Shut up and dance

Several resolutions were carried including requests for… the abolition of talks and addresses after 8p.m., and for the elimination of superfluous verbosity on the part of the announcers.

1 December, 1927


Nice to see that radio listeners in the 1920s wanted less talk and more dancing.  Presumably they would not be fans of talk back.

This was going to be a post about radio in 1927 but I kept getting distracted by things like this:

The caption reads: “Mr R E Hereford, a student at Victoria, wearing a hat with a miniature radio he built himself. Photographed circa 22 November 1950.”

Then there were a whole series of pictures of radio announcers being trained that were fairly diverting,

Old fella: “Then you just ram the pen into the roof of your mouth.”

Young fella: “Oh my god.”

Old fella: (choking) “It’s quite normal.  The blood usually stops flowing after a moment or two.”

And here is a man with a “portable” radio transmitter.

Which appears to suggest that the word portable in the 1950s meant “something that could conceivably be carried in a wheelbarrow”.

1927 was the year radio leapt forward significantly in New Zealand in the form of 2YA on Waring Taylor Street.  New Zealand was slow off the mark with radio mainly due to the fact that owning a radio transmitter was illegal for quite a number of years after the war.  This was to prevent the dissemination of state secrets.  Given that transmitters were so weak and unreliable this seems like an absurd regulation. 

An article in The Evening Post of 1922 talks about the British government deciding to let amateur radio hams the ability to occupy a very small part of the wave lengths without being supervised.  Nevertheless, the transmitting of state secrets (the secret is we have no really good secrets) from say one end of Newtown Park to approximately the other end of Newtown Park willy-nilly was something that clearly still needed to be controlled in New Zealand.

The Telegraph Engineers’ Sports and Social Club sounds like a real cracker jack of club to belong to.  The article ends by saying that all people wanting a licence to broadcast need to be able to do morse code at the rate of ten words per minute.  I reckon I could do S.O.S. four times in one minute with a bit of practise.

I think it’s time for me to grab my camera and drag my reluctant family into the car for an enthralling tour of Wellington Radio History.

I can hardly wait.

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