Silk purse out of a sow’s ear?

It comes as no surprise that Foxtel commentators do their best to make Big Bash League matches sound a little more exciting than they might really be but, as CricInfo’s Chris Ryan points out in this article, the ABC radio commentators appear to have been swept along in the hype.

The question is why?

Any thoughts from Almanackers?


  1. I have been wondering about the ABC’s role in this myself. Is it simply a case of them trying to engage the next generation of listeners? Or is there another underlying motive?

  2. I hope no one picks on Jim Maxwell. He’s real smart. Last year he said that Hilfenhaus should never be selected in an Australian team again.

  3. Tony Roberts says

    I don’t think that anyone’s demonstrated that ABC radio commentators are necessarily promoting the BBL, a la Fox Sports.

    It seems to me merely another case of the current-day ABC just going along with whatever Rupert and his minions deem to be ‘what’s happening’ – this is just as evident in politics and ‘Aussie culture’ as in sport. It seems worst of all on Local Radio – the old 3LOs, 2BLs etc – where sport is broadcast, though: like Lake Eyre, Local Radio’s coverage of everything is a mile wide and an inch deep.

    I got a particularly irritating taste of this on the 2nd day of the Adelaide Test, when I turned on the car radio after lunch. Throughout ten minutes of incessant wittering between Drew Morphett and Geoff Lawson, I vaguely induced that Clarke had been dismissed and Ponting may or may not have reached his double-century – but, despite three overs ending, never once confirmation by a score.

    Chris Ryan made a good point on Cricinfo that McGilvray imagined himself describing a cricket scene to a blind man. Nowadays, to slightly misquote the late, great Etta James, ‘I would rather be deaf/ Than to hear Drew waffle away at me’.

  4. Skip of Skipton says

    What a whining load of tripe from this Chris Ryan. Unlike WSC back in the late ’70s, this Big Bash nonsense is an officially sanctioned competition of the cricket establishment, and the ABC has every right to broadcast it. Are the commentators meant to deliver it in the hushed tones of a McGilvray?

    Later in the article he pauses, for reasons unknown and irrelevant to the point of his rant, to tell us that ‘Bellerive’ is the Moomairemener people’s word for ‘beautiful riverbank’. Now what are the chances, because ‘Bellerive’ has exactly the same meaning in French!? I think the term for this type of thing is ‘beclowned’.

  5. In the past 10-15 years, the ABC Melbourne local radio and ABC TV have been dumbed down to compete with commercial radio and TV for ratings. Government cutbacks have resulted in the ABC not being able to employ good quality sports broadcasters and commentators. The complete programs of 774 is garbage. The only ABC radio worth listening to is radio national and FM. Most of the ABC’s sports coverage is trivial and celebrity nonsense and irritating to listen to. People such as Jim Maxwell, Drew Morphett, Damien Fleming, Karen Tighe, Gerard Whateley, Peter Walsh, Quentiin Hull and Dan Lonergan can only appreciate sport by continually referring to meaningless and irrelevant statistics and trivial celebrity nonsense. The current standard of ABC radio broadcasting is very poor compared to people such as Alan MacGilvray, Dick Mason and Greg Miles. I believe that this poor standard is because today’s broadcasters use a TV monitor in preference to their sight and the resultant style is more like TV commentary. The radio listener does not get an accurate and descriptive broadcast. Most of the commercial radio and TV broadcasters/commentators are no different. However, we do have some good commentators such as Ian Chappell, Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh for cricket, Jack Newton, Ian Baker-Finch and Brett Ogle for golf, Nicole Pratt for tennis, Leigh Matthews, Stephen Williams and Ben Allan for AFL football and Greg Alexander and Wayne Pearce for rugby league. There was a real contrast in the recent coverage of the Australian Open Tennis between the Australian media and Eurosport TV. Eurosport had an excellent daily comprehensive review of results, updates of the four sections of the draw and good analytical comment from Mats Wilander and Martina Hingis. The Australian media focused on english speaking players from Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. and were obsessed by trivial issues such as the noise of some women players. The Australian media player press conferences were a joke and waste of time because Australian sports journalists could not ask an intelligent question. Most of their questions were either ‘dorothy dixers’, trivial or loaded to get a cheap headline.

  6. Tony Roberts says

    Mark Doyle
    Spot on about the trivialisation of the ABC. Even RN’s only bearable after Fran Kelly has finished vomiting up breakfast.

    For Murdoch, it’s an unintended consequence of filling 24/7 content across 3 sports channels, but Foxtel does expose viewers to professional standards of sporting commentary and analysis (mostly, but not exclusively, from international broadcasters). With the honourable exception of Phil Liggett’s coverage of the Tour de France on SBS, such standards have long since been abandoned by free-to-air media in Australia.

  7. Morphettville – where no cliche cannot be conquered and it’s always 1977.

  8. Ripsnorter says

    To be fair to Drew Morphett I think he has found himself in this position due to the demise of Roebuck and Glenn Mitchell’s departure and was at hand and willing and able to fill the breach – not the ABC’s preferred choice but they have not had much luck with the commentary team of late.

  9. Mark Doyle says

    Tony Roberts, I agree re Fran Kelly, who is nothing more than an apologist for the Liberal Party. Unfortunately, Mark Scott is doing his best to dumb down radio national with people such as Fran Kelly, Paul Barclay and the recent appointment of a bloke named Waleed Ali in the late afternoon. We radio national listeners probably have been spoilt by the high standards set by Phillip Adams, Rachael Kohn, Andrew Ford, Robin Williams, Lucky Oceans, Natasha Mitchell and Michael Cathcart and former presenters such as Ramona Koval, Peter Thompson, Julie McCrossin and Sandy McCutcheon. I also thought it a shame that the ‘Sports Factor’ was axed from radio national a few years back. The Australian mainstream media is probably a reflection of the majority of Australian society who are anti-intellectual and cultural philistines; Robin Archer wrote an excellent essay on this subject a few years back. SBS coverage of sports such as cycling and soccer is the best in Australia. Channel 9 coverage of test cricket is OK except for the interactive gimmicks, memorabilia garbage and jingoistic barracking of blokes such as Ian Healy, Michael Slater and James Brayshaw. Fox Sports have a lot of crap, but they cover a lot that is not on free to air stations and their coverage of AFL footy is superior because they do not interupt the games with ads.

  10. I’M willing to bet that as ABC listeners, albeit a trifle reluctantly in some cases as above, you folk are aware of the Geard Whateley circumstances.

    As reported in the Age’s Green Guide back in October, I recall. It seems 3AW made him a tempting offer and Whateley found himself in an invidious position.

    Would he stay or do a Gilly, and walk! Turns out GW was summoned to ABC managing director Mark Scott’s Sydney office, sometime in late September. There, Whately made his decision to stay following a 45-minute conversation

    Now, whether you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing Gezza is staying with the ABC his competitors clearly thought it was worthwhile trying to lure him across.

    I’m no great fan. I can’t stand the constant clinging on, for a second or three, to the final consonant sound in a sentence.

    Maybe others don’t mind. For that matter, I’m a big Jimmy Maxwell fan. He is so much better at the ball-by-ball commentary at the crikky it’s not worth discussing.

  11. Gerrard Whately and Waleed Ali associated with dumbing down. I don’t think so.

    They are two fine, intelligent contemporary commentators. Understand the issues and speak their minds in a language that is easily understood.

    Both are Knackers as well.

  12. “I’m no great fan. I can’t stand the constant clinging on, for a second or three, to the final consonant sound in a sentence.” Spot on, Big Dick. (Better find a good balm. Nyuk. Nyuk.)

    Gerard’s outrageous drawl is a massively aggravating affectation and is the reason I call him Gerard Whateley of National Tiles, after Frank Walker, the only Australian with a longer drawl (and similarly grating accent.) Mind you, Gerard, despite the voice and his tendency to be a bit of a pearl clutcher, is a reasonably astute pundit.)

  13. Not directly anything to do with the ABC but consistent with influences that competing media outlets have on ABC, Gina Rinehart’s plan to purchase more of Fairfax is interesting.

    Will Andrew Bolte (or Andrew Bolte clones) get more airtime to push the agendas of rightwing capitalists who have altogether too much wealth? If so, then does the ABC respond? Does it need to? If it does, then in which direction? Does it go left or right politically? Does it go up or down intellectually? Does it go in or out emotionally?

    I’m right of centre, am a capitalist, and am all for free enterprise and people creating wealth but there is wealth and then there is ridiculous. I’ve come to a conclusion that outrageous PERSONAL wealth created through the raping, pillaging and destruction of the earth is abhorrent because the earth cannot be compartmentalised and we are all adversely impacted by it whilst one person or a small number of people financially benefit from it.

  14. Rage Against the Obscene.

  15. An interesting profile on Gina, and her discussion with Phil the Greek, in the Saturday Age recently Pete.

    Any one who is more extreme and supposedly tougher than a bloke who wanted to nuke the coast of WA to build a harbour to ship the Pilbura away scares me. (Lang’s description, so I suppose he would know)

    Fairfax is going to user pay online so that will be a good inducement for the proletariat to stay away from her ideology.

  16. Skip of Skipton says

    Maybe if Gina Hancock was less suspiscious and wary of the media and gave a few interviews, she wouldn’t have to put up with articles like the aforementioned where quotes of her as a 12 year-old, and quotes from someone who left her employ in 1994, are used to build a narrative of her. Less Howard Hughes mentality please, Gina.

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