David Rabbitborough's A to Z of Australian Species



Of all the natural sounds that we can wake up to in the mornings, none perhaps is so persistent or compelling as the call of the radio announcer.

Radio announcers are creatures that dwell in the electromagnetic spectrum, or the range of radio frequencies. Their homes are called stations because, like the properties of outback Australia, their programs are for the most part arid expanses.

Within each station the radio announcer has its own clearly marked out territory or timeslot as its called. The task of the station is to try and make contact with the outside world and to do this, they emit a continuous noise like the cicada. Every station makes its own particular kind of noise, though usually only an expert could an tell the difference.

The announcer's task is to maintain the sound at constant level. There are several distinct sub-species: The Midnight Droner, the Early Morning Barker, and the Talkback Grunter. Some announcers work in pairs, maintaining a ceaseless chatter about things that the listener does not understand. Others rule alone like rogue wombats digging into people's pasts, trampling on the sensibilities of the surrounding community and picking fights with all and sundry. They even invite others to call in so they can hack pieces out of them.

Perhaps the most dangerous is the Drive Time Mesmerist, an announcer that adopts a hypnotic tone which induces other species to fall asleep at the wheels of their cars. Alas all the announcers' efforts at transmitting around the clock have been in vain. So far, no evidence of intelligent life amongst the listening audience has been found.

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