From parliament to 4BC: Scott Emerson on taking drive local

Scott Emerson

• “I know where the bodies are buried, I know the questions the politicians don’t want to be asked”

Following the decision from Nine Radio to make the 4BC breakfast and drive slots local again journalist and former MP Scott Emerson was named the new host of 4BC drive program.

Kicking his new show off last month Emerson spoke with Mediaweek about his new role, the importance of local radio in Queensland and the topsy turvy journey he took to 4BC.

“Going from journo to pollie back to journo was like going from poacher to gamekeeper back to poacher again.”

Emerson’s Queensland Journey

Emerson has strong ties to the maroon state having started his career in radio with the ABC where he helped the public broadcaster launch triple j in Queensland and also worked for the AM and PM programs for current affairs in the northern state.

Emerson then spent 10 years in print with The Australian as bureau chief for Queensland and chief of staff for the Olympics.

From 2009-2017 Emerson left journalism and began a new career in state politics winning the seat of Indooroopilly at the 2009 state election. He would go on to win re-election two more times and enjoy a stint as Transport and Main Roads Minister in the Liberal Party.

Taking 4BC Local

Although Emerson described the end to his political career as a more of a one-sided decision he returned to journalism through Sky News before he saw that Nine wanted to take 4BC local again.

“I didn’t leave politics so much as politics left me when I didn’t win the seat I contested.

“I saw when Nine purchased 4BC that it was very keen for the station to become local again and I loved my time in this city so all the stars aligned and it is just wonderful to be here.”

With Nine Radio making the decision to return the breakfast and drive programs back to Brisbane local shows, Emerson said that the Queensland audience has a desire for local content from the weather to big breaking stories.

“I think people really resonate with very good presenters and shows like Ray Hadley’s and Deb Knight’s programs which are in both NSW and Queensland. With Neil Breen and myself, people also like to have their local programs to talk about what’s happening on the ground in their local area.”

Making drive a news and information show

Always a journalist at heart, it did not take Emerson long to break a few stories at 4BC such as the Queensland ALP cash for access story and allegations of mass cheating at the University of Queensland.

“The programs I am trying to put out are very pacey and news based with strong interviews and we want to break some news.

“We had already broken a couple of stories in our first week and I think people appreciate having local voices bookending the programs.

“I want people to know that when they tune in to 4BC Brisbane that they will hear news like nowhere else and hear everything they need to know about the city that they love.”

Emerson also believes that his experience behind the scenes in politics provides his show with a different perspective.

“I know where the bodies are buried, I know the questions the politicians don’t want to be asked because I have been on both sides.”

Taking the job during a pandemic

Launching a radio show during a pandemic was always going to be a unique experience and Emerson believes that this can lead to change.

“The world is changing at the moment so there isn’t any reason why I shouldn’t be having a bit of a change and joining 4BC.

“People are maybe changing their listening habits at the moment and it’s a great time to be getting out there now as people are open to changing to how they listen and who they listen to and I want to be a part of that change.”

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