ABC Radio has shaken up its presenter line-up for 2017, announcing former News Corp chief executive Kim Williams and former Seven Network news presenter Chris Bath will be joining the team.
Williams, who was a clear frontrunner in the race for ABC’s top job but was overlooked in favour of Michelle Guthrie, will host a “seasonal offer” called What Keeps Me Awake?”, which will quiz well-known Aussies on key issues and current affairs.
Meanwhile, Bath will join 702 Sydney’s statewide evenings show, per reports from The Australian, replacing Christine Anu.
Anu will host a new national program to air on local radio on Friday and Saturday nights.
Other additions to the ABC radio roster include Greta Bradman on Sunday mornings, herself an Australian soprano singer, while the Nightlife program will shift to air seven days a week with hosts Phillip Clark and Tripe J’s Sarah Macdonald.
ABC Radio director Michael Mason said, per The Oz, “We want to deliver radio that is relevant, respected and valued by the Australian population.
“In a media environment that continues to undergo rapid change, our goal is to reach at least one in two Australians across all platforms and services.
“We want to tune up our broadcast networks, and we want to attract larger-scale digital audiences. The changes we’re outlining today will deliver an improved platform offering for audiences.”
But the move might rattle a few cages in terms of previous comments from Guthrie that both her and the ABC would fight to reflect Australia’s diverse population.
In her first major address following her appointment to the MD role, Guthrie said diversity was a major area she wanted to address, refusing to accept a PWC report that said the average media industry worker was a young, white male living in Bondi or St Kilda, claiming it was an inaccurate depiction of Australia in its current state.
“It is incumbent on the national broadcaster to reflect this change, in its staffing and content,” Guthrie told the audience, citing figures that show 28 per cent of Aussies were born overseas and Chinese migration has grown by 37 per cent in recent times,” she said.
“Over time, you will see or hear from many more like Costa [Georgiadis], Jeremy Fernandez, Charlie King, Patricia Karvelas, Kumi Taguchi, Del Irani, and Christine Anu.
“Talented people doing great, creative work and bringing fresh perspectives to your ABC.”