In our house the radio sound one became most used to was the ABC News Theme. A variation of the same theme is one of my most solid musical memories. It has been played in various editions since at least 1956. My father made sure he was in the house most days for the 7:45 am news, the noon, and 7pm broadcasts as well. The bulletin may have had direct quotes of someone’s speech but it has only been a very recent thing to actually hear the spoken words of the subject in a news program.
Whether it was the News, Bob Dyer’s Pick a Box, or Russ Tyson’s Hospital Hour, if you weren’t home to hear the program you missed it. It was broadcast and afterwards lost in the ether. The radio stations possibly recorded the programs, (certainly they did later when reel to reel tapes became available) but ordinary folk like us had no way of recording, or time shifting, a program to listen to later.
In our house the radio wasn’t glued to the one station because each station seemed to stick to a regular routine of hosted programs. The most regular thing was the ABC however. It was on 3AR for most of the popular offerings. At other times we listened to 3LO. It usually presented music and more serious subjects. As kids we were usually in doors, especially in the winter to hear the kids program called The Argonauts. In this program we learned (perhaps through osmosis) lots about Greek mythology. The program had a very big following and we sang along to the songs presented. By and large they were serious songs presented by opera singers. We also got descriptions of the art work the children sent to the producers.
Lunch time attracted a large audience that just had to be home for the serial Blue Hills. It ran for about 6000 episodes. It took some getting used to at first because it followed The Lawson’s. The program stopped rather abruptly it seems now. This had a strong following as well.
In the evenings we listened to a play, or a sing along program. Other favourites were from the comics Frank Muir and Dennis Norden, Take it from Here, The Glums. My Word and My Music.
Ours was a house of few books and if were weren’t listening to the radio in the evening we listened as my sister Elizabeth worked her way through most of the popular pianoforte classics. I frequently dropped off to sleep as she learned to master a passage in sonata Pathétique.
Someone offered a program called 50 and Over. The guests were invited to talk about their pioneering adventures. May be they had lived in the same hamlet their whole lives and they spoke about the history of the place and they made special reference to the old time personality’s they knew.
As country folk very few people worked after midday on Saturday until they started working again on Monday. On these days for some reason the radio switched to either 3CS Colac or 3YB Warrnambool. Without much comprehension of the game of football the local football broadcast became background music on cold winter days.
Talk to old folk from all those years ago and they will rattle off the names of radio stars, the serials they listened to, and the names of the sponsors. Lux, Lifebouy, Velvet, Atlantic petrol, Raul Merton, Bex, Pelacco, you have the idea with this short list. The influence of advertisers was one of the only ways manufacturers promoted their now largely forgotten names.
Radio did many things. It’s scheduling meant being near the immovable wireless at given times. If you wanted to know the time, or listen to a serial, or catch the voice of announcer you had to be near the wireless. The audience listened and the wireless announced. There was no talk back. It filled dull lives with ideas.
Today it is possible to choose to listen to a broadcast generated from anywhere in the world. The time you choose to listen is of your making. The originator of the broadcast doesn’t need a radio station and to listen you need not own a radio. Radio survives not because it is immediate but because you can choose something to interest you at any time.
The radio can be on and no one pay it any attention. It is nothing more than background noise. At other times if you are like me you might choose to listen to a particular piece of music. You can listen with attention to anything that heightens your interest.
It is becoming a habit of mine to search for radio podcasts on topics I find interesting. The problem is in the 168 hours I have each week most of my time is spent doing something else. This means the podcast producers make many more broadcasts than I have time available for listening. Fortunately must podcasts have a written summary of what is presented. This means I must choose one from here, or there, or ignore the lot.
Presently I choose to listen to programs from the BBC, the ABC, and odd bits here and there. Here are a few current favourites:
My question is? Are you interested in them also?