It seems the negative attention surrounding the ABC hasn’t gone away just yet, with the government-funded broadcaster pissing off a few Melbourne viewers last night.
After 26 years, newsreader Ian Henderson began delivering his final bulletin for ABC News in Melbourne at 7pm last night.
However, a series of technical glitches – including the mix-up of a story backdrop, a failing autocue and a screen freeze – forced the ABC to suddenly take Victorian viewers to its NSW transmission without warning, and cutting short Henderson’s farewell read.
ABC Melbourne apologised to viewers out soon after the NSW bulletin finished via Twitter, saying that the studio “wasn’t playing ball tonight”, and that Henderson would get another chance to sign off properly on Friday night.
For everyone waiting for @HendoABC‘s last sign off. Sadly the Melbourne studio wasn’t playing ball tonight. Our apologies. Tune in tomorrow for his good-bye message. Hendo says: “You gotta laugh”.
📷: ABC News Margaret Burin pic.twitter.com/c5MsMChuTS
— ABC Melbourne (@abcmelbourne) October 11, 2018
However, the ABC’s apology didn’t stop a number of viewers from criticising the public broadcaster for its stuff-up.
We could have been told there was a problem, not just straight switch to Sydney…Not good PR
— Virginia French (@Swanny44) October 11, 2018
No explanation given on air , just left us with Sydney. Not good enough…
— Anne Parsons (@_AnneParsons) October 11, 2018
Not good enough! Hendo deserves better.
— Peter Jones (@fixation_30) October 11, 2018
Absolute bloody shemozzle. Seriously, the one night everyone’s tuned in for the whole bulletin and we get this!
— Mark Simpson (@mrkistic) October 11, 2018
— Bin Hua (@bin_hua) October 11, 2018
“Not playing ball”: please don’t be so patronising and give your viewers a proper explanation.
— ChristopherAshburner (@xosferens) October 11, 2018
What a shame, can’t believe that the Plan B was to switch to Sydney, and why take so long to let us know what’s going on? I’ll look out for the @HendoABC message tomorrow – best wishes in retirement #hendo #ciao
— Colin Warren (@colwar) October 11, 2018
— fi_p (@fiparki) October 11, 2018
And that’s what you call an epic fail !
— Sandy Togias (@sandytogs) October 11, 2018
When contacted about the blunder by B&T, an ABC spokesperson said: “An unexpected technical fault during ABC News Victoria’s 7pm bulletin on Thursday night forced an unavoidable switch to a back-up transmission from ABC NSW.
“The timing of this fault during Ian Henderson’s scheduled final bulletin was unfortunate, to say the least. The good news is that ‘Hendo’ will now be back on air at 7pm tonight to present his final, final ABC News Victoria bulletin.
“We are investigating the cause of the fault and invite everyone to tune in on Friday to give Hendo the farewell he deserves. Our apologies to viewers. As Hendo says: ‘You gotta laugh.’”
The ABC’s acting director of news, analysis and investigations, Craig McMurtrie, said: “I’m embarrassed by what happened, but Hendo is such a gentleman that the way he took it in his stride is humbling.
“There is no way we are going to let him go without a proper goodbye, so I invite everyone to watch ABC News Victoria tonight for the farewell he so richly deserves.”