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What happened next in Radio...1980s
The beginning of a Radio Career...
Programs were made with records on "turntables" and reel to reel tape recorders. There were no computers and no CDs. I did a lot of research in Country Music Books and Newspapers as the internet was not known then.
I scripted every program I did, writing down what I wanted to say. I found reading a script I could put "feeling" into it and didn't waste words. I also found I was more confident. It paid off and it wasn't long and listener feedback was encouraging.
I was also given a Saturday morning spot as well as the country music morning on Coffs Harbour Community Radio 2CHY. I also started a pioneer segment. I would talk to old Coffs residents and that brought lots of listeners. I sent a cassette to Nick Erby who was in charge of "Hoedown" at 2TM Tamworth. He wanted me to come over and see him. He gave me a job on Hoedown and I started on the early morning 12 to 6am shift. After six months I was still doing the midnight to dawn shift and was missing Coffs and my family and so I left Hoedown and returned to Coffs Harbour.
What happened next was a complete surprise. I had been back in Coffs Harbour just a few weeks when I received a phone call from Nick Weare. Nick was the manager of 2KPTR the ABC North Coast radio. He asked me if I would be interested in doing their Saturday Morning Show. I said I'd like to come and see him as this would be a big step for me. Saturday Morning would mean I would be on my own in the studio. After talking to Nick he showed me around the studio and I spent the rest of the day getting a feel of the desk. This was all so different. I had sports reports from reporters at Taree, Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Coffs Harbour by phone links. There were weather Reports. He even had me reading the Local News. I dreaded doing that and I would mess it up most times. I would be stressed out at Local News time every Saturday Morning. Nick employed an experienced news reader in Nick O'Callahan. I could then put my effort into making Saturday Morning as entertaining as I could. It all went well from there and I was getting a good response. I was receiving 5 to 10 letters a week and Les Partell was looking after the phone calls. I would record my "special bits" in a production studio in my shed at home in Coffs Harbour.
In those days voice segments we all recorded on Analogue "Reel to Reel Tape Machines" and recorded outside interviews on "Cassette Tape Recorders". I bought a 16 track Otari Tape Machine to mix down and an Ampex Master Tape Machine which I bought from 2GB in Sydney.
I was there about six months when Nick Ware said that Radio Australia wanted a new country music producer and would I be interested in doing the program. The program was made up of all Australian country artists. At that stage it was a 10 minute show that Eric Scott was producing in Tamworth. I had a listen to Eric and thought he had a great "radio" voice. I started sending a ten minute program to Melbourne each week and after a couple of months Radio Australia said they wanted to make it a thirty minute program. That was the beginning of many years of "Australian Country Style" for Radio Australia. It wasn't long after that and I was asked to produce "The World of Country Music" as well which was a program Johnny Chester had been putting together. Johnny didn't want to continue. I produced that show as well and they were replayed on Radio Australia twice a week ABC Radio National and some ABC Regional stations.
Nick Weare, the manager of ABC 2KPTR was very good to me. He would organize the ABC Outside Broadcast Van and I broadcast from Country Shows and the Main Street in Tamworth one Country Music Awards weekend. I thank Nick for much of my success.
2KPTR Saturday Morning
In my home studio during the 80s and 90s
1986-1996...... was producing Australia Country Style and The World of Country Music 1980's and 1990's for ABC Radio Australia and Radio National.
Aistralian Country Style
00:00 / 28:00
1980's and 1990's fourteen Commercial radio stations were broadcasting "The Best of Country" program. Some twice a week.
Well I was very confident by now and so I wanted to see if "Commercial Radio Stations" would be interested so I approached them with my idea of "The BEST of COUNTRY". This program would include five segments and each segment would have Country hits one from Australia and one from the U.S. as well as a latest release from Australia. be listening. From the phone calls I received I found I was getting listeners wanting to tune in each program. There was very little country music played on Australian Radio stations.
I talked to David Rogerson of "Quadrant Radio Strategies" to critique every "Best of Country" program I produced. He was the reason commercial Radio Programs went so well.
The Best of Country
00:00 / 09:30
1998....Country Down Under
This program was sent to Goodman Productions in Nashville.
Their programs were syndicated to Canada and the US Radio Stations
Each week all of these programs were recorded and produced on "analogue reel to reel tape recorders". In Australia two seven inch reels were sent by couriers to each stations.
00:00 / 04:02
00:00 / 04:14
"COUNTRY DOWN UNDER" was a segment I was asked to produce for "Goodman Radio Productions" in Nashville
Their program was "Inside Country Music with Rene' Goodman".
I would close each program with "From Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia I'm Graham Bell with Country Down Under".
Their syndicated Country Music programs were taken by over 200 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. Their show had lots of information and interviews. Some Australian Country Music Artists have done well in the USA. Keith Urban was one of the latest artists to "try his luck in Nashville". My six minute segments would be about an
Australian Country Artist. I would Introduce myself, Play one of their most popular songs, Talk about the artist, play their most successful song, back announce and sign off.
Sun Herald 5th May 1993
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