News

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.

Leave a Reply to Stan Cheeseman Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.

Comments

  1. Jim Lowther, March 4, 2021

    It is time the people of Australia, through our elected government, ceased funding the Leftist movement put to us from the ABC. Could we please raise some much needed money for the country by selling the ABC off? Kerry’s removal was the last straw; now I watch SKY.

  2. James Dillon, March 3, 2021

    It is often how a thing is done more than what is done, especially when retirement is near. Obviously the ABC wants to serve perhaps a younger generation and dump the old reliable viewers. I no longer watch the “Kerry” segment and will no longer watch the whole program if the ABC doesn’t offer an explanation as to why a ‘first nation’ locator is now added to each story.

  3. Robert Omrod, February 28, 2021

    It was quite clear that Lonergan didn’t fit in with the ABC’s Left-wing agenda

  4. Wendy russell, February 28, 2021

    I cannot believe you at ABC could get rid of such a down-to-earth real guy. What, was he too unpolitically correct for you because he said it how he saw it? He can never be replaced, it’s just not the same report without him. I’m very disappointed in the ABC and like others I wondered where he was and had to Google it to find out. Bad decision ABC.

  5. Sue Moss, February 28, 2021

    My husband and I were left wondering why the admirable presenter of ABC Landline’s Market Report had disappeared. I voiced my concerns that Mr Lonergan perhaps did not “suit” our national broadcaster’s agenda, despite his vast depth of rural knowledge, dry sense of humour and personal appeal to city and country dwellers. ‘Wished to move in a new direction’ – what does this mean? Landline had been staple viewing for our family. Sadly, we barely turn on the ABC for much these days, even less now Mr Lonergan no longer graces the screen.

  6. Jan Bruck, February 28, 2021

    ‘Landline’ has been my favourite TV program in Australia for some time. While it is always sad to see a popular personality leave, changes and innovations happen in the media on a regular basis. Kerry Lonergan had a very good innings and I wish him a pleasant retirement.

  7. Graham Ezzy, February 25, 2021

    To the ABC management: let me tell you the new direction you are taking is not working with Kerry’s replacement. What is wrong with you people?

    • Jan Hanly, February 28, 2021

      Actually, I found many of his opinions inappropriate and biased. Glad to see a new face who I think is doing a great job as is the ABC overall.

      • Donald Cameron, March 1, 2021

        Exactly what opinion “was inappropriate”?
        A dry country humour, yes, but biased Kerry was not.
        The only bias present here is that of those who have seized control of the ABC; the inner city Lefties seen nightly on “Your ABC”, paid $300,000-$400,000 per year plus “bonuses”, and who despise real country folk.

      • Graham Ezzy, February 28, 2021

        Sorry, he’s got to be a relative.

  8. Donald Cameron, February 24, 2021

    The ABC, our once proud national broadcaster, is no longer so highly regarded.

    The very expensive ABC staff, paid up to $300-$400k + “bonuses” now have control, allowing endless broadcasts of their inner-city Lefty agenda.

    The days of appealing to rural Australians are long gone, so dear Kerry Lonergan has been chopped, and chopped in an unseemly fashion and without grace.

    Kerry Lonergan’s contract cancellation needs explanation; because it is insulting and damaging that after so many years Kerry is vaporised without explanation.

    Kerry, with a deep knowledge and love of rural Australia, so amply communicated in his weekly sessions and with a phone full to bursting of valuable contacts and very much speaking the language of regional Australia, has been summarily binned.

    Shame on Landline, shame on ABC.

    Who wants to watch the agenda of inner-city Lefties? Not me.

  9. Paul Goodland, February 23, 2021

    Goodbye Kerry and thank you. Goodbye also to ABC Landline. I’m not spitting the dummy at the talented Landline staff, but what do we little folk do to the big end of town? Well, tell them to take their show and go home. I pity the new bloke trying to fill Kerry’s shoes. And to think the ‘decision makers’ get big bucks for such heifer dust goings on.

  10. Eric Smith, February 22, 2021

    I’m very disappointed that an icon like Kerry would be treated so badly by the ABC. It’s a disgrace when he only had a few months to go before retirement. I wish the new presenter all the best and don’t blame him for the ABC’s pathetic management; that’s where the sacking should start.

  11. Jim Lillicrap, February 22, 2021

    I kept wondering where Kerry was and finally I found out. He was terminated by the powers that be in ABC HQ… suddenly and without warning. Landline will not be the same. Maybe the young man is a nice knowledgeable bloke, I don’t really know nor do I care.
    Kerry was a popular knowledgeable, likeable and professional bloke, who spoke his mind and gave his opinions with that dry sense of humour which to my mind is sadly lacking among the young presenters who are appearing on our screens.
    Landline has been a must-see for me for many many years; however, now that it has been generically and genetically modified I will use the off button.
    Management at ABC is doing its damndest to destroy the organisation from within. It needs no help from without or from the Murdoch oligarchy.
    Kerry, thank you for being you, and best wishes to you and yours and may you enjoy the times ahead. Country and city do and will miss you.

  12. Peter M. Wargent., February 21, 2021

    As a rusted on supporter of Landline, the axing of Kerry Lonergan’s contract and the way it has been delivered appears singularly discourteous and irrational.

    But why be surprised? ABC executives have an ongoing habit and track record of reprehensible behaviour to individuals and Australia.

  13. Beverley Mors, February 21, 2021

    Not only was Kerry a knowledgeable presenter, who had a handle across the board on all things rural, but, he had a dry sense of humour and could mix with the best of them. Why ABC did you let a national treasure go? Thirty years of experience has been swept under the carpet without even an explanation to the viewing audience. I think you should hang your heads in shame for the way you have treated such a bigger-than-life person. I wish Kerry a healthy retirement.

  14. Bob Dyer, February 21, 2021

    That is a @#$% act when he was going to retire in a few months. Shame on them.

  15. Malcolm Mclean, February 21, 2021

    Yes, I have be wondering why Kerry Lonergan has suddenly disappeared from Landline; one of the ABC’s best productions.
    I wish Kerry a happy retirement and I will miss his easy style of reporting, especially with his wide knowledge in overseas trade issues with our trading partners. Where do you replace his knowledge quickly?
    Maybe there is more to the termination of this very respectable ABC spokesman than has been given to us? It is a shame he could not see out his full term until retirement with Landline.

  16. Daphne Hansford, February 21, 2021

    ABC Landline, you have made a very large mistake axing Kerry Lonergan from your program. The young fellow you have replaced Kerry with has not got the knowledge of Mr Lonergan, nor does he have the appeal.
    I have watched this show for decades and enjoyed it, but after the first two shows I think I will leave the TV off and go watch the grass grow. Very disappointing.

    • Denise Mason, February 28, 2021

      Shame on you ABC executives. You have lost your way with the rural people, who, by the way, are the backbone of this country.
      And not of the leftist view of your new concept. Get back to the real stories that matter. Kerry’s knowledge of rural people is one hundred times more worthy than what you are trying to project. Good luck Kerry

  17. David Hagan, February 21, 2021

    I’m a city dweller. Landline used to be one of my favourite shows. New coach is no good. Lift your game please. David Hagan

  18. Wayne Power, February 17, 2021

    I will miss Kerry Lonergan. The presenter who replaced him looks like a cardboard cut-out who has never visited let alone lived in rural Australia.
    As the ABC continues to shift to the Left it is inevitable that fashionable inner-city woke perspectives will dominate the program, alienating the predominantly conservative rural audience.

  19. Marion Messer, February 16, 2021

    I tuned in on Sunday only to see Kerry is gone and replaced by someone younger, boring and very upsetting. All those years of knowledge gone. Why couldn’t the ABC respect all the years he gave them and let him retire when he wished or at least farewell him correctly last year? Landline is not for the country anymore; it all about townies and greenies, who do not really care for the land. A truly wonderful show it once was, but now it’s barely worth watching. Many thanks Kerry, we wish you well. Wake up ABC.

  20. Robyn Krok, February 14, 2021

    I turned on today’s first episode of Landline for 2021 and was shocked and dismayed to find Kerry Lonergan was no longer a member of the presentation team. Not happy ABC!

    We have been loyal viewers of Landline and prior, to Countrywide, and we often sing the praises of this program to our friends and associates. Kerry’s replacement, on first viewing, does not cut the mustard. He may be younger, but lacks Kerry’s knowledge and sense of humour. Please note this couple of Landline viewers’ displeasure.

  21. Maryanne Camilleri, February 14, 2021

    I missed Mr Lonergan in this first episode. His delivery of the information was always easy to absorb for a city slicker like me. It was a shock not to see him presenting his usual segment. Please thank him for all the episodes he has presented in the past. My very, very best wishes to him.

  22. Susan Ganser, February 14, 2021

    We settled down after the hectic Christmas period and repeat after repeat on the ABC. We were waiting for the new Landline today and were shocked to see that Kerry was not the host of the program. We checked the internet and any stories posted to see that he had been axed. Has the programming board lost their senses?
    Kerry was our comfortable mate every lunch time on a Sunday now he has been replaced by some guy who says “stay country”. What does that mean?
    As usual, everything is just a thinly disguised attempt to educate the city people who wouldn’t know one end of a sheep than the other and aren’t interested either, except to say they travelled to the outback in their new moleskins.
    I’m furious, and by the way, hate the previews show everyday on the ABC so much so that it actually makes watching the show a waste of time. Sorry, you’ve lost a family of watchers.

  23. Mark Ostrowski, February 14, 2021

    Another unbelievable act by the ABC. Just short of the 30th anniversary of the show Kerry started and they do this. The market reports and Kerry’s invaluable insights into the rural sector sadly will be missed my many. Good luck on your future endeavours Kerry. Hold on to your Akubra Pip.

  24. 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.

    • Peter Harding, February 14, 2021

      Hi all, I have been watching Landline for some years now to educate myself about the men and women of the land.
      While over the years we have had some excellent reporters, Kerry’s segment to me had more of a human touch and you knew what he was educating you about. Not now, bye Landline .

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

Get Sheep Central's news headlines emailed to you -
FREE!