The boys from outback Betoota visit Silver City

Paula Doran

The boys from the satirical online publication The Betoota Advocate have made a name for themselves and for the Australian outback in their tongue-in-cheek digital content. The Barrier Truth caught up with Editor Clancy Overall last week during the team’s visit to our city to train young podcasters through an event organised by Broken Hill City Council.

Our journalist Paula caught up and had a chat…

PAULA DORAN: Was last week’s visit to the Silver City a first for the Betoota Advocate?

CLANCY: Absolutely not! We try to visit Broken Hill as much as possible. St Paddy’s Races is always great fun. We haven’t gotten around to nabbing any accommodation for the Broken Heel Festival, but that’s on the list too.

This most recent visit was by far the most fulfilling though, from a professional standpoint. It was a real treat to meet some of the talented local youth and share some of our media tricks with them.

PD: Given your role as advocates for podcasts in the training session, what makes a good podcast?

CLANCY: As we discussed during the workshop, a good podcast needs a strong format and a style. Unlike radio, you don’t necessarily need a certain type of voice. Once you’ve created a structure – one that you can follow week to week – that’s when you can focus on telling yarns and power forward.

PD: What can a unique mecca like the Silver City offer in terms of podcast content?

CLANCY: Broken Hill has always been home to some great yarns. From the Aboriginal history to the early days of Australian mining. When people talk about the romance of the bush, you don’t need to look further than the Silver City. It’s a place where love stories thrive, a lot of rags to riches stories, and a fair few whodunnits.

It’s also a magnet for some real characters. That’s why we wanted to head out here and see if we can help encourage some young people to tell these stories and get them out there.

PD: The Betoota Advocate has stamped its own unique footprint on the Australia media landscape, did you ever envisage you would attract the following that you have?

CLANCY: We always liked to imagine that we would have a readership in towns like Broken Hill and Mount Isa, but never envisaged developing the following we have in the big smoke. I guess it just goes to show that being a smart arse is universal – and everyone appreciates it in small doses!

PD: In the same vein of ‘The Colonel’s secret herbs and spices’, what are the secret ingredients that have created success for you?

CLANCY: Keeping our ears to the ground has been important for The Betoota Advocate. It’s been pivotal to our success to know a little bit about every community we write about.

For example, you’ve gotta know which footy team last won the comp in each town. You’ve gotta know which pub is the wildest in every town. Last time we visited Broken Hill, that pub was the West Darling, but now they’ve spruced it up… We don’t know who holds the crown these days, but we certainly had a look.

PD: You are unashamedly the ‘boys from the bush,’ in your media identities, what draws you to the roles of the modern-day Banjo P?

CLANCY: Well, as we told the participants at our workshop, it’s important for Australian storytelling that we have a good cross-section of the country represented in our books, music and media. It’s not so much about glorifying the bush as it is about being yourself. And that’s what we saw in Broken Hill, there’re no pretenders. We are hoping to see a lot of honest rural media exports coming out of the Silver City in the next couple years.

PD: When you are not creating sardonic quips and adding a dusting of dry humour to global and suburban events, where would we find the boys from Betoota?

CLANCY: You’ll find us at Betoota Advocate HQ on Daroo St, Betoota. Or at the pub next door.

PD: And will see you back this way again?

CLANCY: Yes, you will! Obviously everyone kept telling us that Broken Heel is a must, but we’ll also be keeping an eye on some of the young people that we worked with over the workshop too. We think there’s big potential for the arts festivals in Broken Hill, whether it’s the Writers Festival or the visual arts in general. There are art galleries on every corner and a huge number of local authors on the world stage.

We got a good look at some of that emerging talent at 2DRY FM over the weekend. A big congratulations to Dionne Devlin from Broken Hill City Council for organising it all.

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