November 26th, 2005 at 06:26pm
There is something very wrong with the electricity infrastructure in the Canberra suburb of Mitchell, where 2CC and 2CA broadcast from. Mitchell, it would seem, suffers from the most blackouts of any part of Canberra, which is very odd considering that Michell must use a huge amount of electricity and would be one of ActewAGL’s main revenue sources. Todays outage is understandble as there has been a large amount of thunderstorm activity around Canberra, but it has been known to go out in Mitchell at random from time to time.
Today, for the first time since my journey to Erindale to see the 2CC Kingswood, I had the strange “wince-and-pleasure” of hearing some alphabetical love song (presumably from the late 40’s or early 50’s) which forms part of the 2CC emergency tape. This was due to a power failure in Mitchell which caused the 2CC and 2CA studios to lose power, and the emergency tapes which are presumably off site to kick in. Last time I heard the Alphabet song it was due to a power failure. The 2CC emergency tape is cleverly constructed to have an ad break at the start which runs long enough to cover most ad break failures (and give general outages long enough to recover), this is followed by “Down Memory Lane” which is a purpose built program filled with a large array of music, including the light and bubbly alphabet song which has a habit of getting into your head…A you’re adorable B you’re so beautiful…
2CA on the other hand a slightly more unusual emergency tape. It starts with a station ID which they stopped using two or three years ago, it then launches into The Rolling Stones “Brown Sugar”. Unfortunately, there seems to be excess noise between the studio and the tape which makes it cut out, wait 15 seconds and start again, effectively driving people insane. 2CC’s emergency tape also started repeating itself at one stage, but nowhere near as often as 2CA who were on the first song for most of the 20 minutes.
The power outage did acheive one thing, it more or less removed the sydney-centric “Radio Trading Post” segment of the Glenn Wheeler Weekend Afternoon show. That segment, along with Sydney Gardening, might be useful in Sydney, but they provide a monotonous experience for Canberra listeners who have already heard hours of similar programs in the morning. Overall I enjoy Glenn’s show, but I don’t think the 2 hours of Sydney gardening or the half hour of Sydney Trading Post is terribly relevant in Canberra.
John B1_B5 also reported hearing 2CC lose Sydney programming between 4:45 and 4:55 and play music in the comments here. I don’t know whether this has to do with electricity problems or satellite failures as I didn’t hear it for myself. I’ll assume it was a satellite failure in this timetable of events below.
- 4:45 2UE feed goes down, local music program begins
- 4:55 2UE feed returns, Sydney programming resumes
- 5:30 Power failure in Mitchell, emergency tape plays
- 5:50 Power restored, Sydney programming resumes. (With unusual beeping noises)
- 5:57 Music (not emergency tape) starts whilst Sydney programming stops (unexpected sydney ad break perhaps?)
- 6:00 Music fades as Sydney news begins…
Since 6PM things have been fine, lets hope they stay that way.
People might think that emergency tapes are boring, but really they have to be one of the most interesting things on radio, because you usually don’t know what’s going to happen next, will the program continue? Will the normal programming come back? And depending on the length of the outage, what happens when the tape reaches the end?