ABC NewsRadio celebrates 20 years of rolling news coverage

In 1994, Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa, Bill Clinton was in the White House, Tony Blair was elected leader of British Labour and Paul Keating was Australia’s Prime Minister.

Against this vivid news backdrop, on Monday, 15 August, 1994, ABC NewsRadio sprang to life as Australia’s only continuous, rolling news service.

To celebrate this milestone, respected journalist and broadcaster Steve Chase has produced an hour long documentary, ABC NewsRadio: 20 Years & Rolling, that will go to air on the national network next week, Friday, 15 August at 12.00pm AEST (with a special encore on Sunday, 17 August at 10am AEST).

The show reveals how the network has evolved across two decades, as it covered all the major stories including Mandela’s election, the Rwanda massacres, 9/11, the Bali bombing, Victoria’s Black Saturday fires and most recently, the saga of MH17.

Founded in a converted cupboard with a minimal budget, ABC NewsRadio now plays a pivotal role within the ABC’s suite of news services, the network that former Managing Director David Hill describes as “one of the really exciting new things that we did.”

ABC NewsRadio evolved from the Parliamentary News Network (PNN), with its original remit to provide a different broadcast on PNN frequencies when Parliament wasn’t sitting – continuous rolling news.

Now, with the advent of digital broadcasting, ABC NewsRadio continues to transmit its regular news service while Parliament sits, giving Australians the best of both worlds: rolling news and Parliamentary proceedings, anywhere and anytime.

Long before 24 hour news TV and accessible internet services, ABC NewsRadio offered Australian audiences a dedicated news channel, using the ABC’s extraordinary news resources, as well as material from international partners including the BBC World Service, National Public Broadcasting and Deutsche Welle.

Managing Director Mark Scott says ABC NewsRadio is “a great example of ABC energy and ingenuity.”

Read some of our earlier reporting of the network by clicking on the NewsRadio tag below.

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