Plug pulled on old studio as Channel 9 moves into new digs
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.
Close up to the move: Michael Thomson and managing director Ray Wardrop.
The old premises in Dianella will soon be abandoned.