National listening
 Radio Ga Ga   By // 17:01, Saturday 4 October 2014

12sep14 previewSOME of the most creative radio you’ll ever hear awaits you on Sunday mornings.

This article was first published in the 12 September 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.


360 Documentaries on Radio National (621 AM) features some of the best radio documentaries produced in Australia and around the world.

Take for example a doco called Beijing Static, broadcast four weeks ago. Understanding that radio is all about sound and how a listener’s mind can form images based on what they’re hearing, the producer accompanied two blind locals as they made their way around Beijing.

They dodged vast crowds of people and chaotic roadways, navigating around relentless obstacles based on the sounds they encountered. It was a brilliant use of the audio-only medium and made for compelling listening.

This week (14 September) 360 Documentaries will present some non-fiction radio storytelling called ‘The Radio Hour’, recorded at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival in August. This year’s theme was ‘When Words Fail’, with writers, radio producers and musicians performing live on stage.


One of the pieces you’ll hear is ‘Looking for Jacob’ which asks the question, ‘what goes through your head the split-second after you’ve been shot?’ Claudia Taranto kept asking that question about her uncle who died before she was born.

That’s at 10am Sunday on RN. Past episodes of 360 Documentaries can be found at the ABC’s RN web site.

Radio National’s brief is to be a network of ideas and information. Weekdays begin with Fran Kelly’s look at national and world affairs on RN Breakfast.

Weekend versions are presented by Geraldine Doogue and Jonathan Green.

The schedule for the rest of the day is diverse and often unique, not only on Australian radio but worldwide.

For this columnist, some of the most creative and engaging radio being produced in Australia is on Radio National and Triple J (96.7 and 107.5 FM).

Around Triple J’s regular youth-driven music format are specialist music shows and other features, all of which invite audience reaction and participation. Its daily half-hour show ‘Hack’ proves that young people, at least the ones who listen to Triple J, are engaged with the affairs of their country and the world and have an opinion.

We may know the extent of government budget cuts to the ABC by the end of the year. Here’s hoping both these networks remain intact.


Greg has worked in the radio industry for 38 years.

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