Outback Radio 2WEB broadcasts from Bourke, which is situated in the centre of the Far Western region of NSW and is regarded as ‘the gateway to the ‘real’ Outback’. Our broadcast area covers over 130,000 sq kilometres. There are few major centres in the listening area but many smaller towns and communities. The population fluctuates during the year owing to the seasonal nature of much of the industry, however the estimated static population of the listening area is around 100,000 people.
The centre of our listening area is also the point where two of Australia’s newest highways meet. The Kidman Way is the most direct route from Melbourne to Darwin and is rapidly gaining favour with transport companies and tourists alike. The Kamilaroi Highway links Melbourne to Brisbane and has long been the standard route for Victorian, South Australian and Western travellers alike to make their way in to coastal QLD. Running through the heart of the Outback is the Mitchell Hwy, which has been the lifeline of the western region for many years and now links Sydney with the northern capitals via the aforementioned routes.
The Bourke Shire estimates the vehicles travelling these highways to be in the region of 1000 per day. With seasonal fluctuations, the annual figure is in the region of 500,000 vehicles per year.
Whether static or transient, recreational or industrial, there are in excess of 100,000 potential listeners in the Western Region at any given time. Outback Radio 2WEB has refined its programming over its lifetime to become the preferred station in the Outback, and for many of the audience for much of the time, 2WEB is the only station available.
Western NSW is one of the most diverse industrial areas in Australia. Rural based industry is by far the most prominent and is in itself, remarkably diverse. Various forms of irrigated agriculture have gradually overtaken the instantly recognisable staples such as broad acre farming and grazing, from wine and table grapes, olives, citrus and stone fruit, cotton and wheat, through to more experimental crops such as jojoba. Along with the viticulture and irrigated agriculture, mining and mineral exploration have featured prominently in the local economies.
By far, the fastest moving new industry in the region is tourism. Riding on the back of the nation’s success as a whole, the Outback has become a high priority destination for international and domestic markets alike. Having become far more accessible over recent years due to increased infrastructure and more easily recognised due to the communications explosion, the Outback has come to symbolise Australia as much as the Harbour Bridge or the Opera House.
Outback Radio 2WEB features prominently as a key part of the Outback’s psyche. The station has been a saviour for its listeners in times of emergency as well as a companion during the easier times. It has been, on many occasions, the only link that isolated communities have with the rest of the world. It is also the device by which travellers in the west can negotiate the sometimes-treacherous Outback region.
Background Photography Courtesy of Tim.J.Power: http://timjpower.com/ or find him on Instagram: TIMJPOWER