Limelight Magazine reported on July 7 that a major restructure at ABC Classic FM could see the loss of several programs and many popular presenters.
Quoting senior sources within the ABC, the magazine said the shakeup will see a large number of redundancies, including some of the broadcaster's most high-profile figures, as well the loss of most of its live-to-air presented programming.
Limelight said all but two existing shows will become largely automated, with only the Breakfast Show and Drive Time programs surviving, in a move the magazine said is “imminent”. The rest will be replaced by the pre-programmed “streamed” broadcasts similar to the type that replaced the overnight programming of Classic FM in November 2014.
Details of the alleged programming cuts have been circulating for months among Classic FM employees, according to sources inside and outside the organisation. However, management are allegedly in “lock down” according to one Classic FM source, and are refusing to offer further information or reassurances to staff.
The switch to a less personnel-heavy, pre-recorded style of broadcast would tally with former managing director Mark Scott's proposed vision for the ABC, announced in late 2014, which called for a greater emphasis on the ABC's digital channels to encourage a younger audience. Cuts to Classic FM about two years ago were met with overwhelming public outrage, but were described by Scott as “a prudent efficiency measure that still ensures a quality service for the classical audience”.