You watch it, you listen to it, you read it online, but ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the ABC? The ABC Studios in East Perth are opening their doors to the public for Open House Perth 2018, giving you the chance to see the national broadcaster and its team of familiar faces (and voices) at work! This special invitation includes a guided tour of the studios on Saturday, November 10 from 9am – 3pm and there’s plenty to uncover. We spoke to the ABC Studios for a sneak peak at what we can look forward to.
It’s hard to imagine so much news and radio and TV coming out of the one building. How big is the team in Perth and what part of the ABC does the most work happen?
We have 180 ABC staff in the building, the majority work in News and ABC Radio Perth. We also have Classic FM, Radio National and occasional triple j programs broadcast from the building, plus we host Screenwest and West TV upstairs.
When someone is presenting the nightly news, just how many people are on the other side of the camera?
Usually three other people who are working on the bulletin directly. Like many other television stations, the ABC uses studio automation technology that allows a single person to control multiple cameras and other studio equipment to produce a television news bulletin.
It must be a high pressure environment at times while broadcasting live to so many people. How does the team cope if things don’t go to plan?
Our studio teams are made up of highly skilled professionals who have all had many years of broadcasting experience. As you can imagine, one of the prerequisites for the job is grace under pressure. When the unexpected does present itself the team works in concert to respond and present a smooth and cohesive broadcast for our audience. These situations might put you in mind of say, a swan, gliding gracefully through the water, all the while feet furiously paddling just below the surface.
The changing nature of live programming is what we love about broadcasting. Being able to react in the moment to bring our community breaking news be it political, traffic or emergency information – it’s what makes the job exciting and relevant. And on radio when you are doing talkback you never quite can be sure what people are going to say. It keeps you on your toes and the adrenaline is addictive!
The tour will also feature a look at the set of upcoming drama series The Heights, what can you tell us about the show?
The Heights is a half hour serial drama that centres on the inner-city neighbourhood of Arcadia Heights, exploring the relationships between the residents of the Arcadia social housing tower and the people who live in the rapidly gentrifying community that surrounds it. The Heights mines the frictions and commonalities between the upper and working classes in the melting pot of urban Australia.
Marcus Graham (Secret City, Cleverman) and Shari Sebens (The Sapphires, Thor: Ragnarok) are just two members of The Heights’ impressive ensemble cast. The creative team involved in making the program featured many emerging and local talent from the WA television industry.
And what kinds of familiar faces (or voices) can we look forward to catching if we visit the ABC for Open House Perth?
In the radio studios look out for Nadia Mitsopoulos (Focus), Gillian O’Shaughnessy (Afternoons), Paula Kruger (Breakfast) Geoff Hutchison (Drive) and Brett Sprigg (Sports Talk). If you get in early you’ll also catch sight of Sabrina Hahn and our Saturday Breakfast duo Jamie Burnett and Charlotte Hamlyn. In the TV studios, Pamela Medlen is a firm favourite and of course James McHale.
The ABC Studios are opening their doors for Open House Perth 2018
Where: 30 Fielder Street, East Perth
When: Saturday, November 10, 9am – 3pm
Learn more here.