Archive for February 12th, 2007

Paul Makin on 2UE

Clive Robertson is apparently busy this week, so Paul Makin is filling in on New Day Australia for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning. John Kerr will be back on Friday, and next week remains a mystery.

Paul Makin
Paul Makin

Paul has been a journalist and actor for many years, and was a host on Adelaide’s commercial talk radio station 5AA from 2001-2003. Long term 2UE listeners would remember Paul as the reporter on the scene of the Granville train disaster of January 18, 1977.

I’m not overly familiar with Paul’s work so it will be interesting to see how he handles middawn talkback.


4 comments February 12th, 2007 at 08:22pm

The Photo Finish Camera

In my school years, especially the last four, I had a habit of producing very polished assignments…in other words, I always paid careful attention to the presentation of them. One big reason for this was that, whilst presentation had its own marking category and was worth a few points, it also seemed to affect the teacher’s impression of the work, and therefore the rest of the marks. I also don’t like handing in messy work!

Anyway, on some assignments I would go right out of my way and do something special…something well and truly beyond the requirements of the assignment. Usually that did not pose a problem, but sometimes it required a bit of negotiating with the teacher. One such example was an assignment for my electronics class in year 10 (2003).

The assignment was to make a three to five minute speech about something electronic. Easy enough, just about everything is electronic these days it seems. At the time the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne was well and truly under way, and the topic I chose was the photo finish camera…the device used to decide the outcome of races, for both horses and humans.

I quickly realised that a lot of the topic would be much easier to explain with animations and video, and decided that I would make a video myself. It didn’t take long to convince the teacher that this was a good idea, on the condition that I appeared on camera, and my voice could be heard for most of the film.

Here is the video.

Click here to download the original video (MPEG 1 format, 47.3MB)

Actually, it’s not the original video, but it’s as close as I can find. The original video, unfortunately, was not backed up prior to an urgent Windows reinstallation in 2004. I thought it was in one folder, but it wasn’t, and it is now gone forever. The “original” file above is the video from the Video CD I created for the assignment. I didn’t have a DVD burner at the time, so VCD was the best option. The VCD was subsequently copied to VHS tape as the school’s only DVD player was on a different floor and was already booked on that day.

A few interesting facts about the video.
The segments where I appear on screen were recorded in Campbell High School Library’s video viewing room during lunch time. It was recorded on three separate floppy disks using the school’s digital camera. One of my friends, Mirnes Huseinovic, was kind enough to donate some of his lunch time to be the cameraman.

The example of a photo finish being created was supposed to only run through twice at a much slower speed. It was doing so in the preview window, but Windows Movie Maker didn’t render it correctly!

I didn’t spot the “should have been blurred” bit of one of the Ancient Olympics photos until after creating the video.

The Ancient Olympics voting information was one of the few things I learnt in year three when the Atlanta Olympics were taking place.

SBS Sport were very very helpful. They remembered that a race had recently been run in the US with a very close finish and were able to point me to a website with video footage.

I got an “A” grade for this assignment.

As you may be able to tell, I’ve done a bit of work to refine the flash video encoder settings. I came to the conclusion that the flash video does not need to be the highest quality copy of the video in existence, as I have an original copy for that purpose. The embedded flash video needs to be small enough to play on most internet connections, but large enough to have acceptable picture quality. As such, videos with a 4:3 frame and 25 frames per second are being rendered at a frame size of 320:240 and a video bitrate of 336kbps (kilobits per second). The audio is being rendered in mono, at a sampling frequency of 22050 Hz and 48kbps.

The Flash Video format has further file compression associated with it, and as such the resulting videos have a combined bitrate of approximately 360kbps. Still too big for streaming on dial-up, but workable for most other connections.


8 comments February 12th, 2007 at 11:40am

666 ABC Canberra looking for new Program Director

It looks like 666 ABC Canberra are looking for a new program director. Here’s the job advertisement from Radioinfo.

Program Director
09 Feb 2007
# Canberra
# $65,424 – $80,940 p.a.

Local Radio in Canberra has a vacancy for a highly motivated and experienced program maker to lead the station’s on air teams with the purpose of maintaining outstanding program content, focussing on information and entertainment radio. The Program Director provides high level leadership in editorial decision making, manages human and program resources, and develops strategies to build and maintain audiences. The Program Director’s role includes the generation of very strong program content, with significant development of original ideas for station on air and off air activities. As editorial team leader, the role requires outstanding ability to motivate others in being creative and innovative in producing on air content.

Selection Criteria:

1. Outstanding interpersonal and motivational skills, proven experience in radio with outstanding editorial skills and judgement.
2. Proven ability to lead and inspire a team of program makers with specific ability to guide teams in making diverse daily programs in a metropolitan radio station.
3. Demonstrated ability to develop and produce accessible and relevant program content. Demonstrated leadership in program construction and delivery.
4. Capacity to initiate, research and produce highly complex program segments and interviews and provide significant input into shaping program and station sound. Ability to work under high pressure and to deadlines.
5. A comprehensive understanding and commitment to ABC Editorial Policies as well as EEO and Cultural Diversity issues and their relevance to program making.
6. Comprehensive knowledge of modern broadcast technology including digital editing and online content.
7. Ability to develop strategies to attract and maintain audiences as well as the ability to manage projects and major broadcasting initiatives.
8. Knowledge of key issues affecting the Canberra audience.
9. Ability to produce and present live and pre-recorded reports for radio at an outstanding level.

# All applications must include audition material on CD ONLY (non returnable). Copies of the ABC Editorial Policies are available at

For further information contact Jen Brennen on (02) 6275 4615.

Applications quoting reference IAR706072 should be sent to Recruitment, ABC, GPO Box 9994, Adelaide SA 5001 or email using the link below.

Applicants must address the selection criteria. For information on how to apply visit

The ABC is an equal opportunity employer
The ABC invites Indigenous Australians to apply for this position

If they’re going to write a politically correct job advertisement, they could at least start it by acknowledging that the successful applicant will be asked to work on “Ngunnawal land” (the statement which anybody trying to score points for political correctness open their speeches with in Canberra…except they acknowledge that they are standing or meeting on it). Actually, why not have the political correctness hub of Canberra radio acknowledge it at the start of every program…that’s bound to bring in the listeners. Say it over and over and over for eight minutes and you’ll win the quarter hour in the ratings!

In all seriousness though, 666ABC are coming in to a new ratings period with the very real prospect of losing further ground to 2CC…perhaps with a new Program Director they will be behind 2CC by the end of the second ratings period. One can only hope.

After this article, somebody is going to accuse me of an anti-ABC bias, so perhaps I should explain myself a bit further. Overall I like the ABC, but their Canberra radio station leaves a lot to be desired, and it will probably take a ratings defeat for them to shake things up a bit. They’ve been on top of the pile for a long time, and they’ve gone stale, they’re neither fresh nor interesting (incidentally 3AW seem to be headed in the same direction in Melbourne). It’s time for a change.

Maybe their new Program Director will fix things up for them, but with 666 being 666, it’ll take a ratings defeat, or something very close to it, to make them notice that they aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of Canberra’s talk radio market.

Of course, I would like to see 2CC in their rightful place above the local ABC station in the ratings…they’re the better station at the moment and have been for a while (a couple holiday errors excepted).


7 comments February 12th, 2007 at 08:49am

Letter To The Editor: Gloating from London

Good afternoon Samuel,

Well it is a marvellous day here in London, the weather is putting on a special treat as the temperature has made its way to double digits.

England have won the cricket, and it’s just as well as we let your lot win the Ashes, so thanks for returning the favour. Pity about the trophy though, looks like a weird seat, the Commonwealth Bank can keep the trophy, we’ll just keep the scorecard.

Best wishes
Harold Borton

This is your chance to set the agenda on Samuel’s Blog, all you have to do is send a “letter to the editor” to Your letter can be about almost anything, and it can be from any part of the opinion spectrum, as long as there is some point to your letter. I don’t have to agree with your letter, but I am moderating, so the usual no defamation etc rules apply. For more details click here.


1 comment February 12th, 2007 at 06:43am


Good morning John,

You want to know how much spam we all receive? Well you asked…

In the last 30 days I have received 2495 spam emails. That's an average of just over 83 per day, or about three and a half per hour! Just to put that in context, I've averaged about 20 legitimate emails per day in the same period of time. The main reason for this inundation of spam is that most of my email addresses are listed on websites, which means the robots trawling the web for email addresses pick them up easily.

For the most part it doesn't bother me though as my email provider (Gmail) have fantastic spam filters, which learn based on what their users declare to be spam. I have probably one or two spam emails per week which I have to manually mark as spam.

I don't usually use a desktop client (Outlook, Thunderbird etc) because Gmail is web based, but everyone else in this house uses Thunderbird, which I like because it does a good job of learning which emails are spam.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

February 12th, 2007 at 12:30am


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