Australian Broadcasting Corporation: 720 ABC Perth

Recently I’ve been enjoying the range of programming offered by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and in particular 720 ABC Perth (part of the ABC Local Radio network).

The station has a similar agenda to many of the BBC’s radio stations here in the UK – local news makes up a large amount of what is broadcast, music features sometimes and the ABC stations sometimes simulcast their programmes as well.

Fairly early evening UK time I hear Early Mornings Statewide – currently presented by Bridget Boson, while the regular presenter Glynn Greensmith is on another assignment for a few weeks.

720 ABC Perth’s Breakfast Show is presented by Eoin Cameron, a former member of the Australian Parliament who been on air since 1969 on just about every radio station in Perth.

Because of the time difference (+8 hours, or +7 when the UK is on Summer time – WA doesn’t change its clocks), I can only hear an hour or two of the programme each night.

Its a shame, because I actually quite enjoy the Breakfast Show – it seems to work quiet well (even if I am hearing it as a late night show). A look through the papers, a look at the news headlines, in depth discussion on the main news stories, and a little bit of music.

In fact the music choices seem to be more adventurous than those of the BBC’s local stations – one of the criticisms of the BBC is that the music is too much playlist-lead or a bit bland at times (just do a search of the Digital Spy forums…). I don’t get the impression that the music is playlisted on ABC Local Radio – that doesn’t mean to say that its not though.

I’ve heard music from all genres – country, folk, classical – and some pop, rock (etc) – not just on Breakfast but on the other shows as well. There doesn’t seem to be as much music as on BBC Local Radio, its more speech based – but that’s what local radio should be about.

At the other end of the day – starting at about 07:00 GMT/08:00 BST (or 15:00 AWST) – is Drive with Russell Woolf. Again, that has news, music, interviews and travel news and seems to work quite well. Because of the time difference, it’s been my Breakfast Show all this week.

Overnights, there are a number of programmes which are shared across the whole ABC Local Radio network. Nightlife with Tony Delroy broadcasts from 20:00 to 00:00 (AWST) – which is 22:00 to 02:00 in the East of Australia. The ABC stations further East all have time to add in their own evening shows after their Drive shows whereas Perth has Early Breakfast instead.

This is followed by Overnights with Trevor Chappell (Weekdays) and Rod Quinn (Weekdays) – 00:00 to 04:00 AWST (or 02:00 to 06:00 AEST). There are some interesting topics which come up on here – in the past week I’ve heard a discussion on anger, a phone-in quiz – and at the moment they’re discussing News International.

I think I’d describe 720 ABC Perth as a cross between BBC Local Radio and BBC Radio 5 Live (or maybe even, at times, BBC Radio 4); and while it can be compared to these stations, I wonder if maybe there are certain bits of the ABC Local Radio network which could be put in to practice in the BBC Local network?

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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