ABC Rural is a department of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that produces news, business, and entertainment programs targeted at audiences in regional Australia. At present the department employs 70 staff and reporters around the country.
The history of the Rural department can be traced back to 1945, when moves were made to formalise the provision of specialist rural news and information on ABC Radio. Although the ABC had provided specialist information to regional audiences (such as markets and rainfall figures), the head of the new department, John Douglass, established a new program titled The Country Hour, first broadcast on December 3, 1945.
Dick Snedden was the original host, known to viewers in New South Wales for his reporting of the Sydney Show. Announcers were later appointed in other capital cities, to provide state-level news and information (all the while contributing to the national portion of the program). The Country Hour was later presented separately for each state.
In 1951, regional 'extension officers' were appointed to some areas undertake interviews and cover local stories. Following the 1956 introduction of television to more densely populated areas, a number of television programs were launched - To Market To Market, A Big Country, Countrywide and Landline all debuted in subsequent years. The titles of extension officers were changed in the 1980s to 'rural reporters', and their supervisors 'executive producers'. Their roles however, remained almost identical.
- The Country Hour - ABC Local Radio
- Bush Telegraph - Radio National, Radio Australia
- Country Breakfast - Radio National
- Rural Reporter - Radio National, ABC Local Radio
- Resources Beat - ABC NewsRadio
- Mining and Resources
- Heywire- ABC Local Radio, Radio National, Triple J, Radio Australia, ABC TV
- ABC Rural Programs
- Bush Telegraph web site
- The Country Hour web site
- A brief history of the ABC Rural Department