Outside Broadcasts

Remote telecasts would become one of the biggest elements of TCN's success, particularly sporting events. Ch. 9 pioneered many technical achievements in the early years of television productions when technology was in its infancy. The station was hungry to establish itself as the leader in all forms of television from entertainment through to news.
In 1959 QANTAS announced the arrival of the latest aircraft of its fleet for international travel the Boeing 707.
It was a big event. It was a big plane. Ch 9 televised live its arrival. Great anticipation was felt by both the televison crew and the assembled masses of its arrival. It was a history making event.
Close to 60,000 spectators turned out to witness the historical event.
The association with Ampol influenced the televising of the first Ampol round Australia car trial. The previous years, from 1953, were sponsored by Redex.
We took our brand new Outside Broadcast van out to Bondi beach and .......
.....broadcast live, for some two hours. This type of program would became very popular with the viewing audience.
All the networks were aware of the value of live sporting events and the need to not let opposition stations get an advantage over you. The program guide carried the unique situation of all three stations covering the same event.
This photo is of that 1957 All Blacks rugby game at the Sydney Cricket Ground . All three channels 2, 7 & 9 provided their own facilities and commentary for the match.
However there were times when we collaborated with the other networks. Golf tournaments in the early years were difficult to do with just three cameras. We would hire the other channel’s OB vans and crew to do a nine to twelve camera coverage.
Channel 9 would become the master control van with a single feed coming in from both Channel 2 & Channel 7. In 1958 it was a great achievement to see some 6 or 7 holes of golf live all day.
The crew for that historic telecast standing back row L to R : Bob MacDonald Brian C. Morelli Bill Eve Ian White Rod Crockford Ian O'Brien Paul Hookham Terry O'Brien Dick Kennedy Front row: Robert 'Jock' Harkess Joe Spinelli Warren Berkery Vince Florentine Jill Nicholas
April 7th 1957 was one of the biggest technical set-ups of the era for the Head of the River rowing regatta held on the Nepean River at Penrith. It had enormous public interest. Thousands flocked to the river banks to watch.
The course is 2000 metres long so we asked Channel 2 to join with us for the event. Six cameras covered the races from start to finish.
What a grand introduction for us to be able to cover the whole race. Some wag fired off a cracker 150 metres from the finish almost costing High the race win. Some of the High rowers mistook the cracker for the finishing gun and stopped rowing. They did recover and went on to win. Shore and Newington crews locked oars soon after the start forcing a restart. High and Grammar also had ' a clash of oars' at the halfway point. Kings and Scots complained of erratic steering. It was reported later it was one of the roughest ever rowed on the Nepean. Normally very little of this area of the race was ever seen being so far from the finishing line and the majority of the spectator areas. The Head of the River always commanded double page spreads in the Sunday newspapers and on this day 32,000 people lined the Nepean river to watch.
Outside broadcasts were to become a staple diet for Channel 9 particularly sporting events. The 'Marine unit' was a familiar site on Sydney Harbour during the Sydney to Hobart yacht race,12 metre yacht trials and many news worthy telecasts. More of which will be covered later.