ABC Managing Director today officially opens the refurbished Southbank studios bringing TV and Radio teams under one roof.
The revamped building on the corner of Sturt and Southbank Bvd is in the heart of Melbourne’s Arts precinct, having expanded its footprint at the rear, previously home to an old garage.
Across 4 floors there are 5 TV studios (the largest of which is 800sqm), 19 radio studios, 20 edit and production facilities and a compact sound and film archive. The building will be home to approximately 600 ABC staff, together with tenants Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Australian Youth Orchestra.
Yesterday Guthrie addressed staff gathered in the foyer, telling them the news studio would be named the John Clarke Studio.
“We are still mourning the loss of one of the most loved members of the ABC family, the great satirist, writer and performer John Clarke. I know how important John was to many of you here, how your day was often made better by a wink and a grin from him across the newsroom. I know how much he will be missed,” she said.
“Today I would like to announce, following a suggestion from his colleagues here at the ABC, that we have decided to name the main news studio in his honour. The John Clarke Studio will be officially named at a future date, but it is fitting that today all of us should recognise the contribution he made to the ABC and to audiences everywhere.
“With his on-screen partner Bryan Dawe, John filmed his last interviews in the studio. In naming the studio after him and through the legacy of his work, we will remember him as a friend and colleague.”
Melbourne is the last of the ABC capital-city offices to have staff located in separate premises. Staff in Elsternwick are relocating from Selwyn Street to the new open-plan facility, while famed Ripponlea Studios will soon be decommissioned and sold. The Weekly with Charlie Pickering is still recording there, along with occasional third party hires.
News Breakfast, which has always filmed from Southbank, has endured noisy renovations to be the first programme on the air in the new, environmentally sustainable space.
“This new ABC Southbank facility will house some of the most creative talent on our screens and behind our microphones. ABC Southbank brings our staff together onto a modern media stage where they can continue to produce the highest quality television programs, the most trusted and respected journalism and the most important and engaging radio conversations our audiences expect of us,” Guthrie told staff.
“For many Melbournians and Victorians, the ABC is a fixture in their lives and it is fitting our staff should deliver that content from a modern facility such as this.
“The ABC is undergoing significant change as we adapt to the challenges of the broadcast landscape. This new building will help foster the cross-platform strategy necessary for our ongoing success and the collaborative spirit required of us to continue meeting the expectations of our audiences.”