After 14 years keeping scandalous tales locked in the Channel 9 crypt, Melbourne’s marketing maven has been unceremoniously shown the door. So who’s next?
After 14 years keeping scandalous tales locked in the Channel 9 crypt, Melbourne’s marketing maven has been unceremoniously shown the door. So who’s next?

Nine axes publicity queen who knows where bodies buried

The axe is swinging at Channel 9 Melbourne as the Sydney bean counters swoop.

Two high-profile causalities got the chop this week and who knows who's next.

But if anyone knows where the bodies are buried in Melbourne or which skeletons are still rattling in the closet, it's Michelle Stamper.

With long blonde hair flowing, iPhone cradled to ear, or sitting behind the wheel of a fast car, the no-nonsense former Channel 9 head of publicity and marketing maven knows how to make an entrance.

The snappy designer dresser who was promoted into the role of Nine Melbourne director - marketing and partnerships - in January, also holds the key to some of the most delicious scandals of recent times.

When the phone rings with Stamper on the other line, gossip columnists, this one included, listen.

Block contestants and their stripper pasts, the extra-curricular activities of the once rampant and now deflated Footy Show talent, the behind-the-scenes blow-ups with Eddie McGuire, the misogynistic mentality at the old Bendigo St headquarters.

You name it, Stamper knows it, and even better for the Nine Network, knows how to bury it.

No doubt she was also well aware of what Channel 9 boss Hugh Marks was getting up to with a staffer (or was it two?) that led to his abrupt resignation last month.

Marks' toe-curling departure has set in motion the toe-cutting.

This week it was Stamper who found herself on the chopping block.

After more than 14 years keeping the tales locked in the Channel 9 Melbourne crypt, Stamper was unceremoniously shown the door.

No business ever gets redundancies right, but boy oh boy, the Channel 9 boys' club up in Sydney knows how to get it oh so wrong.

Despite their well-versed protestations, Nine's power base in Melbourne has been eroding for years.

CEO of Nine Hugh Marks resigned after a relationship with an exec. Picture: Jane Dempster
CEO of Nine Hugh Marks resigned after a relationship with an exec. Picture: Jane Dempster

The golden days of Nine reigning supreme in Melbourne, with well-produced local productions and edgy formats, have long disappeared.

It's the bean counters and white-shoe execs in Sydney calling the shots. As everyone knows, even some in Sydney, they don't know the Melbourne market.

Let us quickly digress. Never one to stick to the message, former 3AW breakfast radio host John Burns last year told this column the Sydney executives under chairman Peter Costello didn't know how to run Melbourne after taking over the station and were making a mess of it.

Burns left not long later, but the sentiment never left the building.

But back to the back slapping at Nine in Sydney for getting the jump on other news outlets by self-announcing CEO Marks' cosy resignation.

Nine chief digital and publishing officer Chris Janz and Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby are at the head of the pack to replace Marks.

Adman Mark James has been announced as the new managing director of Nine Melbourne after returning from a stint in London where he was global CEO of leading media agency network Zenith Media.

Zooming back to Stamper, sources inside Nine Melbourne were unimpressed she got the chop in a call from Sydney's chief toe cutter Lizzie Young.

Ever-loyal Stamper wasn't saying anything when Page 13 called, simply rehashing the line she gave her team this week: she had "thoroughly enjoyed the ride."

On the same day Stamper received the call an email was circulated to 3AW staff announcing the departure of stalwart entertainment reporter Donna Demaio after almost 30 years in the job.

"It is with sadness we inform you Donna Demaio is leaving the business today following changes to the structure of our news department," the email read.

"Donna has been a highly valued journalist and program reporter for almost 30 years.

"Her news and entertainment reporting has always been widely respected."

Sadly these redundancies are only the tip of the iceberg at Nine in Melbourne.

Their loss is another's gain!

 

Originally published as Nine axes publicity queen who knows where bodies buried



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