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Radio Appeals & Community

From the very beginning, 2AD played an important part in supporting the local community.

In the 1930’s recording machines as we know them now didn’t exit. There were expensive wire recorders overseas and although the first tape recorder was demonstrated in Europe in 1935, it wasn’t until the late 1940’s and early 1950’s that tape recorders would appear and then they were very expensive.

For this reason 2AD had broadcast landlines connected to the Town Hall, Capitol Theatre and City Churches, allowing for regular outside broadcasts from around the city.  These broadcast lines linked back through the telephone exchange and allowed the station to broadcast events such as community singings from the Cinema, Balls from the Town Hall and Sunday Church Services. 2AD Announcer Hugh McCrindle remembers the early recording equipment.

Over the past 75 years, 2AD has assisted hundreds of community groups with their fund raising events.  In early 1937 the station’s first broadcast from Guyra took place as part of a very successful Guyra Memorial Institute Ball.

In March 1937, 2AD took part in what was the first ever Radio-Movie Ball held in the State and possibly the Commonwealth, the event was to aid the Armidale and New England Hospital. The Ball was held at the Armidale Town Hall on Tuesday 2nd March 1937. Between 450 - 500 dancers attended with the Gloomchasers ‘Swing Time’ Dance Band providing the music. The glittering event raised over £150 pounds.  Not only did the station promote the Ball but on the night, Station Manager John Creighton and announcer Peter Macgregor broadcast a running commentary of the evening. The broadcast was sponsored by the station and J K Capitol Theatre in Armidale.

During World War II, 2AD broadcast community singing from the Armidale Town Hall each Saturday afternoon, presented by the 2AD breakfast announcer Cliff Dodd, with Mrs Fitzgerald playing the piano. Junior technician in the early 1940’s was Jack Ames. One of the regular singers was a young Armidale lad Don Falconer, who still remembers those Saturday afternoons back in 1941.

The first ever Regional Radio Appeal took place on Sunday 22nd September 1957, 2AD joined the other stations in the New England Network - 2TM Tamworth, 2MO Gunnedah, 2VM Moree and 2RE Taree in staging the first ever joint Radio Appeal, with more that 17,500 pounds being raised on the day for Hospitals in the region. Of the total amount raised, more that 3,000 pounds came from New England listeners for their local hospitals.

The 2AD Appeal ran from 9am to 9pm with over 1,000 names being acknowledged for their donations. The telephones were manned across the day by members of the Armidale Rotary and Lions Clubs, local artists and station staff.

Throughout the day long appeal, crosses were made to temporary studios setup in Walcha and Guyra to acknowledge their local donations and progressive updates from each of the participating radio stations were broadcast until the close of the appeal that night.

The station’s Auditorium was packed for both the afternoon and evening concerts featuring local artists organised to support the radio appeal.  Donations of 44 fleeces, several loads of wood, free car lubrication for a year and other items were received and bid for on the day.

In Armidale, 2AD efforts of 2,000 pound allowed the Armidale and New England Hospital to completely refurnish the women’s public wards.  In Guyra the appeal was supported by the local Apex Club with 264 pounds raised going towards a cool room at the Guyra Memorial Hospital.  The Walcha Rotary Club handled the appeal in Walcha with the 1,005 pounds raised going to provide additional beds at the Walcha Hospital.

The Legacy House Appeal was held on Saturday 28th June 1958, 2AD undertook an all day Radio Appeal to assist the Legacy Club of Armidale in raising funds towards the building of Legacy House in Faulkner Street to serve as headquarters for the Armidale Legacy area from Walcha to Tenterfield.

The Appeal started at 8 am with representatives of Legacy, members of the community and station staff taking telephone call donations until midnight. When the station closed the Appeal that night, donations of over 3,440 pounds had been made.


The station also arranged for radio star Jack Davey's Ampol Show to be staged in the Armidale Town Hall on the day of the radio appeal. The hall was packed for the radio show and raised 500 pounds for the Legacy Appeal. 2AD announcer Hugh McCrindle was there that night. The Ampol Show was always pre-recorded. The Armidale program wasx broadcast on 2AD and across Australia on Friday 22 August 1958.  Here’s a segment from that Armidale Show with local contestant Ken Aldridge, pictured on the left.

The Station ran another successful Legacy Radio Appeal the following year which raised over 1,333 pounds. Legacy House in Armidale was opened on 3rd June 1960, having been built by local tradesmen and funded by the people of New England. This would not have been possible without the dedicated support of members of Legacy and the efforts of many community group and individuals.

The 1958 Network Radio Appeal was held on 12th October and raised over 13,425 pounds for the local hospitals of the region. 2AD’s New England total was over 3,160 pounds.

For the 1959 Radio Appeal, 2AD arranged for John Dease and the Quiz Kids Radio Show to be presented in the Armidale Town Hall. The night marked the 907th performance of the Quiz Kids. On the night, two local students were guest Quiz Kids, they were Vicki Stuart, 15 year old Bundarra student, at St Ursula’s College Armidale and 12 year old Bill Newell from Werris Creek, a student at Armidale’s De La Sala College.  The radio program was recorded in front of an audience of 500 for re-broadcast at a later date across Australia through the Macquarie Network.

The second half of the program that night included a concert with items by the Armidale String Ensemble, songs by Miss Marlene McLaughlin and Mr Alan McEachern, piano solo by Miss Pamela Hinde, ballet numbers by Miss Suzanne Eberle and Miss Pamela Carter and the Morris Dancers from the Armidale High School Junior Folk Dancing Group.

The 1959 Radio Appeal raised a total of £2,584 again for local hospitals, from Walcha £962, Guyra £949 and Armidale £568.

The 1960 Radio Appeal held on 7th August, raised a total of £3,675 to support the Homes For The Aged in Armidale and the Walcha and Guyra Hospitals, and the Uralla Appeal went towards the Uralla Memorial Hall. Walcha raised £1353, Armidale £677 and Guyra £553 and Uralla £1,286.

Through the 1960's the station undertook Appeals for many organisations across the New England - including the Walcha Flood Relief Appeal, Glen Innes Quota Club’s Air Ambulance Appeal, St Patrick’s Orphanage, Armidale Handicapped Children’s Centre, Home Units for the Aged in Glen Innes, Kempsey Flood Appeal, Armidale Hospital

Appeal for an ice-making machine, Walcha Youth Organisations - Boy Scouts, Brownies & Girl Guides and the Hobart Bushfire Appeal.

Also in 1961 following a meeting with 40 local community groups, 2AD partnered with local advertisers to conduct The Community Club Awards (CCA) program. With the help of 22 sponsors the program run over four months and raised almost £1,000 which was distributed to participating charity organisations. Pictured from left to right at the launch of the CCA program in Armidale - Robert Pascoe from Community Club Awards, Ald. P. G. Love Mayor of Armidale, Roy Brislan Manager of 2AD and Mrs Freda Mott CCA Director for the Armidale program. A second program was undertaken in '62 and raised a further £900 for local organisations.


The 1970's would continue to see the station supporting the communities that it served.  2AD supported the Armidale Lions Club Appeal for the building of a Hydrotherapy Pool at the Armidale and New England Hospital, the Appeal raised over $11,500 towards the pool. There were also Appeals for Darwin following the Cyclone Tracy disaster, Handicapped Children’s Appeal, Autumn Lodge Appeal which raised $12,000, Armidale Senior Citizens’ Association (ASCA) House Appeal $7,800 and the Armidale Cycleway Appeal.

Through the 1980's the station’s community support continued with an Appeal for the Armidale Police Citizen Boy’s Club whiched raised $7,000. For the Bushfire Victims Appeal 2AD remained open on two evenings accepting donations that totalled over  $24,500, and the Rusden Centre Appeal raised almost $7,000.  1986 was 2AD’s 50th Anniversary and to mark the milestone, a Gala Charity Night was held at the Armidale Ex-Services Club attended by over 400 people, the evening raised over $1,700 distributed to local charitable organisations.
An Appeal was held to raise funds to build a Chapel at the Armidale & District hospital with $7,500 being donated by the public.

In the 1990's the station continued to help community organisations with their fundraising ventures - The ACE Radio Appeal was staged to assist the “Accommodation for the Confused Elderly” (ACE). Proceeds of $24,771 going to help build a 24 bed hostel for the suffers of dementia illnesses. The Station also supported the Rotary Club of North Armidale project - “The House that North Rotary Built” with all proceeds going to the ACE Appeal.

The 1994 drought was at that time regarded as the worst in 100 years, with more than 90 percent of the state of NSW drought-declared. 2AD joined the other Network Stations in Tamworth, Taree and Gunnedah to stage a Radio Appeal called ‘Country Help Line’. Proceeds of over $19,000 were distributed to local rural families in the New England region by the Smith Family.

 

The station join the Rotary Club of Armidale AM, (breakfast Club) in staging a Radio Appeal in the form of an Auction. Items were donated by local businesses, with a list of all items printed in the local paper prior to the Sunday Radio Auction, when listeners called the station and made a bid on-air for the various items. The Auction Appeal was so successful that it was staged a number of times on 2AD.