Sunday, 8 December 2013

Youth: The Magic of the Transistor Radio.

When we baby boomers were but young, the application of the newly invented transistor to portable radio receivers was a major leap into the future. All of a sudden, your source of music was eminetly portable. And with the 45 single records costing 10 shillings each ($1.00) in a time when the average tradesman earned around $40 a week.. well the endless supply of rock and roll via 4 AA batteries in a small black plastic box was heaven.

For my 10th birthday, my mother gave me a Philips Swing Along battery powered mantle radio. It lived on the bookshelf in my room.. and it brought 4BC into my life. (Except on race days… leave it turned off!)

Shortly after this, I discovered the magic of short wave radio through my good friend Ken who had a National Panasonic 8 Transistor radio. And.. it had a short wave band. We used to listen to Radio Peking at night in his bedroom.

Soon after.. a Panasonic 8 transistor radio came into my life. I bought it from Errol Stewart and his "Bunch of Softies" at Kedron. Rode the mighty push bike out to buy it.. $45 later and a whole new world was mine to enjoy. Radio fascinated me. I remember hearing about the barge that overturned in Moreton Bay on that Philips, and man landing on the moon on the Panasonic.

Mike Ahern soon came to 4BC and he was a hit with we teenagers. We could ring him and feed our school teachers to his man eating plant.. Yum Yum! Hard to believe it now but back then the DJs were like Gods. They could make or break bands by their willingness to play and "promote" songs.

And sales of the $1.00 singles.

My collection of transistor radios continued to grow.. all National Panasonics and now at 60 they are all over my house. In the studio, the gallery, the office and even the bike shed. Then there are the ones in storage in case any of mine die! And I have my late mother's Panasonic too.. bought in PNG for $18.00 in 1969. Sales tax and import duty free of course.

What about the new digital radio I hear you ask? Well I have one.. but it doesn't sound the same. So it just sits on the desk acting as a very expensive paper weight.

And with this house full of radios, what is my station of choice now?

Why 4BC of course. Fifty years and counting!

Last Friday my dear friend and 4BC talk back host Greg Cary closed his mic for the last time. Greg is having a sabbatical to consider his next move on the chess board of life. I was privileged to meet Greg through some photo work at 4BC last century and he and Heidi and Deb and I  have become great friends. I had Greg come to our chamber of commerce when I was president and talk to our members about his life in the media. And it went down really well!

Through Greg I was privileged to meet Mike Ahern too and spend some time with him! His life story of starting out in Pirate Radio in the UK in the 60s is the stuff movies are made of!  Brisbane is a better place for having Mike here on the radio.

Radio days.. they just go on forever in this boy's life……..

Two speakers gave this National great AM sound!