Mental Health In The Music Industry: A Frank Discussion

Studies have been conducted over the past few years in relation to mental health and gender equality in the wider music industry. Research suggests that both areas are in dire need of support which, we believe, should be a priority for Radio National as our public broadcaster and national information provider.

Australian Contemporary Music Industry Statistical Snapshot - March 2016

Digital Radio Information - Department of Communication and the Arts

ABC Rural report: Almost half of regional Australians report internet is 'very poor', 'inadequate': University of Canberra survey

16 January 2017

Regional ABC Radio National music listeners most disadvantaged by Cuts and moves to Digital Platforms

Regional ABC Radio National listeners are being asked to ‘up the ante’ on Aunty about the axing of five of its music programs from its 2017 schedule. The ABC Board and management recently sanctioned the decommissioning of ‘The Daily Planet’, ‘The Inside Sleeve’, ‘The Live Set’, ‘The Rhythm Divine’ and ‘Soundpost’ – which offer regional listeners access to music they might have no other way of hearing.

The ABC have said that the diversity of music represented on the axed shows will be catered for on their digital station Double J, a view roundly rejected by music industry representatives and listeners. Additionally, ‘Jazztrack’ will only be available on digital radio from 2017.

Regional listeners have traditionally been able to access Radio National’s music shows via the analogue signal broadcast on radios in the car, the ute, or the transistor out in the shed.  The ABC now recommends they tune into its digital platform to access music (only available to most regional audiences via digital television or by streaming online). This severely disadvantages communities across regional Australia where internet access is slow or in many cases unavailable.

The #saveRNmusic campaign, run by a national volunteer group of musicians and music lovers, has asked that the Board halt the axing of music shows and reconsider the reliance of music programming on the digital platform. Campaign organisers have delivered two open letters to the ABC Board and Management about the program cuts, and are yet to receive an adequate response.

Campaign representative Ruth Hazleton said, “Regional Australians have been loudly voicing their concerns about the cuts and also the ABC’s premature reliance on the digital platform via our petition and Facebook pages. Many regional listeners, however, remain unaware of these changes. This stage of our campaign is focused on communicating with regional listeners so they have the opportunity to make their opinions heard.”

Regional music lovers are encouraged to sign the petition and find out more about the campaign at date over 19,000 outraged music lovers have signed the petition. The campaign has been publicly supported by major figures in the Australian music industry, including Paul Kelly, Deborah Conway, Archie Roach, Missy Higgins, Sarah Blasko, Gurrumul, and Megan Washington to name just a few, as well as national treasures such as Tim Winton.

To mark the scheduled closure of programs, the Campaign has organised a weekend of action starting Friday, 20th January that will include a mass mail-in to ABC management, protest gigs and various media events, particularly involving regional listeners.

Media Contact: Ruth Hazleton -
More information:
Web site:
Facebook News Page:
Facebook Group Page:
Petition site:
Image: By Colin Suggett


Radio National is cutting almost all music programming in 2017
Do you live in the country and enjoy or need access to good music programming? Do you like the alternatives to Triple J and commercial radio that Radio National currently provides?

The ABC now wants you to:

#1:  Change your listening habits: get a digital TV!
As the ABC shifts its resources to digital platforms, regional audiences are being asked to overhaul their listening habits.  Where they have been able to access Radio National’s music shows in the car, the ute, or out in the shed, the ABC now recommends tuning into its digital platform Double J instead – which, by the way, will only be available to most regional audiences via digital television, or by streaming online. And even there, digital radio broadcasts are currently only available in five cities, which means only a minority of Australians will be able to access this music.

#2: Pay internet providers for “free” content from the national broadcaster!
We all have car radios and cheap transistors, right? Yes, but very few have digital radio receivers, which are costly. And internet can be unreliable and expensive in rural areas. Over half of regional Australian does not have sufficient bandwidth to access RN’s music shows. Listening via computer requires that we pay a provider for a network like NBN (still a mythical beast in most parts of Australia).  Should we be beholden to private internet companies to access ABC content – paid for by taxpayers?
The NBN rollout as of 16th December 2016: do you see a problem here?

#3:  Ignore the ABC’s charter!
Section 6(1)(a)(i) of the Charter states that a function of the Corporation is “broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community”, and education is also a key focus.  By stripping back cultural programming on Radio National, the ABC is willing to leave regional audiences at a cultural disadvantage.  This is part of a larger plan for cutbacks that includes cutting shortwave broadcast in the Northern Territory, leaving some communities without enough access to emergency broadcasts.  As Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, have said, the ABC’s lack of explanation for such cuts seems to show “that the ABC as the national public broadcaster has lost sight of its responsibility to provide services that are accessible regardless of where people live or who they are."

Quick’n’easy:  Sign the petition at leave a comment!)

Make your voice heard:

Contact your local paper or radio station, or write to your local MP, and let them know you what you think.

Contact the ABC Board and Management (here are some links):

Director of Radio:
Manager, Ideas Network:
Head of Radio Music:
Managing Director:
Head of Spoken Content:
ABC Board:

Or get involved with our day of action on Friday, 20th January.
See our news page for details (

Want to know more about Digital coverage and reception in your area?
See: ABC Reception Guide:
Digital Radio Coverage Maps:

Media Release
December 7th, 2016


ABC Board members meeting in Sydney have been warned that cuts to music programs on the Radio National network could damage the organisation’s reputation amongst listeners and many in the music industry who would normally be strong advocates for the public broadcaster.

In a second open letter released to the media today, the #saveRNmusic campaign, run by a volunteer group of musicians and music lovers, asked that the Board halt the axing of music shows and ask RN management to engage with the music industry to gain a better understanding of their importance to the music economy.

The second letter is in response to this reply, from ABC management, (Chris Scaddan, Head of Music, ABC Radio and Judith Whelan, Head of Spoken Content), which admits that the shows’ axing will mean that “not all genres and artists will be covered in the same way...and some artists and areas of music won’t be consistently covered by Double J or local radio”.

The programs in question are The Daily Planet, The Inside Sleeve, The Live Set and The Rhythm Divine. The campaign also opposes the removal of Jazztrack from Radio National’s linear schedule.

The campaign group has disputed a claim by RN Management that the expertly curated, diverse music content of these shows will be compensated for by additions to local radio and digital networks.

Currently, DAB+ radio is only available in five capital cities, which means that access to Double J forces rural, remote and regional listeners to rely on Internet access which is, in many areas, both patchy and costly.

A University of Canberra study, reported on by the ABC in June this year, and involving 13,000 Australians surveyed in regional areas, stated “48 per cent of respondents said their Internet was inadequate or did not meet their current needs”.

Furthermore, the Government’s very own Communications and Arts Department stated in a report released in 2015 that: “...the cost and complexity of rolling out Digital Audio Broadcasting Plus (DAB+)-based digital terrestrial radio services across regional Australia present major challenges for the industry”.

“The argument that this is suitable access for the lover of diverse music who traditionally listens in the car, in the workplace or outdoors is absurd,” the letter says.

A petition from the group has already attracted over 16,000 signatures from supporters, many of them important names and organisations across the Australian mainstream and independent music industries, including the likes of Paul Kelly, Katie Noonan, Shane Howard, Missy Higgins and Archie Roach.

An alternative petition from the campaign group GetUp! received over 26,000 signatures from within that group’s own membership.

“Our supporters are the listening public, who appreciate curated, diverse musical genres; thousands of professional, semi-professional and amateur musicians, music producers and educators, sound engineers, publicists, record producers, festivals and events’ organisers and the thousands of volunteers who make these festivals and events happen every year,” the letter says.

“Importantly, our supporters are, by a clear majority, strong advocates of public broadcasting and desirous of an engaged and thriving ABC. They are people who would not willingly cause any damage to the ABC’s reputation; something that has been built up over many years but which can be damaged in a few days of bad decisions.

“These people know their businesses and they are sending a clear message to the ABC, through us, that the loss of access to thoughtfully curated musical diversity through these program cuts and the moving of some programs to a digital service, will cause quantifiable damage to them and their businesses and even their personal health and well-being.

“The music industry is often at the forefront of technological change and it would be hypocritical of us to oppose this in other industries. We recognise that change is inevitable and that the ABC must stay abreast of both technological change and cultural adoption. However, this should be done while preserving the core value proposition: expert curation, high quality musical content, and a vibrant and engaged listener audience supporting cultural diversity.

We have heard first hand and in passionate detail from the industry about how much is at stake. We ask that these concerns be treated with respect.”

A full copy of the letter, as well as a range of background information, including the names of our key supporters can be found at this link.

For further information, contact:

Ruth Hazleton (Campaign Coordinator & Musician) 0419 487 060

Julien Wilson (Campaign Manager & Musician)
0413 595 985

Heath Cullen (Campaign Team & Musician)

Aine Tyrrell (Campaign Team & Musician)
0404 703 378
0418 943 302

Paul Gioia (Campaign Team & Musician)
0418 943 302

Sarah Carroll (Campaign Team & Musician)
0428 854 913

Tracy Bartram (Campaign Team & Comedian/ Media Personality)
0416 040 104

The following musicians and industry representatives are also available for comment:

Please email Julien Wilson for details:

Dobe Newton OAM (Bushwackers, Country Music Association of Australia) Paul Grabowsky AO
Deborah Conway
Shane Howard

Katie Noonan
Rod Vervest (Director, Fairbridge Festival, WA)
Jane Clifton
Peter Hicks (Musician, TAS)
Erin Collins (Artistic Director, Cygnet Folk Festival TAS) Derek Guille (ex- ABC, 774)

Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016


Hundreds of high-profile artists and industry professionals, including Paul Kelly, Gurrumul, Missy Higgins, Kate Ceberano and Katie Noonan, as well as numerous prominent members of the arts industry, have publicly endorsed a campaign to save ABC Radio National Music.

The campaign, spearheaded by an open letter and a petition signed by over 12,000 people, calls on the ABC Board to intervene and reverse a decision to axe four iconic music programs from Radio National in 2017. These are The Daily Planet, The Inside Sleeve, The Live Set and The Rhythm Divine. The open letter also opposes the removal of Jazztrack from Radio National’s schedule.

In addition, musicians around Australia are organising “busking protests” outside ABC headquarters, in capital cities and in some regional centres, to be held over the next few days.

Melbourne-based musician Ruth Hazleton, who initiated the campaign, said: “That our national broadcaster should air very little music content makes no sense and it makes even less sense that the industry and public haven’t been consulted.

“This will have dire repercussions for Australia’s independent recording and touring artists, visiting international artists, festivals and venues, promoters and managers all over the country.

“The proposal that Double J will adequately cater for 30+ audiences of jazz, folk, country, adult contemporary, world and independent music won’t wash.

“As noted many times in the comments on our petition, this is a particular blow to rural, regional and remote Australia where digital radio and some networks are not available and where Internet coverage is poor and often expensive.”

Ms Hazleton said it would be impossible to replace the experience and knowledge of the presenters who are being made redundant, Lucky Oceans, Paul Gough, Geoff Wood and Alice Keath.

“These are all well-respected thought leaders who have had enormous impact on the shape and success of our independent industries.”

In a public statement published in the campaign’s Facebook group, Katie Noonan wrote, “I simply can not fathom how anyone would have thought this was a good idea for the Australian people ... In regional Australia these radio shows are literally the lifeline for cultural connectivity ... Having been lucky enough to tour this great big country of ours many times, I know how absolutely vital these programs are to people’s lives ... The catastrophic effects of these cuts will be enormous on multiple levels - this decision has simply not been thought through properly and absolutely needs to be reversed..”

Also in a public statement, author Tim Winton wrote, “At a time when it seems every element of home-grown culture is under siege, it’s bewildering to see Radio National stripping music shows from its programming ... RN listeners treasure eclectic musical programming; we appreciate being treated as grown-ups. Because music music is bigger and broader than a teen demographic. So, why reduce our chances of hearing new and interesting music? When RN is already overburdened with talk, why unbalance things even more? This is a mistake.”

The campaign has also attracted considerable international support. In a public statement, Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard wrote, “It's important that local music is played in the national airwaves; it's part of the evolving of the national spirit.

Other big names to endorse the campaign include Archie Roach AM, Tim Freedman Shane Howard, Sarah Blasko, Megan Washington, Neil Murray, Mike Nock, Don Walker, Lindy Morrison OAE, Andy Irvine, Gina Williams, Paul Grabowsky AO, Rob Hirst, Deborah Conway, John Butler, Iva Davies AM, the Waifs and many, many others.

Among the music industry groups, music promoters and music festivals to add their endorsement are Byron Bay Bluesfest, Woodford Folk Festival, Opera Queensland, Port Fairy Folk Festival, the National Folk Festival, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, the APRA/AMCOS Board and Gaynor Crawford Presents.

A longer list of prominent supporters is available on our website:

For further information, please contact:

Ruth Hazleton (Campaign Coordinator & Musician)
0419 487 060 OR

Julien Wilson (Campaign Manager & Musician)
0413 595 985 OR

Heath Cullen (Campaign Team & Musician)

Aine Tyrrell (Campaign Team & Musician)
0404 703 378 OR

Paul Gioia (Campaign Team & Musician)
0418 943 302 OR

Tracy Bartram (Campaign Team & Comedian/ Media Personality)
0416 040 104 OR

The following musicians and industry representatives are also available for comment:
Please email Julien Wilson for details:

Dobe Newton OAM (Bushwackers, Country Music Association of Australia) Paul Grabowsky AO
Deborah Conway
Katie Noonan
Rod Vervest (Director, Fairbridge Festival, WA)
Jane Clifton
Peter Hicks (Musician, TAS)
Erin Collins (Artistic Director, Cygnet Folk Festival TAS)

The open letter and petition comments are at: