John Cleary says he looks back on his career as a religious broadcaster with a personal sense of fulfilment but fears his old employer has lost its sense of purpose.
Cleary wrapped up a 30-year career producing and presenting religious programs for ABC radio and television last December with the axing of Sunday Nights, the four-hour nationally networked radio show that presented in-depth discussion and talkback around spiritual matters.
Although Cleary, a Salvation Army member, officially finished employment at the ABC in January his farewell function was held only last month.
“I look back on a career and think ‘I’ve been there done that’,” he said.
“For myself I am quite comfortable. What I am disturbed about is that at the ABC there are major changes happening that do not go to what the ABC was constituted to be.”
Cleary argues that the public broadcaster was created to fill a gap left by the commercial stations.
“The ABC was created in recognition that the commercial stations, operating on a ratings-driven model, were not producing material which reflected culture at its broadest,” he said
“The commercial model is where you reduce everybody to a sort of lowest common denominator for different age-bands.
“The ABC was constructed to reflect communities of interest. It recognised that some kids could be interested in science from cradle-to-grave or religion from cradle to grave.”
He said the ABC had lost sight of this mission.
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