Home opinion-and-analysis Fuzzy Logic ABC NewsRadio axes StarStuff program - why?

Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

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I’ve no idea how much it actually costs the ABC to pay Stuart Gary to create the show in amongst his other production and on-air duties at ABC NewsRadio.

But given the show consists of the best space, science, astronomy and cosmology news of the previous week from partner stations like the BBC, CNN and others, along with interviews with some of Australia’s top scientists and astronomers, its production cost would seem, to me at least, to be infinitesimal compared with virtually every other show the ABC still actually creates in house with presenters, producers and more.

Stuart Gary creates the show himself, selecting the best news from ABC radio partners worldwide, and conducting the interviews with Australia's top space and science talent, explaining complex topics in an easy way that anyone can understand.

Perhaps the cost is higher than I am imagining, but what we’re left with is a hole that will likely be filled by more re-broacasting of the BBC, instead of what was Australia’s only show about science, space and more.

The past few months, nay the past several years, have brought us all of NASA’s activities, with Mars landings, shuttle launches, Soyuz landings and more. We’ve heard about black holes, string theory, quasars, the theory of everything, comets, supernovae and the list goes on. 

It’s been a truly fascinating program that is unequalled across Australian radio, and now, it’s going.

I must say that I am tremendously disappointed in the ABC’s decision, and I urge it to reconsider.

I can only wonder what the funding the show received will be channelled into instead, but unfortunately I don’t know.

I honestly feel like writing to the ABC, and to the Department of Communications to protest at the axing of a fantastic show, and of course I am already protesting by writing this article. Writing a letter to the Editor of your major newspaper is probably a very good idea, too.

If you’d like to hear the show, this Sunday at midday AEST is your last opportunity to hear it being broadcast live. You can find a frequency or online streaming details here.

You can also tune into past episodes via podcast here. It’s possible to contact ABC NewsRadio using this form, but if this show is to be saved or returned in the future, I doubt whether contacting NewsRadio itself will help, for the decisions are likely coming from above.

Appealing to ABC Management and specifically the Director of Radio and Regional Content, Sue Howard, or the ABC Board will likely be the best way if you'd like to let the ABC know you want this program to be saved, while another alternative is to contact your Federal Member of Parliament.

I wish I knew if such actions would have any effect, but if you're unhappy about Australia losing its only space, science, cosmology and astronomy radio show, show your support and contact who you can.

I certainly will be, and definitely not because I've been an occasional guest, but because it's a show worth saving, worth producing and worth broadcasting. 

Australia is supposed to be the "clever country", but cutting shows like this especially when it is now being broadcast to 31 stations across Australia and available to anyone to listen to worldwide via podcast just seems to be the wrong decision, especially in the 21st century when space and science are more important to us all here on Planet Earth than ever before.

Please, ABC: reconsider your decision and let StarStuff live!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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