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Former Liberal leader guiding Radio Adelaide

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In this week’s column, a former Liberal leader placed in charge of newly independent Radio Adelaide, Nick Xenophon hires a cartoonist in lieu of advertising, burst water main watch, and much more.

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Former Liberal leader guiding Radio Adelaide

Former state Liberal leader and occasional InDaily columnist Iain Evans has been appointed chair of the newly independent Radio Adelaide.

Evans, who now works as a business consultant, was appointed to lead the board of the new incorporated body a week ago.

The transition of Radio Adelaide from a University of Adelaide-run station to a stand-alone entity is now virtually complete, but it has come too late to ensure a seamless move to the new studios.

Radio Adelaide’s current premises on North Terrace has been sold by the uni, and it needs to be out by June 24.

However, its new studios at Fresh FM, in Cinema Place off Rundle Street, won’t be ready in time.

This means that for three weeks following the North Terrace move, Radio Adelaide’s programming will be pre-recorded. Live programming is planned to return in a staged process from July 20.

Evans told InDaily that Radio Adelaide had played an important role for more than 40 years and he wanted to help put it onto a sustainable footing.

“I think it’s an important part of Adelaide’s media landscape,” he said. “It now has to establish a business model to operate as an individual entity, separate from the university.”

The university would continue to provide some financial support over the next three years to aid the transition, Evans said.

“It may ultimately mean a different form of business,” he said, adding that any changes would happen within the parameters of its licence, meaning a continued focus on education and community programming.

The next challenge for the board will be completing its application for the transfer of the licence from the university to the newly incorporated body.

Evans is joined on the board by Charlotte Bedford, the acting general manager of the station, Nikki Marcel, also an experienced community radio operator, and Andrea Michaels, a solicitor and managing director of NDA Law.

The board has advertised for a permanent general manager, with applications closing today.

The news isn’t good for the 11 staff employed by the university to work on Radio Adelaide, all of whom have lost their jobs

Ten staff were on contracts (many part-time, according to the university), and one was permanent. The university says it will honour its obligations to contracted staff, with severance arrangements negotiated with the union. The single ongoing staff member has been offered a redundancy.

Evans says former staff are welcome to apply for jobs that come up with the new entity.

Mr X hopes for “long-term” collaboration with cartoonist

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon has hired veteran Fairfax cartoonist Rocco Fazzari – a recent victim of the media company’s cost-cutting – to help his federal election campaign.

Fazzari, who says his passion for newspaper art began as a 13-year-old newspaper boy selling the Adelaide News on a street corner, will contribute animations for use on social media, reports The Guardian.

InDaily asked Xenophon what was behind the unusual hiring.

“Fairfax’s loss is my gain and the gain to the rest of the community who now has access to the incredible talent of Rocco Fazzari,” Xenophon said.

“I’ve been a long-time admirer of his work, his illustrations, his quirky videos – it is cut through – and because we can’t afford the sort of advertising the major parties and The Greens have, this is our way of getting our message across.

“I’m hopeful it will be a long-term collaboration with Rocco and I’m thrilled someone of his talent and calibre is helping us out on the campaign.”

Burst water main watch

So far this year there have been slightly fewer water main failures than for the same period in 2015, SA Water statistics show.

To May 26, there have been 917 bursts and leaks in metropolitan Adelaide, compared to 922 last year.

The overall financial-year figure is up this financial year (1769) compared to the previous year (1595).

All of that increase came in the first half of this financial year when there was little media attention.

As the situation has eased, relatively speaking, through the first part of this year, the media attention has increased.

As we’ve pointed out previously, water mains are most prone to burst in the summer through autumn period due to fluctuations in the weather.

The overall performance picture – which is affected by climatic conditions, maintenance schedules and Adelaide’s reactive soils –  is certainly more complicated than has been portrayed.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 7.07.52 am

Water main failures – leaks and bursts. Source: SA Water

Small victory for Nine

Regular readers will know that Seven News has had a rip-roaring start to the ratings year in Adelaide, blitzing its rivals.

However, there was one bright moment for Nine’s local news team this week, with the second half of its one-hour bulletin knocking off Today Tonight on Tuesday.

Nine’s average audience for the bulletin was its highest for the year. While the first half hour was won by Seven, the back end of Nine’s bulletin beat Today Tonight by 22,000 viewers.

There will be sighs of relief in Hindmarsh Square.

News Corp to sell Perth papers

Seven West Media is in talks to buy Perth’s Sunday Times newspaper and the Perth Now website from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

As part of the proposed deal, Seven West and News Corp would implement a “news sharing arrangement”, with Seven’s The West Australian newspaper co-operating with News’ dailies in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.

Any deal is subject to regulatory approval by the competition watchdog.

Naughty corner

Murdoch thunderer Andrew Bolt sunk to a new low this week – even for him – when he applied his weird ideas about race politics to retiring Labor senator Nova Peris, who disappointed her colleagues by quitting politics after three years in Canberra.

“… picked as a symbol of Aboriginality, she risks confirming a crippling and foul Aboriginal stereotype of unreliability — of going walkabout,” he concluded, showing a less-than-courageous ability to dish out a racially-motivated epithet while at the same time giving himself rhetorical cover.

This vile stuff was published in most of Murdoch’s tabloids, including The Advertiser, and he repeated it for good measure on his little-watched Sky News show.

In news from further afield, The Guardian has busted a freelancer for fabricating stories. The paper says it has fact-checked all the stories from reporter Joseph Mayton and, as a result, is taking down 13 and “removing quotes and information that could not be verified”.

Top of the class

BuzzFeed’s push into Australian political reporting has had its ups and downs, but its reporters showed enterprise this week by fact-checking a chat between Sydney radio legend Alan Jones and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Jones challenged Turnbull about the Safe Schools program, claiming that 15-year-old girls are asked to role-play characters, including one called Megan.

“… Megan lives in the city, works in a local cafe, she’s had 15 sexual partners and describes herself as bisexual, she rarely practises safe sex, she’s often drunk.”

Turnbull made some sympathetic noises to Jones.

The trouble is that the story of Megan isn’t in the Safe Schools program, as BuzzFeed showed, by actually checking the facts – the traditional, and sometimes overlooked, role of journalists. It was a refreshing change from media simply recycling content of the interview.

Media Week is published on Fridays.

Additional reporting from AAP.

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