Mike Willesee reportedly had a "bitter battle" with Frank Packer over "editorial freedom" which saw him stood down from 'A Current Affair' at the end of 1973. It was understood Frank's son Clyde hired Willesee in November 1971 because "he knew how to make current affairs appeal to commercial television viewers." Mike Willesee elaborated in 1992, "Say we didn't have a story tonight (for 'A Current Affair'). Give me an hour and I can give you a story without leaving this room." 

He also made the point, "Current affairs shows tend to report on an event that's already happened, and they follow it up whether it's middle-of-the-road 'A Current Affair' or downmarket 'Inside Edition'. But in 'Street Stories' we have to be there when it happens – it's living camera stuff and there's not a lot of that around. It was extremely difficult. In fact, it started to get me down for a while. 

"I have never had to throw out so much material (as I have) here (on 'Street Stories'), compared to any other program I've done. We all had to be re-trained. It's a matter of being tough with ideas. In the early days we would sit around and someone would have a great idea but there were high-risk probabilities that can be overcome in ordinary current affairs in post-production. But here (on 'Street Stories') we have to get it right when it happens." 

An old title 'A Current Affair' of a new show was relaunched in January 1988 (the year of Australia's Bicentenary) with Jana Wendt as host. "After all those years on '60 Minutes', it's hard to think of a position in the business that isn't second best," Jana Wendt described hosting the national 5-nights-a-week, 30 minutes program which followed the news. 

Debi Enker reported at the time, "The cornerstone of Nine’s domination in 1989 was the consistent ratings heights achieved by the nightly news and 'A Current Affair', which regularly rated well into the magical 30s ... Achieving equally stratospheric ratings heights on a consistent basis, 'A Current Affair', with Jana Wendt at the helm, on one extraordinary occasion ascended to a ratings share of 40 (report to do with Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Sir Leslie Thiess). 'Four Corners' produces similar stuff with regularity and never gets within a bull's roar of a 40." Jana Wendt recognised, "I do think there is a factor X, an intangible, that makes some people work on television."

Some 20 years after he last hosted the program, Mike Willesee returned as full-time host of 'A Current Affair' in 1993. It was noted Mike Willesee and Mike Munroe were job-sharing the 6.30pm time slot. Gerald Stone stated at the time, "… I think the competition between 'Real Life' and 'A Current Affair' will be a case of the young lion (Stan Grant) versus the old lion." 

Without Jana Wendt, 'A Current Affair' did not hold the audiences the program had previously attracted. Malcolm Stewart of Total Media explained programs such as 'A Current Affair' and '60 Minutes' were the "tie-breaker" which made a difference in the advertising share equation. One source told 'Fairfax Media', "There is something like a holy writ that says news will always plateau unless you get a current affairs show at 6.30pm. Otherwise, you're playing footy with half a side."

News presenter Juanita Phillips observed, "News and current affairs have gone so magaziney, really predictable. They have been going too much into the magazine-style format. 'A Current Affair', 'Real Life' and 'Hinch' too, to a certain extent. By the end of last year (1993) you could pretty well guess what they were going to cover. They went for the hidden cameras and less for the serious political interviews. I can't remember the last time I saw a really incisive political interview. I like the Sydney ABC News. I really like the way it is written, quite commercial ... I think 'The 7.30 Report' is a bit heavy on state politics."

In 1994, with Jana Wendt decided to return to '60 Minutes', Ray Martin took over as host of 'A Current Affair'. Speaking to Peter Wilmoth in 1996, Ray Martin remarked, "I don't run the television industry, I just go out and do a job for the last 30 years of my life (since 1965) … At the end of the day I don't apologise for this program ('A Current Affair'), whether I'm involved with it, or Jana, or the Mikes, it's a quality program and occasionally we screw up, like newspapers screw up.

"Having lived in America for 10 years (1969-1978), having travelled the world for '60 Minutes', I think this program ('A Current Affair') would rate up against any program the BBC puts on, certainly anything the Americans put on. If people watch 'aCA' or '7.30' every night with their two different styles … then I think they're fairly well served in background to the news and current affairs stories that aren't shallow, aren’t exploitative, that are fair, quality journalism, which is probably why we get so many newspaper journalists who want a job. I don't mind being popular … I think Walter Cronkite was pretty popular. He was also pretty credible … I've had no shortage of offers from the ABC over the last 17 years I've been at channel Nine (1979-1996). The last one was 18 months ago (in 1995) for a very senior current affairs program."

Jeff McMullen replaced Ray Martin on '60 Minutes' made the comment at the time, " … '60 Minutes' talks in a television language, a language that even kids can understand. '60 Minutes' is such a successful program while too much of the ABC is invisible. On 'Four Corners' I was doing 6 or 7 documentaries a year. At '60 Minutes' it is almost every week. It means you can cover a lot more.

"You can have all the time in the world to make the film but unless you can get someone to watch it, it loses its impact. That is the strong argument for a watchable format. There is a little bit of joy in '60 Minutes', an awful lot of television making tends to be pretty soulless. It's one conflict to another. The format for a lot of documentaries is built on confrontation and yet not all the world turns that way."

Ray Martin maintained, "I think journalism is an honourable profession. I find myself defending journalists. I know so many to be basically ethical people. I am always stunned when I find it disagreeable. I'm not fitted to do much more than what I do. I'll be reporting, one way or another. Sport, religion, features. Something with adjectives. I'm not going to be an executive in television or radio. My abilities lie in reporting. In general, when people write on my side of the business (TV), I think the Americans write better. I think the American reporters on '60 Minutes' probably write better than us. But I have no doubt that our camera work and editing is better."

In discussing the 1985 film 'Acceptable Levels', Jana Wendt pointed out, "I suppose there are two things on '60 Minutes'. There's an ideal which happens in my case about 80% of the time. The ideal is that I have involvement with the story from the moment we start filming, or well before that, because I research my part in a story, and I follow through my involvement to the editing room.

"I regularly sit through to what we call a rough-cut, and I try to see it through to a fine cut. The way '60 Minutes' works is that we have somebody like our executive producer, Gerald Stone, to come in and view the so-called rough-cut. So editorial control goes to whoever is supervising the editing. To me personally, that is not as satisfactory, not nearly as satisfactory, as when I am able to see the editing."

"If it was my money and not Kerry Packer’s I’d be doing 20 (night-time) specials and nothing else and that's what I'd ideally like to do, purely for my energy and my sanity," Ray Martin spoke to 'Fairfax Media' in 1992. "I would have liked to see Jana with more popular people ('On Assignment') than Rupert Murdoch and Meryl Streep. The ordinary person doesn't care about Rupert Murdoch or Meryl Streep. They'd much rather see Jana with Kevin Costner. That's purely my opinion.

"It's probably my working-class background which makes me reject the word 'star'. I've got a Merc but Kerry Packer owns it. There are a lot of people who have nice houses and cars, but aren't stars. I go to the supermarket and shop … I'm clearly well-known. But I'd be offended if the people I worked with called me a star. I was with George Negus when we opposed the channel at '60 Minutes' when they wanted to fly the 'stars' first class and the crew economy. So we went and flew with the crew. In the end we travelled mostly business."

Jana Wendt believed, "I think probably stratospheric ratings and that (quality journalism) are possibly mutually exclusive. Look, nothing is easy, so if you're going to tell a complicated story it's going to take a bit of effort from the audience and not everyone is prepared to sit down and invest a lot of time all the time. Television viewers have to make a decision whether to 'veg-out' or become engaged in something which might become complicated.

"There are two things going on – while the standards of a certain type of program are spiraling down into entertainment values, there is growing audience for things to be smarter and people are hungrier for real information. To me that says they regard the first as entertainment, and accept it as that and don't take it too seriously except as entertainment, but they feel as though they're being ill-served unless other real information provided."

"All I can do is sport (such as Olympic Games), information, news or current affairs," Ray Martin made known. "I've said this to the 'Current Affair' people when I was last filling in (in 1991) and I've said it at '60 Minutes' – old hard-nosed male journos often don’t have enough women working with them who are tapped in to what ordinary people like.

"In the real world, I think that’s what people are interested in (light stories) and I think the danger with serious current affairs programs, especially where blokes are involved, is that you think the big stories are important. Maybe that's part of having a program ('The Midday Show') that's 60% women. It may just be the feminist movement; it may just be the fact there's been an education process for all blokes. If you live in that world that journos don't live in, there are 17 million people out there (population at the time) who actually enjoy their children and enjoy life. OK, they're getting it fairly hard at the moment but nevertheless, it's not all doom and gloom. There's really a lot of joy out there.

"It seems magazines and the media these days (in 1992) are short attention spans. You can see the changes in current affairs even – see it being faster with no time for longer stories. It doesn't have to be slick and superficial but it can be. I think women's magazines are in danger of becoming up-market glossy versions of 'Truth' in dealing with gossip and rumour.

"There's a fascination right now with fantasy, escapism and romance – look at the success of 'Getaway' (travel show), 'Sex' (with Sophie Lee), Elle, the Paul Hogan special (rated 30 plus). If I'd been doing the specials 5 or 10 years ago (around 1982) – apart from the fact I've grown up – I think I would have wanted to do some hard political story. I wouldn't do it now (in 1992). I don't think they (the audience) want two hours of hard story."

In an interview with Anthony Dennis, producer Peter Wynne declared, "I think Ray's getting better at what he does. The last year (1992) has been meteoric for Ray. His star is not just in the ascendancy, it's rocketing. He is a guy who might have been pigeon-holed, but now the network recognises his diversity … They call Jana Wendt the 'Perfumed Steamroller'. She has skills in a couple of areas. But what's transforming Ray is that he can pretty much do anything. I'd say he'd have to be the hottest property in Australian television (in the mid '90s)."

In the interview with James Murray in 1985, Jana Wendt mentioned, "There are situations where I suppose the fact that I'm a woman has helped me to get, I think, surprisingly frank interviews from people. That often comes from men who are unwilling to accept that women can be quite rough in an interview … When you ask me questions about is it an advantage or disadvantage to be a woman, I would find the more pertinent question to be: is it a disadvantage to be young? 

"I find age (28 at the time) to be the greatest, single hindrance to doing things the way you might want to do them and not sex at all. In my case I found that when I joined the ('60 Minutes') program (at age 25). These days (in 1985) it happens to a much lesser degree but if there are barriers to be broken, as far as I am concerned they are age barriers not sex barriers. Sure there are Neanderthal men out there who have some very strange Neanderthal views that women are inferior beings but I don't preoccupy myself thinking about that too much."

Jana Wendt also told 'Fairfax Media', "I've always been a person who acts on impulse and I have never pushed my way through to doing jobs for the sake of pushing. I've done things because I've enjoyed doing them. So when this delight with the job ceases, I will cease doing it and do something else ... If you're born into the world as a woman you become packaged with advantages and disadvantages and certain things that will always be there. It becomes a professional, biological fumble. You make your way as best you can. Some days you're proud of what you've achieved and other days you say to yourself: 'Boy, I really mucked up today.'"

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