Write to your local member. Sign those petitions. Support our ABC. Say no to ABC cuts.
Save our Aunty.
A loving and loyal niece.

About karen j carlisle

writer artist gardener chocoholic tea lover
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