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Outside Broadcast

Today we think nothing of picking up a mobile phone and calling someone on the other side of the country or world, we check the weather or market details, use its map service to find our way and check our emails and messages – just a few of the thousands of possible uses for this one small communications tool.

But when 2AD started in 1936, communications technology was in its infancy – in fact radio itself was only a few years old.

So when the station would broadcast from a local event using just a microphone, there was always great interest from listeners to hear what was happening and to get a look at the person behind the voice, pictured right, 2AD announcer Cliff Dodd from the early 1940's.

In the early days of 2AD, the station also broadcast the Sunday service from one of the Armidale Cathedrals or Churches, with the equipment setup at the church linked via a program line back to the studio.

In those early years, it was nothing for the station to provide a running commentry of a dance, one Outside Broadcast (OB) that the station undertook was of the Radio & Movie Ball on Tuesday 2nd March 1937 from the Armidale Town Hall, with the both John Creighton and Peter Mcgregor at the microphone. The Ball was to aid the Armidale and New England Hospital, proceeds of the night totaling £150.

During the Second World War, the station held a weekly Community Singing session each Saturday afternoon in the Armidale Capitol Theatre. The venue would be packed with locals singing along with the words to the songs projected onto the cinema screen, 2AD announcer Cliff Dodd would lead the program which was broadcast live over the station. Junior Tech at that time was Jack Ames remembers those early OBs.

Teachers' College Broadcast

On Friday 19th April 1946, 2AD broadcast a Ceremony of Remembrance from the Armidale Teachers' College Auditorium, with which was associated the dedication of a College Book of Remembrance - containing the photograph and a short description of the academic and war record of the two lecturers, 10 students and 55 ex-students of the Armidale Teachers' Training College, who gave their lives in World War II.

At Easter for the past 16 years, the ex-students of the College had gathered for a reunion. During the war this tradition had been maintained, and in 1946 of the 594 men from the College who had joined the various arms of the service, 100 of them were present in the College Hall to pay respect and their fallen comrades.

Principal C.B. Newling, Mayor of Armidale (Ald. D.D.H. Fayle), President of Dumaresq Shire Council (Cr. R.H. Williams), D.H. Drummond M.L.A., Vice-President of the R.S.S. and A.I.L.A. (Mr. F. Antill), President of the Armidale Red Cross (Miss M.C. Blaxland), District Inspector of Schools (Mr. J.J. Pollock), Deputy Warden of the New England University College (Dr. J.P. Belshaw) and representatives of all religious denominations were present.

A roll of honour was read by Major Dennis Williams, a member of the 1936-37 College session. The memorial was unveiled by ex-Sgt. J Bramma D.C.M. by the lifting of the Union Jack, and Staff-Sergt. H Heath, the first student from the College to enlist opened the memorial at the pages relating to Colin Robert Hilton McIntyre, the first student to be killed in action.


As part of his address Principal Newling said, how everyone spoke with high elations of the first reunion to be held after the war. He said "It is altogether appropriate that this long awaited event should be ushered in by this ceremony on this day. We and all the members of the College scattered throughout the State and the various parts of the world unite in honouring the 67 men who have joined the choir invisible".

At the dedication of the memorial, Principal Newling said "It is just and fitting that we should remember in gratitude the courage, cheerfulness and endurance with which those who survived faced all the hardships of peril, of long training and campaigning in five continents and on every ocean".

"From the beginning of enlistments, each Friday has heard their names read to the assembled College. We are happy to see so many here and we thank those of you who are present and also those who were unable to attend. We promise that the splendour of your deeds will never be dimmed".

"We shall do all in our power to enable you to undertake the years lost from professional duties and we shall in this place install a monument worthy of your efforts. It contains a portrait of each man, together with a short account of his career. It will be placed in the case which you see before you, and each day in perpetuity a fresh page will be turned. Thus due homage can be paid, and we shall be able to scan with reverence the faces that will not grow old, we shall admire their nobility of bearing, and the fearless light of freedom that shone from their eyes".

"As long as this College endures we shall pay them a sincere tribute of heartfelt and humble gratitude for what they gave for us. And so in that mood I place this book in the guardianship of all those who in the future shall teach here and of those who shall learn, in the high hope and undimmed confidence".

This ceremony was broadcast by 2AD and relayed to 2TM Tamworth, 2NZ Inverell, 2GF Grafton and 2LM Lismore. One of the many listeners was Mrs. E.J. Riley from Condong in the Tweed River region, on the far north coast of New South Wales, who had walked nearly two miles down the range to listen to the broadcast through 2LM. Her son (Ronald Finch, pictured above with his entry in the College's "Remembrance Book") had been a student at the Armidale College during Session 1931-32. On April 20th 1946, the day after the radio broadcast from 2AD, Mrs. Riley wrote to Principal Newling, this is a copy of her letter.

Community Singing

The Community Singing would continue on 2AD through the late 50's and into the 1960's, with a weekly session broadcast each Wednesday afternoon from the station's auditorium in Broadcast House with announcer Hugh McCrindle leading the singing. Hugh also remembers being part of many an OB from local country halls.

OB's - Equipment

As mentioned above, in the early days, an outside broadcast consisted of the announcer, a microphone and a broadcast landline connection back to the main studio.

It's interesting to note, that when the station broadcast from a debutante or community ball, which was always sponsored. Not only did the announcer introduce the music for each dance set, but when the band was on a break, the announcer would read the sponsors commercials and give a commentary of the evening. The photo at the top of this page shows 2AD announcer Cliff Dodd in such a role back in the early 1940's.

Then as the technology developed, the station was able to take more equipment out to an OB. Special broadcast desks were built, similar to those used in the main studio, with two turntables to play the records and at least two microphones for interview opportunities.

It became a common occurrence to walk down the main street of Armidale and to see 2AD broadcasting from the front window of a business.

Here are just a few photos of the various outside broadcast desks that were used by 2AD over the years.



Tom Roach (left) behind the OB Desk in the window of Richardsons Department Store Armidale, in the late 1950’s




2AD Glen Innes announcer Don Thomas (left), broadcasting from the front window of Glen Innes Department Kwon Sing & Co in mid 60's.



2AD announcer Warren Burr (right), broadcasting from the Armidale Town Hall, during a Home Show in the late 1960's.



2AD Pop-Up Broadcast Van, in early 1970’s, with the Have a Happy Day promotional material.


Peter Raymond at a 2AD OB in the early 1980’s from Armidale Holden dealer New State Motors car lot, announcer Peter Raymond behind the Communicastor console.