ABC Friends Victoria partnered with the Eureka Centre in Ballarat to host a discussion to mark the centenary of radio broadcasting in Australia on 23 November 2023.

The event opened with a video “100 years of radio in 100 seconds” by production team Jennifer Bowen, Marion Crooke and Jasmine Croser, sponsored by radioinfo. 

The centenary of radio broadcasting in Australia this year occurs at a time of major change in audio communications: as streaming services vie for audiences, radio has to be resourceful. The Eureka Centre discussion, chaired by ABC presenter and writer Jonathan Green with three expert panellists, identified strategies and challenges that could shape its future. 

Photo by Sarah Van De Wouw

Pilar Aguilera, chair of community radio 3CR, explained how 3CR plans to set up satellite studios to maintain contact with inner-city listeners who have moved further out; Professor Jock Given from Swinburne University noted how new smart TVs are pre-packaged with Netflix and other online platforms. ABC Victoria Drive presenter Prue Bentley admitted to some earlier pessimism about radio’s viability but feels confident its future is now more assured.

Reflecting on the event, Phil Corser, ABC Friends Inner West, praised Jonathan Green’s excellent facilitating of the evening; Phil sees a challenge for the ABC in the ‘discoverability’ of its digital content in the face of international competition. Maureen MacPhail, ABC Friends Ballarat, thought that questions from the audience indicated that radio remains an important medium within the community. For her, the takeaway message was radio’s focus on communication between a presenter, a person and community.

A recording of the the event will be available from the Eureka Centre YouTube channel in mid-December, 2023.