ABC Friends event to discuss the future of radio on 100th birthday

On November 23, ABC Friends Victoria and Eureka Centre Ballerat will host a panel of experts to discuss the future of radio on the 100th anniversary of broadcast radio in Australia. 

Chaired by ABC presenter and writer Jonathan GreenTuning In or Fading Out: Radio’s Past, Present and Future will look at the future of a medium that has been a source of entertainment, information, and companionship for generations. 

Covering the commercial radio sector, government-funded broadcasting, community radio and more modern re-imaginings, the panel will touch on questions like, what might radio sound like in the future? And what factors could change the identity of radio and help it engage and sustain future audiences?

The panel includes Pilar Aguilera, Chairperson, 3CR Community Radio; Prue Bentley, Editor, ABC Ballarat and Southwest Victoria and Professor Jock Given, Department of Media and Communication, Swinburne University of Technology.

The event will be held exactly 100 years after 2SB, later 2BL and now ABC Radio Sydney was officially launched – one part of a rich history of the radio industry (more information can be found in the History Chapter of Making Radio and Podcasts).

The station, now known as ABC Radio Sydney, is the first continuously operating licenced radio station to begin transmissions, and is now heard on AM 702 and DAB+ Radio in Sydney and streamed everywhere on the ABC Listen App and other streaming platforms. There was a race to be first to switch on between 2SB and rival station 2FC, with some of the details of the first broadcast date obscured in the mists of time, but it is generally attributed to 8pm on 23 November 1923.

When the first stations were launched there was no distinction between types of licence, the ABC had not been established (it began in 1932) and there were no community stations (they began in the 1970s) so all stations were just radio stations and were all allowed to broadcast commercials if they chose to do so.

Tuning In or Fading Out: Radio’s Past, Present and Future will take place in the Eureka Centre Auditorium on Thursday, 23 November between 6pm – 7.30pm. Although the event is free, bookings are required via Eventbrite from 1 October 2023. 

Tickets are now available for the event here.

Feature image: ‘18-year-old Patricia Delaney, Australian Broadcasting Corporation’ 1944 (detail), Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. Reference code 9581263. Courtesy ACP Magazines Ltd.

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