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The tweets attracted an avalanche of supportive replies, many from parents about how much they and their children loved ABC ME. Rasmussen said this was “heart warming” and she hoped they would continue to love the “incredible” content coming out of the Sydney team.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd launched ABC ME, then called ABC 3, in December 2009. During the pandemic lockdown, when most children were not attending school, ABC ME broadcast educational shows during school hours, including Ecomaths, ScienceXplosion, and Numberblocks.

An ABC spokesman said production of DNN would stop at the end of the month, as part of the ABC’s push to find savings in response to the government’s $84 million indexation pause. While the government maintains it has not cut ABC funding, a pause in indexation to inflation means the value of the funding has declined in real terms.

The spokesman confirmed there were potential redundancies among permanent staff if they could not be redeployed, while a small number of staff were on run-of-show contracts for DNN.

He said Rasmussen, Madon and Parker were on run-of-show contracts. It is understood Rasmussen has been a presenter at ABC ME since August 2016, while Madon and Parker joined in August 2019. Rasmussen remains a Triple J presenter. The Sun-Herald has tried to contact all three.

As well as DNN, the Melbourne team has worked over the years on programs such as News To ME, Break The Future and What It’s Like.

The spokesman said there were no other cuts to children’s programming and the broadcaster was investing in children’s content.

OzTam data for the second half of 2019 found drama was the most popular genre on the ABC’s video-on-demand services, making up 28 per cent of all viewing, while children’s content was second highest at 18 per cent.

“Children’s factual and entertainment content remains a cornerstone of the ABC ME schedule and we are increasingly prioritising children’s programs to meet audience expectations for on-demand content,” the spokesman said.

Current and upcoming Australian content on ABC ME included Are You Tougher Than Your Ancestors, and live-action series Thalu, in partnership with NITV.

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Alan Sunderland, the former editorial director of the ABC, said ABC ME was a very important part of the ABC’s charter, but the same was true of the 7.45am radio news bulletin, ABC Life and cuts to news correspondents and commissioning budgets.

“We are at the stage now in ABC cuts, where every single thing that gets cut is a good and valuable service that should not be cut – it’s charter relevant, it’s doing its job, it’s performing well, and it should be preserved,” Sunderland said.

“I wouldn’t for a moment suggest ABC ME isn’t worth saving, but so is every single thing that’s currently on the chopping board.”

Sunderland said as far as he knew, the only thing that had escaped the cuts was regional offices and staffing. Given the recent bushfires and the collapse of other regional media he thought that was appropriate.

Caitlin Fitzsimmons is a senior writer for The Sun-Herald, focusing on social affairs.

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