In an effort to ramp up its news coverage and connect with regional and outer suburban Australians, the ABC is heading south-west to Bankstown for a two-day planning workshop in an attempt to make content more relevant to every day Aussies.
Chairwoman Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson will join the dozens of staff heading to Bankstown later this month to discuss local issues, eat locally and talk with local community cohorts.
ABC head of news Gaven Morris told The Sydney Morning Herald there had been part of the community the ABC doesn’t “serve as well as [it] could be”, which the national broadcaster is seeking to change.
According to Morris, the ABC will be looking more closely at topics such as hospitals and transport.
Regional cities such as Newcastle and Geelong, as well as Melbourne’s east, Brisbane’s south and Perth’s south-west will be a focus for the ABC.
“Viewers are typically older Australians and, while we love those audiences and want to retain them as much as we can, we do need to look at an audience growth strategy,” he said.
“Year-on-year our television audiences are declining. Radio audiences are remaining relatively [static] but over time will decline.”
Morris said the more the ABC looked to regional and outer suburbs, “the more [it will] be better at recruiting from parts of Australia [it hasn’t] always recruited from”.
He also said the push to reach new audiences had nothing to do with ratings but rather to achieve charter requirements of relevancy.
Morris said he doesn’t foresee the ABC getting into genres and content it hasn’t traditionally been in, or competing with commercial media.