Looking Back - 1939 to 2011 - the Autobiography of Robert V. J. Padula, OAM

1964 - Media Writing

1941 - Bikes and Cars
1943 - Hiking - Hills and Coasts
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 1
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 2
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 3
1945 - Auburn schooldays - Part One
1945 - Auburn Schooldays - Part Two
1945 - Auburn Schooldays - Part Three
1945 - Upwey and the Puffing Billy
1945 - Gramaphones and Record Players
1946 - Flinders St Station
1946 - Astronomy
1946 - Beach and Swimming Adventures
1946 - Going to the Pictures
1947 - Adventures at the Altona Bungalow
1947 -The Listener-In Magazine
1947 - Balwyn WIldlife Sanctuary
1948 - Fishermen's Bend Aerodrome
1948 - Radio Australia QSL cards
1948 - Excursions
1949 - Australian Rules Football
1949 - Radio Monitoring at Auburn
1950 -Trains and Ships
1950 - Radios for Communications
1950 - Radio Listening Clubs in Australia
1950 - World Radio TV Handbook
1950 - Shortwave Radio Propagation Research
1950 - Medium Wave Radio Propagation Research
1950 - Radio and Hobbies Magazines
1950 - Discovering shortwave radio at Auburn
1951 - Photography
1951 - Competitions on local radio stations
1952 - Camp Buxton - YMCA Shoreham
1952 Tennis and Ten Pin Bowling
1953 - Stamp Collectiong
1953 Camberwell High School
1954 - Royal Visit to Melbourne
1954 - Shortwave Radio reception at Auburn
1956 - Melbourne's Olympic Games
1956 - Trainee Telecommunications' Technician
1957 - Trainee Technician - field work
1957 - National Service Registration
1958 - Laverton Air Show
1958 - MOOMBA Parade
1958 - Trainee Technician - field work
1959 - The move to Mont Albert
1960 - Working at Deepdene Telephone Exchange
1963 - Trade Unions, Staff Associations, Industrial Relations
1964 - Senior Technician work in the Melbourne CBD
1964 - Project support for Radio Australia
1964 - Project support for Radio Australia
1964 - Amateur Radio
1964 - Media Writing
1964 -Travels
1964 - Engineering Support for International Broadcasters
1965 - Professional Employment with PMG/Telstra
1967 - Professional Qualifications - Institution of Engineers Australia
1967 - Australian Radio DX Club Photo Gallery (to 1979)
1972 - Wireless Institute of Australia
1972 - Natural disasters in Melbourne
1980 - Australian Radio DX Club Gallery (to 1995)
1981 - Award of the Medal of the Order of Australia
1995 - Padula Books
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Oldtime Australian Radio Drama from the 1930s
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Radio Monitoring Clubs in Australia - 1920 to 1949
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Melbourne Picture Theatres - History - 1906 to 1970
Note: This Chapter was updated in June 2015




March 2015 represented my completion of 51 years of continuous involvement with writing, hosting, and broadcasting "DX" programs over domestic and international stations.


My first involvement in writing and producing stories for the broadcast media was in March 1964, when I started writing and taping the weekly 15 minute DX program, known as "The World at Your Fingertips", heard over two Victorian medium-wave stations here in Australia - 3UL in Warragul, and 3SR in Shepparton. This was under the sponsorship of the Victorian Branch of the New Zealand DX Radio Association, of which I was a member. Sadly, the NZDXRA closed down in 2007. In those days, there was no Australian national radio monitoring organisation - there had been such a club, but it had ceased in 1946.


WAYF had in fact been on the air for a year or so previously, broadcast only over 3SR Shepparton, by Bruce Eastwood. On Bruce's retirement from the field, he invited me to take over, which I did, and I expanded its coverage by syndicating it over 3UL Warragul.


In 1965, 3SR discontinued this, and other programming, due to a major change of focus, leaving us only with 3UL, which ran the show on Saturday mornings with a rather limited listenership.


In 1966, I moved the show to 3NE Wangaratta, for a Sunday night release, which hosted our program continuously until 1976, when it was decided jointly that the program was no longer serving any useful purpose, either for the station or the hobby, and it was terminated.


From 1967 until 1976, the programs were written and remotely taped on alternate weeks by my South Australian colleague, the late Robert Chester, and myself.


My work in international radio DX programs began in 1965, when I commenced script writing for the weekly "Australian DXers’ Calling" over Radio Australia.


The program first went on the air on July 9, 1946, and was written and presented by Graham Hutchins, Melbourne, who had been involved with the management of a local DX Club. I had been a keen and avid listener to the program since around 1953 as a schoolboy, and I used to copy the details of the programs into a log-book.


That log-book is sitting in front of me as I write this, some 60 years later, and the program of February 13, 1955 reported that Radio France Asie, in Saigon, was on the air on 15430 0800-0815 and on 9775 at 1400 to Europe. The program also reported that RRI had installed a new 20 kW transmitter on 9550 (still there at Makassar!), and that Radio Australia would be carrying live commentary of the 5th Cricket Test between visiting England and Australia. Target areas were announced as including the West Indies, Africa, Korea, Japan, and the British Isles.


As it turned out, I actually went to one day of that famous Test, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground!


The untimely passing of Graham in 1965 now required RA personnel to personally prepare and read the weekly scripts. I had been a regular contributor to the program since 1963, and I was surprised when RA invited me to assume script writing responsibility in 1965. I continued to write the scripts each week until 1982, which were read by senior RA announcers. I was not permitted to include any information about stations in Communist-bloc countries, such as Radio Peking, Radio Moscow, Radio Tirana, etc! I was also instructed to give as much information as possible about the Voice of Free China broadcasts. Those directions emanated from sources extremely high up in the Australian Government. I complied!!!


In 1972, I was appointed the script manager, where I introduced and trained other Australian DX hobbyists to these duties, with all of us sharing the roster coordination and writing tasks. The shared arrangements continued until 1976, when the program was discontinued as part of a major and extraordinary change in RA policy.


However, RA's Japanese department had also been using the scripts for many years, translating them into its weekly "DX Time" programs, and we continued to prepare the scripts for the Japanese service until it itself was closed down in 1989. Estimates as to the number of regular listeners to "DX Time" were put at many millions. That was in the days of the 1970s following the CB "boom", when enormous numbers of Japanese schoolchildren were attracted to shortwave listening, coining the term "BCL" (ie, "broadcast listener"), fuelled by the burgeoning Japanese electronics' manufacturing industry.


This massive exposure of millions of Japanese children to the hobby was reflected in the vast numbers of QSL reports received by Radio Australia's Japanese section, the majority of which were for reception of "DX Time"! It was an enormous flood, which was beyond the capability of RA to manage. I helped RA to process those reports, most of which were "gimme QSL" requests - there were mountains of mail in big boxes!


RA's Indonesian service also took the scripts for its own DX program until 1989, but there is no longer any Indonesian DX program.


Following representations from listeners, in 1982 RA decided to reintroduce a "communications" program in the English service, calling it "Spectrum", which ran until September 1983. This was hosted by the late Dick Speekman, formerly of Radio Netherland's "DX Juke Box" (which had also been closed down!)


I assisted Dick with weekly SW and DX notes, as well as being an interviewee, until that program was subsequently terminated in September 1983! One month later, it reappeared under the new name of "Talkback", prepared by RA staffers and Dick was no longer involved.


Each week, until June 1985, I wrote the shortwave news, and visited RA's studios in the new East Burwood (Melbourne) complex to tape the shows. This was a new experience for me - everything had to be precisely scripted - no colloquial expressions - no departure from the written scripts - and no jokes. I was given full access to the complex, and had to book a studio and operator in advance. There were also strict rules for annunciation, pronunciation, and "speaking style" to ensure that the Australian accent didn't seem too prominent!


These studio facilities at the time were an eye-opener, state-of-the-art, with everything on large tape spools, running at 1 7/8 inches/sec. Everything broadcast had to be backed-up and archived for several weeks. It helps the soul to know that what you are taping will be going out to the entire world in a few hours time!


The East Burwood complex was closed down some years ago when ABC's operations were centralised in the Melbourne "Southbank" building. The East Burwood buildings remain, and have been converted into residential units. The surrounding land has been re-developed and is now closely packed with houses.


"Talkback" came to an abrupt end in June 1985 and the popular DX news was never replaced.


I had, and continue, to be involved with DX-type program production over other international broadcasters. This has included "Pacific DX Report" over the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (1979-1981), "South Pacific DX Report" over HCJB (1979-1986), "DX Newsline" over Trans World Radio Guam (1982-1992), and "The DX Report from Australia" over Adventist World Radio (1994 onwards).


Since 1995, I compiled the monthly "Australian DX Report" scripts over HCJB (in the DX Partyline program) and also on WHRI, and since 1999 over Adventist World Radio Asia. Since May 2006, I’ve been producing the weekly “Australian DX Report” over WWCR, Nashville, Tennessee, with 469 episodes having been produced.

In June 2015, the weekly Australian DX Report commenced additionally over WRMI, Okeechobee, Florida, USA.


Sadly, HCJB discontinued its DX Partyline programs in May 2011.


In 1997 I launched the Australian Internet Broadcasting Service, where my weekly "Australian DX Reports" (with music!) may be downloaded free of charge by anyone, anywhere, or accessed as a Podcast,a s a MP3 file, or via iTunes!


All of the work is done on a voluntary, spare-time basis, and I have lost count of the number of hours dedicated to the tasks over all those years. Unlike some people, I neither seek payment, nor insist on recognition for all of this - I do it because I enjoy it, with a desire to help others.


So, there you are...



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