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The sudden axing of the ABC’s current affairs programme The Drum is the final nail in the coffin for a progressive national broadcaster. More than a decade of Coalition sniping and undermining of the ABC has denuded it. Silencing of The Drum death knell for ABC as alternative media voice. The conservative media in Australia has been expanded to include an ABC, which lamely kowtows to the Murdoch News Corp lead in setting the news agenda in the 2020’s. The Drum was the last vestige of conscience in a media landscape bereft of progressive passion.

“The ABC’s primetime panel show The Drum has been axed after more than a decade on air due to dwindling ratings.

Justin Stevens, the ABC’s news director, said the move was “no reflection on the achievements of the team over the years”, adding that the program had been a successful platform for “unearthing new talent from around Australia”. “

person holding black remote control

Death Of Progressive Voice On Australian TV

The Drum started life on the radio on Triple J, as a current affairs show for a youthful audience. Its cutting edge authentic news coverage quickly drew an audience beyond the confines of the youth demographic. On TV under the guidance of Julia Baird it morphed into  a programme, which covered things usually neglected by the blokey mainstream media in Australia. New voices were being heard on TV. Women’s voices and the voices of Indigenous Australians. This spread to the voices of the disability community and the voices of LGBTQIA folk. It was not all one way traffic, however, as there would be a growing smattering of those holding opposing opinions and views. Social conservatives, also, made regular appearances on The Drum. It was the best panellist current affairs show on TV, in my opinion.

Stewart Dawes
I loved The Drum

ABC Has Been Silenced By Conservative Forces

What are we left with on the ABC in the glaring absence of The Drum. The cynical David Speers on Insiders, where politics trumps policy and ideas week after week. The 7.30 Report does a good job but it is middle of the road stuff in the main. Four Corners is a worthy institution and a survivor. Apart from that the ABC has become this fluffy broadcaster featuring in-depth weather and disaster coverage. It goes for the safe option these days and I cannot help thinking that its management are Coalition vetted social conservatives towing the party line.

I miss the ABC. I miss that ABC that once had courage and represented those who weren’t a part of the corporate power zone.

The Drum Was Diversity & New Voices

Where will the voices once heard on The Drum now be heard? There is no progressive media on free to air TV in Australia.

The Drum was the only and last of its kind. Women’s voices will be silenced – thanks to the ABC management. Disabled voices, for so long unheard, will go quiet again thanks to a dismal ABC management. Julia Baird helped so many Australians find their voice and reach an audience. Indigenous voices. LGBTQIA voices. The Drum was a champion for minorities and those victimised by an indifferent commercial media. The Drum was passionate and worthy. Much on the ABC is light weight entertainment and middle of the road fare.

I mourn the death of the progressive voice on free to air TV.

pink and white flowers on gray concrete tomb

We will be left with a conservative media landscape paying tokenistic lip service to the views of those who stand outside of the mainstream.

The ABC is chasing ratings with inane quiz shows and fluff. It used to represent intelligence and a progressive cultural agenda. It has been denuded by Coalition budget cuts and infiltrated by yes men and women in its management ranks. The Drum was one of the last things left worth watching.

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of – Money Matters: Navigating Credit, Debt, and Financial Freedom. 

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