ABC Classic FM’s new Content Manager Toby Chadd has hosed down rumours about the classical music station’s possible closure after an article in Crikey’s Tips and Rumours section triggered speculation about the station’s future. The rumours come following the Federal Government’s decision to pause indexation of operational funding for the broadcaster in the 2018 Budget.
“We hear things are about to get very tough at the ABC – closures and mergers are being considered by Aunty in response to the $84.7 million in budget cuts imposed on the national broadcaster by the Turnbull government in the 2018-19 budget,” the Crikey article said. “One move being actively discussed is the merging of Radio National and ABC News Radio. Another proposal is to close, or severely cut, Classic FM.”
When the Federal Government’s Budget was announced in May, ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie warned staff in an email, “this decision will make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations,” and since then speculation has been rife about whether and how this might affect ABC Classic FM.
The cuts to the ABC came just weeks after Chadd’s appointment as ABC Classic FM’s Content Manager, the former Label Manager of ABC Classics and Jazz taking over the role held for many years by Richard Buckham. “There is no proposal to close ABC Classic FM or for ‘severe cuts’ at the station, despite such reports by some media,” Chadd told Limelight. “The latest radio ratings survey, released on June 5, revealed that ABC Classic FM has its highest audience since 2009, thanks to Australia’s passionate classical music lovers.”
“This weekend’s Classic 100 Countdown exemplifies the ABC’s unrivalled commitment to providing high-quality and distinctive content to audiences,” he said, “with many thousands of listeners voting for their favourite pieces of classical dance music.”