ABC Capricornia

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837 ABC Capricornia
4RK Studio at the Rockhampton Post Office, March 1931.jpgG. Gardiner, radio announcer in the studio at the Rockhampton post office in 1931
Broadcast area Rockhampton and The Capricorn Coast
Frequency 837 kHz AM
First air date 29 July 1931
Format Talk
Transmitter coordinates 23°22′48.22″S 150°30′56.63″E / 23.3800611°S 150.5157306°E / -23.3800611; 150.5157306
Owner Australian Broadcasting Corporation

4RK, better known as ABC Capricornia is one of the ABC's original regional radio stations, predating the Corporation's inception on 1 July 1932. 4RK, as it was known at the time, began broadcasting on 29 July 1931 and was owned by the Australian Broadcasting Company. The power was initially 2 kilowatts. The transmitting equipment was established by Keith Thow of STC.[1]

The station became part of the ABC, in 1932 but retained its original callsign. The station was the second regional ABC radio station in Australia. The station celebrated its 75th birthday in 2006.[2]

The station broadcasts to the region on two powerful AM transmitters - the 4RK transmitter at Gracemere (broadcasting on 837 AM) and the 4QD transmitter at Emerald (broadcasting on 1548 AM). However, ABC Capricornia also uses a number of FM translators which are strategically located throughout the region, enabling the station to be heard clearly in other towns, such as Gladstone and Biloela.

Staff based at ABC Capricornia cover the ABC's television, radio and online operations for the areas including journalists, presenters and producers as well as an online producer, television reporter, and camera producer/editor.

Local News[edit]

Currently, local news bulletins are broadcast on ABC Capricornia at 6:30 am, 7:30 am, 8:30 am, 12:00 pm and 5:30 pm weekdays. However under proposed programming changes in 2016 announced by the ABC in late October 2015, the five local bulletins on all regional ABC stations will be reduced to just two. The 8:30 am, midday and 5:30 pm local news bulletins will all be axed, with only the 6:30 am and 7:30 am news bulletins to be retained for 2016.

Until 2014, the station maintained a radio news bureau in the city of Gladstone, 100 kilometres south of Rockhampton, where a radio journalist was based to cover news originating from the Gladstone region. The Gladstone-based reporter also presented ABC Capricornia's local afternoon news bulletins which were broadcast live from Gladstone. However, the ABC announced the permanent closure of the Gladstone bureau on November 24, 2014 following the Australian Government implementing funding cuts of $254 million to the ABC.

Local Programming[edit]

Like many regional ABC stations around Australia, Breakfast and Mornings are the only two local programs currently broadcast from the Rockhampton studios.

Currently, the station's local breakfast show with Jacquie Mackay starts at 5.35 am and concludes at 7:45 am but under new changes announced by the ABC in late October 2015, the 5:30 am - 6:00 am portion of local programming on most regional ABC stations will be axed. In 2016, Breakfast will commence at 6:30 am instead, following ABC News, Early AM and The Rural Report, but will run until 10 am, replacing the first 90 minutes of the local morning program. Under proposed changes, Mornings, which is currently broadcast from 8.30 am to 11 am will be shortened to one hour and air between 10 am and 11 am with a new format.

ABC Capricornia was also the originating station for the network's regional statewide mid-afternoon program, which was presented from the Rockhampton studios between 2 pm and 4 pm weekdays. However, that program was another casualty of the Australian Government's funding cuts to the ABC in 2014. Following the program's conclusion at the end of 2014, it was replaced with a relay of 612 ABC Brisbane's Afternoons with Kelly Higgins-Devine.

The station also broadcasts a rural affairs program called The Rural Report between 6:15 am and 6:30 am during the local breakfast show weekday mornings. The Rural Report is a shared program between ABC Capricornia and ABC Southern Queensland in Toowoomba. The program simulcasts on both stations, and features content relevant to both regions with a Rockhampton-based rural reporter and a Toowoomba-based rural reporter alternating presenting duties.

Additionally, ABC Capricornia is also the originating station for Gardening Talkback, a weekly gardening advice program heard on a number of ABC Local Radio stations throughout Queensland between 10 am and 11 am every Friday morning.

On Saturdays, ABC Capricornia broadcasts a local Saturday breakfast show from 6 am until 8:30 am which is followed by a local version of the ABC's Grandstand program from 8:30 am until 10 am.

There is no local programming on Sundays.

Networked Programming[edit]

As part of the ABC Local Radio network, the vast majority of programming on ABC Capricornia broadcasts originates from Brisbane or interstate. National programs such as AM, The World Today, PM, Nightlife, Overnights, Saturday Night Country, Australia All Over, Sunday Profile and Grandstand are all part of ABC Capricornia's broadcast schedule, as are statewide programs such as The Queensland Country Hour, Afternoons with Kelly Higgins-Devine, Evenings with David Curnow, and Weekends with Tim Cox.


control room in 1931
Erecting radio mast for 4RK in 1931
  1. ^ "4RK Rockhampton". Evening Post CXII (26). 30 July 1931. p. 22. 
  2. ^ Martin Powley (15 April 2008). "The history of ABC Capricornia".