Stretching The Internet

“AFL players have the best hair.” That’s a direct quote from Helen Razer who is hosting the overnight talk show from the Australian Broadcasting Company. AFL, in this case, refers to the Australian Football League.

I’m listening to their station in Darwin, Northern Territory, but at this hour of the morning (it’s past 3:00 AM in most of Australia), the broadcast might be coming from anywhere. Helen keeps referring to “ABC local radio,” followed by a ‘canned’ ID for the Darwin frequency. My guess is this show isn’t local radio as much as it fills in for local radio while most of the country is asleep.

Normally… no, even now… I’ve got no interest in “footy.” I’ve come to listen to coverage of Tropical Cyclone Monica. Obviously, it’s not much of a concern, except possibly as it relates to players’ hairstyles.

At the bottom of the hour, ABC switched to a few minutes of news. Monica was the lead story. It’s a big storm and very close to ‘the top end,’ as the Northern Coast was called. Monica is attacking a desolate, inhospitable area. In the bullseye is Jabiru with 1,200 people – built entirely within a national park.

I grew up on a block with over 1,200 people. Really.

Monica will threaten Darwin tomorrow. Darwin is more substantial, over 100,000 people. By then the storm should be greatly diminished, haing spent a day over land.

Trust me – from listening, it’s obvious this station isn’t meant for anyone outside Australia. It’s not interesting or exciting, but it’s there. It is available via the Internet, as are all the warnings and advice from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

That’s part of the unexpected power of the Internet. Much of the web is optimized for disseminating information to the widest possible audience. Other nooks and crannys, like this ABC broadcast, are there for a small but needy audience.

This afternoon, from half a world away, I’m eavesdropping on them.

Blogger’s note: As much as I’ve wanted to stay away from the Real player, ABC’s Windows Media feed wouldn’t stay up for more than a few seconds. I’ve been listening using Real for nearly an hour, flawlessly.