Plug pulled on old stu­dio as Chan­nel 9 moves into new digs

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - Ju­lian Wright

WALK­ING through the soon-to-be-aban­doned halls and stu­dios of Chan­nel 9, sports pre­sen­ter Michael Thomson re­flected on al­most 30 years with the sta­tion.

The sta­tion is just days away from re­lo­cat­ing from its Dianella home of 51 years to a state-of-the-art fa­cil­ity at 253 St Georges Ter­race. The last day at the old build­ing will be Septem­ber 16. Op­er­a­tions at the new premises start on Septem­ber 19.

Old, dusty and bulky equip­ment has been pulled out of stor­age, with decades old cam­eras and dor­mant, ob­so­lete VHS tapes lin­ing shelves ready for the move.

Thomson, who be­gan his ca­reer in jour­nal­ism in print be­fore switch­ing to tele­vi­sion, took a stroll down mem­ory lane, de­scrib­ing the old tech­nol­ogy and lay­out of the news stu­dio.

“You had the news­read­ers at the front with the journos at the back pound­ing away on the type­writ­ers,” he said.

“It was loud but it all added to the drama of the news of the day. That changed in about 1989 I reckon.

“The news room then moved be­cause Sky Sport used to be here, then this space be­came wholly, and solely for Perth.

Stu­dio de­sign was not the only thing that has changed, with tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the way news was sourced and re­ported.

“In those days we would type (sto­ries) onto hard pa­per copy and they’d feed it into a ma­chine and that was sort of the auto cue, so you were read­ing a mir­rored im­age on the pa­per,” he said.

“We also used Be­ta­cam when I started; now it’s all on small mem­ory chips. The tech­nol­ogy change has been mas­sive.”

Thomson re­called years ago the method of re­port­ing from Ku­nunurra on a man killing campers in the Kim­ber­ley.

“The only way we could (do it) was to go to the tele­com build­ing in the mid­dle of Ku­nunur- ra at night and we plugged the ca­bles in and we had to or­gan­ise it with tele­com so we could cross to the To­day Show,” he said.

“Now, with the tech­nol­ogy, we can do a live cross from any­where.”

Through­out the years, the stu­dio was host to international su­per­stars.

Thomson re­mem­bered a brush with fame when he shared a makeup room with singer Paul Si­mon from Si­mon and Gar­funkel.

“He was here to do a live satel­lite cross to South Africa; I re­mem­ber go­ing into makeup and look­ing in and I thought “gee that looks like Paul Si­mon sit­ting in the makeup chair. “I said hi and he seemed very nice.” Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ray Wardrop said the move had been on the cards for three years.

An­drew Ritchie Pic­ture: www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d458817

Close up to the move: Michael Thomson and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ray Wardrop.

The old premises in Dianella will soon be aban­doned.

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