We need Hookturn now, more than ever.

Categories Scratched, Thoughts

Features to be significantly changed. Decommissioning of 360documentaries, Hindsight, Encounter, Into the Music and Poetica… One possible redundancy with the merging of Books and Arts Daily and the Weekend Arts teams… By Design and RN First Bite to be axed.”

The Guardian lists some of the casualties of the ABC funding cuts.

As our government literally decimates the national broadcaster, I’m even more conscious of the need for the ongoing telling of Australian stories in whichever way we can.

We take a lot of pride in where we come from. As Melburnians we’re constitutionally required to be parochial. Once every 18 months or so I travel to New York City and I marvel at its inhabitants’ parochialism. They put us to shame. I’ve travelled to Austin, which has the unique position of being a parochial enclave inside of Texas, itself probably the most parochial place in the world.

I’m speaking about parochialism as a virtue, which opposes my personal economic beliefs for globalisation. But the two concepts can and should co-exist.

It’s too late to fight against globalisation. The device you’re reading this on exists through globalisation. Your refusal to pay three times as much for underwear supports globalisation. It’s a part of our lives and, as much as people complain about losing jobs to overseas, there’s not a lot we can do about it. Globalisation is simply the law of comparative advantage writ large.

This is where parochialism comes in. It is possible to have a healthy mix of outsourcing to other countries while having one’s own outlook. We must find a sustainable balance.

This discussion—the economics, the cities, the ABC cuts—is about how we choose to define our culture.

Places are defined by how strongly people identify with the local culture: bringing people together and creating sense of belonging.

And it is culture that’s at stake here. The ABC has been forced to cut programs that talk to our culture and open our minds to who we are and what our position is in the world: as Melburnians, Australians, and even antipodeans (hello, New Zealand).

Politicians who lie for to get into office are an age-old question that will continue to haunt us. But the culture thing? Well that is in our hands.

We created Hookturn to share local stories and opinions; to learn about the world through how it affects us.

When politicians decide to reduce our power to build our own culture, we need to fight back. We need to produce more shows and encourage more people to listen to them. We need to focus on the quality of the shows to make sure that our programming is something we can be proud of.

This means sacrifice. For me that sacrifice is at least 20 hours on top of my full-time work, every week, to help get our programs out to you. When a show isn’t released on time or doesn’t match our quality criteria, that’s on me.

Hookturn is a way for us to continue our strong Australian culture of storytelling. It’s one thing no one else in the world can do on our behalf, and we value that very highly.

It was this time, a year ago, that we introduced Hookturn as a label and began seeking out programs to release as podcasts. It’s been a lot of work but the feedback from listeners has been encouraging.

It’s a sad day when a government won’t protect the long-term interests of its nation. Storytelling has always been part of the Australian culture. We would love for Hookturn to continue to coexist with a government-funded broadcaster and all the other Australian independent producers. The more the merrier.

At a time when cherished parts of our culture are in jeopardy, we need to act. I choose to create programs that tell our stories. Your choice might be to seek out Australian media and support it through purchases, donations or spreading the good word. Maybe you have a show in you yourself.

Whichever way, we need to protect the things that help to define us—the points of difference that help us understand who we are. Our experiences cannot be outsourced.

This post was originally published in the Floate Design Partners blog