“Radio was all we had.” How a TV exec escaped the fires

Most readers will remember Jason Morrison from his years as a presenter on 2GB and 2UE.

Since 2015, he’s been 7News Director, Sydney. Like many Australians he and his young family was taking a well earned Christmas break when they found themselves surrounded by bushfires.

Jason was kind enough to share his observations with us:

I was stuck in Batemans Bay as it all unfolded and radio really was all we had.

2EC on the local FM frequency was brilliant. They suspended their holiday format and jumped straight in with warnings day and night but when the fire hit the area, really impressive – genuine rolling local news and information. Great detail and genuine local knowledge.

2EC was everywhere, booming out of cars, from transistors on the beach and the evacuation centres.

It occurred to me that many of the people on air may never had covered anything like it and would have themselves had their homes under threat but they were calm and cool with great local contacts with the authorities.

With all mobile phones and power out, they broadcast names of people missing and relayed messages between families that had become separated.

I have no doubt they took a lot of the panic out of some very frightened people.

It was a similar experience further north listening to 2ST who went straight into action. The police and firies were calling in to get messages directly to the public.

2XL in Cooma had the mass evacuation exodus going through their listening area. They ran regular traffic reports and info about which petrol stations had fuel, which restaurants were open – all after hours and late at night.

The ABC is getting many accolades for its work, and a lot of in-house praise as well – but we cannot forget the amazing work done by strong local commercial radio stations who receive no government funding to help their communities.

Their techs, their management and owners of these stations should be very proud as should the radio industry.

Below, the Morrison’s huddle together on the sand at Batemans Bay. Photo: Jason Morrison.



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