The NFSA launches Who Listens to the Radio? podcast to accompany Radio 100 digital exhibition

The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) has released its first six episode podcast, Who Listens to the Radio?, hosted by NFSA CEO Patrick McIntyre and featuring guests including Wendy Harmer, Benjamin Law, Sally Cockburn, Fenella Kernebone and Christopher Gilbey.

The podcast examines Australian radio’s influence over its 100-year history:  from the crystal sets of the 1920s and 30s to the growth of talkback and later explosion of podcasting.

Patrick McIntyre gets the story behind Big Fat Radio, Australia’s largely forgotten experiment with internet broadcast from Christopher Gilbey OAM who was one of the station’s founders.

Dr Sally Cockburn, better known in the 1990s as Dr Feelgood, explained her thinking behind the frank discussions of sex that made her show so famous, saying:

‘I think parents were probably quite happy their kids were listening to this. In fact, I had lots of parents writing to me saying, “look, we were listening in the other room” …I wanted it to be fun. I didn’t want it to be sneaky or dirty…We had to keep the telephones switched off until just before the show went to air because we would get inundated with calls. I thought that was normal. I used to get a sack of mail every week. I thought that was normal.’

Wendy Harmer spoke with McIntyre about hosting talkback and being on air during momentous news events including the death of Princess Diana and the September 11 attacks of 2001.

‘I have been behind the microphone when big seismic things have happened. And it feels like a real privilege to have been there…when there is a disaster of some kind or when there is a celebration, everyone is going to switch on the radio because they know that’s where they’ll find the most immediate up-to-date news. That’s where they’ll find eyewitnesses who are on the spot. That’s where we will all gather. And I think that will happen for many years to come.’

The six episodes of Who Listens to the Radio are available now, wherever you get your podcasts. It was produced by Audiocraft for the NFSA.

The final chapter of the NFSA’s major digital exhibition Radio 100, a celebration of a century of radio history and achievements in Australia, has also launched. Let’s Get Digital looks at the digital disruption to traditional broadcasting, tech convergence and radio’s rebirth as audio culture in the early 2000s.



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