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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Dan is Canberra’s busiest news man

Ironically, the man Canberrans know for delivering the news started his dual role at ABC Canberra by creating headlines around the nation’s capital.

When Dan Bourchier was announced as the ABC’s new breakfast radio presenter and 7pm TV news anchor in late 2016, it made a splash.

“It’s fair to say it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster coming up to three years,” he says.

“It was ambitious to take on at the start, doing two very high profile roles in a town that I’d only lived in briefly.”

But Dan says it was an opportunity too good to pass up, drawing on his passions and expertise in television and radio.

“It was an extension of the work I had been doing professionally in television for many years; it also called on a forum that I’ve loved and have always adored, radio.”

Having had a few years to settle in, he’s grown accustomed to the rigours of the job and grown connected to his audience.

“I feel like there’s been a great willingness to let me be a part of the conversation, and with that comes trust over time, and that’s something I’ve really had to earn.

“I’ve been completely embraced by my team, and I think that comes through in the work that we do on the radio at breakfast, and also at the news desk in the evening, of capturing the stories and reflecting those back to the community.”

While it’s clear Dan loves his job, paradoxically, one of his biggest work highlights is getting out of the studio, taking the show on the road.

“When you’re out and about it changes the dynamic of the conversation that you’re having, and it also puts you face to face with the community, which I think is so important,” he says.

Dan’s other professional highlights stem from breakthroughs achieved by way of conversations on matters of social justice.

“Very early on we did a series on gambling, of people in very prominent roles here in the ACT who had faced their own demons around gambling addictions.

“I’d like to think we’ve taken off some of the stigma, and that actually prompted some government reforms, investigations and inquiries,” he says.

Canberra is a long way from Dan’s roots, having grown up in Tennant Creek, NT.

He’s been strongly connected to his Indigenous heritage throughout his life and has long been passionate about reporting on Indigenous affairs.

While living here, he’s also made a point of connecting with the Ngunnawal community.

One of the ways Dan’s achieved that is through an initiative to get local Indigenous voices on the air to welcome listeners to country in native tongue.

“That’s been really important to me, making sure when you’re switching on the radio you’re hearing a range of voices.

“A big part of that has been about making sure that if you’re an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander Australian living in the ACT you get to be part of the conversation,” he says.

One of the reasons Dan has been so warmly embraced by the public is because he himself has embraced Canberra life so warmly.

Off mic, Dan is involved with young Australians at Old Parliament House, looking at how they feel about democracy and politics as research for the ‘Democracy 2025’ initiative between the University of Canberra and the Museum of Australian Democracy.

He also works with a number of local community groups in a variety of capacities.

“The stuff I’ve been doing outside of work is to be involved as much as I possibly can in the community.

“I never thought that my voice mattered; now I’m in a position where not only does it matter but it gives people the ability to have their voices heard.

“If I can do that for young Australians and send a message that if you’re growing up in some remote part of the country your voice is important too,” he says.

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