Radio Australia

ABC Radio Australia
Type Radio network
Country Australia
Availability International
Owner Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Key people
Lynley Marshall (CEO, ABC International)
Official website
Language English, Pidgin, French

Radio Australia is the international broadcasting and online service operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Australia's public broadcaster. Most programming is in English, with some in Tok Pisin and French.


Shortwave services from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation were inaugurated in December 1939 by Prime Minister Robert Menzies.[1]

One of the functions of Australian shortwave broadcasting was to counter Axis powers propaganda, particularly that of the Japanese. However, the ABC's transmitters were much weaker than the Japanese or German services. The transmitter of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) (AWA) near Sydney had 10 kilowatts (kW) of power, and stations VLR and VLW had 2 kW each.[2]

In 1941, following consultation between the British and Australian governments, a transmitter site in Shepparton, Victoria was selected, in part because of a flat landscape and soil conductivity. The site was completed in 1944 with one 50 kW and two 100 kW transmitters. The station was then formally named Radio Australia.[3]

A new transmitting facility was installed by the PMG's Department at Cox Peninsula near Darwin in the late 1960s, rebroadcasting programs emanating from Radio Australia studios in Melbourne. Equipment included three Collins Radio 250 kW HF transmitters and five log-periodic antennas directed at East Asia and South-east Asia. The antennas were largely demolished by Cyclone Tracy on 25 December 1974 and Radio Australia broadcasts from this locality were not reinstated (by then Telecom Australia) until about 1988. During the first Gulf war in 1990/91 the station provided valuable information and support to expatriate Australians caught in Iraq, and others working in (eg) Saudi Arabia. In the event however, due to financial and political pressures, as it was an expensive facility to staff being some distance from Darwin proper, transmissions from Cox Peninsula were terminated in the late 1990s. For a few years the facilities were leased to commercial operators, but eventually it was closed down. The equipment and buildings removed, and the land restored.

Radio Australia had a considerable range of broadcasts to the Asian region in the 1970s and 1980s, however in the late 1990s political influence on its broadcasting range and programming limited its Asian spread. In recent years Radio Australia programs have also become available via the internet. These services are streamed from machines hosted by Akamai Technologies in Steinsel, Luxembourg ensuring good network connectivity for listeners in Europe.

Target areas

Radio Australia's signal is primarily aimed at the Asia-Pacific region. It broadcasts in multiple languages, namely English, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Khmer, French, Burmese, and Tok Pisin (a creole language commonly spoken in Papua New Guinea). A daily Pacific news bulletin is podcast in French.[4] Though Radio Australia does not directly target North America or Europe via shortwave, some of its transmissions can be heard in these areas.

Radio Australia can also be heard on CBC Radio across Canada during their overnight broadcast.[5] The station resumed Fiji transmission through negotiations with the Ministry of Information and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) in July 2012. Radio Australia can be heard on 106.6FM in main cities of Fiji.[6]

Current market situation

There have been many changes and alterations in the international media market in recent years. One notable change is the move to new media and online content, such as digital radio, digital television, podcasting, and vodcasting.

Of the key markets that Radio Australia operates in, each market segment is at different stages of growth and requires marketing information specific to those markets for sustainable strategic plans to be developed that focus on product, packaging, placement, and promotion.

There are two key industry wide trends that affect the nature of Radio Australia’s operations:

  1. Technology changes: changes within the radio/media broadcasting industry means that Radio Australia now faces greater competition, as the number of delivery platforms has increased;
  2. Asian and Pacific affluence: deregulated media environments across Southeast Asia, together with greater wealth and education, continue to drive the demand for diversified content, such as English lessons, and more defined information about Australian life or stronger understanding of Australian perspectives in issues.

Sources of programming

Radio Australia's English language programs consist of material produced by ABC Radio Australia, and also other ABC radio networks such as ABC Local Radio, ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM, Triple J, Triple J Unearthed, Double J, ABC Grandstand and ABC NewsRadio.

See also


  1. Ahern, Steve. Making Radio: A Practical Guide to Working in Radio . 2000, Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-876351-07-1, p. 6
  2. Wood, James. History of International Broadcasting. 2000, IET. ISBN 0-85296-920-1, p. 169
  3. Wood, 2000: 170
  4. "Pacifique sans frontières". ABC Radio Australia. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  5. "CBC Radio Overnight". CBC Radio Canada. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011.

Further reading

External links

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