Brisbane

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La Boite's new boss

The board's decision was a long time coming, but Brisbane's La Boite Theatre has a new artistic director. David Berthold will be a familiar name to long-time Brisbane theatregoers - he was assistant to Aubrey Mellor at the Queensland Theatre Company in the early 1990s when that company was really kicking artistic goals (as it is now). There's more about Berthold here.
However, as a consequence of the drawn-out selection process, La Boite won't be launching its 2009 season until January 29 next year. By contrast, the QTC has already launched its season, and other arts organisations around Australia either already have or will soon. The big question for La Boite is: Will there be enough pennies in people's pockets to buy subscriptions after Christmas? Also, with some of the city's better actors already busy in 2009, thanks to a jammed-packed QTC season, Berthold certainly has his work cut out for him. At least there's a teaser on the La Boite website, saying the season will include Shaun Charles's adaptation of Andrew McGahan's The White Earth, a comedy-drama called The Peach Season by Debra Oswald, and Matrix Theatre's production of The Kursk, which played at the Metro Arts theatre last year.

Where's Danny?

I hear that Danny Hoyland, longtime contributor to and onetime fulltime employee of Radio 4BC is no longer with the station. Apparently the on-air folks at 4BC have been told in an email from management not to use Hoyland for live crosses but instead to use station staff. Exactly where they are going to find anybody who gets out and about as much as Hoyland is a mystery to me. It's a strange move. Without knowing any more, I assume it's a matter of cutting costs, but to me it seems like cutting off your nose - and ears and eyes. I'd venture that Hoyland is better known among the Brisbane public than most of BC's announcers.

Wak's final attack

They were the biggest thing in entertainment in Brisbane in the 1980s, and they've been back together and on the road for the past year or two. But soon music-and-comedy act Wickety Wak really will be calling it quits; and their official website has the group's final tour dates. However, according to their fan club, the band's members won't have much physical evidence to fuel their nostalgia in their dotage. Apparently, somebody at Channel 7 has thrown out all the film and tape of the band - which made several specials and fronted a "Love You Brisbane" campaign for the station. Wait, it gets worse. I'm told that just about everything Channel 7 Brisbane ever produced from 1959 to 1994 got trashed. While TV may have been regarded as an ephemeral medium in its early years, it's hard to imagine that this decision was made in the enlightened 1990s. I'd have thought that somebody would have realised the worth of the material that was tossed into the skip.

Send in the clowns

The Cage breakfast team on Brisbane's Triple M have launched their own limited-edition beer which, as the result of a listener competition, is called Clown Lager. Not a bad name, but not as clever as the one Triple M used back in the early 1990s when Dave Gibson and Rob Duckworth were hosting the breakfast shift: Bitter and Twisted.

Movement at the stations

Although Nova 106.9 has apparently decidedThe Sunday Mail is suggesting that Lukis might get the gig full-time, taking over from Frank Warrick who is returning from holidays not to do the Brisbane weather but to read the Nine Gold Coast News. Of course, Nine is kicking itself for "boning" John Schluter, who has been a big part of the success of the resurgent Channel 7 news, but I doubt Lukis delivers the credibility the station presumably wants for its weather report. Still, with reports that the network's parent company is in dire financial straits, it might be more of matter of who they can afford ... Sami Lukis from Triple M's website

Seen but not heard

She calls herself "Emily Everywhere", but there's one place Emily Jade O'Keeffe soon won't be - on top-rating Brisbane radio station Nova 106.9FM. This story at couriermail.com.au, where O'Keefe has a blog, quotes Nova boss Sean Ryan as saying she was axed "to allow O'Keefe more time to work on her burgeoning television career". At least he didn't say it would let her spend more time with her family, which is what is usually the reason given in these circumstances.

Dunn like a dinner?


Update: Scan of story at right.
I can't find it online, but the Courier-Mail apparently has a story this morning where Brisbane Radio 4BC boss David McDonald denies rumours "on an entertainment blog" (that'd be this one, I suppose) that he's offered a job to former B105 star Jamie Dunn. My source says McDonald is quoted as saying "these blogging things, I don't put too much weight in them. I don't have any time for those things". So how does he know about it, I wonder - and why are Brisbane radio stories always among the most-read items on this blog?
PS: A cynical source says the rumours "must be true, then." My thoughts: If 4BC's boss hasn't done a deal with Jamie Dunn, he really should think about it. I know the station is doing well financially, but it lags behind the ABC in Brisbane and commercial talk stations in other states when it comes to ratings points. Of course, if the station gets more listeners, it can sell more ads and charge more for them. I believe that's what the commercial radio game is all about.
Disclosure: Brett Debritz used to be heard on 4BC and is now heard on 612ABC. His opinions are, however, his own. For more disclosures, click here.

A Dunn deal?

The radio rumour mill is running hot in Brisbane that former B105 Morning Crew star Jamie Dunn will be returning to the capital from the Sunshine Coast and anchoring a show on 4BC. The talk station is certainly underperforming compared to similarly formatted stations elsewhere in Australia, and Dunn (at left, with alter-ego Agro) would be a big asset given his fan base in the over-40s demographic. The big question, though, is: Will Dunn be doing the drive shift, as has been suggested by some in the industry, or will he take over the breakfast show? Whatever happens, the word is that there will be big movements at 4BC next year, with the signing of other well-known voices and some behind-the-scenes changes as well.

The Regent: shame, shame, shame

My thoughts on Premier Anna Bligh's decision over the fate of Brisbane's Regent Theatre are here.

End of the Regent?

Premier Anna Bligh has hatched a deal with developers Multiplex to incorporate a new Queensland Film and Television Centre in the redevelopment of Brisbane's historic Regent Theatre. The statement is at the Save the Regent website (which I run). As I see it, the deal takes away much more than it gives. The developer gets to build a huge tower block which will gut the historic building, while the Queensland public gets one 300-seat cinema and two 60-seat venues, which are pretty much useless.

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