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. Ken Wright, January 24, 2021

    It was the last decent show on the ABC, but this is nasty treatment of Kerry and the last time I’ll bother with the ABC.

  2. Donald Cameron, January 18, 2021

    The tail wags the Aunty dog.
    The staff control the ABC, rather than the board, hence Kerry has disappeared, and we are now fed a diet of 81 percent saturated woke fat and 19pc dietary fibre.

    A few months ago in November 2020, experienced media executive John Hartigan rejected invitations to join the ABC board, because “the staff control of the ABC”
    so he would be “unable to bring about sensible reforms.” “People similar to me have tried, and failed, to make changes,” he said.

    The staff, not the board, control the ABC, hence the rise of the inner-city leftie agenda and the fall of an agenda important to rurals.

  3. Sandie Tarrant, January 17, 2021

    I am so shocked at this. The ABC has lost the plot. Week after week we suffer the same idiots being forced on us in unwatchable programs of utter rubbish, yet a professional and presenter of a quality program like Kerry is given the boot. Landline was the only good program on the ABC worth watching, including the repeats in the summer series. I certainly didn’t watch the 17 repeats of other programs shown in one day (and almost every day) of late. Their so-called comedy programs and comedians really are a joke, and laughable in that that they are just not funny; stupid, yes, but no humour in them whatsoever. I am so sorry this treatment has been given to Kerry. No more Landline for me, nor ABC.

  4. Stan Cheeseman, December 14, 2020

    I am very sorry to see Kerry leave Landline as I have been watching him for many years and he definitely makes the program. I was very impressed with last Sunday’s 13th December edition showing the inventor of the harvester and how he battled for many years before he achieved success. There should be more programs highlighting the early settlers and how they lived with no assistance.

  5. Steve Ericsson, December 3, 2020

    Mmm, I think I’ll be moving in a new direction also. Sadly, real farming has become un-PC to the trendy urban elites.
    Well done Kerry.

  6. Colin Wrightson, November 30, 2020

    I have been watching Landline forever. The last episode this year was a disgrace, with the ‘social re-engineering’ department of the ABC lefty elites working overtime. Now that Kerry has gone, I will not be wasting my time watching a program that simply wants to foist their political and social views on the public.
    I will miss you Kerry. Have a good retirement.

  7. Dave Hosking, November 30, 2020

    What a national disgrace. Typical ABC, where any individual dissenting voice is silenced. Landline has now lost its personality and intellectual freedom. What hypocrisy when it spouts “diversity”. Now all we have to look forward to are more stories on fishing, trendy non-viable farm-to-plate tree changers, veganism and distortions on rural industry practices — such as the recent mulesing story.

  8. Rowell Walton, November 29, 2020

    It seems absurdly rude and un-Australian to not allow him to sign off, even if he cost too much or had a row with someone. He has been the face of Landline for lifetimes and even now should be given an opportunity to say his goodbyes. Let’s not succumb to the very low standards evident in other media operations. Do it right. Fix it.

  9. Tony Souter, November 28, 2020

    The ABC has long been “moving in a new direction”, not one, I, and I suspect most country people, or those simply interested in how the things get done in the bush, will appreciate. Thanks Kerry.

  10. Mike Cuming, November 27, 2020

    Yet another nail in the ABC’s coffin, as it becomes more irrelevant by the day. What a disgraceful treatment of this stalwart of the highly regarded and trusted Landline program. And I had to rely on the “Australian” letters to find out, as it was otherwise kept secret. Inevitably, Landline will increasingly become part of the woke controllers of the ABC.

  11. Margarette Pinkley, November 20, 2020

    Hello! Ӏ’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a
    shout out from Porter Texas. Just wanteԁ to say keep up the excellent job.

    • 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?

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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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