Axed: The Drum

Axed: The Drum

The ABC has axed its daily live panel program The Drum after 13 years on air citing budget costs and an internal news restructure.

It’s anticipated the changes will result in fewer than five positions being made redundant.

ABC said the decision was made to focus the ABC News Channel on its “core roles of continuous news, breaking news and news video production” and to expand the role of the Asia Pacific Newsroom as the home of specialist coverage on the region.

Presenters Julia Baird, Ellen Fanning and Dan Bourchier will move to other roles with the ABC.

The Drum has been an engine room of talented people in front of and behind the camera. We will be talking to The Drum team about transfer opportunities over coming weeks and have already identified a number of opportunities. We anticipate these changes will result in fewer than 5 positions being made redundant. Everyone directly impacted has been contacted and we’re holding more briefings with impacted individuals and teams about the changes,” ABC News Director Justin Stevens said.

“The difficult decision not to recommission The Drum is no reflection on the achievements of the team over the years. Stopping things does not diminish their previous value or contribution.

“Many talented people have worked on this program over the years, on camera and behind the scenes, and I thank everyone who has been involved in this program – in particular Annie White, who has been a powerhouse behind the program, and longtime co-anchors Julia and Ellen, all of whom will continue to make key contributions to the ABC.

“One of the key successes of The Drum has been unearthing new talent from around Australia, and we thank all the panelists who have appeared over time. The Drum’s database of interview talent is available to all our teams to call upon.”

The Drum first premiered in 2010 with the launch of the ABC’s 24-hour news channel. In 2014 it moved from the ABC News Channel to the ABC’s primary channel with a new look, new timeslot of 5:30 pm, and a new 30-minute format.

By 2019 the program was relaunched again, moving to a 6pm slot ending a rotation of shows in the slot for the broadcaster.

The show would typically rate around 120,000 – 150,000 metro viewers.

It isn’t clear what ABC will screen in its 6pm weekday slot in 2024.

“The decision on The Drum has been informed by long-term audience trends. The 6pm timeslot is the lead-in to the flagship 7PM bulletin and key for determining the ABC TV main channel audience across the evening. A change in the slot allows Content to try other programming. Not resourcing a program to fill this timeslot also creates savings for News to fund the digital reinvestment priorities we’re rolling out,” said Stevens.

Friday will be its last ever episode.

Source: The Guardian