Radio National Breakfast
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|Genre||News: analysis, commentary, features, interviews, specials|
|Running time||105 min. weekdays;
|Country of origin||Australia|
|Home station||ABC Radio National|
|Hosted by||Fran Kelly|
|Original release||present incarnation began in 1999 – present|
|Podcast||Podcast / RSS feed|
Radio National Breakfast (sometimes shortened to Breakfast) is a national early morning news programme in Australia. The programme is broadcast live in the eastern states (and on delay in other states) on the ABC Radio National network. It can also be listened to online. The programme is hosted by award-winning journalist Fran Kelly.
Radio National Breakfast programming combines news, analysis, commentary, interviews and special features broadcast live daily from 6.00 am to 9.00 am. The programme is broadcast in two segments (6.00 to 7.00 and 7.30 to 8.30) before and after the current affairs programme AM at 7.00.
The format of the programme, while not always the same, is usually consistent. The programme begins officially at 6.10 am following the hourly news broadcast. The news broadcasts are state-based and occur on the hour - and every hour - with the traditional "Majestic Fanfare" tune.
The programme has a familiar tune, during which the presenter indicates the main stories which will be covered during the programme, including the interviews which are planned.
About four items are presented each hour, with longer items earlier in the programme. These will include a mix of reports from ABC correspondents, reports from the BBC and CNN, as well as interviews with a variety of people, including federal and state politicians, prominent commentators, persons of interest, celebrities and ordinary people who are in the middle of news stories.
At 7.10 am, after the 7.00 news, Breakfast switches over to AM. AM is the ABC's flagship radio current affairs programme, along with its sister programs The World Today and PM. AM is presented by Chris Uhlmann, an ABC journalist. The programme runs from 7.10 am until 7.30 am, after which listeners are "returned" to Fran Kelly and the Breakfast programme.
- Fran Kelly March 2005 – present
- Peter Thompson January 1994 – December 1999, January 2003 - December 2004
- Vivian Schenker January 2000 - December 2002
- Geraldine Doogue Weekend host and first backup for weekday hosting
- Dr Norman Swan second backup host
Fran Kelly went through many careers before joining the ABC. Following her arts degree at Adelaide University, majoring in literature and classics, she appeared first as a lead singer for the all-girl new wave band Toxic Shoc, before becoming the Activities Director for Adelaide's Flinders University. She moved to Melbourne to take up the post of Entertainment Director for La Trobe University. From 1984 Fran broadened her experience in arts management as the co-ordinator of the Women's Arts Festival for Victoria's 150th Anniversary celebrations. Following a stint on Melbourne's RRR Backchat programme, featuring women's current affairs, issues and talkback, Fran applied for a current affairs position at the ABC. While she was knocked back initially, she got a foot in and found work at Triple J. Following this she worked for AM and PM before taking up a position for the ABC in the Canberra Press Gallery, which included reporting for Radio National Breakfast. In 2001 she was made the 7.30 Report's political editor. In 2003 she became the ABC's European correspondent. Since March 2005 she has been presenter of Radio National Breakfast.
There are several regular contributors to the programme.
- Michelle Grattan, the political editor of Melbourne's Age newspaper, delivers a daily take on federal politics;
- Warwick Hadfield wraps up sport daily;
- Matthew Bevan covers newspaper and online news headlines;
- Sheryle Bagwell - business editor;
- Alison Carabine - Canberra reporter;
- Chris Smith, from the The Naked Scientists, appears on Fridays with the latest developments in science;
- Peter Marks reviews recent technology trends and news on Wednesdays;
Recognition and acclaim
Radio National Breakfast, while lower in ratings than most other state and local radio programmes, has, as a national programme, one of the highest listener numbers for any early morning program in Australia. In particular it is regarded as the programme which federal Australian politicians listen to, particularly given its focus on national politics. Former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, was known to be a ‘fan’ of the programme and regularly appeared for interviews.
In early 2007 Mr Howard cited an interview that Fran Kelly had conducted on ‘Breakfast’ with indigenous community leader Noel Pearson as being the motivation behind his ‘Federal Indigenous Intervention’ project, a controversial policy aimed at ending child sexual abuse in remote indigenous communities.