A PERMANENT fixture on ABC’s flagship national rural weekly TV program Landline for three decades, markets analyst Kerry Lonergan, had his contract terminated suddenly by the national public broadcaster on November 10.
In its explanation of the decision, ABC management simply said it ‘wished to move in a new direction.’
The announcement was followed by an avalanche of support for Mr Lonergan across social media and other channels ranging from politicians and industry heavyweights to grassroots primary producers.
Kerry Lonergan has been a familiar, trusted and authoritative face and voice in lounge rooms across country Australia each Sunday since 1991.
He was the founder and inaugural executive producer of Landline which started in March, 1991, replacing the earlier Countrywide program hosted by Neil Inall. After a health scare, he resigned as executive producer ten years ago, returning to the program in a part-time role as specialist commodities analyst. He came originally out of ABC’s Current Affairs Department in Sydney, but had a natural empathy, connection and affection for bush people which was clearly reflected in his broadcasting.
ABC Landline is due to mark its thirtieth anniversary in March next year, and at this point, it looks unlikely that Mr Lonergan will take part in any program marking the occasion. Beef Central understands he was due to retire around the same time.
Recognising his years of service, Mr Lonergan was inducted into the Queensland Rural Press Club’s Rural Journalism Hall of Fame in 2015.
Mr Lonergan declined to comment for this item.