The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is set to unveil replacement theme music for its news bulletins, replacing the iconic Majestic Fanfare used for almost 70 years.
Three high-level sources within the ABC have confirmed to The Bug that the corporation’s board requested the change as a way to widen the ABC’s appeal.
“There’s a hell of a lot of secrecy about it because the board knows how the Australian community will react if we get it wrong,” one source said.
The current theme music has been used since 1952 for ABC radio news bulletins and is based on a segment of Majestic Fanfare which was written in 1935 by British composer Charles Williams.
It is broadcast in either a nine-second or 18-second version and was also the signature tune of ABC TV News until the 1980s when it began using a different theme.
Another source said: “While the replacement theme is being kept under wraps, there are persistent rumours that the new theme will be mandated for all ABC bulletins on radio and TV and online.
“There are strong suggestions that the new theme will be based on the Cold Chisel song Ita that was written by Don Walker for the band’s 1980 hit album East.
“Apparently the new theme will use the Ita music backed with new lyrics written by Don Walker and sung by Jimmy Barnes (main picture) in his unique style.
“That rumour gained credence by the fact that both Don Walker and Jimmy Barnes were recently invited to the ABC HQ at Ultimo in Sydney for on-air ‘interviews’ which were just an excuse to get them into a studio to record the new theme.”
A third source close to the ABC board defended the adoption of a new news theme based on a popular rock song.
“Traditionalists might not like the dumping of Majestic Fanfare, but there’s nothing wrong with developing a new theme that better reflects modern Australia and today’s ABC,” the source lisped.