Australia is a technological backwater as we all know, a decent rail network is considered too hard, internet speeds will be frozen at current levels should the conservative coalition of the dumb and dumber win September’s election, and with Digital Radio still being (and seemingly stuck) in its infancy here, many radio stations are still broadcasting over the medium frequency band from 600 to 1500 Khz, in glorious Mono sound quality. One of those here in Victoria is ABC News Radio, a self-proclaimed 24-hour “news as it happens” channel. Except that it’s not.
It’s quite a funny radio station really. You often get the impression when listening to their news broadcasts that the readers are not familiar with terms or names they read from the screen. They have interviews on Australian politics in the morning, but these are not with politicians, but instead with other journalists, who they presumably consider more knowledgeable than themselves. To be fair, they have good sections too, like when they go to NPR’s “Morning Edition”, or broadcasts from “Deutsche Welle”.
And then, not infrequently, ABC News Radio completely abandons all pretense of being a committed 24-hour news broadcaster, and instead covers sessions from Federal Parliament. Not on their digital channel, where customers could tune in to listen to the tedious hours of question-begging and ad hominem fallacies that are the hallmarks of political debate in this country if they so choose, no, on their main feed over medium wave band here in Victoria. For like, 2 weeks in a row. With the result that customers like myself who, while finding sections of their programming rather cute in a “don’t you think that’s a bit amateurish” way and yet still appreciate the idea of them trying to be a news radio station, find themselves with no radio program to listen to on the way to or from work.
It being the ABC I’m sure there’s some kind of contract at work here that makes it imperative to broadcast from Parliament in session. But why not do it on the digital channel? And keep the main AM feed going, so I can listen in crystal clear Mono to the guy from the Australian Traffic Network reporting car crashes from Brisbane to Hobart over his mobile, or the somewhat limited in his event horizon sports dude excitedly playing some clip from some obscure AFL utility expressing his hope of being fit to play on Saturday, while ignoring the European Champions League results? Surely it can be done!