Landline’s popular Kerry Lonergan axed by ABC

Jon Condon, November 16, 2020

ABC’s Kerry Lonergan at Longreach Stockman’s Hall of Fame after being inducted into the Rural Journalism Hall of Fame in 2015.

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.


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  1. Margarette Pinkley, November 20, 2020

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    • Jim Gordon, November 20, 2020

      Margarette Pinkley, good on you. What is the state of your nation re the election? Please give us a first-hand update. What is your occupation and have you had anything to do with wool or woollen products? I worked in Colorado many moons ago. Do you get snow or are you too far south?

  2. Philip Palmer, November 18, 2020

    What a disgrace, to get rid of the best, most worthwhile person on the ABC, Kerry Lonergan. And how pathetic that Landline did not bother to say anything about him leaving. We just didn’t get the best part of the show, his market report. Shame on the ABC.

  3. Donald Cameron, November 16, 2020

    Why is ABC hellbent on making itself unwatchable?
    Trying to silence an authentic rural voice such as Lonergan’s, reflects poorly on all at Landline.
    But there still plenty of bark left in this old dog, and he is way better in the yards and in the field than most of the diverse range of ‘talent’
    currently foisted upon us weekly by the ABC Landline’s social engineering department.
    Let’s hope Kerry reappears soon on another channel, while Landline increasingly looses its rural roots and drifts to being a rural program for townies and greenies.

    • Barry Beattie, November 17, 2020

      Budget cuts: this is what people wanted; an axe taken to the ABC.

      Some even want the ABC sold off; not vindictively, there are changes happening all over the ABC, people let go in whole legions of programs, rationalising services. Look further than Landline and Kerry’s departure. Meanwhile, I notice Fox Media gets a government hand-out at short notice with no plan on how they will spend it.

      • Donald Cameron, November 19, 2020

        Budget cuts bulldust, you still cost us $1,000,000,000+/yr.
        ABC pays many on air staff $300,000 to $500,000 plus bonuses.
        increasingly, ABC is the network of inner-city left-wing elites, not the Lonergans of this world.

        Its days of being a truly national broadcaster appealing to all Australians are long gone, for the ABC elite looks down on regional cities with old-fashioned snobbery, preferring to leave them to Nine or Seven.

        While the signal may be national, the content for too many is inner-city left-wing.

  4. Frank Egan, November 16, 2020

    G’day, let’s all hope that he is “not” replaced by someone from Meat & Livestock Australia to deliver commodity reports, as some of their past advice to producers has been a complete failure. For example, we need producers to grow lambs that exceed 35kg for the US market. That was until shearers started to refuse to shear 100kg ewes.

  5. Deane Goode, November 16, 2020

    How disappointing to hear of the removal of Kerry. He has been a great servant of the program.
    Similarly David, I’m with you. Landline is not a program for the rural people any more.
    Like the rest of the content on the ABC, they now only seem to pander to the popular sectors in the cities.
    Most of the stories are wishy washy stuff to appease the city folk, nothing much about the nitty gritty in the bush.

  6. David McKenzie, November 16, 2020

    Was Kerry sacked because he dared to challenge vegans?
    Landline is now not high on my list of programs to view.

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