Can Kim Williams save a besieged ABC?

Can Kim Williams save a besieged ABC?

Declining audiences, accusations of bias, and concerns about staff/management relations: it’s been a tough time for the ABC. Add to that the ABC’s digital transition and the impact of years of under-funding and it’s clear the new ABC Chair will have plenty to occupy his attention when he starts in March.

Kim Williams in front of the ABC

The appointment of Kim Williams as the next ABC Chair has been broadly welcomed. Stakeholders and observers will be watching closely to see if he proves to be the right person for the ABC and the challenges it faces. 

ABC Friends President, Cassandra Parkinson - who will meet with Williams in April - said Williams’ extensive background in media, the arts and sport would be of great value to the ABC during a time of unprecedented change.

She will urge Williams to advocate for adequate funding.

“Following a decade of sustained cuts the ABC has become a shadow of its former self,” she said. 

”ABC Friends will also be looking to Mr Williams to vigorously defend the ABC’s independence”

Read ABC Friends’ full statement here.

Former editorial director of the ABC, Alan Sunderland, drew on his own deep experience of the ABC to reflect on the task facing the new Chair.

“Williams will need to find ways of bringing staff and management together again in pursuit of a common cause, and he will need to build both public and government support for the best that public broadcasting can be,” he said.

But he added a note of caution. 

“Ironically, the more impressed we are with an incoming chairman’s breadth of vision and experience as a media manager, the more we have to hope he understands the importance of leaving the managing to those whose job it is,” Sunderland said.

Read Alan’s article.

Sophie Arnold
E-news Editor