On the release of the first episode of Coronacast on 4 March 2020, Australia had 51 total cases of Covid-19; and no-one could have predicted what was to come. Designed by ABC Radio, Coronacast is a daily podcast to answer audience questions about the global pandemic. On 21 September, the ABC had directly received over 100,000 questions about the virus. That’s a little over 695 questions per episode.
Presented by health and science journalist Tegan Taylor, and physician and broadcaster Norman Swan, the two have become household names for explaining the latest coronavirus news, official government advice, and research.
Wading through an ever-evolving situation and mountains of information, listeners are drawn to the show’s format of ten to fifteen minute episodes, emphasis on clear and concise communication, and a surprisingly upbeat tone. In interviews about the series, both Taylor and Swan have attributed this tone and the playfulness of their back and forth banter to producer Will Ockenden.
In a memorable year, Coronacast will be a piece of the treasure trove of materials that historians of the future will draw upon to understand how Australians dealt with, understood, and coped during the global coronavirus pandemic.