Radio daze 8. – the not so “Golden Days of Radio “

You can always tell a radio technician, but you can’t tell him much

Radio technicians are are breed apart….understood only by each other and a damn frustration to the rest of us in the industry.

A laugh at their expense is always worthwhile. Once upon a time at 5DN Adelaide the boffins were inspecting a new graphic equaliser aimed at improving the often dreadful quality of country race broadcast lines.vintage graphic equaliser

I happened to be standing nearby as first one techo then another jiggled with the frequencies. A little bit more mid range, pull down the highs, etc, etc. After much adjusting and re-adjusting all the techo’s reached agreement – the new piece of gear was well worth the investment and certainly enhanced the quality of the incoming race broadcast.

Listening in I felt a touch embarrassed, to my untrained ear it didn’t sound any different.

A fact born out when I went behind the racks holding the equipment only to find the new “you beaut” equaliser hadn’t even been plugged in!


5 thoughts on “Radio daze 8. – the not so “Golden Days of Radio “

  1. Peter Smerdon

    Ohhh – that’s a bit harsh, and a very broad generalization.
    As a retired commercial radio Chief Engineer (1973-2008 – Brisbane & Melbourne), I’d have to say I hope we’re all not like that.
    (Feel free to ask our mutual FB “Friend” Steve Curtis if you want an opinion on where I fit on the good/ok/bad engineer scale)
    What era was this? ’60s, ’70s, ’80s? Laurie Sjoberg? Elio Tedesco (I believe Elio is still working as Chief of 5AA)?
    I accept that there were some engineers who did not/do not relate well to others, but also quite a few who did.
    For example, in Adelaide, did you ever work with Des DeCean (SA-FM/Austereo)? I don’t see him fitting your description – and I know of lots more around the country.
    Indeed, most of the younger guys today are great in “getting it” about providing a good service.
    As to your anecdote about the graphic eq – seems that’s just an example of the placebo effect. The human mind can be tricked in many ways – and that says nothing about the persons intelligence or worth.
    Your May 31st blog about the noise and vibration in the studio confirms how easily the mind can be led astray.
    C’mon, cut the tech guys some slack!
    All the best!

    1. wellmaxx Post author

      Hi Peter,

      You’re probably right, it might be a little harsh, a couple of my good mates in radio were engineers. However, and I’m talking late 60’s early 70’s there was always a feeling that there was a sizeable gap between on-air staff and techo’s. I think they though we were “airheads” and we thought they were “geeks.”
      We always were bemused when the latest bit of gear arrived, it would often sit on the work bench for weeks while it was “tweaked” to make it even better than the manufacturers specifications. And it was frustrating when studio modifications were made without consulting the announcers.
      But for me no bad memories, lots of good times, and these are thoughts delivered with a smile and no animosity. Laurie Sjoberg was chief engineer during much of my time at 5DN and I think the two of us got on pretty well.
      From the mid 70’s on I’ve mainly worked in television but I must say any time of gone back and done a bit of radio it gets the old juices flowing. Radio is the best medium.

  2. Pam Sanderson

    Am wondering if Lawrie Sjoberg is still alive, am doing family research; if you can help please pass on my email address to him or if possible to a family member of his. I would be ever so grateful, thankyou, Pam.

    1. Bob Green


      Did you follow up making contact with Lawrie?

      I see him regularly at the Elder Hall Friday 1pm music concerts and I am sure that if you contacted the concert organiser at the Conservatorium they would pehaps a contact for him as a regular subscriber

      Bob Green (ex Chair and Secretary of the Institution of Radio Engineers (SA Division)


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