ABC astronomy program "StarStuff" to be scrapped
Logo for StarStuff from the ABC NewsRadio website
Update 21 July 2008
The ABC is ignoring the numerous complaints it has received by sidelining them, according to rumour, to an almost non-existent department with the grand title of “Audience Research”. At the same time it seems that to politicians the reason giving for axing the program is different to what it is telling members of the public – the claimed reason is a move away from “block programming”, yet a glance at the station’s schedule indicates that it is full of block programs such as Weekend Halftime on Sundays, plenty of AFL game broadcasts and, of course, material from overseas.
If anyone would like to continue the fight try writing letters to the editor to the newspapers. You could suggest moving StarStuff to ABC Radio National’s Science Unit. Wouldn’t that be a good idea?
Starstuff is a long running program on the ABC’s NewsRadio presented by Stuart Gary. It is the only regular program on astronomy and space on the ABC and it is popular with many people, even those with only a slight interest in those topics. I often get people telling me about what they have heard on StarStuff or asking me what time the program is now on. The program used to be a full hour program first heard on Sunday evenings and repeated on the following Saturday evening and at least one other time in the week. More recently, it has been cut back to 30 minutes only heard on Sundays from 12 noon. However, it is available on demand as a podcast.
Now it seems that it has been completely axed, possibly to make room for more sport with which ABC radio seems to be increasingly inundated. This country needs more people interested in science – many of the big government decisions essential to Australia’s future on topics like climate change and future power supplies will depend on a scientifically literate public. Astronomy and programs like StarStuff provide a hook to grab and keep people’s interest in science. StarStuff is essential, while more sport is not.
If you would like StarStuff to continue, the Astronomical Society of Australia suggests, among other avenues, to show your support of the program by writing to the ABC’s Managing Director, Mark Scott.
Note added 26 June 2008
Other, possibly more worthwhile, avenues for complaint are contacting newspapers and your local Federal member and/or writing to the Minister for Science, Warren Snowdon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or the Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Steven Conroy (email@example.com).