The first 19 years of my life were spent in Ipswich. My family was connected with the cinema and raising cocker spaniels so I saw a lot of free movies and dog shows. My family fortunes changed dramatically when my father died without a will with five of the family still of school age, but we owned our own house so things were not that desperate.
In the 1950s I began working as a cadet journalist in Ipswich. When I completed my cadetship I had to move on so another cadet could get a start. I moved to Newcastle as the reporting was much the same as Ipswich, both being mining towns. Next I worked at The Sydney Morning Herald on Liverpool Street Courts, Coroner’s Court, police rounds and sports subbing. I then worked in four eastern states in various cities. During this time I worked on everything from church synods to horse racing (tipped a 200-1 winner in Blue Roc) and sub-editing. I was editor of regional newspapers, two of which were award winners. I left newspapers in 1991 and worked for a Rotary International magazine reporting in Australia, New Zealand and throughout the South Pacific and editing.
Being a reporter from the 1950s meant I saw a lot of Australia and developed a person’s compassion and tolerance. Working at Rotary Down Under developed these facets of life further as much reporting was about emerging nations.
My connection with community radio began in Bathurst in the early 1980s at the then Mitchell College of Advanced Education. I put together programs on swing music and the classics as well as an occasional breakfast program. A change of employment to another city meant these links ceased until I become involved with WOW FM in 2017.
Colin Wood, Warren McCarroll, Isobel and David Richards have been great help in learning what to do again. My family always had music in the house through my mother playing he piano, the radio or the gramophone. One sister was in a choir and two brothers learnt the piano. Our record collection was boosted by radio station culls.
In the 1940s and 1950s a lot of the classical music available on 78s was by Russian, British and American composers. At this time I became interested in swing music through the radio ( Ron Wills Thursday Night Swing and programs by Eric Childs) and first hearing the Benny Goodman Orchestra play South of the Border. When I began work and attended dances the interest grew.
I put my programs together with music I think might be new to the audience, enduring favourites and singing by both male and female artists.
I think most forms of music have a connection in some way as the classical composers drew inspiration from folk tunes and such links exist in other music. Popular music drew from the classics then over the years. Think of The Longest Time, Song Sung Blue, Never Gonna Fall in Love Again, Moon Live and Full Moon and Empty Arms. I stress that the programs are put together by a layman, not an expert.
The music will keep evolving as it too is shaped by the world we live in.