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PM – 20th Anniversary Program

The ABC radio program PM has been a staple program since I was a schoolboy.

I think I began listening to it in 1972, possibly in 1971. Its coverage of the massacre at the Munich Olympics sticks in my memory. Those were the days when news and current affairs was what we now call “appointment” broadcasting. The programs that accompanied breakfast, lunch and dinner were the times you found out what was happening in the world. No internet, no 24-hour television, no mobile phones, no social media.

Throughout my life, PM has been ever-present, one of the essential programs I turned to, not just in times of momentous events, but on a daily basis. As a university student during the Whitlam and Fraser years, and as a teacher through four separate decades, it was vital, not just personally, but professionally. For me, teaching English, Politics and History always required an up-to-date grasp of current events. Everything is relevant.

For many years, I listened to it in the car. The years began with Huw Evans as host, and then Paul Murphy, with Monica Attard and Ellen Fanning preceding the arrival of Mark Colvin. I loved it when a 5pm edition began on Radio National, with the local radio version continuing after the 6pm news. The duplication enabled me to leave work at different times and still listen to the whole program, albeit out of order.

Like many, I appreciated the authority and knowledge of Colvin. He made the program his. It is no reflection on him or any of the other hosts, but Evans will always be the voice of PM for me. Perhaps it was the November 11, 1975 live broadcast that did it.

I’ve recently moved and an archive of hundreds of recordings dating back to the 70s is now a priority for digitisation. The aim is to get much of it online on this website. Much of the collection was digitised about twenty years ago, but I never seemed to get around to systematically converting everything. Now I’ve set a target to get it done within the next six months. The support of subscribers to my Patreon account is making this possible, especially through the purchase of new recording equipment. Difficult circumstances nearly led to the closure of the websites last year, so please consider a donation.

Today, working through cassette audio tapes, I came across a 1989 recording of the 20th anniversary program of PM. I hope the ABC don’t mind if I make it available here. It includes an interview with then Treasurer Paul Keating and some interesting memories of the program’s first two decades. This year, the program turned 51.

  • Listen to PM, July 7, 1989 (41m):

The PM website today:

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Malcolm Farnsworth
© 1995-2024