A sole musician has set up a peaceful protest at the front of ABC Ballarat’s Dawson Street studios.
Travelling musician and uilleann pipe player Nick Martin said news the ABC was cutting all but one of its Radio National music programs had led to an surge of outrage among independent musicians.
The Ballarat protest is part of a national campaign – RN or BUSK – with independent musicians uniting to play music in opposition to the cuts.
“It spells the end for some really vital music programming for the Australian music industry, for independent artists in particular,” Mr Martin said.
“As an independent artist in this country, it’s really hard to get national radio play unless you’re playing rock, pop or classical.”
He said regional centres would be more affected by the cuts than cities.
“The big problem is the ABC board is saying the types of music covered by these programs is being taken up by ABC Jazz and Double J, but in regional Australia, you don’t get those digital stations.”
The ABC had earlier issued a statement saying the changes were made to reinvest in new content, rather than to cut costs.
“We wouldn’t expect any musician to be happy about having less music on RN. But we do ask that the Australian music community looks at the bigger picture of what ABC Radio provides for artists, musicians, festivals and organisations across the country,” Chris Scaddan, head of music and Judith Whelan, head of spoken content at ABC Radio said.
“We encourage RN music program listeners to find the music they love on our other ABC music networks.
“We have steadily increased regional access to Australian music, via the expansion of triple j Unearthed and the introduction of Double J and ABC Jazz which are available to regional audiences via their TV.”
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