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PlayStation 4 Pro: what Sony’s new high-end console is all about

Sony’s new PlayStation 4 Pro plays the same games as the regular PS4, but will make many of them look better. Photo: Sony The upcoming PlayStation lineup. From left: the new PS4, PS4 Pro, Dualshock 4 controller, PS Camera, PS VR and Move controllers. Photo: Sony
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Sony has announced two new versions of its PlayStation 4 will release this year, including one with greater graphical capabilities than the standard console.

At an event in New York City, Sony took the wraps off a new standard PS4 — which is smaller than the existing device but functions exactly the same — plus the PS4 Pro, a bigger and more powerful machine.

The Pro has a higher clocked processor and a more powerful GPU than the standard, and while both consoles play the exact same game discs and downloads, game developers have the option of adding graphical bells and whistles that only players with the Pro will see.

Sony explained that this strategy is a way to give players and game developers choice over the fidelity of the experience, while also making sure every player can play every PS4 game.

The Pro is capable of outputting games and streaming video at 4K resolution, something the regular PS4 cannot do. High Dynamic Range (HDR) is also coming to games and streaming video on PS4 however, since HDR only requires a compatible TV and not a heap of additional processing power, the capability will come to all PlayStation 4 consoles via an online update next week.

Sony said some developers are working on PS4 Pro and HDR updates for games that have already been released, meaning players will see improvements in the games they already own if they have an HDR TV or upgrade to the new console. Developers will also be able to give Pro-exclusive graphical touches to games running on the upcoming PlayStation VR headset.

It’s worth noting that, when it comes to gaming on the PS4 Pro, there’s no upgrade that applies to every game. So it’s not true to say the Pro “plays PS4 games in 4K”, or that it makes all PS4 games look better. Rather, the specific in-game differences between the Pro and the standard PS4 will differ from game to game.

Examples shown off during Sony’s event included drawing extra environmental details on screen, adding water reflections, increasing shadow complexity, applying physics to objects like a character’s hair, displaying the game in 4K or applying an algorithm that makes game textures better. It just depends on what the game developer decides to do with the extra resources, if it decides to do anything at all.

Importantly, some of the improvements made possible by the Pro console won’t require a 4K TV to see, meaning players using standard Full HD TVs will still see improved graphics using the new console.

With the release of PS4 Pro, the platform has come much closer to gaming on PC in the sense that two people could buy the exact same game but — depending on the machine they have and the kind of display it’s connected to — get a range of different results. The key difference is that players won’t have to change settings themselves to optimise performance, and that Sony is guaranteeing all software will run well on the base hardware.

In Australia the new-look PlayStation 4 will be available on September 15. It will cost $439.95 with a 500GB hard drive or $509.95 with 1TB. The PlayStation 4 Pro, which has a 1TB hard drive, will be available on November 10 at $559.95. So should I consider a PS4 Pro?

Incremental updates like this are pretty new to video game systems. Usually you can make a hardware purchase decision based solely on the software available for the system, but the new paradigm means software is tied to a family of consoles rather than a specific machine.

If you already have a PS4, the upgrade will come at a big price considering all the games you get will also be playable on your old machine, but it may be worth it for some (especially those with 4K HDR TVs). Upgrading will make sure you get the best version of future games, and may improve the graphics of games you already own, depending on whether the developers take advantage of the extra grunt.

If you don’t yet have a current generation console, the PS4 Pro is only $50 more than the 1TB PS4. It could also potentially tip the scales in favour of Sony’s platform compared to Microsoft’s Xbox, which has also seen a recent revision of its standard console with the Xbox One S and plans a more powerful box in 2017. Yet while the PS4 Pro is certainly more capable than the PS4 or Xbox One S, which are comparable in terms of processing power, one has to assume next year’s Xbox will raise the bar again.

In terms of streaming video, the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Pro both handle 4K HDR, while the standard PS4 does HDR only. Bafflingly, since it’s a Sony standard, the Xbox One S will play 4K HDR Blu-Ray discs while no version of the PS4 will.

If you don’t care about 4K or HDR at all, the only advantages the PS4 Pro appears to have over the standard PS4 are that game developers can choose to make their games look nicer on the latter, and PSVR owners with a PS4 Pro may get a bit more out of their virtual reality experiences.

The secret life of John Harvey

CANDIDATE: John Harvey in Cessnock last year. PICTURE: Max Mason-Hubers
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YOU may never heard of him, but John Harvey may be one of the most interesting men to ever stand for local politics in the Hunter.

In an era when colourful characters have almost all been weeded out ofour council chambers, MrHarvey, the owner of the Royal Oak Hotel in Cessnock and acandidate for mayor in Saturday’s local government election,boasts a remarkable resume.

Parts of it readlike the biography of the ultimate insider. An adviser to a generation of Liberal Party heavyweights, Mr Harveymade his name as an advance man for former NSW PremierNick Greiner, before eventually becoming one of hismost trusted advisers.

He’s a former Federal Directorof the National Party, and for a time worked with the likes of former Victorian PremierJeff Kennett and Liberal Party leader Andrew Peacock.His website boasts of once meetingformer US PresidentGeorge Bush.

But other ventures make him sound more like a character out of Dickens. Born in Canberra, he’sadentist by trade who also reportedlyonce farmed turkeys and helda job as a maitre d’.

He played a key role in the –at the time controversial –construction of the Eastern Creek raceway,and was, perhaps most infamously, theinstigator of a disastrous business venture that began with one of theoriginal supermodels –Elle Macpherson– backing his vision for an all-female yacht crew racing around the world,and endedin a long-running court case with the West Australian government.

Mr Harvey did not respond tomultiple requests for comment on Friday, but his dealings with the woman sometimes known as “The Body” were followed with considerable interestby the Sydney press in the late 1990s when a sponsorship deal with the state government in WA went sour.

No stranger to standing for elected office–he first ran for the National Party in 1981 in the stateseat of Burrinjuck, polling 41 per cent of the vote, and most recently stood as an independent in the seat of Hunter in this year’s federal election, polling a more modest 4.9 per cent–he’s considered an outside shot of becoming Cessnock mayor.

Butafter polls close, he’ll have plenty of stories to tell back at the Oak.

Spin Out has Tim Ferguson of Doug Anthony All Stars behind the wheel for first film

Tim Ferguson (of Doug Anthony All Stars fame) has co written a film called ‘Spin Out’ starring Xavier Samuel around the B and S ball culture. Photo: Penny Stephens Morgan Griffin as Lucy and Xavier Samuel as Billy in Spin Out. Photo: Sony Pictures
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The reformed Doug Anthony All Stars (from left): Paul Livingstone, Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson.

 

Telling lies to the media used to be standard operating procedure for the Doug Anthony All Stars (aka DAAS), so I’m not sure what to make of Tim Ferguson’s claim that he has reverse-pitched a new show to the ABC.

“I called them the other day and said, ‘You will come up with a format for us. We’re not pitching anything, you’re just going to make it happen. You’ve got six months, arrange it, put it together, and we’ll turn up and do a show’.”

Did you really make that call?

“I did,” he insists. “I called [head of entertainment] Jon Casimir’s office. I just thought, ‘What don’t you do in television?'”

And has he called back?

“He hasn’t got my number.”

Here’s what we can say with some certainty: at 52, and with his body severely affected by the multiple sclerosis that was first diagnosed at 19, Ferguson has directed (with Marc Gracie) his first feature film.

Spin Out is a ribald romantic comedy set at a B&S ball. It features a lot of what is known in the trade as “circle work” – utes doing doughnuts in the dirt – and it stars Xavier Samuel and Morgan Griffin as a pair of childhood friends who don’t realise, or acknowledge, their love for each other until she’s about to head off to Sydney.

“Directing was a role I completely underestimated,” says Ferguson. “It’s like when you’re about to have your first baby and somebody says ‘Oh, it’s tiring’, and you think, ‘Yeah, I’ve been tired’. And then you have your first child and you realise it’s beyond tiredness. You get so tired you can’t remember anything.

“I just underestimated the demands that are made on you in terms of decision making – every 30 seconds you’re given a multiple choice.”

Ferguson is confined to a wheelchair now; when he wants to adjust his position as we chat, he has to use his hands to move his legs. But he insists the physical demands of filmmaking were no greater for him than they were for anyone else.

“I don’t experience the fatigue some people get with MS,” he says. “It’s not that the muscles are weak for me, it’s just that they’re on all the time.”

On set, he got around in a motorised golf cart, rigged up especially with dual monitors so he could see what was being shot on camera A and camera B. It was a diesel golf cart, he quickly points out.

“Everything had to have a noisy engine. If we’d had electric we just would have been picked on by the stunt guys.”

Ferguson grew up in country NSW, and as a kid dreamt of the day he could go to his first B&S ball. By the time he got there, he says, he was 23 and “a man of the world”, having tasted the first wave of success with DAAS (the trio reformed in 2013, with Ferguson and Paul McDermott joined by Paul Livingstone – aka Flacco – standing in for original member Richard Fidler, now a Radio National host).

“I was like, ‘What is this?’ ” he says. “And of course the sense of superiority vanished in about five seconds. It was wild. I woke up on a bus. ‘What are we doing here, Johnno?’ It was terrible but great – an evening I’ll never remember.”

His co-writer Edwina Exton attended balls all over the country in the course of researching the film – “though I don’t know if she had the full paddock experience”, he says slyly – ensuring the world they created should pass muster with the B&S veterans who will hopefully flock to see it. But the ball in the film is a confection, shot in Shepparton in late 2015.

“We had our own studio backlot – we had the shed for a month, the paddock for a month, the whole area, so we could dress it,” he says.

So, you could say you made your first movie at the famous Shepparton Film Studios?

“Yeah, yeah you could,” he laughs. “And if you meet anybody from Star Wars, tell them they’re not that good.”

Spin Out is in cinemas from Thursday September 15

Follow Karl Quinn on facebook at karlquinnjournalist or on twitter @karlkwin

Whitebridge High students team up with Charlie’s Run 4 Kids to raise funds for Jacob Cooper

Stick together: Jacob’s close friends, Ben McLennan, Jesse Conrick, Jakob Cresnar, Matias Faith and Nathan Davies were the first to run. Pictures: Jonathan CarrollWHITEBRIDGE High students have worn their hearts on their sleeves –and theirshirts, faces and hair – as part of a colourful event to raise funds for a peer fighting leukemia.
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More than 650 students each paid $5 tobedoused in pink duringa five kilometrefun run on Friday, which was organised to raisemoney for year nine cancer patient Jacob Cooper, 15.

Jacob’s friend since kindergarten, Jesse Conrick, said his mate would be overwhelmed with the show of support.“He’d love it,” Jesse said.“He’s being brave, he’s a soldier. He’s going to Sydney soon to get a bone marrow transplant.”

More than 650 Whitebridge High students participate in colour run for cancer patient and peer Jacob Cooper pic.twitter杭州m/UvXWtgSAQx

— Helen Gregory (@HGregory_Herald) September 9, 2016

Head teacher of wellbeing Melita Morrow said the school couldn’t have organised the event without the pupils’enthusiasm.“It shows these students look after their own – and that the future is in good hands.”

School captains Lachlan Davis and Anna Stoddard said many students had been touched by cancer.“People say teenagers are more self centered than previous generations, but give them a cause they can connect with and the response is amazing,” Anna said.All funds will be deposited into an account that charity Charlie’s Run 4 Kids set up for Jacob.

The charity, established in memory of late Dudley Public student Charlie Carr, will also donate to Jacob proceeds from its 150 kilometre run inNovember.

Jacob and Charlie met in hospital, when they were both undergoing treatment.

House afloat on Lake MacquarieVideo

The houseboat that broke its tether in Toronto and floated under the bridge before coming to a stop at Fennell Bay.● MORE PHOTOS
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WATER views at Toronto may be popular, but the cyclonic storms that lifted the lake have one unfortunate home owner a little bit too close to the edge.

Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.

The house, which moves quickly along the Lake Macquarie shore in a torrent of flood water, floats past easily in footage filmed about 6.30am on Tuesday.

“I thought it was a boat or something,” Ms Brien said.

“It just looks like half a house.”

House afloat on Lake Macquarie | Videohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd杭州龙凤419/transform/v1/crop/frm/storypad-D8vFkr4DfTRK2kpdPpAQJC/e2028602-e53f-4e4e-8cfd-79565df1c544.jpg/r0_187_720_594_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgTORONTO: Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.news, local-news, toronto house, lake macquarie, news2015-04-21T20:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001While she lives on the shoreline Ms Brien said the structure was unfamiliar, indicating it had travelled a distance before reaching her.

The houseboat, which some locals said was moored at Toronto,travelledbelow the Main Road bridge before coming to rest “a fair way” along in Fennell Bay, where it was secured.

Ms Brien said the spectacle was a clear warning to anyone who thought about chancing their hand through flood waters.

Ringing police, Ms Brien said she was asked to repeat the unusual spectacle several times to authorities.

“It was going pretty fast,” she said.

“[Going through floodwater] is just stupid.”

Ms Brien’s sister Hannah and her boyfriend Khai Nilsson found the house-come-boat at the end of their street a short time later, tied up by volunteers at the end of Fennell Bay’s Margaret Street.

They said the house had travelled more than a kilometre on water, and the fact it was unfamiliar probably meant it was from even further up stream.

“I was just like, how did that even happen?” Mr Nilsson said.

Ms Brien, whose property has lacked power since 1am, said she was prepared if electricity stayed off overnight.

“We’ve got a little gas cooker so we can just make coffee,” she said.

Originally published asHouse afloat on Lake Macquarie by Newcastle Herald.

need2know: All eyes on inflation

Australian shares are poised to open lower, on a weak overseas lead, ahead of the latest local consumer price data.
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What you need2know

SPI futures down 27pts to 5850

AUD at 77.37 US cents, 92.24 Japanese yen, 71.79 Euro cents and 51.63 British pence

On Wall St, S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq +0.4%

In Europe, Stoxx 50 flat, FTSE +0.2%, CAC 40 +0.1%, Dax +0.4%

Spot gold up $US5.36, or 0.5% to $US1201.25 an ounce

Brent crude down $US1.24, or 1.9% to $US62.21 a barrel

What’s on today

Australia consumer prices; Eurozone consumer confidence; US home prices, existing home sales, crude oil inventories, Canada annual budget release; Japan trade balance;

Stocks to watch

Singtel chief corporate officer Jeann Low says its move to quit the Australian Securities Exchangeis not a precursor to selling Optus.

JPMorgan is “overweight” Asciano with a price target of $7.47 a share. “Overall, the growth rate in the 3Q15 trading update was slightly higher than we expected.”

Deutsche Bank says WorleyParsons is a “hold” with a price target at $11.02 a share.

RBC Capital Markets has a “sector perform” on Rio Tinto after the miner reported a mixed March quarter production result.

Currencies

Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group said that German 10-year Bunds were “the short of a lifetime” and that the trade could earn 10-15% over a period of one to two years.

The US dollar was mixed against major currencies overnight, with the euro pivoting to modest gains against the greenback after euro zone finance ministers moved away from fixing a deadline for Greece to come up with fiscal reforms.

Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities in Toronto: “In rather illiquid conditions, at the range extremes, we seem to be attracting some interest. But I don’t think there’s much conviction in the market.”

Commodities

Copper prices softened as worries about weak demand from China soured sentiment. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $US5945 a tonne.

As for the outlook for copper: “The major risk to our forecast remains the trajectory of demand for the balance of 2015 as a further weakening globally would greatly increase the downward risk bias,” JP Morgan said in a note. “We do not think major supply adjustments are likely until prices trade around $US4000/t.”

Oil prices fell after Saudi Arabia announced the end of its military campaign in Yemen, easing tensions in the Middle East. An updated Reuters survey, meanwhile, showed that US crude inventories likely rose by 2.9 million barrels last week, up for a 15th straight week.

United States

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as DuPont and Travelers slumped after reporting results, while a takeover offer for Mylan pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index higher.

DuPont tumbled 3% after saying the US dollar is putting pressure on full-year profit. Travelers tumbled 4% as first-quarter profit fell 21%. Biotechnology shares rallied as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries proposed to buy Mylan for about $US40.1 billion.

The S&P 500 is 0.9% away from a record reached on March 2, the same day the Nasdaq Composite Index topped 5000 for the first time in 15 years. The S&P 500 climbed 0.9% on Monday amid a rally in technology shares, recovering nearly all of Friday’s selloff.

Europe

Europe’s main stock indices have risen on mixed German data. The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute slipped by 1.5 points to 53.3 points in April, disappointing analysts’ expectations for a further increase this month.

US and British officials are preparing to announce a settlement with Deutsche Bank as soon as Thursday over allegations it tried to rig benchmark interest rates such as Libor, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Greece faces increasing pressure to come to an agreement with its creditors for more aid, without which it may run out of money as soon as next month. Euro-area finance ministers are due to meet Friday to discuss Greece’s proposals for the economic reforms that have been demanded in return for the final payments under its 2012 bailout.

What happened yesterday

Local shares bounced back into positive territory thanks to strong leads from overseas, but the midday release of the RBA’s April minutes dampened sentiment. The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 39.2 points, or 0.67pc, to 5872.3 on Tuesday.

Wild weather lashes the Hunter: One in ten-year’ storm expected to worsen

NSW Premier Mike Baird, updating NSW on the extreme weather, speaking in Sydney on Monday. (Photo by Brianne Makin/Fairfax Media)●MORE PHOTOS
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● Three dead in Dungog

AN evacuation centre is being set up in Dungog amid predictions the ‘‘one in ten-year’’ storm in which three people have already tragically died is expected to worsen in the Hunter region, Premier Mike Baird says.

He has asked ‘‘bosses to be flexible’’ and allow their staff to leave early so they can get home during daylight hours, with conditions proving more severe than forecast.

Despite the battering the region has already copped, conditions are predicted to get worse in Newcastle in particular and the Lower Hunter through to midnight, as the bad weather heads south.

Mr Baird said it was too early to say how the three elderly residents had died at Dungog.

‘‘It looks very much like we have lost three residents, they are elderly residents, and at the moment those circumstances are being worked through,’’ he said.

‘‘…It is obviously a tragedy for their family and friends and all of us are thinking of them at this time.’’

Mr Baird said the area was cut off but ‘‘we are doing everything possible we can to support them’’.

‘‘There are a number of homes that have been lost in this, there’s obviously a number of roofs that have been taken off and we’ve also lost life,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a huge storm event that is wreaking havoc across NSW at the moment.’’

About 90,000 homes and businesses in the region still have no power, and several suburbs are without water.

Hunter Water is now urging customers to conserve water until Ausgrid can restore the electricity to its pumping stations and reservoirs.

At a media briefing with SES Commissioner Adam Dent, Mr Baird said more than 4500 calls for assistance had already been made across storm affected areas, and residents were asked to be patient while authorities focused on restoring power to three Hunter hospitals that were using back up generators and to aged care homes.

‘‘Clearly everyone that’s calling will be responded to but we need to ensure that is the life threatening events and incidents that are getting priority,’’ he said.

Emergency services had carried out 47 flood rescues so far, with residents reminded not to enter flood waters.

Weather forecasts suggested that between now and midnight conditions ‘‘could become more severe particularly in the Hunter and down on the Central Coast’’.

‘‘’’There is strong advice to everyone across the greater metropolitan area…to start to head home as soon as you possibly can,’’ the Premier said.

Emergency Services minister David Elliott said it was a storm the ‘‘likes of which we haven’t really seen since 2007’’.

About 500 SES volunteers were ‘‘risking life and limb to ensure the people of this state can get through this disaster like they’ve gotten through every other disaster’’, alongside 200 Rural Fire Service volunteers and 1000 Fire and Rescue.

SES Commissioner Adam Dent asked people to be patient: ‘‘we will get to you’’.

‘‘The next 12 hours is a difficult period particularly in the Hunter and those northern parts,’’

‘‘We need to limit any non-essential travel and ask that you never, ever drive, walk, play, or get into flood waters.’’

‘‘If there is flood water do not enter it– it is not worth it.’’

Transport minister Andrew Constance said 250 traffic lights in the state were out and road closures included the Hunter Expressway between Wine Country Drive and the New England Highway, due to flooding.

Mr Baird said some Hunter schools would probably be closed on Wednesday, and parents should contact schools.

Wild weather lashes the Hunter: House afloat on Lake Macquarie

The houseboat that broke its tether in Toronto and floated under the bridge before coming to a stop at Fennell Bay.● MORE PHOTOS
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WATER views at Toronto may be popular, but the cyclonic storms that lifted the lake have one unfortunate home owner a little bit too close to the edge.

Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.

The house, which moves quickly along the Lake Macquarie shore in a torrent of flood water, floats past easily in footage filmed about 6.30am on Tuesday.

“I thought it was a boat or something,” Ms Brien said.

“It just looks like half a house.”

House afloat on Lake Macquarie https://nnimgt-a.akamaihd杭州龙凤419/transform/v1/crop/frm/storypad-D8vFkr4DfTRK2kpdPpAQJC/e2028602-e53f-4e4e-8cfd-79565df1c544.jpg/r0_187_720_594_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgTIANNA Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.news, local-news, NEWCSTLE WEATHER, toronto house, lake macquarie2015-04-21T20:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001While she lives on the shoreline Ms Brien said the structure was unfamiliar, indicating it had travelled a distance before reaching her.

The houseboat, which some locals said was moored at Toronto,travelledbelow the Main Road bridge before coming to rest “a fair way” along in Fennell Bay, where it was secured.

Ms Brien said the spectacle was a clear warning to anyone who thought about chancing their hand through flood waters.

Ringing police, Ms Brien said she was asked to repeat the unusual spectacle several times to authorities.

“It was going pretty fast,” she said.

“[Going through floodwater] is just stupid.”

Ms Brien’s sister Hannah and her boyfriend Khai Nilsson found the house-come-boat at the end of their street a short time later, tied up by volunteers at the end of Fennell Bay’s Margaret Street.

They said the house had travelled more than a kilometre on water, and the fact it was unfamiliar probably meant it was from even further up stream.

“I was just like, how did that even happen?” Mr Nilsson said.

Ms Brien, whose property has lacked power since 1am, said she was prepared if electricity stayed off overnight.

“We’ve got a little gas cooker so we can just make coffee,” she said.

Wild weather hammers The HunterPhotos

Wild weather hammers The Hunter | Photos A tree crashes onto a car at Parry Street. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers
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Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Souths Seas Drive, Ashtonfield. Pic: Debbie Edmunds

Singleton’s Bridgman Road is closed.

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

East Maitland court house. Pic: Clare Jordan-Wills

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Majors Lane, Keinbah (near Weston). Pic: Debbie Edmunds

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Nelson Bay. Pic: Samantha Hoggard

Woodberry Rd. Pic: Raelean Beattie-Paradis

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Maitland on Tuesday morning. Pic: Cath Bowen

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Jesmond: Pic: Nick Kelly

Dungog’s Main St. Pic: Brodie White

Singleton’s junior rugby union ground at Allan Bull Reserve.

The creek near Allan Bull Reserve in Singleton.

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Floodwater at Stroud. Pic: Rosemary Laing

Merewether’s David Smith shared this close call after a tree fell.

New Lambton. Pic: Darren Pateman

Scenic Drive. Pic: Darren Pateman

Figs down in Laman Street. Pic: James Vadas

A fallen tree in Broadmeadow. Pic: Darren Pateman

The Hunter is waking up to severe storm damage. Pic: Darren Pateman

A roof lifted at Hamilton South. Pic: Darren Pateman

A damaged sign outside Hunter Stadium. Pic: Darren Pateman

Damage at Karoola Road, Lambton. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers

The Raymond Terrace Road crash scene. Pic: Marina Neil

Readers are reporting trees down and storm damage at the University of Newcastle residences. Pic: Brittany Hitch.

Pic: Jamie-Lee

Pic: Jamie-Lee

Two boats come together at Gosford breakwater. Pic: Joanne McCarthy

Damage on Zaara Street Newcastle. Front doors of no.19 and the roof off the building next door is in the pool. Picture: June Parkin

A Lake Macquarie jetty is consumed by the swollen lake. Picture: Hugh Robson

Yule Road, Merewether Heights. Picture: Darren Pateman

Hunter Street, Newcastle. Picture: Rosemary Milsom

TweetFacebookHeavy rain, strong winds and flash flooding have hammered the Hunter Valley with emergency services inundated with calls.

As people bunker down with more wet weather predicted, readers of The Maitland Mercury and the Newcastle Herald along with their photographers and journalists have taken these photos of the damage so far.

ABC 702 Sydney takes a dive in radio ratings 2015

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.
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Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Audience drop: Richard Glover. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Ratings plunge: Linda Mottram. Photo: Ben Rushton

Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson (Jackie O) continue their apparently unassailable breakfast FM lead. Alan Jones remains on his lofty perch at the top of the AM breakfast tree and Dan Debuf and Mandy (Maz) Compton demonstrate just what a hard slog it is to build a breakfast audience.

It’s situation normal with the latest Sydney radio ratings, apart from a curious trend developing at 702 ABC Sydney. Overall, the broadcaster has shed 1.7 points, down from 10 last survey to 8.3.

Leading the plunge is Richard Glover’s Drive show, which lost 1.9 points to 8.2 and Linda Mottram’s Mornings show (down 2 points), while Breakfast’s Robbie Buck also took a hit, falling 1.3 points to 10.2.

It’s a far cry from the heady days of August last year when Glover, who is also a Fairfax columnist, was riding high on 13.5 points. Since then the program’s numbers have been mostly in one direction.

However, 702’s local content manager, Andy Henley, believes many listeners may have temporarily departed to escape the station’s comprehensive coverage of the NSW election.

“You’d have to suggest that the election wasn’t great for us which is disappointing because we put a lot of effort into making it as engaging as we possibly could, given the state of the political cycle at the moment,” he said.

Elsewhere on the AM dial, 2UE, owned by Fairfax, also shed 0.6 of a point overall, with Breakfast dropping back to 4.5 from 5.2 points.

Sandilands and Henderson’s figures remained largely unmoved at 10.4, while Debuf and Compton dropped 0.2 to 2.8. It’s still early days for the 2Day FM pairing, but that performance is bound to be frustrating for management at Southern Cross Austereo, who have had to suffer taunts from Kiis 1065 owners Australian Radio Network (ARN) that 2Day FM is “no longer a competitor”.

ARN’s Duncan Campbell pronounced himself very happy with his stations’ results but denied the broadcaster was resting on its laurels.

“Obviously a lot of hard work goes into it, particularly in Sydney,” he said. “To bear the fruit that it has is particularly encouraging.”

Nova’s Paul Jackson was also positive about his stations’ performance, happily pointing out that Nova, which broadcasts in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth as well as Sydney, is the “most listened to” station in the country.

He also had some advice for struggling 2Day FM. “Something is not right because they have spent a fortune in marketing in every city,” he said. “The new offering has not connected. Simple as that.

“Put it this way, Hit 104.1 2Day FM has worse ratings now than Classic Rock [the forerunner of smoothfm 95.3] had when we blew it up.”