Radio Daze 3. – the not so “Golden Days of Radio”

While Melbourne Sleeps

One of the ghoulish delights on radio in the sixties was waking up on a Sunday morning and listening to the murder and mayhem of the night before on programs like 3UZ’s Newsbeat and 3AW’s While Melbourne Sleeps.

The focus of the shows was to chase fire engines, and ambulances all over town and describe in graphic detail the gory happenings.

Des Telfer was AW’s man “while Melbourne slept”…but one Saturday night Des was sleeping too. When I arrived for work early on Sunday morning Des was in the courtyard “reconstructing” the events he’d slept through.

A phone call to the police provided him in with the facts, and Des was off with his tape recorder and sound effects “recreating.”

While he spoke in whispered tones of a horrifying accident you could hear the tow truck drivers sweeping up the broken glass.  Actually half a dozen empties from the back of Des’s car came in doubly handy.

Then the scrunching up of paper near  the microphone sounded just like the fire in the old folks home.  The blaze described in graphic detail by an “eyewitness” – one of the  3AW cleaning staff happy to play along for a “fiver.”

While Melbourne Sleeps didn’t stay on air for much longer. Newsbeat continued for a few more years – maybe their “recreations” were better than ours.

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