How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 222.


One of the big differences between working on the radio in Australia and working here in the UK is the studio mixing desks.

When you start a new on-air job, you have to quickly get used to the studio mixing desk, or the “desk”. That’s what it’s called in the UK, in Australia it’s called a “panel”.

The first few radio stations I worked on were easy because they all used the same kind. It was made by a company called R.M.E. and used rotary faders. This was the mixer I used at 2RRR in Sydney, 2QN Deniliquin, 6KG Kalgoorlie and 2PK in Parkes.

2RRR 2

The next one I used was at 5SE in Mount Gambier, South Australia. I don’t think it was a particular “make”, the story I heard was that it was made from scratch out of cobbled together parts by an old engineer. I worked there from August 1994 to July 1995 but as the station had been on the air since the 1930s, the mixing desk could have been made at any time.

The last radio station I worked for in Australia was 2GO on the New South Wales Central Coast. We used a much more modern mixer there that was made by R.M.E.. It was an updated version of what I started on and it had sliders instead of rotary faders!

2GO studios

I miss the Australian mixing desks, they seemed a lot simpler than the ones I’ve been using in the UK since 1997. Some British desks are separated in the middle. I suppose that is so you have somewhere to put a script. All it means is that you need long arms to reach the outside faders because they’re so far apart. I remember this being a real problem when I worked at Century FM in the Northeast, when I played a music bed off a CD, while I was playing out a caller from a reel to reel machine. Those two fades were at either end of the desk.

Working on lots of different mixers, rotary and sliders, didn’t prepare me at all for what I had at BBC WIltshire when I started working there in May 2010. The faders went the wrong way! Usually to open a channel and put it to air, you push it up, away from you. When a fader is closed, it’s down. But at BBC Wiltshire, they worked the other way, down was open, up was closed!

Well, it IS the other side of the world!

Craic on!

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