The south east is to lose one its most-loved and respected voices this month.
After nine years with ABC South East Radio, Ian Campbell is stepping down as regional content director as of Friday, and will leave his on-air role on March 4.
It’s a decision not taken lightly and only after months of deliberation on the radio network’s restructure.
It also follows the December retirement of fellow breakfast presenter and radio veteran of 35 years – 19 at ABC South East – Tim Holt.
“It’s been a rough six months or more and the decision to leave was not an easy one,” Mr Campbell said.
“I love all the communities we serve and enjoyed my time here, but in the end I felt it was time for me to make a change and that my future was outside the ABC.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the support and input from the community.
“Without them, we couldn’t do what we do.
“I’m also grateful for the support and affection being shown around this time.
“I have really got a sense in the last week or so that people really do appreciate what I do.”
Mr Campbell said there had been “a growing sense of things changing in regional ABC”, but that what his future entailed only became clear in the last couple of weeks.
ABC Regional director Fiona Reynolds said the role of regional content manager no longer exists under the network’s new structure, but that a chief of staff will replace it.
Ms Reynolds said the chief of staff would be responsible for leading the whole team in creating content across platforms, but may or may not involve presenting.
While content managers were encouraged to apply for the advertised new role, Mr Campbell said the potential of not being on air “was absolutely a big factor in my thinking”.
“Being on air and presenting a program is a big attraction to getting into radio in the first place – and I will miss that,” he said.
He also said his regular appearances at community events and MC roles around the south east were “a beaut part of the job”.
“I get to take what I do on radio and do it in front of people!
“I’m happy to keep doing that in the future and help build up community events and fundraisers.”
Mr Campbell said he and his family plan to stay in the Bega Valley – “this is where we want to be” – with an idea to build on his media background and connect with regional organisations and people, helping to tell their stories.
“Some of the stories we have covered I feel I’ve been lucky to be around as well.
“The Tathra Wharf tragedy was a terrible time, but to see the strength shown in the Tathra surf club and the community was touching.
“And the many bushfires over the years, how the community responded and their resilience – I leave with that positive feeling of this community in my mind.
“The station remains interested in local stories and I hope I’ve got those skills and can transfer them to a new focus,” he said.
From everyone at Fairfax Regional Media on the Far South Coast - and we’re sure the entire South East community - we wish Ian Campbell a fond farewell and all the very best with his future plans.
Commitment to regional audiences remains
ABC Regional director Fiona Reynolds says the broadcaster has evolved, but its commitment to regional Australia “is stronger than ever before”.
With news the position of regional content director at stations, including ABC South East, no longer exist under a company restructure and the axing of the Mornings programs across the country, questions have been raised over the ABC’s treatment of regional audiences.
However, Ms Reynolds said there have been no cuts to staff levels or broadcast hours across the regional network.
“While other sectors are shedding jobs, the ABC has poured more money into regional broadcasting,” she said on Thursday.
“I’m not cutting regional jobs, not cutting the budget or broadcast hours.”
Instead, Ms Reynolds said the “long overdue” restructure would bring regional teams together to continue to champion regional voices.
TV producer joins South-East team
Experienced TV producer Lisa Markham has been appointed the new chief of staff for ABC South East NSW.
The role was created as part of the development of ABC Regional – a new division within the corporation.
Ms Markham has been an associate producer with the ABC News 24 team on Mornings and Weekend Breakfast for the past 18 months.
Prior to the ABC, she spent 15 years working in commercial television in Sydney and Perth in various producing and chief of staff positions.
Ms Markham said, growing up in regional NSW, she’s always been passionate about local issues and telling local stories.
“I can't wait to make the move and join the community and ABC Bega.”
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