February 11 is a day I always remember. More so today. For on this day 30 years ago, my career in the media, PR and marketing industry began when at age 18 I turned up at a place in Cowper Street, Taree, to start work as the night time DJ on Radio 2RE Taree (http://2re.com.au) on the New South Wales Mid North Coast.
Back then, we played vinyl records; recorded things on reel to reel tape; cut interviews with splicing tape; chinagraph pencils, spicing blocks and razor blades; played songs, commercials and promos off ‘carts’ and had a compactus full of records.
I was the night time DJ from 7 to 11. We went off air at 11.05 p.m after the news and national anthem. While I was there, we went through until midnight. Wow! And there was a real live person in the studio. None of this relay or automated stuff; we had some kid in the studio who told us the name of the song, the time, the weather and read an ad, pretending to have a much deeper and eloquent voice than he actually had. The kid then turned the 2kw transmitter off (1557am). At 2RE we also were the official weather station for Taree. We checked the temperature, rainfall and cloud cover and keyed it into a machine to be sent to the weather bureau in Sydney. Sometimes it was a little (code – a lot) wrong. We read the weather and lottery results off telex.
Have a look at the music I got to play. Incredible.
For someone first time out of home, it was an amazing experience. Working in radio (a childhood ambition), leaving home, leaving Sydney, cooking (burning) and starting my own independent life. I worked in radio for five years and meet some great people, some of whom remain friends today.
Ahhh…. The radio daze. If I could have any job today, it would be back in radio. Nothing beats it as an intimate, informative and easily consumed mass communications medium. It just turns up in your ear. You don’t have to do a thing. No searching, clicking, addresses, downloading, apps, etc. Just hit one button – “ON”.
Thirty years on, I still consume more radio than any other media (mainly ABC and BBC via SBS4). One of the best things about being back in Sydney is digital radio. The variety and audio quality are outstanding. If you haven’t got a digital radio, get one.
Much has happened since 11 February 1985. Much more will happen from 11 February 2015.