Radio Daze – The not so Golden days of Radio

In the mid 70’s 5DN Adelaide had one of the biggest newsrooms in the country.

As most radio newsrooms were scaling back 5DN maintained a vibrant news department pumping 0ut news 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

It was an exciting time and we prided ourselves in providing the best electronic news in town.

We had two major bulletins a day 3o minutes at noon and 30 minutes at 6pm.  Even with a big staff of journos we had to work extremely hard to generate quality news bulletins while many 0f our opponents had resorted to “rip and read”*

For most of us 6.30 Friday night meant the end of the working week and time to play. Which meant adjourning to the local media watering hole The Wellington Hotel.

On one particular night about 8 or 10 of us knocked off a quick beer or two in the newsroom before the  testing 2 minute walk to The Welly.

Just as we were about to head off a technician Clary Neaylon sauntered into the newsroom with his regular salutation to the journos “Good evening gentlemen of the press” then walked around behind our three chattering teleprinters and proceeded to turn them off.

“Clary! What are you doing!!”  To which the dustcoated techo replied. “I’m just turning off the teleprinters, otherwise they’ll be on all weekend!”

Clary had only been there for 25 years. Somehow it had escaped him that news didn’t stop  at knock off time on a Friday.

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*”rip and read” The name comes from the days when wire-service stories came into the newsroom on teleprinter that printed out the stories onto a large roll of paper. Often the on air presenter  would rip the story off the roll and read it on the air.

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Radio daze 17. – the not so “Golden Days of Radio”

My first experience living away from home was getting a job at 7LA Launceston.

The station put me up in a boarding house run by  a Mrs.Phelps who lived in a big old two storey weatherboard house. She had a husband who I rarely saw, he left for work early and always seemed to come home late, and a daughter who was away at University in Hobart.

Mrs. Phelps was an eccentric old soul (see earlier post) who kept her life to herself unless she’d been imbibing in the cooking sherry, which she did from time to time.  I’ll never forget the séance at the kitchen table, but that’s a story for another time.

My first morning in the boarding house was quite daunting , As  I entered the dining room there were five people seated around the breakfast table, all of them old enough to be my parents.

I sat down at the one remaining seat and cast my eye over the table which held typical breakfast fare,  juice, cereal, toast, jam, honey, sugar etc.

Immediately in front of me was a recycled Vegemite jar ¾ filled with milk. I looked around at the other settings and noticed no one else had a glass in front of them. My mind raced, why me? Then it became apparent, well of course, these are all older people, I’m a young, growing teenager who needs his milk.  Although by 19 beer had become more of a staple than the dairy alternative.

So, back to the table, now I can’t offend Mrs.Phelps, after all she was going to be looking after my welfare.

So I picked up the glass and started drinking, to my amazement the milk had a consistency more like cream.  Then the penny dropped. It was bloody cream, and the cream wasn’t just for me, it was to be  shared by all  the other boarders.  But here I am with a mouthful. What do it do?

Keep on drinking of course, and I consumed the entire congealed mass. Put the glass back down on the table, smacked my lips and reached for a piece of toast.

Well, the looks on the faces of  everyone else was priceless.  Forget good old Tasmanian hospitality these folks were ready to kill. I grabbed my toast making a lame excuse about being late for work and made a hasty exit.

Curiously, after that I ate my breakfasts alone at the table in the kitchen.  Mrs.Phelps felt I might be more comfortable there.

So she was looking out for my welfare after all.

TV – The Good Old Days

Bob Byrnes’ excellent Advertiser  article on the early days of television in Adelaide brought back some wonderful memories. Not only of being an avid viewer but playing a small role in the most exciting era of live television.

I first came to Adelaide in the early 70’s to read breakfast news on 5DN.

NWS 9 was straight across the road in Tynte street, and 5DN staff would go across to the Channel 9 canteen that Ernie Sigley laughingly referred to as ptomaine corner. If he were to make that kind of reference today he’d be slapped with a law suit, but Ernie was a law unto himself (as long as the ratings held up).

I was asked to read weekend news on 9. At the time the legendary Roger Cardwell and the urbane Clive Hale read weekdays.

I was also doing booth announcing for NWS – “Coming up next on 9 Days Of Our Lives.”

It was after one of my recording sessions that Ernie Sigley asked me if I’d like to do some comedy segments for Adelaide Tonight, and of course I jumped at the opportunity.

It was only years later that I realised my role – if they needed a tall, goofy looking guy to play a cop or a parking inspector “ Give Goodings a call” but whatever the role it was a wonderful experience and it made me realise how hard Ernie and the team worked to make it all look so spontaneous.

On one of my early visits to the Channel 9 canteen  I first encountered the vivacious Anne Wills. Willsy burst into the canteen in pink hotpants looking absolutely sensational. Looks and talent, she was always going to be a star, and she still is to this very day.

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I also got to know Kevin Crease who was drifting in and out of TV at this time but I still rate Creasy as the finest newsreader on television. Not just SA but Australia.

I’ve seen them all from the legendary Sir Eric Pearce, through the two Brians, Naylor and Henderson.

Creasy could play them on a break, while they were all brilliant presenters, Creasy had that something extra, he was first and foremost an entertainer.

When a story called for a lighter, or theatrical touch Creasy would deliver like no other. He is missed from our screens, an icon of SA TV.

Most of us refer to the early part of their career as “the good old days.” Maybe our memories dim when it comes to the bad parts and we latch on to the good times. However, when it comes to television the change is quantifiable. The TV industry isn’t what it was. Back in the 60’s, 70 and into the 80’s each television channel produced a lot of local content.

In my time at 9 there was Adelaide Tonight, Here’s Humphrey, The Curiosity Show, News Beat,

SAS 10 had Deadly Earnest, Fat Cat and Friends Wheel of Fortune (earlier at 7), Touch of Elegance.

ADS 7 The Penthouse Club, Music Express and Lionel Williams World.

Sadly, all that local production has evaporated. Local channels put out little more than news these days, everything is networked from the east, meaning opportunities for local talent don’t exist as they once did.

As Bob Byrne said, the Baby Boomers have had the best of it, and it’s probably why the younger generations are turning away from television getting their information and entertainment online.

They predicted the demise of radio when TV first started but radio learned to adapt and not try to compete with television but complement it.

Maybe it’s the television industry’s turn to adapt or it will end up the way of the gramophone and the VHS player

 

Bloody Millennials!

It’s just not fair!

As  baby boomers we have sailed through life as the biggest, most innovative most adventurous demographic on the planet.

Created out of the remnants of WW2,  we grew like a tsunami carrying all before us, changing the way children were brought up, taking the music culture from our parents and  creating our own. Living through musics’ most brilliant period (the Sixties) and no, I don’t remember it.

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In the 70’s Australian baby boomers became the nation’s social conscience  – universities were the hotbeds of protest against a whole range of issues including the Vietnam War.

The conservative Liberal National Coalition government was thrown out in favour of Gough ‘It’s Time’ Whitlam’s social reform Labor government.  Whitlam read the mood and the baby boomers voted out the conservatives for the first time in 23 years

Labor might have been in power but it was the Baby Boomers who  ruled.

The dismissal saw the end of the Whitlam years and for many Boomers the end of their radical phase.

It was time for families and time to become financially secure. Through weight of numbers  Boomers continued to make the rules and set the trends.

Midlife saw the Boomers consolidate and continue to innovate.

Even as we entered  our twilight years we changed the rules, 60 became the new 50, 70 the new 60.  Retirement didn’t mean ‘let’s head to the old folks home’ but let’s fire up the 4WD, hook up the caravan, wax the surfboard and head off into the wild blue yonder.

The gray nomads were born.

We could be content believing that until the end of our days Boomers would rule.

But wait, news just in, Baby Boomers are no longer the biggest demographic – that title has now passed on the the millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000.

Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce within 10 years. Millennials are already making an impact through social media and the way they do business online changing the rules for all of us.

The don’t even watch TV, binge  watching  series online or through Netflix.

Net what?

Boomers grip on the  planet is growing weaker by the day.

It’s not fair.  I aways have enjoyed the power of being a Boomer, flexing our collective muscle as we carved our way through the second half of the last century and the first decade of this one.

But now the glory days are over, my kids look at me like a back number, the term Boomer just invokes a shrug and a rye smile.

At least I have my memories (but not of the sixties because I was there).

 

How to win a $2500 website video production

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Since leaving television just over 12 months ago I have discovered there is life away from the news desk.

In fact, since creating The Video Professionals with business partner David Hales, every day presents a new, exciting challenge.

We are focussing on producing videos for businesses to help them increase their online profile and grow their market share.

To let the world know we are up and running we decided to run a competition with a $2500 professionally produced video about your business as the prize.

All you need to do is tell us in 25 words or less “why your website needs video.”

Here’s a hint, if you Google “Why websites need Video” you’ll get an avalanches of reasons why.

For more information go to The Video Professionals website http://videoprofessionals.com.au/competition/

Competition closes on the 30th of June so get in quick and have a high quality video for the new financial year.

The day I parked in a disabled car park.

Nothing makes my blood boil quicker than to see a perfectly able bodied person pull into a disabled car parking space and bound into the shopping centre.

It’s about time the fines reflected the severity of the offence.images

That being said, a number of years ago I was the offender.

I was heading home from Channel 7 after the news one night and got the call “we’re out of bread.”

Standard procedure was to drop into the supermarket on O’Connell street, North Adelaide. Parking was convenient as there was a small car park between the supermarket and the Royal Oak hotel.

The spot was often very busy, so much so that they often had an attendant to help guide the orderly flow of traffic into and out of the car park.

As I turned into the car park it was apparent this was one of those busy nights, it was full, to over flowing.

It was then the attendant stepped out I front of me and pointed me in the direction of the disabled car park. “No mate, that’s for the disabled.” I said.

However, he was insistent. “It’ll be all right cobber, as long as you’re quick.”

I said I’d rather not, but he was insistent – “take  the spot, your blocking traffic.”

So in I went, ran into the supermarket, bought my bread and was back at the car within minutes.

As I climbed into the car I could feel glaring eyes burning a hole  through the back of my head. I turned to see an enraged woman  in a car mouthing expletives at me.

I looked around for the parking attendant to help explain the situation but, surprise, surprise, he was no where to be seen.

“But the attendant told me it would be OK.” Didn’t carry any weight so all I could do was beat a hasty retreat, red faced and apologetic.

I never encountered that parking attendant again, maybe it was his last night on the job and he was out for a bit of mischief.

Needless to say I learned my lesson, that no matter what, a disabled car park is for the disabled, no-one else. No matter what any attendant or anyone else says.

Maybe that lady driver who cursed me so thoroughly all those years ago will read this and believe my story. If so, my confession won’t have been in vain.

 

So many tarts – so little time

Look this quest to find Adelaide’s best fruit mince pie is all well and good but 1 and a half kilograms later I am starting to have second thoughts.

Now I’ve done my sums. So far I’ve consumed about 20 mince tarts weighing in at about 60 grams each for  a total of 1200 grams (1.2 kilograms).

Fruit Mince Tarts

Fruit Mince Tarts

At this rate, by Christmas, at the current consumption level  I’ll have consumed 50 mince pies = 3000 grams or 3 kilos.

Now despite all my running around to get the bloody tarts I’ve burned off not a single calorie. Every tart has gone straight to my already corpulent waistline.

Note: I’m not taking into account any other food or drink I consume during this period.

Now something’s got to give.  I’ve even thought of getting back on the treadmill to burn off the kilos. (Maybe after Christmas).

So now the big decision – fruit mince pies, Christmas drinks, evening snacks or regular meals – SOMETHING’S GOT TO GIVE.

I’m running out of holes on my belt.

So many tarts – so little time.