The ABC is launching a new Illawarra (Wollongong) Drive program, with well-known broadcaster Lindsay ‘The Doctor’ McDougall inviting locals to have a greater say in the events and issues that matter to them.
Lindsay will be joined by ABC producers, Rory McDonald and Jack Cupitt when the program airs from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm on 22 January 2018.
Director of ABC Regional, Fiona Reynolds, said the Illawarra Drive program is an opportunity to provide the community with more locally relevant news and information during peak commuting and listening times.
“We know that regional Australians value learning about and discussing what’s happening in their own back yard, so it’s exciting to be able to announce a new Drive program for the Illawarra region,” Mrs Reynolds said.
“The Illawarra region has a large population and many locals commute long distances to and from work, so our research naturally indicates that there is a big potential audience.
Illawarra Drive will focus on local news, weather and traffic as well as coverage of national issues. It will also give listeners a mix of entertainment including coverage of the local music scene, live events and interviews with local artists.
“Lindsay is no stranger to the ABC, having been part of the triple j family for 10 years,” Mrs Reynolds said. “He joined triple j in 2005 hosting the Breakfast Show with Frenzal Rhomb bandmate Jay Whalley, and later with Myf Warhurst, before co-hosting triple j Breakfast with Marieke Hardy and Robbie Buck. Lindsay then went on to host his own Drive program before departing the ABC in 2015.
“Rory has been the Content Director for ABC Grandstand for the past seven years and prior to that has produced the Breakfast and Drive programs on ABC Radio Sydney. Lindsay and Rory will make a great team, and will be supported by the broader Illawarra team led by Chief of Staff, Jen Lacey.
“Audiences in the Illawarra will be able to engage with the show live on-air, on social media and at regular outside broadcast events scheduled around the region throughout the coming year.”
Illawarra Drive is part of the ABC’s Connecting Communities initiative unveiled in March 2017, which will boost the ABC’s investment in regional Australia by an extra $15.4 million per year. Connecting Communities is creating up to 80 new producer, presenter, and reporter roles across the country so the ABC can expand its local coverage across the week and ensure more regional stories are shared with state and national audiences.
Five of those new positions have been recruited for the Illawarra region. This includes the presenter role, three producers and a reporter role. In addition to these roles, two national digital production support roles will be appointed early in the new year also based at the Illawarra station.