Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Infobox Network
network_name = Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
country = Australia
network_type = nowrap|Broadcast radio, television and online
available =National International
owner = Commonwealth of Australia
Slogan = "It's your ABC"
key_people = nowrap|Maurice Newman, Chairperson;
nowrap|Mark Scott, Managing Director
launch_date = 1932 (radio)
1956 (television)
1995 (online)
past_names = Australian Broadcasting Company (1929-1932)
Australian Broadcasting Commission (1932-1983)
website = []

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly abbreviated to the 'ABC', is Australia's national public broadcaster.

With a budget of AUD$840 million annually,ABC Budget Report 2008-2009, Retrieved 8 July 2008 ""] the corporation provides television, radio, online and mobile services throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, as well as overseas through the Australia Network and Radio Australia. Through its commercial arm, ABC Commercial, the corporation also runs a chain of retail outlets, selling books, audio and video recordings, and other merchandise related to its programs.

Founded in 1929 as the Australian Broadcasting Company, it was subsequently nationalised and made a state-owned corporation on 1 July 1932, the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The "Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983" changed the name of the organisation to the "Australian Broadcasting Corporation", effective 1 July 1983.


1920s to the 1940s

The first public radio station in Australia opened in Sydney on 13 November 1923 under the call sign 2SB with other stations in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart following. cite web
title = Celebrating 100 Years of Radio - History of ABC Radio
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-03
] A licensing scheme, administered by the Postmaster-General's Department, was soon established allowing certain stations government funding, albeit with restrictions placed on their advertising content. cite web
title = The History of Radio in Australia
publisher = Australian Centre for the Moving Image
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-03

Following a 1927 Royal Commission inquiry into radio licensing issues, the government established the National Broadcasting Service which subsequently took over a number of the larger funded stations. It also nationalised the Australian Broadcasting Company which had been created by entertainment interests to supply programs to various radio stations. On 1 July 1932, the Australian Broadcasting Commission was established, taking over the operations of the National Broadcasting Service and eventually establishing offices in each of Australia's capital cities.Over the next four years the stations were reformed into a cohesive broadcasting organisation through regular program relays, coordinated by a centralised bureaucracy. cite web
title = Australian Broadcast History
work = Barry Mishkid
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-03
] The Australian broadcast radio spectrum was constituted of the ABC and the commercial sector.

In 1942 "The Australian Broadcasting Act" was passed, giving the ABC the power to decide when, and in what circumstances, political speeches should be broadcast. cite web
title = About the ABC - The 40s - The War Years
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01
] Directions from the Minister about whether or not to broadcast any matter now had to be made in writing, and any exercise of the power had to be mentioned in the Commission's Annual Report. It was used only once, in 1963. In the same year, "Kindergarten of the Air" began on ABC Radio in Perth, and was later broadcast nationally.

1950s to the 1970s

The commission commenced television broadcasting in Sydney and Melbourne in 1956. ABN-2 Sydney was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Australia, Robert Menzies, on 5 November with ABV-2 Melbourne following two weeks later, on 18 November. These two stations were later joined by additional services in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and, eventually, Darwin. James Dibble read the first television news bulletin for the ABC. [Australian Broadcasting Corporation, [ "About the ABC: History of the ABC: James Dibble"] . Accessed 3 September 2008.] Although radio programs could be broadcast nationally by landline, television relay facilities were not put in place until the early 1960s. cite web
title = About the ABC - The 50s - The Postwar Years
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01
] This meant that news bulletins had to be sent to each capital city by teleprinter, to be prepared and presented separately in each city, with filmed materials copied manually and sent to each state. Other television programs at the time included the popular "Six O'Clock Rock" hosted by Johnny O'Keefe, "Mr Squiggle", as well as operas and plays.

In the early years of television, the ABC had been using Lissajous curves as fillers in-between programs. A staff competition was conducted in 1963 to create a new logo for use on television, stationery, publications, microphone badges and vehicles.cite web |title=AusTVHistory: Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1950s-1960s |url= |publisher=AusTVHistory |author=Brooklyn Ross-Hulands |accessdate=2007-10-04 ] After a suggestion by space engineer, Doug Rickard, [cite web | title = Memoirs of a Space Engineer - about Doug Rickard | publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation | date = 19 October 2000 | url = | accessdate = 2008-01-30 ] the ABC's senior graphic designer, Bill Kennard, submitted a design in 1965 which was part of the waveform of an oscilloscope. The letters A-B-C were added to the wavelength design and it was adopted as the ABC's official logo. Kennard was paid 25 for his design.

In 1975, colour television was introduced in Australia, and within a decade, the ABC had moved into satellite broadcasting, greatly enhancing its ability to distribute content nationally. In the same year, the ABC introduced a 24 hour-a-day AM rock station in Sydney, 2JJ (Double Jay), which was eventually expanded into the national Triple J FM network. A year later, a national classical music network was established on the FM band, broadcasting from Adelaide. It was initially known as ABC-FM - referring both to its 'fine music' programming and radio frequency.cite web
title = About the ABC - The 60s and 70s
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate =

1980s to the 1990s

The "Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983" changed the name of the organisation from the "Australian Broadcasting Commission" to the "Australian Broadcasting Corporation" effective 1 July 1983. At the same time, the newly-formed Corporation underwent significant restructuring - program production in indigenous affairs, comedy, social history and current affairs was significantly expanded, while the Corporation's output of drama was boosted. Local production trebled from 1986-91 with the assistance of co-production, co-financing, and pre-sales arrangements. cite web
title = About the ABC - The 80s
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01

The changes also led to the split of television and radio operations into two separate divisions, with an overhaul of management, finance, property and engineering undertaken. Geoffrey Whitehead was the initial Managing Director, however following his resignation in 1986, David Hill (at the time chair of the ABC Board) took over his position.

A new Concert Music department was formed in 1985 to coordinate the corporation's six symphony orchestras, which in turn received a greater level of autonomy in order to better respond to local needs. Open-air free concerts and tours, educational activities, and joint ventures with other music groups were undertaken at the time to expand the Orchestras' audience reach.

ABC Radio was restructured significantly in 1985 - Radio One became the Metropolitan network, while Radio 2 became known as Radio National (callsigns, however, were not standardised until 1990). New programs such as "The World Today", "Australia All Over", and "The Coodabeen Champions" were introduced, while ABC-FM established an Australian Music Unit in 1989. Radio Australia began to focus on the Asia-Pacific region, with coverage targeted at the south west and central Pacific, south-east Asia, and north Asia. Radio Australia also carried more news coverage, with special broadcasts during the 1988 Fiji coup, Tianmen Square massacre, and the First Gulf War.

In 1991, the Corporation's Sydney radio and orchestral operations moved to a new building built by Leighton Holdings [ cite web
title = Leighton Holdings History
publisher = Leighton Holdings
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-02
] on a single site in the inner-city suburb of Ultimo. In Melbourne, the ABC Southbank Centre was completed in 1994, and now houses the radio division in Victoria as well as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. cite web
title = About the ABC - The 90s
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01

The ABC Multimedia Unit was established in July, 1995, to manage the new ABC website (launched in August). Funding was allocated later that year specifically for online content, as opposed to reliance on funding for television and radio content. The first online election coverage was put together in 1996, and included news, electorate maps, candidate information and live results.

By the early 1990s, all major ABC broadcasting outlets moved to 24 hour-a-day operation, while regional radio coverage in Australia was extended with 80 new transmitters. Live television broadcasts of selected parliamentary sessions started in 1990. ABC NewsRadio, a continuous news network broadcast on the Parliamentary and News Network when parliament is not sitting, was launched on 5 October 1996.

International television service Australia Television International was established in 1993, while at the same Radio Australia increased its international reach. Reducing funding in 1997 for Radio Australia resulted in staff and programming cuts.

Australia Television was sold to the Seven Network in 1998, however the service continued to show ABC news and current affairs programming up until its closure in 2001.cite web
url =
title = 2UE; Australian Television International.
accessdate = 2007-09-25
year = 2001
month = 03
work = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
] The ABC's television operation joined its radio and online divisions at the corporation's Ultimo headquarters in 2000. cite web
title = About the ABC - 2000s - A New Century
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01


In 2001, digital television commenced after four years of preparation. In readiness, the ABC had fully digitised its production, post-production and transmission facilities - heralded at the time as 'the greatest advance in television technology since the introduction of colour'. The first programs to be produced in widescreen were drama series "Something in the Air", "Grass Roots" and "In the Mind of the Architect".

At the same time, the ABC's Multimedia division was renamed 'ABC New Media', becoming an output division of the ABC alongside Television and Radio. Legislation allowed the ABC to provide 'multichannels' - additional, digital-only, television services managed by the New Media division. Soon after the introduction of digital television in 2001, Fly TV and the ABC Kids Channel launched, showing a mix of programming aimed at teenagers and children.

In 2002, the ABC launched ABC Asia Pacific - the replacement for the defunct Australia Television channel operated previously by the Seven Network. Much like its predecessor, and companion radio network Radio Australia, the service provided a mix of programming targeted at audiences throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Funding cuts in 2003 led to the closure of Fly and the ABC Kid's Channel.

ABC2, a second attempt at a digital-only television channel, launched on 7 March 2005. Unlike its predecessors the new service was not dependent on government funding, instead running on a budget of AUD$3 million per year.cite book |last=Inglis |first=Kenneth Stanley |title=Whose ABC? The Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1983-2006 |year=2006 |publisher=Black Inc. |location=Melbourne, Victoria |isbn=1-86395-189-X ] Minister for Communications Helen Coonan inaugurated the channel at Parliament House three days later. [ cite web
url =
title = ABC2 launched at Parliament House
accessdate = 2007-03-31
date = 2005-03-11
work = ABC New Media & Digital Services
publisher =
] Genre restrictions limiting the types of programming the channel could carry were lifted in October, 2006 - ABC2 was henceforth able to carry programming classified as comedy, drama, national news, sport and entertainment. [ cite web
url =,,1925263,00.html
title = Australia opens up media investment
accessdate = 2007-03-31
date = 2006-10-18
work =
publisher =

A high incidence of breast cancer in female staff working at the ABC's offices in Brisbane led to the closure of the site, based in Toowong, on 21 December 2006. Sixteen women were diagnosed with the disease in a period spanning 1994 to 2007.cite news |title= Cancer case no 16 for ABC |url=|date=2007-12-19 |publisher=SMH |author=Georgina Robinson |first=Georgina|last=Robinson|accessdate=2007-12-19 ] A progress report released in March, 2007, by an independent panel formed to investigate the occurrences found that the rate of occurrence for breast cancer rate at the offices was eleven times higher than elsewherecite news |title=ABC cancer cluster still a mystery |url=,20867,21411738-7582,00.html |date=2007-03-20 |publisher=The Australian |author=Michael Bodey |first=Michael|last=Bodey|accessdate=2007-10-09 ] - since the closure of the site, the ABC's Brisbane-based television and radio operations were moved to alternate locations around the city, include Ten Brisbane's studios at Mt Coot-tha. The ABC's Managing Director, Mark Scott, announced in August, 2007 that new studios would be built on the site, following the final release of the Review and Scientific Investigation Panel's report.cite press release |title=New Studies to be completed on ABC Toowong site |url= |date=2007-08-17 |accessdate=2007-10-09 |publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation ]

At midday on 8 February 2008, ABC TV was rebranded as ABC1, complementing the existing ABC2 digital-only channel which was launched on 7 March 2005.cite news | title = ABC promises more content choice | publisher = The Australian | date = 2008-02-06 | url =,25197,23171159-12377,00.html | accessdate = 2008-02-06 ] [cite news | last = Welch | first = Dylan | title = ABC squiggle to stay | publisher = Brisbane Times | date = 30 January 2008 | url = | accessdate = 2008-01-30 ] A new online video-on-demand service launched in July of the same year, titled ABC iView.cite press release
title = The Television Revolution Has Begun!
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
date = 2008-07-24
url =
accessdate = 2008-09-21



Below is the divisional structure of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.cite web |title=ABC Leadership Group |publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation |url= |accessdate=2007-10-05|format=PDF]


The operations of the ABC are governed by a board of directors [cite web | url = |title = Establishment of Australian Broadcasting Corporation Board |publisher= ScalePlus | accessdate=2006-11-26] , consisting of a Managing Director,cite web | url = |title = Membership of Board |publisher= ScalePlus | accessdate=2007-10-05] five to seven Directors, and until 2006, a staff-elected director. cite web
title = Restructure of ABC Board
publisher = Website of Senator the Hon Helen Coonan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
url =
accessdate = 2007-11-27
] The Managing Director is appointed by the board for a period of up to five years, but is eligible for renewal. [cite web | url = |title = Tenure of Managing Director |publisher= ScalePlus | accessdate=2007-10-05] The authority and guidelines for the appointment of directors is provided for in the "Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983".cite web | url= |title= About the board | publisher= ABC Online |accessdate=2006-11-26] cite web
title = Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983
publisher = Attorney-General's Department
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01
] cite web | title = Membership of Board |url= |publisher=Scaleplus |accessdate=2006-11-26]

Appointments to the ABC Board made by successive governments have often resulted in criticism of the appointees' political affiliation, background, and relative merit.cite web
title =Methods of appointment to the ABC Board: Chapter 2 - The selection criteria - who should be on the board?]
work =Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee, ABC Board inquiry report
publisher = Parliament of Australia
month = September | year = 2001
url = Above Board?
accessdate = 2006-11-04
] cite news |title=Whose ABC? |url= |date=2006-08-26 |publisher=ABC Radio |accessdate=2007-10-13 ] Past appointments have associated directly with political parties - five of fourteen appointed chairmen have been accused of political affiliation or friendship, include Richard Downing and Ken Myer (both of whom publicly endorsed the Australian Labor Party at the 1972 election), as well as Sir Henry Bland. David Hill was close to Neville Wran, while Donald McDonald was considered to be a close friend of John Howard.cite web
last = Inglis
first = Ken
authorlink = Ken Inglis
title = Aunty at seventy: a health report on the ABC
work =
publisher = Friends of the ABC
date = 2002-11-13
url =
format = pdf
accessdate =

From 2003 the Howard government also made several controversial appointments to the ABC Board, including prominent ABC critic Janet Albrechtsen,cite web
last = Caldwell
first = Alison
title = ABC critic appointed to board of directors
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
date = 2005-02-24
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-28
] , Ron Brunton, [cite web
last = Marriner
first = Cosima
title = Anthropologist on ABC Board
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
date = 2003-05-03
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-28
] and Keith Windschuttle. [cite web
last = Colvin
first = Mark
title = Govt appoints ABC board members
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
date = 2006-06-15
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-28

During their 2007 federal election campaign, Labor announced plans to introduce a new system, similar to that of the BBC, for appointing members to the board.cite press release |title=Australian Labor Party: ABC Board |url= |date=2007-06-05 |publisher=Australian Labor Party] Under the new system, ABC candidates would be considered by a panel established "at arm's length" from the Communications Minister. [cite news |title=Independent panel to select ABC board to be named |url=,25197,23232789-7582,00.html |date=2007-02-18 |publisher=The Australian] If the Minister chose someone not on the panel's shortlist, they would be required to justify this to parliament. The ABC Chairman would be nominated by the Prime Minister and endorsed by the Leader of the Opposition. The committee has not yet been anounced.

John Gallagher QC and Ron Brunton both retired from the Board in February and May 2008, respectively.cite web |title=Free podcasts don't suit ABC's results |url= |date=2008-09-18 |] No replacement has yet been appointed, pending the announcement of a new independent panel responsible for new appointments.cite news |title=Conroy sets ABC collision course |url=,24897,22876717-7582,00.html |date=2007-12-07 |publisher=The Australian |author=Michael Sainsbury]

The board's members, since May, 2008:
*Mr Mark Scott - "Managing Director", appointed 5 July 2006cite web |url= |title=ABC Board Members |publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation |accessdate=2007-10-01]
*Mr Maurice Newman AC - "Chairperson", appointed 1 January 2007
*Ms Janet Albrechtsen - appointed 24 February 2005
*Mr Steven Skala - appointed 6 October 2005
*Mr Peter Hurley - appointed 14 June 2006
*Mr Keith Windschuttle - appointed 14 June 2006


As opposed to many of its international counterparts such as the BBC, [cite web | title = Annual Report and Accounts 2005-2006 | url = | author = British Broadcasting Corporation | format = PDF | pages = pp. 103-104 | accessdate = 2007-01-21] the ABC is funded entirely by the Australian government, in addition to some revenue received from ABC Commercial. In the 2006-07 federal budget, the ABC received AUD$823 million of government funding, [cite web | title = ABC Budget 2006-2007 | url = | author = Australian Broadcasting Corporation | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007-06-18] increased to $840 million in 2008-09.

Until 1948, the ABC was funded directly by radio licence fees; amendments were also made to the "Australian Broadcasting Act" that meant the ABC would receive its funding directly from the Commonwealth government. Licence fees remained until 1973 when they were abolished by the Whitlam Labor government, on the basis that the near-universality of television and radio services meant that public funding was a fairer method of providing revenue for government-owned radio and television broadcasters.

The term "where your 8 cents a day goes", coined in the late 1980s during funding negotiations,cite news |title=Your ABC |url= |date=2000-10-24 |publisher=Lateline] is often used in reference to the services provided by the ABC. [cite speech
title = Launch of ABC Disability Awareness resources: An ABC for all Australians
author = Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM
date = 2001-08-09
location = Sydney, Australia
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-05
] It is estimated that the cost of the ABC per head of population per day is now 7.1 cents a day, based on the Corporation's 2007-08 'base funding' of $543 million. [cite web |title=Crikey - Comments, clarifications, and c*ckups |url= |date=2008 |accessdate=2008-10-03]

Politics and criticism

The ABC has been accused of bias by both sides of politics. [cite interview |url= |title=ALP/ABC: spot the difference?] |program="National Interest", ABC Radio |year=2007 |month=07 |interviewer=Peter Mares |accessdate=2008-02-08] [cite web |title=And now, a letter from Gerard Henderson... |url= |date=2007-12-07 |] Coalition members of parliament [cite web |title=The ABC Of How To Complain |url= |year=2006 |accessdate=2008-02-08] and right-wing commentators such as Andrew Bolt,cite web |title=And here is the news from the ABC |url= | |author=Andrew Bolt |accessdate=2008-02-09 |date=2007-02-06 ] Piers Akerman,Fact|date=February 2008 Tim Blair and Gerard Henderson have all accused the Corporation of left-wing bias, however similar criticism has come from the left, including former New South Wales premier Neville Wran, Bob Hawke, and Paul Keating..

Conservative Liberal Party governments in the 1960s and 1970s attempted to influence the Corporation's political coverage by threatening to reduce funding for its news and current affairs division,cite book |title=The Media We Deserve |author=David Salter |first=David |last=Salter |isbn=0-522-85420-6 |date=2007-09 ] cite news |title=Will it be open season on the ABC come July? |publisher=The Canberra Times |date=2005-02-23 ] while the Hawke Labor government unsuccessfully proposed merging it with the Special Broadcasting Service.

Soon after coming to office in 1996, the Liberal Party government of John Howard reduced the ABC's operating grants by ten percent. [Senator K. Lundy, Adjournment speech, "Senate Hansard", 10 September 1996] The appointment of Jonathan Shier, managing director at the time, was also controversial. [cite web
publiser = Friends of the ABC
title = Jonathan Shier Departs
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10

A 2004 Roy Morgan media credibility survey found that twenty-five percent of Australian journalists viewed the ABC as Australia's most partisan media outlet, second only to News Limited. At the same time, the poll found that ABC Radio was seen as the most accurate news source in the country. [ [ Why Australians Don’t Respect The Media] ]

South Australian state treasurer Kevin Foley accused ABC Radio of right-wing bias in February 2008 for its reporting of state economic issues, claiming that it is not "an objective media organisation".

A number of former journalists and presenters have moved from positions at the corporation to politics. State and federal Labor MPs Bob Carr, [cite news
title=Bob Carr: a life in politics. |url= |date=2005-07-27 |author=Antony Green |first=Antony |last=Green |publisher=ABC Online |accessdate=2007-12-12
Alan Carpenter, [cite web
title=THE HON. ALAN J CARPENTER MLA - Biography |url= |accessdate=2007-12-09 |publisher=Deptartment of the Premier and Cabient
Clare Martin, [cite web |title=Martin, Clare Majella |url= |accessdate=2007-12-09 |publisher=National Foundation for Australian Women ] Mary Delahunty [cite web |title=Delahunty, Mary |url= |accessdate=2007-12-09 |publisher=National Foundation for Australian Women ] and Maxine McKew, [cite news |title=Has McKew’s left turn hurt the ABC? |url= |date=2007-02-22 |publisher=The Australian ] as well as the Liberal Party's Pru Goward [cite news |title=Woman most likely |url= |date=2006-09-23 |accessdate=2007-12-09] , Rob Messengercite web |title=Why can't Liberal Party sympathisers get jobs in the ABC? |url= |date=2007-02 |publisher=Friends of the ABC |accessdate=2008-10-03] , Peter Collins and Eoin Cameron [cite web |title=ABC Perth: Eoin Cameron |url= |date=2002-07-02 |accessdate=2007-12-09] all held, or hold, positions at the ABC. Research undertaken by the broadcaster has indicated that out of a total of 19 former staffers moving into party political positions, 10 have joined the Labor Party, and 9 the Liberal Party. [cite web |url= |title=Budget Estimates, Thursday, 24 May 2007 - Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts |date=2007-05-24 |accessdate=2008-02-09 |publisher=Parliament of Australia ]

In 2008, the ABC faced criticism over "Planet Slayer", a controversial [Cite web|url= |title=Teaching Kids about the Environment, Government Style |accessdate=2008-06-10] environment website for children produced by ABC Online. The site, first published in 2003, features a greenhouse calculator which states the age a person needs to die if they are not to 'overuse their share of the earth'. [Cite web|url=,21985,23761189-5005961,00.html |title=ABC kids' website shows Aussies as pigs |accessdate=2010-06-10] The site has been criticised for attacking those who eat meat, blue collared workers such as loggers, as well as nuclear energy. [cite web|url= |title=ABC on defensive over claims of bias |accessdate=2008-06-10] Managing director Mark Scott said the site was not designed to offend anyone, but prompt children to think about environmental issues. [cite web|url= |title=The ABCs Of Exploding Pigs And Topless Women |accessdate=2008-06-10]



The ABC operates 46 local radio stations, in addition to four national networks and international service Radio Australia. In addition, DiG Radio launched on digital platforms in 2002, currently offering three separate stations.

ABC Local Radio is the Corporation's flagship radio station in each broadcast area. There are 46 individual stations, each with a similar format consisting of locally-presented light entertainment, talk back, music, sport and interviews, in addition to some national programming such as "AM", "PM", "The World Today", sporting events and "Nightlife".

ABC Radio National broadcasts over 60 special interest programs per week covering a range of topics that includes music, comedy, book readings, radio dramas, poetry, science, health, the arts, religion, social history and current affairs.

ABC NewsRadio is a rolling news service, previously known as the Parliamentary and News Network. The station was originally set up to broadcast Parliament, with the network's news content built around it. PNN was originally set up to relieve other ABC Radio networks from covering Parliament when it was sitting. The station broadcasts news on a 24/7 format with updates on the quarter-hour. Most of its news content is produced by the ABC itself, however many programs are relayed from the BBC World Service, NPR, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands and CNN Radio.

ABC Classic FM was the ABC's first FM service. It was originally known simply as "ABC FM", and for a short time "ABC Fine Music". Its format borrowed heavily from community stations that eventually founded the Fine Music Network, as well as BBC Radio 3.

Triple J is the national youth radio network, broadcasting contemporary alternative and independent music. While the station play lists music from around the world, it maintains a strong focus on local artists. The station is targeted at young people, aged 18 - 35. Triple J was formerly known as "Double Jay" when it launched in Sydney on 19 January 1975.


Within Australia, the ABC operates two channels. ABC1, the Corporation's original television service, receives the bulk of funding for television and shows first-run comedy, drama, documentaries, and news and current affairs. In each state and territory a local news bulletin is shown at 7.00pm nightly.

In 2001 ABC TV launched its digital service.

ABC2, launched in 2005, is a digital-only channel that shows repeated programs from ABC1, as well as some original content including news programs, children's shows, animation, and music shows. ABC HD, a high-definition simulcast of ABC1 Sydney, is also available in most areas.

In September, 2007, the Australian government announced a proposal to launch a new digital-only children's channel, to be named ABC3.cite news
title = Free kids' TV channel is as easy as ABC3
publisher = The Age
date = 2007-09-23
url =
accessdate = 2008-09-01
] ABC3 signed on in 2008, though it is currently only a simulcast of ABC1. [cite news |title=The state of Children's television |url= |date=2007-12-06 |accessdate=2008-09-01 |publisher=Radio National ] In the future, ABC3 may broadcast alternative content, though it is unknown if it would devote its schedule to children's programming, as originally intended. [cite web|url= |title=Frequently Asked Questions about Digital TV - ABC Reception Advice | |date= |accessdate=2008-09-01]


An experimental Multimedia Unit was established in 1995, charged with developing policy for the ABC's work in web publishing. This unit continued until 2000, when the New Media division was formed, bringing together the ABC's online output as a division similar to Television or Radio. The division had over a million pages of material published by late 2003.

In 2001 the New Media division became New Media and Digital Services, reflecting the broader remit to develop content for digital platforms such as digital television. In addition to ABC Online, the division also had responsibility over the ABC's two digital television services, Fly TV and the ABC Kids Channel, until their closure in 2003. [ cite web
url =
title = ABC Closes Digital Multichannels
accessdate = 2007-09-25
date = 2003-05-26
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
] In March 2005 the division oversaw the launch of ABC2, a free-to-air digital television channel, in effect a replacement for ABC Kids and Fly.

In conjunction with the ABC's radio division, New Media and Digital Services implemented the ABC's first podcasts in December 2004. By mid-2006 the ABC had become an international leader in podcasting with over fifty podcast programs delivering hundreds of thousands of downloads per week,cite web
title = Podcasting: ABC Radio National Tops 100,000 mp3s in One Week
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01
] including trial video podcasts of The Chaser's War on Everything and jtv.cite web
title = ABC Launches Vodcasting
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01

In February 2007, the New Media & Digital Services division was dissolved and divided up amongst other areas of the ABC. It was replaced by a new Innovations area, to manage ABC Online and investigate new technologies for the ABC.cite web
title = The ABC Of Digital Media Evolution
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01
date = 2007-02-07


The Australia Network is an international satellite television service operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, funded by advertising and grants from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Aimed at the Asia-Pacific region, the service broadcasts a mixture of English language programming, including general entertainment, sport, and current affairs.

ABC Radio Australia is an international shortwave, satellite and internet radio service with transmissions aimed at East Asia and the Pacific Islands, although its signals are also audible in many other parts of the world. It features programs in various languages spoken in these regions, including Mandarin, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Khmer and Tok Pisin.

Radio Australia bulletins are also carried on the World Radio Network, available via satellite in Europe and North America.


ABC Commercial is the division of the ABC responsible for pursuing new sources of revenue for the Corporation. It is composed of ABC Retail, ABC Consumer Publishing and Content Sales, as well as ABC Resource Hire. ABC Commercial was established in 1974, with all profits from the sale of consumer product and production services returned to the Corporation to reinvest in program-making.cite web
title = ABC Commercial - About ABC Consumer Publishing and Content Sales
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01


multi-listen item
filename=Charles Williams, 'Majestic Fanfare'.ogg|title="Majestic Fanfare"
description=The original ABC News and Current Affairs theme music, last used in the mid-1980s.
Up until the installation of disc recording equipment in 1935, all content broadcast on the ABC was produced live, including music. cite web
title = About the ABC - The Birth of the ABC
publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-01
] For this purpose, the ABC established broadcasting orchestras in each state, and in some centres also employed choruses and dance bands. This became known as the ABC Concert Music Division, which was controlled by the Federal Director of Music - the first of whom was W.G. James [Phillip Sametz: Play On, ABC Books, Sydney, 1992; p. 35] .There are currently six state symphony orchestras:
*Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
*Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
*Sydney Symphony
*The Queensland Orchestra
*Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
*West Australian Symphony Orchestra

The orchestras were corporatised in the 1990s but remain under ABC ownership, co-ordinated by Symphony Australia.

ee also

*Timeline of Australian radio


External links

* [ ABC website]
* [ ABC Corporate Communications]
* [ Friends of the ABC]
* [ Film Australia Digital Learning – digital resources tagged with ‘ABC’]

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