ABC Friends Queensland member, Vikki Uhlmann recently travelled around Australia and thinks she may have come up with a new way to plan travel – drop in on regional ABC stations.
“Wherever you’re going, consider dropping into the local ABC studio. Staff will be happy to see you and to hear how much their work as our independent public broadcaster is appreciated,” she found.
Doing so, Vicki was also able to gain some great insights into the issues of most concern to these locally based staff members.
“Firstly, the social media deal, i.e., with Google and Facebook for using ABC content, has been good for small regional offices. Generally, offices that might have had six staff now have ten and are located in small nearby townships, not all in the one office. However, many of these are temporary positions, so it will be interesting to see how long they last.”
“Secondly, black spots and news deserts remain. Transmission towers, including those run by councils, mining companies and First Nations communities, don’t reach everywhere. And across Australia, transmission towers are reaching some end-of-life challenges.’
With transmission taking up about one-fifth of the ABC budget, it is yet to be seen whether additional funding will be made available for the necessary upgrades. However, Vicki said she was pleased to learn when talking to some local First Nations radio stations that some ABC studios gift their old technology to them when upgrading.