Louise Maher. Photo: Lyn Mills
Experienced broadcaster Louise Maher has been dumped as the drive presenter on 666 ABC Canberra while her high-profile colleague Alex Sloan has been bumped to the afternoon shift as part of a big shake-up at the local radio station.
Genevieve Jacobs will take over mornings while Adam Shirley becomes the new drive presenter.
Maher will become a roving local reporter under the changes to come into force next year.
Alex Sloan. Photo: Lyn Mills
She was overseas on leave on Thursday when 666 announced the new on-air line-up.
The changes have been described by insiders as an attempt to reinvigorate a stale format, lure more than only the rusted-on listeners and even balance the gender ratio of on-air talent.
The recent appointment of a new program director, Lucia Hill, was seen by some as the catalyst for the changes, with the majority of staff happy with the developments.
Genevieve Jacobs. Photo: Lyn Mills
The top-rating Ross Solly remains presenter of the critical breakfast shift but Genevieve Jacobs has been promoted to the important mornings shift, replacing Alex Sloan, who moves to afternoons between 1pm and 3pm.
The drive program, from 3pm to 6pm, will be presented by Adam Shirley, replacing Maher.
While the changes have been promoted as fostering local content, there will actually be one less hour a day of local broadcasting and no locally produced programs between 11am and 1pm.
Ross Solly. Photo: Lyn Mills
Moving from afternoons, Jacobs will be presenting a truncated morning program, cut from three hours to two between 9am and 11am.
A syndicated program, Conversations with Richard Fidler, will be presented on weekdays between 11am and noon. The national The World Today program remains between noon and 1pm.
Greg Bayliss remains host of Saturday Mornings, Tim Gavel stays in the chair on Saturday Local Grandstand and Melanie Tait will present Sunday Brunch.
The second-placed radio station in Canberra after commercial outfit FM 104.7, 666 ABC has been dealing with steadily falling ratings.
The R-word was not mentioned in a release from ABC 666 on Thursday afternoon, the statement instead suggesting the changes will ''further the Canberra narrative within the community in the year of Canberra's Centenary''.
Local radio manager Andrea Ho declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that the on-air changes would take place next year to ''capitalise on local editorial contact in the community and create new programming perspectives for audiences in Canberra and the surrounding capital region''.
''The revised line-up plays to the strengths of our existing presenters, while introducing two fresh voices to the Canberra audience,'' Ms Ho said. ''Next year 666 ABC Canberra will provide bold and creative content that reaches existing and new audiences on radio, online and third party platforms.''
The changes represent a big promotion for Shirley.
The 2013 on air line up is:
5:30am – 9am Breakfast with Ross Solly
9am – 11am Mornings with Genevieve Jacobs
11am – 12pm Conversations with Richard Fidler
1pm – 3pm Afternoons with Alex Sloan
3pm – 6pm Drive with Adam Shirley
6am – 11am Saturday Mornings with Greg Bayliss
11am – 12pm Saturday Local Grandstand with Tim Gavel
10am – 12pm Sunday Brunch with Melanie Tait