More goodbyes my friends

Frank Avis by | September 26, 2018 | 2010s

More goodbyes my friends – it just goes on – with the deaths of a famous name in Melbourne radio, John Worthy and that of Ray Bean.
More goodbyes my friends – it just goes on – with the deaths of a famous name in Melbourne radio, John Worthy (did he have the deepest voice you've ever heard?) and that of Ray Bean, ex-2UW PD and the GM who put 3MP on air in 1976.

Wonderful bit of news from the past, finally catching up with TV presenter/programmer Tom Warne. Tom and I go back to Hobart in the 60s when he joined fellow TV identity Graeme Smith (no longer with us I'm sorry to report) in launching the first ever IN HOBART TONIGHT on TVT6, signing up Yours Truly to write and present the comedy.

It's hard to judge these things when you're in the middle of it all but honestly I thought we did a pretty decent job overall. Tom and Graeme were certainly operating in uncharted waters back in those days and I think they were tremendous getting it all together. Tom has provided me with a bit of Hobart nostalgia with a couple of photos from those times. All I can say is would you put your health in the hands of Dr. Warne? I think the skeleton was a previous patient.

Burglar skit Frank Avis and Tom Warne
Graeme Smith & Tom Warne conduct TVT popular live Tonight Show Wednesday nights
Tom Warne & Frank Avis Tonight Show skit 1964


It's been a bit of ducks and drakes in the latest Sydney survey although no changes to good old 2GB which continues Winx-like to lead the field, ahead of WSFM and Smooth. There's some interesting movement in the FM band with WS unseating Kyle and Jackie at Kiis in the key breakfast slot.

2CH is hanging on to 4.2%, alongside 2DAY FM (can you believe that?) while the former 2UE now doing a Sports format is down to .6 — about as low as you can go without disappearing.

And your reporter is getting even more confused about the TV industry with word that the 7 Network has lost the Melbourne Cup, outbid by Ch. 10, which used to do the Cup back in the 70s if memory serves me correctly.

One of the issues we've been addressing in recent times is the future(?) of "Australia's own", the iconic Holden car, once it ceased local-production and became just another import. I must say my initial reaction wasn't positive and the figures so far in 2018 are perhaps even worse than expected.

Holden sales have dropped 25% over the past year. The once famous home-grown product now boasts 5.3% market share, compared to its halcyon days of 2002 when Holden owned 21% of local sales.

The other extraordinary story of the last 4 years is the disappearance of Malaysia's Flight MH 370 which vanished in March 2014 with 227 passengers and 12 crew. Several pieces have wreckage have been recovered confirming the theory that the airliner went down somewhere in the Southern Indian Ocean, off West Australia. The thing is that the latest report by Malaysian investigators, endorsed by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, is regarded as a bit of a worry. I've read a few expert offerings on this amazing incident (MH370: Mystery Solved by Larry Vance, and the contributions of Mike Keane, ex-fighter pilot and former Chief Pilot for Britain's easyJet airline, and these people can't believe the official findings, delivered recently. One critic regards the report virtually as the sophisticated work of Malaysian spin-doctors.

Basically, the plane was in excellent working order when it suddenly cut all communications and veered dramatically off course, heading south-west and then further south into the Indian Ocean.

The whole premise of the report is that this was a "ghost flight", with no one at the controls as it flew towards is final fate. Nearly everybody I read is convinced the plane was under control when it disappeared. Now, I'm not a scientist, I'm just a researcher who looks at as much information as he can get and then connects the dots. Something, it seems in this latest report, has happened to the dots. The investigators say "the possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded" but the expert view is that this would have been impossible. This "third party" would have had to bypass the cabin crew, break into the sealed cockpit, overcome the captain and co-pilot, and disable the electronic equipment. ALL OF THIS HAD TO BE DONE WITHIN 2 MINUTES before starting the complex steering manoeuvre to the south-west. Oh yes and this remarkable person had to be trained to operate a Boeing 777... er... I don't think so.

Not a word about the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the man in charge of 370. His involvement is not even considered. So who was in the cockpit when the plane rendered itself invisible and turned to the south? Well, the last voice heard by HoChi Minh Air Traffic Control just before the plane disappeared is the pilot saying, "Goodnight. Malaysian 3-seven-zero." That voice was that of Zaharie. He is confirmed at the controls, in the cockpit, just before the Airliner, with 239 on board, vanishes into the night.

We're living through another horrific drought here in NSW and experts are having their say on how to solve this repeating crisis. In the first half of the last century, John Bradfield – "father" of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – tried desperately to convince the Federal Government, along with Queensland and NSW, to set up a complex system of dams to harvest the huge rainfall in our far north every summer. The monsoonal rains sweep in annually but 90% of the rain disappears into the ocean. Bradfield wanted to build a series of dams to harness the flood waters, diverting into the inland river systems of Queensland and NSW. My theory is that the Bradfield scheme would work fundamentally with one significant change. Build the dams yes... but connect them with a massive system of water pipes. Run these pipes from dam to dam, connecting Central Queensland to the NSW mid-west, where the water can be used directly from the dam to farms or get channelled into our river system, where it could be carried out to the west and south-west.

Engineers could even build hydro plants at the dams along the way, producing critical electricity for the local community. Critics will call us "the water dreamers", which is what they labelled Bradfield and his supporters. They'll say the idea of connecting dams with thousands of kilometers of water pipe is ludicrous. All I can say is that if the North Americans can run an oil pipeline over 4,000 kms then we can use similar technology to take advantage of our annual "big wet". I also point out the overwhelming logic that oil is a finite resource: it runs out eventually. In the case of the water dumped in Australia's north every year... it will last forever.

And finally, at long last, our Federal Parliament has been cleansed with the exit of the two great political connivers, Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull. Gillard is hardly mentioned in ALP circles after her manoeuvrings to unseat a sitting PM while Turnbull has been one of the most despised names in the nation since he submarined Tony Abbott. Both are now consigned to the rubbish bins of political history. Let them meddle elsewhere.

"The era of the political assassin is over... the former PM (Turnbull) will be remembered mostly for the way he got into office and the way he got out of office" – Tony Abbott, 2018.

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About me

This is the history of radio newsman Frank Avis who worked in the Australian electronic media from 1954 to 1996.

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