News edge to return to Open House

Former journalist Stephen O’Doherty steers radio show into harder territory

Christian talkback radio show Open House will have a more current affairs slant when it returns with a new presenter later this month, after an 18-month break.

As journalist and former politician Stephen O’Doherty takes the helm, the show will be networked to Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane.

Produced by Sydney Christian radio station Hope 103.2 with funds raised from its latest appeal, Open House will return to its Sunday timeslot from 7pm to 10pm rather than weekdays from 12pm to 1pm.

O’Doherty, who has been Hope 1032 chairman for 13 years, says the Sunday night slot provides “a great opportunity to not only reflect on the week that has been but, even more importantly, prepare people for the week coming up.”

“We’re hoping later this year to start a newsroom at Hope.” – Stephen O’Doherty

Taking over from three much-loved hosts – Sheridan Voysey, Leigh Hatcher and Dwayne Jeffries – O’Doherty said every presenter brings their own background and style to the editorial mix.

O’Doherty’s harder news focus reflects his background in hosting current affairs programmes on 2GB in Sydney and the Macquarie Network nationally. He was also a state and national affairs reporter with ABC TV’s 7:30, and for Network Ten. Between 1992 and 2002, O’Doherty was a Liberal member of the NSW parliament. He left politics to serve as CEO of Christian Schools Australia until last year.

Open House is doing what Hope itself is doing. We’re building a place on the dial where we can have mature talk, discussion about all of the issues of the day that impact on human society and relationships in a way that doesn’t exclude God from the conversation,” he told Eternity.

“I’d never lost my belief that both media and education are critical to help build a better society.” – Stephen O’Doherty

“I’ve been reading a lot lately about impacting culture in a way that promotes human flourishing in a godly way, therefore promoting the kind of society that reflects the kingdom of God itself.”

O’Doherty, who is also director of Christian Media and the Arts Australia and chairman of the Brisbane radio station 96Five, has been thinking for a long time about how to build the capacity of Christian community radio stations in capital cities, so they can have strong news services grounded in a Christian foundation.

“It’s one of the reasons I left Christians Schools in the end. I invested 15 years helping to build the profile and impact of the Christian school sector and, at the same time, I’d never lost my belief that both media and education are critical to help build a better society,” he said.

“How do we reassess the rise of nationalism from a Christian perspective?” – Stephen O’Doherty

“So we’re hoping later this year to start a newsroom at Hope with a view to that growing fairly rapidly over the next few years.”

O’Doherty said one of the issues he will be exploring in Open House involves the competing trends of globalisation and nationalism.

“We now have communications across vast distances and people are travelling more than at any time in history,” he said.

“At the same time, we’re seeing in the United States and Great Britain and even here in Australia a sort of retreat to nationalism and retreat to localism.

“I think it is a very fascinating dichotomy and, as a Christian, I look at that and think ‘how do we respond to that?’ We want to be global citizens for Christ, so how do we reassess the rise of nationalism from a Christian perspective? What’s going on there?”