Limelight Magazine editor Francis Merton shares his thoughts on the devastating cuts to the ABC.
One of the 1,073 depressing things about the proposed cuts to the ABC is the scant attention paid in the media to reductions at Classic FM. Broadsheet journalists have documented and discussed the announcements of cuts to regional radio, TV production in Adelaide, foreign bureaux… But nowhere, it seems, has anyone in the media mentioned what might result from slashing the country’s only national classical music station.
We give a full picture of what the cuts to the station might entail on page 12. And I’m warning you, it’s not a pretty picture. The cruellest cut of all is to live broadcasts, which are being halved. And the ones who will lose out are the small ensembles and festivals. Big-hitters like the London Symphony at the Opera House are likely to survive; smaller local events like the Woodend Winter Arts Festival may not be so fortunate. Julian Day’s program New Music Up Late is apparently going under the knife, along with the notion that classical music might be something people create today.
It’s hard to blame the ABC’s management for this; they have been forced to reduce costs across their departments, and Classic FM is only one of many to suffer. Yet it is chastening to observe how little Classic FM appears to mean to those in the media, given how much it means to all of us. As for what it means to those in power… enough said.