4RK, better known as ABC Capricornia is one of the ABC's original regional radio stations, predating the Corporation's inception on 1 July 1932. 4RK, as it was known at the time, began broadcasting on 29 July 1931 and was owned by the Australian Broadcasting Company. The power was initially 2 kilowatts. The transmitting equipment was established by Keith Thow of STC.
The station became part of the ABC in 1932, but retained its original callsign. The station was the second regional ABC radio station in Australia and celebrated its 75th birthday in 2006.
The station broadcasts to the region on two powerful AM transmitters - the 4RK transmitter at Gracemere (broadcasting on 837 AM) and the 4QD transmitter at Emerald (broadcasting on 1548 AM). However, ABC Capricornia also uses a number of FM translators which are strategically located throughout the region, enabling the station to be heard clearly in other towns, such as Gladstone and Biloela.
Staff based at ABC Capricornia cover the ABC's television, radio and online operations for the areas including journalists, presenters and producers, as well as an online producer, television reporter, and camera producer/editor.
Currently, local news bulletins are broadcast on ABC Capricornia at 6:30 am, 7:30 am, and 12:00 pm on weekdays.
Previously ABC Capricornia also aired local news bulletins at 8:30 am and 5:30 pm but under controversial programming changes that were implemented nationwide by the ABC in early 2016, the five local bulletins on ABC Capricornia were reduced to three. The 8:30am bulletin was replaced with a brief 90 second update of local and national headlines read by a locally-based newsreader. The 5:30 pm local news bulletin was also axed and was also replaced with a brief national update, read by the producer of the 4pm-6pm regional drive program which is broadcast from Brisbane, as are the 4:30 pm headlines.
Until 2014, the station maintained a radio news bureau in the city of Gladstone, 100 kilometres south of Rockhampton, where a radio journalist was based to cover news originating from the Gladstone region. The Gladstone-based reporter also presented ABC Capricornia's local afternoon news bulletins which were broadcast live from Gladstone. However, the ABC controversially announced the permanent closure of the Gladstone bureau and the removal of a Gladstone-based reporter on November 24, 2014 following the Australian Government implementing funding cuts of $254 million to the ABC.
Like many regional ABC stations around Australia, Breakfast and Mornings are the only two local programs currently broadcast from the Rockhampton studios.
The station's local breakfast show with Jacquie Mackay starts at 6:35 am and concludes at 10:00 am. Until the start of 2016, the show began at 5:35am but, under controversial changes announced by the ABC in October 2015, the 5:30-6am portion of local programming was axed. It was replaced with a statewide program from ABC Wide Bay in Bundaberg, which is essentially a continuation of the Early Morning Country program heard between 5 am and 5:30am, also broadcast from ABC Wide Bay, and hosted by the same presenter.
ABC Capricornia's local breakfast show now doesn't begin until after the 6am ABC News bulletin, Early AM and The Rural Report, and runs until 10 am, replacing the first 90 minutes of the local morning program.
Under the adopted changes, the local Mornings program which was previously broadcast from 8.30 am to 11 am was shortened to just one hour, airing between 10 am and 11 am.
ABC Capricornia was also the originating station for the network's regional statewide mid-afternoon program, which was presented from the Rockhampton studios between 2 pm and 4 pm weekdays. However, that program was another casualty of the Australian Government's funding cuts to the ABC in 2014. Following the program's conclusion at the end of 2014, it was replaced with a relay of 612 ABC Brisbane's Afternoons with Kelly Higgins-Devine. The final presenter of the regional afternoon program Rebecca McLaren tweeted shortly after the announcement was made that she was mourning the loss of the best fun you can have while still calling it work. Rebecca McLaren briefly stayed at ABC Capricornia to host the local Mornings program in the first part of 2015, and shared duties with breakfast presenter Jacquie Mackay during ABC Capricornia's emergency coverage when Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit the Rockhampton area in late February 2015.
The station also broadcasts a rural affairs program called The Rural Report between 6:15 am and 6:30 am during the local breakfast show weekday mornings. The Rural Report is a shared program between ABC Capricornia and ABC Southern Queensland in Toowoomba. The program simulcasts on both stations, and features content relevant to both regions with a Rockhampton-based rural reporter and a Toowoomba-based rural reporter alternating presenting duties.
Additionally, ABC Capricornia is also the originating station for Gardening Talkback, a weekly gardening advice program heard on a number of ABC Local Radio stations throughout Queensland between 10 am and 11 am every Friday morning.
On Saturdays, ABC Capricornia broadcasts a local Saturday breakfast show from 6 am until 8:30 am which is followed by a local version of the ABC's Grandstand program from 8:30 am until 10 am.
There is no local programming on Sundays.
As part of the ABC Local Radio network, the vast majority of programming on ABC Capricornia broadcasts originates from Brisbane or interstate. National programs such as AM, The World Today, PM, Nightlife, Overnights, Saturday Night Country, Australia All Over, Sunday Profile and Grandstand are all part of ABC Capricornia's broadcast schedule, as are statewide programs such as The Queensland Country Hour, Afternoons with Kelly Higgins-Devine, Evenings with David Curnow, and Weekends with Tim Cox.