ABC Radio looks to 2017

Staff Writer

ABC Radio has announced key changes to its content and presenter line-up for 2017, that will see some new names join the ABC Local Radio ranks, including former Seven Network presenter Chris Bath and confirmation Nightlife will move to a 7-day format, hosted by Phillip Clark and Sarah Macdonald.

Other new names joining the ABC  Network brands include Sarah Macdonald, Greta Bradman and Kim Williams.

Michael Mason, ABC Director Radio said: “We want to deliver radio that is relevant, respected and valued by the Australian population. In a media environment that continues to undergo rapid change, our goal is to reach at least 1 in 2 Australians across all platforms and services.

“We want to tune up our broadcast networks, and we want to attract larger-scale digital audiences. The changes we’re outlining today will deliver an improved platform offering for audiences.”

Below is summary of all the changes slated so far. Triple j’s 2017 lineup and changes for ABC 666 Canberra and ABC 612 Brisbane will be announced in the coming weeks.



In 2017, ABC Radio will:

  • Welcome superb talent and new voices to our networks such as Chris Bath, Sarah Macdonald, Greta Bradman and Kim Williams
  • Reinforce RN’s ability to provide engaging specialist spoken-word programming with increased strength in digital content
  • Bolster resource and increase the compelling live music offer on digital station Double J
  • Develop a dynamic and cohesive ABC Local Radio weekend programming offer
  • Celebrate diversity through commitment to Indigenous programming
  • Look forward to a new era for ABC Classic FM as Margaret Throsby moves to a new weekend show
  • Offer a broad range of Religion & Ethics content through a vibrant offering including a new weekly RN show


ABC Local Radio

The ABC Local Radio has content and presenter lineup for 2017 will reinforce its ability to connect with local communities and introduce a cohesive offer for its national program offer.

Nightlife will move to a 7-day format, hosted by Phillip Clark (Mon-Thurs) and Sarah Macdonald (Fri-Sun). This evolution of the successful evening format will offer thoughtful, conversational style feature interviews, wrapping up the week and preparing the audience for the week ahead.

As a result of Nightlife’s extended format, Sunday Nights with John Cleary will no longer air.

Spirituality, religion and will remain important issues among the many covered by the new Nightlife on Sunday nights. A new, weekly, ongoing segment will address the ongoing quest for meaning and the significance of leading a spiritual life.

ABC Local Radio in the capital cities

  • In ABC Radio’s capital city lineups, 702 ABC Sydney welcomes respected television and news broadcaster Chris Bath to its NSW / ACT Statewide Evenings show. Current statewide Evenings host Christine Anu will move to present a new national Evenings show on Friday and Saturday.
  • At 105.7 ABC Darwin Mikaela Simpson and Maree Yoelu join the Weekends presenting team.




RN’s content strategy readies it to meet audiences on the platforms of their choice, at the time of their choice. To increase its focus on digital output, RN will focus on key specialist strengths, including the provision of specialist content and expertise to other parts of ABC Radio and the wider ABC.

A brand new weekly program from ABC Radio’s religious unit, with the working title God Forbid, will look at issues of the week from a religious and ethical perspective in a contemporary panel format. Presented by respected broadcaster James Carleton and a panel of guests, God Forbid will bring audiences speakers and stories from around Australia, issues of the week and insights into questions of religion and ethics.

ABC Radio will create a new Indigenous Unit, housed within the RN network but assisting and contributing across all platforms in ABC Radio. Led by ABC producer and presenter Lorena Allam, the new unit will allow ABC Radio to nurture Indigenous content, staff and audience engagement.

RN’s Creative Audio and Features and Documentaries units will merge, creating a single team with a sustainable and flexible structure. RN will provide a strong commitment to independent content makers and a core unit of in-house producers and expertise, working across different programs and strands. The new structure will allow the network to build on its reputation and expertise for digital audio podcasts.


New content on RN in 2017 includes:

  • Keeps Me Awake? a seasonal offer hosted by Kim Williams which will focus on high-profile Australians discussing what they believe are the issues, ideas and concerns that are mostly submerged in the daily overflow of episodic news and current affairs
  • The Edge, a collaborative Science & Health content initiative led by award-winning journalist, presenter and podcaster Natasha Mitchell
  •  Arts Weekly, a weekly conversational podcast offering a digest of the best arts coverage from across the ABC, hosted by well-known journalist and presenter Cassie McCullagh
  •  An ongoing commission for 2016’s successful podcast pilot The Real Thing, which will also feature on the broadcast schedule.

RN’s focus on big ideas and big thinking – and therefore will move away from music programming. As result, the following music shows will not return to RN:

  • ·      The Inside Sleeve
  • ·      The Live Set
  • ·      The Daily Planet
  • ·      The Rhythm Divine


RN’s flagship The Music Show will remain.


Double J

Following RN’s reinforced focus on spoken content, Double J will increase its capacity around live music recording and extend its place as the home of contemporary music expertise at ABC Radio.

Double J’s revised 2017 music content offering includes a daily The Beat Eclectic program, the arrival of world music show Fat Planet at Double J, a new live music show, and The Funhouse moving to a more prominent time slot.


ABC Classic FM

After more than two decades of successfully presenting her iconic daily Midday Interview, ABC Classic FM’s Margaret Throsby will say goodbye to weekdays and hello to weekends in 2017, presenting a new program on Saturday mornings. In 2017, Weekday Afternoons will begin at 12pm and in 2017 be presented by Mairi Nicolson.

  • Leading Australian soprano Greta Bradman will join the weekend lineup to present a selection of music designed for relaxation and renewal on Sunday mornings.
  • Damien Beaumont will move to present Evenings from Monday-Thursday each week with
  • Russell Torrance taking over the reins on Friday and Saturday evenings.
  • ABC Classic FM’s current midnight to dawn selection, Overnights, will be replaced in 2017 by Night Music, a new program presented by some favourite ABC Classic FM presenters.
  • Saturday and Sunday will see talk content make way for high-profile concerts from around Australia in response to audience feedback that listeners want to hear more music on weekends.
  • Weekend Afternoons with Julian Day will now begin at 12pm and broadcast up to two concerts each day.



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