Something in the Air: background

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INHABITED by a group of eclectic characters, Emu Springs was once a thriving gold-mining town and an impressive mineral spa. In economic terms, it's a little less hectic these days but it still manages to intrigue and beguile those who visit.

Scratching below the surface reveals a charmingly unique town enlivened by the people who work, live and play there. It's a country sanctum which visitors find hard to abandon.

With the curious, Old Man Emu as its mascot, Emu Springs has all the accoutrements of provincial viability including a general store owned by Mon and Len Taylor. While Mon runs the shop, Len spends most days out on the verandah. With a smoke dangling from his lips he muses about his glory days as a star local footballer and just how, as coach, he's going to get his boys to the finishing line for their first win in twenty-five years.

One of the local pubs is the Emu Springs Station Hotel operated and owned by Stuart McGregor, an ex-copper from interstate who left behind some dubious dealings and settled for a quiet life in Emu Springs.

The jewel in the Emu Springs crown is Radio 3ES the Voice of the Springs. Housed in the former Railway Station at the end of a disconnected line it's the epicentre of much of the town's goings-on.

The Station Manager is Helen Virtue who has returned to Emu Springs from Melbourne with her twelve-year old son Harry after a life-changing emotional upheaval.

3ES is part-owned by Senator Doug Rutherford and a constant presence at the station is Doug's wife Julia who has her own show—Rural Roundup.

Another linchpin in the radio family is the enthusiastic Ryan Cassidy, a naturally talented nineteen year old who harbours the humble desire of one day having his own breakfast show on 3ES. His career nemesis comes in the form of Stuart's daughter, Megan McGregor, a whirlwind of ambition who lacks innate radio flair but makes up for it in up-front cheekiness.

Father Brian O'Rourke is a football playing thirty-something priest whose resume extends to anchoring Fess Up, a confessional style radio program.

Dr Eva Petrovska, is a Russian immigrant specialising in Western medicine and alternative practices who visits Emu Spring weekly and works from the back of the General Store. Her program on 3ES is the popular and expansive, Mind, Body and Spirit.

Sally Sabatini, Helen's sister, and her husband Joe are also part of the Emu Springs nucleus. It's through their eyes and the running of their property, Tale Farm, that we become privy to the grit and determination needed to survive in the current rural climate.

Life is pretty good in Emu Springs. There's a robust past, a peaceful present and they're sitting on the cusp of a hopeful future. The sun comes up in the morning and goes down at night. The pace is languid, and the life pretty simple

But we all know life wasn't meant to be that easy. Emu Springs is in for a change. A symbiotic change in the form of the big, blustery, boisterous Tom Dooley, a de-throned radio talk-back king escaping defamation writs in Sydney. He plants himself smack bang in the middle of town and begins to wreak havoc.

Tom Dooley barks, the Emu Springs locals bite and Emu Springs, it seems, will never be the same again.