MONITOR SPRING ISSUE 1972           - Page Five -

      Ian MacRae writes to us from Station 2SM in Sydney, Australia:

           "My those Pirate days keep chasing me! Still I guess we all 
      achieved something in that commercial radio looks like getting the break it
      deserves in the UK. Frankly I have reservations about its early success... 
      especially with the Press running it...and with that stupid needle-time hang 
      up as well.
           I'm afraid the passage of time is making many memories of those days a 
      little dim... and most of the stuff I can remember would have been recounted
      for you by Alan Clark.
           I started at Radio City around February 1966. It hadn't been long 
      before known as Radio Sutch, which of course was a bit of a joke. Not that Radio 
      City in those early days wasn't a joke as well. I'll never forget that day I 
      first clambered aboard those shaky towers. I remember thinking "ah well.. they 
      look pretty skungy outside ... but they can't be that bad INSIDE...after all it is
      a radio station". I was wrong on both counts. The equipment was straight out 
      of the ark, held together with chewing gum and bits of string...we couldn't 
      afford wire in those days! But, surprisingly it worked...most of the time. I 
      suppose you could say it was homely, like a cosy slum. And that winter weather. 
      When the winds reached gale force ten the towers shuddered and swayed and of 
      course the tender couldn't get out to us, and often we'd live on porridge and
      black coffee for days. Regardless of all this I'd do it all again. It was a 
      great experience.
           Things that come to mind...Alan Clark..I think it was for a bet ...reading 
      the news from the toilet. Or the time we spliced a flushing toilet effect on 
      to the end of the news theme to try and break Tom Edwards up. The time we 
      discovered throwing food around, especially boiled cabbage, was a great outlet. 
      Then there was the Auntie Mabel hour. I expect Alan has some tapes of that 
      and would be better to talk to. As a matter of fact I was playing them through only
      a few days ago. We got away with murder ...which may be an unfortunate word to
      use considering the events of June 1966. Once again I guess there is really 
      no point going into detail about the boarding party and all that, except from a 
      personal point of view. I was the only DJ to stay on for the whole siege, and 
      June 22nd - the day Scotland Yard came oh board - was my birthday. I remember 
      waking up in the early hours of that wintry morning and hearing strange voices. 
      My first reaction was that a boat had struck trouble and the crew had come on to 
      the station. I heard a woman's voice - must have been Kitty Black - who I never 
      got to see. The next week was like an unreal dream... 'till that happy day when 
      they all left on a tug. We had been warned not to cross the catwalk on to the 
      station and transmitter tower until they were well away. Of course we thought 
      they must have planted a bomb there. We waited for a few minutes, nothing 
      happened, so we raced across and started a mad hunt for the transmitter crystal
      which had been hidden to keep us off the air. We nearly pulled the place apart, 
      then we found it and went on the air. I was first on, and it was a pretty 
      emotional moment. I knew Mrs. Calvert would be listening anxiously in London. 
      I just can't think what the first record was, but it was something terribly 
      appropriate. (Ed. - 'Strangers in the Night'). Maybe Alan remembers.
           I've always thought that if Radio City had been able to put out more power
      it would have rated very strongly against the heavy guns in the North Sea. 
      Unfortunately many attempts at getting the big transmitter on air were always 
      futile - usually resulting in a generator blowing up or something. We were all 
      disappointed when, after having been up all night recording a Christmas pantomime 
      "Alice in Wonderland" just before the broadcast time the big transmitter blew 
      again... and we went back on the lower power one, which was distorting badly. 
      The day Radio City had to close was a big loss to all of us, and I guess many 
      loyal listeners too.
           Here in Sydney I've now been at 2SM four years this very week. We've in 
      that time come from a number seven station to number one. We're a top forty 
      "rocker"..very tight but, we hope entertaining as well. I do the breakfast 
      session from 5 am to 9 am but normally work on off the air producing such as 
      station promotions, commercials etc. 'till about 3 pm. Its exhausting work, but 
      naturally I love it. I still look for the day when I can move back to London 
      for a while. I think the way 2SM is expanding, having now bought three other 
      stations here, one in Melbourne and two country provincial, we may well be looking 
      at the UK one day. I was all set to visit London in November but thanks to the 
      American Musicians Union we couldn't do a recording session there, and the trip was 
      postponed. Kind regards".

                                                           SIGNED: IAN MACRAE Jan 7 1972 

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