Radio

Geoff G TurnerIn 1991, before I became involved in the wargames club in Tamworth, I joined 2 YOU FM, a communtiy radio station that had its studio in the main street of the city. It offered a variety of programs, including country music, religion, easy listening, foreign language (German, Italian and Greek) and local affairs. My involvement in the broadcaster started as a result of a listener survey. When I told them that I was interested in joining, I received a phone call and commenced training after paying a membership fee.

I don't remember much about the training period except that there was a manual that we had to read through, which covered panelling, radio etiquette and how to use various machines in the studios. There was a test, which I easily passed, and my first solo show was a three hour easy listening program, which lead up to the 'Drive Time' show, a two hour broadcast starting at 4pm on weekdays which featured more current music. The first track I played was The Breakfast Club's Right on Track. However, I put the B-side side up and listeners got the instrumental version instead.

It was fun for a while. I also volunteered in the office and looked after the mail, catalogued new (and old) material, made sure there was enough logging cassesttes to record the shows (in case there were any problems), learned how to schedule the promos and advertisements, and even wrote some material for the station's newsletter. As for shows, I had the regular three hour program, which at some point got extended to five seeing I ended up doing the drive show as well. I even did a breakfast shift for a year, and also joined in on the fun that was the Saturday night rock shows. I had regular guests, being the cadre of gamers from the wargames club, and those nights became a lot of fun, especially when we presented heavy metal specials.

In hindsight, my biggest mistake was running for the board that governed the station. Initially it wasn't too bad, but I eventually discovered that the station was made up of factions, and each of them had their own agenda as to how the station was to operate. The rock group gained numbers and were taking extra shifts away from other sections. With mum being diagnosed with cancer during this time, things deteriorated, including my mental health, and with me having to full in for a lot of other presenters (I didn't just do rock shows – I filled in for the morning local affairs, country music, christian and even presented one of the German language shows) something had to give, and I eventually wound up resigning from the board and went back to just being a presenter.

My last stint on air was a Thursday night rock classics show in January 1998. By this time I had just started work at the Tamworth Base Hospital and was finishing up at the West Tamworth Leagues Club. The last song I played was Graham Bonnet's It's all over now, baby blue. All up, I had presented over 550 shows, somewhere in the order of 1,500 hours of broadcasting time.

By the end of the year though, after I had wound up on the Central Coast, I got involved with Coast FM, a community radio station based in Gosford. This time I vowed not to get involved in the politics, or broadcasting, and just volunteered in the office. My scheduling experience was put to good use, and I also took care of the library as well.

What I soon discovered, was that the situation wasn't much better at this station either. There were factions there as well, and radio presenters there had inflated egos much like in Tamworth. I had a falling out with some of the management and senior staff, and promptly left them as well. My stint there lasted about nine months.

It wasn't all bad. For the most part, I enjoyed presenting shows, my CD collection grew as my tastes in music widened, mostly thanks to the material being sent to the station, and there were a few perks, such as getting free entry to shows and the occasional promotional CD. I even got to meet a few Australian performers, including Greedy Smith from Mental as Anything, who were my favourite band at the time. It was also kinda sweet to have a little cult following in the community for a while.

Some of my shows were recorded, and I have managed to transfer a few from cassette to CD. At some point, I'll upload some segments, once I've converted them to MP3s.

2 April, 2018