Friday, February 9, 2018

'Audio Nostalgia': Mad Mel and Ward 'Pally' Austin

The 'Audio Nostalgia' page is a collection of airchecks and jingles collected off the Net at vk6fh.com, a technical website for radio enthusiasts. Most of the files seem to be compilations of jingles or station IDS rather than program airchecks.

They're not brilliantly labelled, so you have to listen to find out what's there, but I'm not complaining because here are clips of two Sydney radio legends, Mad Mel on 2SM and Ward 'Pally' Austin on 2UW.

Mad Mel was a Canadian, one of the 2SM Good Guys, who famously had fans knit a ridiculously long scarf which he presented to The Beatles during their 1964 tour of Australia.

I used to hear Mel in Victoria when 2SM would come in clearly after dusk, along with a bunch of other distant stations that would disappear with the dawn. He was a zany guy, a madcap in the old Mad magazine comic-book style. On the day that news of JFK's assassination reached Australia, though, Mel's night shift was given over to sedate orchestral music, with Mel coming on between tracks to give the station's callsign in a sober voice that was the opposite of his usual delivery.

Ward Austin was terrific, with a relaxed Australian style that (from my distant view in Victoria) suggested surfin' and stompin' at Maroubra. In one of these clips he's anticipating the imminent release of the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night (he was right, we would love it, as he predicts). The clip labelled here as Rod Christopher is actually Austin signing off from a show with his famous "a-rickapoodie and a-fandoogalie", and he mentions that Christopher's show is coming up.

The clips of Stan Rofe and Don Lunn on 3UZ have been posted elsewhere online but if you haven't heard them this is as good a place as any. Don Lunn's is actually a tribute mix that I first heard on YouTube, and although it's not a program excerpt it is a fine introduction to the Lunn style.
'Audio Nostalgia' at vk6fh.com

vk6fh.com

AM stations 1950s-70s:
2SM 2UW Sydney
3UZ Melbourne

Some announcers
Mad Mel on 2SM Sydney in 1969
Ward 'Pally' Austin on 2UW Sydney in 1964
Stan Rofe on 3UZ Melbourne in 1970

Other content
Ward Austin signing off before Rod Christopher's shift on 2UW
Station ID jingles
Don Lunn, 3UZ Melbourne tribute mix
News intro mix

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ian Wright's collection at Soundcloud

This is a collection of assorted audio clips posted by radio man Ian Wright. His own career began at 2KM Kempsey in the early 70s,  and has covered announcing, sales and management at many stations including 3LK Horsham, 2AD Armidale (very briefly), 5KA and 5AA Adelaide, and 2BE Bega.

Ian is now with 5MU Murray Bridge out of Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia, handling sales as well as on-air and voiceover work. He has also been heard on community station 5E-FM in Victor Harbor. A 2013 profile by Keith McGowan at RadioInfo gives a nice snapshot of Ian's work at 5MU.

A highlight in Ian's collection is Alan McGirvan making one of his in-character prank calls, this time as Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. These calls were a feature of his morning show on 4IP in Ipswich, not far from Brisbane where much of its audience was found. Before 4IP, McGirvan had been a foundation announcer on 2JJ in Sydney, the AM station that went FM as part of the ABC's national Triple J network.
Ian Wright's collection at Soundcloud

soundcloud.com/ian-wright-1

AM stations 1950s-70s:
2UW Sydney
3KZ Melbourne
4IP Ipswich-Brisbane
5KA Adelaide

Some announcers
John Burnley on 2SM Sydney in 1971
David White on 2SM Sydney in 1974
Barry Bissell on 5KA Adelaide in 1975

Other content includes
History of radio feature
Alan McGirvan phone prank on 4IP Ipswich, 1970s
Radio jingles

+ Audio clips from several decades, covering news, music and entertainment on AM and FM radio. You can also hear audio of Ian on-air at community station 5E-FM in Victor Harbor.

Friday, January 26, 2018

'Out of the 3UZ Archives'

This collection was posted to Soundcloud to commemorate the 90th anniversary of 3UZ, Melbourne's best-rating Top 40 station in the 60s. It is now rebranded as RSN Racing & Sport, owned by Victoria's racing bodies. The familiar frequency 930 kHz (Dial nine-three-o, went the jingle) was changed to 927 in 1978 when the spacing between AM stations went to 9 kHz instead of 10.

The highlight is an 8½ minute aircheck of Don Lunn on his breakfast show in 1968. He was one of the greats, adapting the fast American style to an Australian context. His delivery had a rhythm to it that was almost musical (he even breaks into singing now and then). His accent wasn't exactly American, although he bent some vowel sounds slightly towards American without straying too far from Australian. Note, though, the way he pronounces the 'r' in 'girl' in this clip, something not usually heard in the non-rhotic Aussie accent. His confident, upbeat delivery, and his adept management of all the audio elements, made his breakfast show sound like an exciting event, even though it was packed with ads. Thinking back, it's not the ads you remember.

Out of the 3UZ Archives at Soundcloud

soundcloud.com/radio927

AM stations 1950s-70s:
3UZ Melbourne

Some announcers
Don Lunn on 3UZ Melbourne in 1968
Sam Anglesey on 3UZ Melbourne in 1968
John Vertigan on 3UZ Melbourne in 1968 [Saturday sports]

Other content includes
Interviews
Racing & football sportscasts
Listener Memories

'Australian Old Time Radio Recordings' at Crossband Radio

Crossband Radio is a site for amateur radio enthusiasts, dedicated specifically to one sixty meter crossband transmissions from vk3ase.

The technical parts of the site are incomprehensible to an outsider like me, but clicking through to its Australian Old Time Radio Recordings reveals an extraordinary miscellany of audio recordings from the 30s to the 90s.

The highlight for me is a page of country radio airchecks recorded by Keith Birks in 1962-63. These offer a unique glimpse of commercial radio in regional towns and cities in the days before the British Invasion and the era of the classic Top 40 disc jockey in the second half of the 60s.

There are also three pages of station identification jingles, one each for 3UZ, 3KZ and 3AW Melbourne (about 70 mp3s for 3UZ, for example, many from the 60s). Pure nostalgia for anyone who remembers Melbourne radio in the 60s.

It's not brilliantly curated (as the webmaster concedes), with audio files scattered over a few pages including two of "unsorted files", but there are many gems to be found if you browse around.
Australian Old Time Radio Recordings at Crossband Radio

crossbandradio.com/ozradioarchives

Includes Country radio airchecks 1962-63

AM stations 1950s-70s
2BL Sydney
2BS Bathurst, 2CA Canberra, 2GZ Orange, 2RG Griffith, 2WG Wagga
3AR 3DB 3LO Melbourne
3BA Ballarat, 3BO Bendigo, 3MA Mildura, 3UL Warragul
5KA 5AD Adelaide
5SE Mt Gambier, 5PI Port Pirie-Crystal Brook, 5MU Murray Bridge [5AD relay stations]
7AD Devonport, 7EX Launcestion

Some announcers
Tony Doherty on 3UZ Melbourne, 1960s
Dave Stewart/Stuart on 2RG Griffith in1979 [also here]
Bob Fricker on 5AD Adelaide in 1963

Other content includes
Old radio commercials
ID jingles 3UZ 3KZ 3AW
Unsorted files 1
Unsorted files 2 

+ Many audio files covering ham radio, community radio, early talkback, serials, radio commercials, famous names such as Clive Robertson and Graham Kennedy, and such unexpected rarities as 3CS Colac in wartime 1940s.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ian Davidson on country radio 1961

Ian Damon was nicknamed 'The Wombat' when he worked at British pirate station Radio London in the late 60s, one of many Australian deejays heard on the pirates.

Back in Australia, using his real name Ian Davidson, he had been heard on country stations 2RG Griffith and 2LF Young 1954-1961.

Ian's radio career would take him to a wide variety of stations over the decades in Australia, England and Europe (there's a long list on his home page).

The 16-minute audio clip on his Next Steps page is a rare gem, giving a snapshot of a small-town country radio station of the time, complete with the gongs that were sounded by the announcer to punctuate the program.

Photo from Ian Davidson's site, cropped and reduced. Full sized photo here.
2LF print snippet (1940) from mahoncup.com.au

Ian Davidson aka Ian 'The Wombat' Damon

idthewombat.co.uk

AM stations 1950s-70s:
2LF Young

Announcer
Ian Davidson on 2LF Young in 1961

Other content
Ian 'The Wombat' Damon on pirate station Radio London in 1967 [embedded YouTube video] 

+ The story of Ian's radio career from radio school in Sydney to pirate radio days, with some great photos from country stations.

Tony Sanderson's Bluehaze collection

In the early 2000s Tony Sanderson created two pages of oldtime radio audio and commentary at his Bluehaze Solutions business website. It was a wide-ranging miscellany, covering old serials, comedy and quiz shows, and 60s deejays.

I exchanged emails with Tony when I first discovered his website, and he mentioned my site on one of his pages. He died in 2006, and although someone is keeping the site going, the audio files haven't been preserved. The snapshots of the site at Internet Archive have also failed to include the mp3s.

However, the AussieOldies channel at YouTube has posted three highlights, listed below. They are all chart countdowns hosted by well-known Melbourne announcers.

Ernie Sigley went on to stardom on national TV, but he was well-known on Melbourne radio and TV before that.

The witty Barry Ferber ('The Mellow Fellow') ran some entertaining record shows on 3DB, but here he is in a more formal mode, sticking to the script.

Stan 'The Man' Rofe was well established at 3KZ by the late 60s when he switched to 3UZ, where he ran a progressive late-night album show that departed from 3UZ's standard Top 40 format.

Tony Sanderson's collection posted by AussieOldies at YouTube

AM stations 1950s-70s:
3DB 3UZ Melbourne
3LK Lubeck [3DB relay station near Horsham]

Announcers
Ernie Sigley on 3DB Melbourne in July 1962 [YouTube]
Barry Ferber on 3DB Melbourne in January 1963 [YouTube]
Stan Rofe on 3UZ Melbourne in 1970 [YouTube]

+ Lots of good old Aussie music at the AussieOldies channel.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

5KA-KAFM Reunion 2001: aircheck page

When Adelaide AM station 5KA (later KAFM and Triple M) had a reunion in 2001, it put up a whole website dedicated to the event. Fortunately, it included a page packed with airchecks and other audio material, and after the site became defunct its archived pages remained at the National Library of Australia's Pandora archive.

For fans of 60s pop radio, the highlight is a collection of seven airchecks from 1968, representing a day in the life of a commercial radio station.

As I wrote at my other blog, the airchecks were collected to promote the station to advertisers, but I believe they are actual off-air recordings.

There are many other gems here, including a young Barry Bissell (before Take 40 Australia) on Late Nights c.1972-3, and Don Lunn on 5KA Drive in 1977, a decade after his legendary years on Melbourne's premier Top 40 station 3UZ.

Adelaide's 5KA-KAFM Reunion [archived by NLA's Pandora]

bit.ly/5KAreunion

AM stations 1950s-70s:
5KA Adelaide
5RM Renmark, 5AU Port Augusta [5KA relay stations]

Some announcers
Mike Fewster on 5KA Breakfast in 1968 [aka Michael John Fewster at 2CA Canberra]
Jim Slade on 5KA Drive in 1968
Barry Bissell on 5KA Late Nights, c.1972-73

Other content includes
Station jingles & logos
Commercials
DJ theme songs

+ Content from KAFM including the switchover from 5KA in 1990.