25 May 2009

Lee Haig

Lee Haig was an announcer at 3SH Swan Hill around 1963. He later worked on-air at 3UL Warragul where I heard him one evening: his voice had matured, and he sounded great. After that I lost track of him.

Lee (Leyden) was our next-door neighbour's younger brother, so we often saw him at the time he started at 3SH. I was about twelve or thirteen, and he was probably about seventeen or eighteen, a cheerful, friendly, energetic kind of bloke.

My friends and I sometimes called him "Uncle Lee" because if he was on in the afternoons he would do the kids' show, so he would have to sign on as Uncle Lee. We were half-smart, cheeky young lads, and he must have found us pretty annoying.

Even so...

I was a radio nut: I used to stay up late picking up remote stations (they started to come in around sunset), and I would mark their locations on a map of Australia.

One Saturday I had a big length of aerial wire that I was trying to string up in the yard outside my window, but I couldn't get much height. Lee saw I was getting nowhere, so he grabbed the end of it and climbed up a tall pine tree, right to its skinny top so that he was swaying dangerously from side to side, and he tied my aerial up there. After that, I pulled in those after-sunset stations better than ever.

Two kinds of people: those who won't rest until they've solved the Whatever Happened To...? puzzle, and those who prefer to move on and stay pretty much in the present. I'm with the first group, who can't resist Googling old friends' names, or searching for them at FriendsReunited or Facebook.

Last week I was thinking about radio in the sixties, and about my aerial up the pine tree in the side garden. I wondered what had happened to Lee Haig, and I found him at the Herald-Sun's Tributes website. He died in Melbourne last October.

I was thinking: I'll write about him here, and anyone who ever Googles "lee haig" + 3sh or 3ul will easily find this page.

09 May 2009

Bob Carmichael at 3NE Wangaratta

Earlier, I mentioned the opening of 3NE Wangaratta in 1954. Bob Carmichael, who was on air at 3NE from its earliest days, has a page of reminiscences at his website. [Now offline: here's a link to the archived version.]

And yes, there is a photo of Bob at a broadcast from a country ball: see also the radio memoirs of Frank Avis and John Pearce for anecdotes about this country radio staple.