ABC astronomy program “StarStuff” to be scrapped

Logo for StarStuff

Logo for StarStuff from the ABC NewsRadio website

Update 18 Feb 2016

Great News! Stuart Gary has returned with SpaceTime – as Stuart himself tweeted “It’s time to say goodbye to StarStuff…and hello to SpaceTime…hope you like the new name. Same program..new name”. You can find him at SpaceTime where his latest podcast is available.

Update 21 July 2008

The ABC is ignoring the numerous complaints it has received by sidelining them, according to rumour, to an almost non-existent department with the grand title of “Audience Research”. At the same time it seems that to politicians the reason giving for axing the program is different to what it is telling members of the public – the claimed reason is a move away from “block programming”, yet a glance at the station’s schedule indicates that it is full of block programs such as Weekend Halftime on Sundays, plenty of AFL game broadcasts and, of course, material from overseas.

If anyone would like to continue the fight try writing letters to the editor to the newspapers. You could suggest moving StarStuff to ABC Radio National’s Science Unit. Wouldn’t that be a good idea?

Starstuff is a long running program on the ABC’s NewsRadio presented by Stuart Gary. It is the only regular program on astronomy and space on the ABC and it is popular with many people, even those with only a slight interest in those topics. I often get people telling me about what they have heard on StarStuff or asking me what time the program is now on. The program used to be a full hour program first heard on Sunday evenings and repeated on the following Saturday evening and at least one other time in the week. More recently, it has been cut back to 30 minutes only heard on Sundays from 12 noon. However, it is available on demand as a podcast.

Now it seems that it has been completely axed, possibly to make room for more sport with which ABC radio seems to be increasingly inundated. This country needs more people interested in science – many of the big government decisions essential to Australia’s future on topics like climate change and future power supplies will depend on a scientifically literate public. Astronomy and programs like StarStuff provide a hook to grab and keep people’s interest in science. StarStuff is essential, while more sport is not.

If you would like StarStuff to continue, the Astronomical Society of Australia suggests, among other avenues, to show your support of the program by writing to the ABC’s Managing Director, Mark Scott.

Note added 26 June 2008
Other, possibly more worthwhile, avenues for complaint are contacting newspapers and your local Federal member and/or writing to the Minister for Science, Warren Snowdon (warren.snowdon.mp@aph.gov.au) and/or the Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Steven Conroy (senator.conroy@aph.gov.au).

47 responses to “ABC astronomy program “StarStuff” to be scrapped

  • StarStuff was the best science program on either radio or TV, not just in Australia, but anywhere. It is very hard to understand why it has been taken off air by the ABC, they certainly do not have any substitute program.
    I look forward to Stuart finding another outlet so that I can continue to listen to him.

  • What a short-sighted move in cancelling StarStuff. As an American listener, StarStuff was the only ABC contact I ever had. I looked forward to every podcast. I wish Gary Stuart the best for all the fun and explanation he gave us listeners. Please restore StarStuff.

  • I can’t believe the ABC has axed Star Stuff. It was a great program I have followed for years. Brainless decision.

  • Missing my star stuff, my most favourite of podcasts. Please someone get it back on air. Perhaps the equally fantastic people of WNYC radio lab show could help find a way. SCIENCE should not be silenced.

  • Of all the ABC programs Star Stuff was my favourite and I’m very sad to see it go. I don’t know what the ratings/download where but Stuart put together a very good and compact program. It’s disappointing because this type of program is not duplicated anywhere else where lots of the other content that the ABC funds is. Something unique has been lost.

    Sad start to 2016

  • I have just sent the below email to Radio National.

    Of all the ABC programs Star Stuff was my favorite and I’m very sad to see it go. I don’t know what the ratings/download where but Stuart put together a very good and compact program. It’s disappointing because this type of program is not duplicated anywhere else where lots of the other content that the ABC funds is. Something unique has been lost.

    Sad start to 2016
    Toby from Geelong
    tobylaw [at] hotmail.com

  • We should help Gary get back on line. The name doesn’t need to be similar. His contribution to science and more specifically astronomy is one of the best in the world.

    ABC was foolish to cancel this program.

    They may bring others, it will never be the same as Gary

  • Shame on the ABC!!!
    Shame upon them again!!!
    What a horrible tragedy!!
    Star Stuff is the best astro-science program of any kind currently out there in any format. Myself and millions of others eagerly looked forward to it every week. That it has been discontinued leaves a gaping hole in all our hearts and great disdain for those that would commit such an atrocious sin. Because of Mr. Gary, countless children and young adults worldwide, became awe inspired by the all the vast array of space and science events and discoveries that Stuart sourced and presented. My 7 year old son and I would quietly listen every week and it inspired him to want to become a space scientist. To be part of the astro community world wide. Stuart brought us Pluto!! He bought us the latest in our understanding of black holes and dark matter!! He brought interferometry!!! He brought us our own Solar System!! Our Sun and Moon!! The Kuiper Belt and beyond!! The Earth!!

    The ABC will pay for their mistake.

    And this is a one man show!
    Stuart is amazing! He’s worth his weight in gold! He got the numbers for the ABC too! Over a million downloads? Why would the ABC ever shoot themselves in the foot by cutting this ever important program? The ABC should’ve doubled it in length instead. And it’s just a podcast. What could it have really cost them? It was probably one of the least expensive shows ABC Science ever had or ever will.

    Shame on the ABC again for killing this all important program!!!
    Shame on the ABC for leaving the DEDICATED, CONNECTED and utterly TALENTED Mr. Gary high and dry!!!

    Stuart, I have a very nice studio in my home. It’s all yours!! Move to the States and continue to do your amazing work from my town. Someone here would fund your work! Seriously, NPR, APM, Somebody, anybody would gain from the ABCs poor choice to stop this program and let Stuart Gary go. Any public radio station in the states or anywhere else should be begging Mr. Gary to come join their team with or without the Star Stuff name.

    Shame on the ABC!!!

  • I have been listening to Stuart Gary’s “Starstuff” since it began and am angry and disappointed to learn that the program has been discontinued at the ABC. When the program was moved from a regular radio program to digital format several years ago I was happy to know that it would continue albeit in a different format.

    Stuart made complicated science discoveries easy to understand for the average listener like myself and that is why I have been a loyal listener since the show began. What can be done to reverse this dubious decision?

    It is hard to believe a show of such high caliber will no longer be supported by the ABC. I find it hard to believe that the abc cannot find funding to support such an informative and important program such as Star Stuff particularly when it is produced by one person.

  • I am surprised. I truly enjoyed this podcast for years. It just goes to show what an old foggie I’ve become at 63 years old.

    The professional enthusiasm with which Mr. Gary produced each show has had my deepest respect. I’m his biggest fan in the state of Florida. I wish him the best and thank him for his excellent work.

    Tom Plower

  • What a horrifying idea! I love StarStuff. It must be kept on the air. I’ll do what I can to keep it alive.

    • My taxes pay for the ABC and I DEMAND that this long running show be left alone. Hear that ABC, your BOSS has spoken.

      Stuart should join up with the TWIT network. I’ll bet they’d love to have a solid astronomy netcast over there.

  • Hey ABC,

    First i was stunned to learn StarStuff had gone. I assumed that Stuart had something better to do and after all these years I had to accept this.

    Never mind I’ve found something else on CBC – you know the one……..

    Ex Newsradio listener.

    Stuart give Bob McDonnald a call…

  • Hi Phil,

    It looks like you’ve been going to the old NewsRadio StarStuff site at http://www.abc.net.au/newsradio/programs/STARSTUFF.htm.

    That never mentioned the move of the program from NewsRadio to a Podcast version at ABC Radio Science.

    This was probably an oversight….. ;). Though it went on for so many weeks after StarStuff was reborn at ABC Radio Science, one may wonder.

    Anyway in the last few days any reference to the above URL puts you through without comment to the new site


    There have been two new Podcasts in the program’s new incarnation dates the 24th July and 6th August, both excellent.

    There has clearly been a lot of politics behind the whole matter. Even some people fighting for the program’s return have been playing the “Credit game” while not bothering to give essential information on fora like these about what’s happening.

    Well, here’s hoping the program continues and prospers regardless.

    Personally, I’ve found it typical of the way the “new post 2001 society” functions.

    E.g. the press coverage of these events, which are momentous for both the national NewsRadio network (in terms of dumbing down policy changes), AND Astronomical Science policy in this country has been nothing short of pathetic.

    But that’s a terribly P incorrect view……….

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