ABC Director of Television Kim Dalton yesterday announced he would step down in mid-February 2013, seven years into the role.
He will continue in a consultancy role on select projects.
Dalton has overseen a restructuring of ABC Television, principally with new multichannels and BBC-style Channel Controllers for ABC1, ABC2, ABC3 and ABC News 24.
ABC Managing Director, Mark Scott said, “Kim has driven ABC television to create more compelling Australian content and deliver it to more Australians in more ways. His advocacy was very important in putting together a coalition of support behind our successful funding bids.”
ABC also pointed to his achievements in the re-emergence of Australian drama, plus children’s content, the establishment of ABC News 24, as well as supporting factual programs, Indigenous stories, and digital offerings such as iview.
Dalton was also founding chairman of Freeview and has been Chair of the Asian Animation Summit.
“Kim leaves us after a very strong year on ABC television, with audience share up on all networks and producing a highly distinctive slate of Australian content,” Mark Scott said.
“I am pleased he will be in a position to continue to work with us on a consultancy basis as the ABC continues its transformation to be a great public broadcaster in the digital era.”
But there have also been battles within the broadcaster and with unions, most significantly over the push to outsource with external producers ahead of ABC crews.
These included protests over cuts to Arts programming, diminished sports and most recently the announced closure of ABC TV’s Tasmanian production unit.
Unions and Friends of ABC have accused Dalton and the ABC of privatisation by stealth, in part leading to a Senate inquiry into ABC cuts in October and another proposed for 2013.
But praise is more forthcoming from Richard Harris, chief of the South Australian Film Commission and SPAA executive director Matt Deaner, both of whom credit Dalton with championing Australian content in today’s Age.
The ABC will begin a search for a new head of our television networks immediately.