6 questions asked at 2023 Southern Cross Austereo

November 24, 2023

Here is the text of the 6 written questions asked at the 2023 Southern Cross Austereo AGM held on October 27, which were read out in full. Questions were handled as one job lot but the answers were okay in the circumstances. See archive of 72 minute meeting.

Q1. ARN Media is chaired by Hamish McLennan, who is the News Corp nominated chair of REA Group. Given his clear and historical links to the Murdochs, surely it is untenable to engage with ARN at any level until ARN Media is led by a genuinely independent chairman, particularly given that Lachlan Murdoch privately owns the competing Nova business and News Corp is one of the largest shareholders in ARN Media? Have we engaged with ACMA on any of these matters, particularly given the 2 radio license limit in capital cities?

Answer: chair said these were interesting points but ultimately a matter for Hamish, ARN and the regulators - watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q2. Have we attempted to recruit Kyle and Jacqui O and does the CEO and chair believe the ARN Media bid is partly driven by their contract negotiations with Kyle and Jacqui O and out interest in poaching them?

Answer: - watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q3. Could Carole Campbell comment on whether she felt comfortable with the anti-Voice bile pumped out night after night on our regional television stations by the nasty right wingers who populate Sky After Dark? Did we as a company take a position on the Voice. If not, why not?

Answer: chair said they remained neutral on The Voice - watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q4. Editorial standards are an important consideration for any media company. Could Ido comment on how much time he spends consuming our various radio, television and audio products and whether issues such as the Sky News attacks on The Voice ever come up at board level? Do our directors just leave editorial to management and ACMA, or do they get involved setting standards, managing risks and upholding our social licence to operate?

Answer: watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q5. The decision to renew our contract with Sky News is important at both a commercial and an editorial level. The huge No votes in the regional areas where our stations broadcast Sky News were clearly influential at the recent referendum. Is the next renewal of this contract something Heith believes should come to the board, or will it just be delegated to management? Are dollars and cents the only consideration or does Heith take social licence and ethical factors into consideration, such as the importance of fair and respectful treatment of the first Australians.

Answer: watch video of exchange via Twitter.

Q6. Given the interesting discussions across a range of topics today, including this remuneration report item, could the chair undertake to make an archived copy of the webcast plus a full transcript of proceedings available on the company's website? The likes of Nine, AGL, ASX, ANZ, Domino's and Lend Lease all produced their 1st AGM transcripts in 2021. Will you follow suit today? This is something IAG has been doing since 2003.

Answer: no transcript but will keep doing the video archive for 12 months - watch exchange via Twitter.