Jazz and classical music programs have been cut from Radio Adelaide’s prime daytime slots, the news coming amid ongoing concerns and uncertainty for the station’s future.
It was today reported that jazz and classical programs were axed without consulting the shows’ producers. Speaking to The Adelaide Review, new General Manager Rob Popplestone confirmed these reports, saying “they’ve been cut from their 9am-12pm timeslots.” “My thought initially was that there’s no room whatsoever for the shows, but after talking to them [the shows’ producers] there is scope. So yes, they have been cut, but with a view that another timeslot can possibly be found,” Popplestone said. Nicky Page, chair of the RadAd Station Worker’s Association (RASWA) told The Adelaide Review that this news was “the latest alarm bell” in a series of developments since the University of Adelaide last year announced that Radio Adelaide could no longer rely on the university for its funding, and would need to explore new revenue opportunities. In a series of meetings this week, RASWA members and affected broadcasters sought clarification on the cancelled programming, frustrated by a reported lack of confirmation that further changes would be made with Radio Adelaide’s community members in mind. “We’ve had no assurance that the board or management is committed to establishing mechanisms for participation in these decisions,” Page said. “Representation and participation are key fundamentals of a community radio licence.” The University of Adelaide, which has part-funded the station since 1972, presently holds the station’s community licence but has appointed a board to bring the station onto an independently funded footing. That board then appointed Rob Popplestone, a former sports reporter and entrepreneur who owned and operated the now-defunct online sports broadcast platform AustraliaLiveTV.com, as General Manager. Page told The Adelaide Review that there is broad acknowledgement within the Radio Adelaide community that “things need to change” in the context of the university’s decisions and funding must be found elsewhere, but protested that “this decision has been taken without the participation of the community and broadcasters” and that “programming changes happen all the time, but not in this abrupt and rushed manner”. Popplestone contends that he did consult with numerous individuals, including Radio Adelaide employees, listeners and volunteers prior to the axing of classical and jazz programs, but not with the producers of the shows until this week. “The reason I needed to do it in a quick manner was that they were booked for inductions at the station today and yesterday,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to look them in the eye knowing that their contribution might be minimal going forward.” On the future of Radio Adelaide, Popplestone also acknowledges that there needs to be changes at the station to make it a financially independent body. His major concern at this stage is that Radio Adelaide‘s programming schedule is “clunky” with a diverse set of shows that might not be compatible running one into the other, resulting in a disjointed listening experience. “For the most part there won’t be many more changes. I think overall the station needs a better listening flow to it,” he said. “I can see what’s happened, though. Gaps have been filled with shows, not thinking about what comes before or after that program,” he said. Radio Adelaide is now running out of the Cinema Place premises of Fresh 92.7, with new studios under construction to house the station. Pre-recorded programmes will continue to play on the 101.5FM band until the beginning of August, when Radio Adelaide is expected to go live once again. radio.adelaide.edu.au Photos: Courtesy Radio Adelaide (The writer is a former Radio Adelaide volunteer)