MICHELLE Guthrie made her first visit to the Border as ABC managing director on Friday, but the media bigwig is no stranger to the region.
The public broadcasting boss first became familiar with the area more than 20 years ago when she met her now husband Darren Farr, a chef who grew up at Howlong and studied at Albury High School.
Ms Guthrie spent the day at Yackandandah to mark the launch of the second series of the ABC television show Back Roads which featured the town in its debut last year.
She met townsfolk as well as the member for Indi Cathy McGowan, federal Transport Minister Darren Chester and Indigo mayor Jenny O’Connor.
Ms Guthrie said “it wasn’t concerns at all” she heard.
“It was No.1 how much they love the ABC, they feel we need more funding,” Ms Guthrie said.
“I said ‘we have to accept our funding won’t increase and we’ll have to make choices about how we invest our resources’.”
It was the fourth regional trip Ms Guthrie has made since assuming the job in May, having also visited Port Lincoln, Bendigo and Newcastle.
She plans to visit all 48 country offices.
ABC Goulburn Murray radio staged a live broadcast for three hours outside the Yackandandah library as part of the occasion.
Ms Guthrie said there were plans for ABC Goulburn Murray to be streamed but she could not say when it would happen and she said Radio National would not become a podcast-only service.
Cr O’Connor said she stressed to Ms Guthrie the value of the ABC.
“I was just reflecting the community opinion that we all know very strongly that local media matters to rural people and the ABC is vital to rural towns,” she said.
Back Roads host Heather Ewart said she had been thrilled by the success of her program which showcases bush towns across Australia.
“A year ago Yackandandah was the first town and it was kind of trial and error and I would never have thought in a pink fit it would lead to so much good feedback,” Ewart said.
“It’s fabulous, it’s really heart-warming.”