ABC Radio moves to inform, entertain and educate in the COVID19 crisis

The ABC‘s Managing Director David Anderson has outlined how the national broadcaster is keeping the nation informed, educated and entertained in response to COVID-19.

“Clearly, the challenge for the ABC is to continue providing the essential broadcast and digital services all Australians expect of us,” he said.

“There have been some changes to our normal schedule that audiences will have noticed already, such as the suspension of the National Press Club broadcast and a reduction of The Signal podcast.  And, like other providers, it will take some time for us to return to normal activity once the threat has passed.

“But Australians should be reassured that we are making every effort to continue to provide our trusted and valued services to audiences, wherever they are.  We are conscious of the important role the ABC plays in our lives. And we are doing all we can to keep Australians informed, educated and entertained in these unprecedented times.

“Contingency planning is well advanced and we are also adjusting our output to meet the rapidly changing needs and expectations of all Australians, covering everything from new box sets to binge on iview to recipes and activities for people staying indoors at home.

“And with so many children now at home, the ABC is helping primary and secondary students and teachers with additional curriculum-linked education content across multiple platforms. No matter the challenges to come, the ABC will be there for all Australians for the long haul, as a trusted friend and companion in a time of need.”

ABC Radio is providing a wide range of programs and services to keep Australians informed, educated and entertained now and into the future, including:

  • Connecting communities with the latest local news, expert advice, official health information and talkback on the ABC’s Capital City and Regional Radio networks.
  • Insider tips on family-friendly games from ABC ME’s Good Game Spawn Point.
  • Keeping Australians fit and healthy, including recipes on cooking with the essentials and tips on exercising in isolation.
  • New weekend sports radio programs and more digital content across all codes.
  • Expanded educational programming for primary and secondary school students.
  • Daily editions each weekday of the ABC’s Coronacast podcast, breaking down the latest news and research about how the world is living through the pandemic.
  • Live coverage of federal and state government announcements and in-depth looks at the impact of COVID-19 through key radio current affairs programs such as AM, PM and RN Breakfast and RN Drive.
  • Bringing audiences trusted news, insights and analysis on the ABC News Channel and our digital networks, including a rolling live blog and coronavirus website.
  • Enhancing triple j’s Hack’s news and information for younger audiences.
  • RMIT ABC Fact Check’s new CoronaCheck website and newsletter is exposing fake news and misinformation that is spreading as fast and far as the virus itself.

To help people cope with the changes to their daily lives and routines, the ABC is adding additional health and consumer advice and education resources. Initiatives include:

  • The ABC Health newsletter has increased in frequency to three editions a week, bringing subscribers the latest information and advice from here and overseas.
  • ABC Sport is keeping fans of all codes entertained with new weekend radio programs on ABC Grandstand DAB+ and the ABC listen app, including the return of Roy & HG every Saturday from midday AEST.
  • Mindfully’s new Corona Calm podcast, in partnership with Smiling Mind, offers meditation and mindfulness exercises to stay calm amidst uncertainty and there are new bonus episodes of kids’ ethics podcast Short & Curly and Parental As Anything with Maggie Dent on helping children cope with the impact of COVID-19.
  • For those unable to attend religious services over the Easter period, we will broadcast the Compass special “Easter in Australia” on 7 April and seek to show livestreams of religious services from here and overseas, including the Pope’s Easter Saturday Vigil Mass from the Vatican.
  • Our teams of specialist content makers will give audiences plenty to watch, listen to and read over the months ahead, including ABC TV’s Compass and Catalyst and RN programs such as Conversations, All In The Mind, Awaye!, Earshot and Radio National Fictions.
  • ABC Life is boosting its health and wellbeing content to help Australians navigate the daily impacts of COVID-19, with advice on looking after your mental and physical health while working from home and recipes for cooking with essentials.

As the nation’s biggest backer of Australian talent, the ABC is boosting support for local artists and creatives by bringing more of their work to audiences. In particular:

  • The ABC’s national music networks are already well above the industry’s Australian music quotas for radio (triple j plays 60% of Australian music). But they are looking to further increase the proportion of local music featured and played on-air across national and local and regional radio to assist Australian musicians.
  • triple j, Double J and triple j Unearthed have also announced a special edition of Ausmusic T-shirt Day on 17 April to encourage listeners to buy and wear a new T-shirt from their favourite Australian artist.
  • ABC Music has launched the #covidcoverschallenge on social media to support Australian country music, by encouraging musicians to post videos of themselves performing songs by Australian and New Zealand country music artists.
  • As concert halls go dark across Australia, ABC Classic is keeping the music going as Australia’s Concert Hall, working with Australian musicians to bring audiences concerts and livestreams and a list of online music events.
  • ABC music networks are working with the Australian music industry on the Sound of Silence initiative, which is supporting local artists and music industry workers during the shutdown of live music performances.


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