The ABC says it is not concerned about the diminishing number of people attending the second week of the live farewell broadcast by the host of its Mornings radio program in Melbourne, John Faine.
The Faine Farewell Festival started on 10 October with Faine broadcasting live from Melbourne Town Hall and is expected to continue for at least another week, an ABC spokesperson said.
“Sure the number of listeners attending the Town Hall has dropped off a bit, but John is continuing to go to air each morning and will today enter the second week of his farewell broadcast (main picture).
“We’re sure the crowds will return in the third and fourth weeks because we know that John Faine’s retirement is just absolutely fascinating for all ABC listeners across Australia.
“Some critics have said we’ve overdone it a bit with all the national TV, radio, and online news stories and features about John’s retirement.
“They say it’s all a bit over the top because he was, after all, just another radio announcer and nobody outside Melbourne really knew him.
“But let’s face it, if you had a chance to wring the free publicity out of one crusty old bastard’s retirement, wouldn’t you do exactly what we’ve done?
“Plus we’ve had the opportunity to plug Virginia Trioli as his replacement, and we’ve done that just as mercilessly over the past few weeks.
“We’ve certainly sparked a lot of interest among interstate ABC listeners with many of them ringing, emailing, texting, or tweeting to ask: who the hell is John Faine?
“Many of the same people have also asked: who the hell is Virginia Trioli?” the spokesperson said.