Australia’s ‘longest-running’ radio show celebrates 75 years on air

Staff Writer
Dick Sneddon, compere of the new 'Country Hour' with pianist, Dudley Stapleton in 1949 (Source: ABC Archives)

The Country Hour has today celebrated 75 years on air with special editions across all seven of its state and territory shows.

The ABC program launched on December 3, 1945, just months after the end of the Second World War.

“Hello everyone, this is Dick Sneddon of The Country Hour, with a program for the farm families of Australia,” the opening broadcast said.

The ABC’s managing director, David Anderson, said there was no other ABC program that has had such an impact on Australian life over such a long time.

“The story of life on the land is in many ways the story of Australia itself,” he said. “The Country Hour and ABC Rural have covered every aspect of everyday country life since 1945 – from droughts to cyclones and bushfires, from locust plagues to cycles of boom and bust.”

He said to this day, it remains essential listening for regional and rural Australians, but the reports and stories which go to air also have huge impacts on the life of the whole nation.

Judith Whelan, director of ABC’s regional and local services added that the program had successfully moved with the times, expanding its coverage of regional and rural events onto digital and social media platforms from the mid-2000s.

“Today The Country Hour and ABC Rural bring their audiences stories on multiple platforms. Our producers and reporters are creating daily content for radio, audio-on-demand, online, social media and video for digital and television,” she said.

“One of the most important aspects of the program today – and over its 75-year history – is its ability to bring rural and urban people together and inform them of what is going on around Australia.”

MD Anderson extended his congratulations to everyone involved.

“Congratulations to all past and present contributors to both The Country Hour and the ABC’s rural department for continuing to uphold the very highest standards of ABC journalism over seven-plus decades.”

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