ABC Drive host, MC and Facilitator
Rafael Epstein is the host of the ABC's top-rating Drive radio show in Melbourne and also one of Australia's most experienced and skilled investigative journalists.
Each day, Rafael brings his radio audience an intriguing mix of breaking news from around the country and the world, and facilitates fast-moving, comprehensive conversations between experts, newsmakers, and the audience. From testing the views and opinions swirling around the public debate to distilling complex issues, Rafael details the latest developments in science, culture and politics with everyday language and a sense of humour.
These skills are what make Rafael Epstein a great choice as an MC and facilitator. Rafael has moderated several forums for professional organisations, has hosted the Sydney and Melbourne Writer's Festivals and been a Master of Ceremonies for organisations like the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
As a journalist since 1995 for the ABC and Fairfax newspapers, Rafael has spoken with everyone from the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, to champions like Cathy Freeman, Kieren Perkins and Ian Thorpe and leaders like British Prime Minister Tony Blair, US President George W Bush and Australian Prime Ministers Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard. His interviewees in the entertainment industry have included Dolly Parton, songwriter Billy Bragg, actor Stephen Fry, novelist Tim Winton and pop star Boy George.
Rafael has reported for ABC TV news and radio current affairs in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. He spent several months reporting in Darwin and East Timor in 1999 during the independence vote and he was assigned to Jakarta to augment the ABC's comprehensive coverage of the Asian tsunami.
As a journalist Rafael has won two prestigious Walkley Awards for his investigative reporting. After leaving the ABC to work in The Age's investigative journalism unit, his reporting included the revelation of a secret squadron of elite SAS soldiers working as spies across several African countries. Rafael received his first Walkley Award in 2004 after he and a colleague revealed the first-ever link between corrupt police and the ongoing series of Underworld murders. His second Walkley helped exonerate Queensland-based Doctor Mohammed Haneef who was held under harsh anti-terrorism laws for his supposed role in failed terrorist bombings in London and Glasgow in 2006. His reporting helped Dr Haneef's lawyers to get him released from jail, and was one reason for a wide-ranging inquiry into the bungled work of federal police and prosecutors.
Rafael returned to the ABC in 2012 to host the Drive program on 774 ABC Melbourne.
Rafael was really well received by the audience. As a moderator of our discussion on stage, he was warm and engaging yet asked insightful questions and steered the discussion well.