Listen to a Blooper Reel from the Golden Age of Radio

Anna Green

To have made it as an announcer during radio's golden age, you had to have a smooth, mellifluous voice, impeccable diction, and at least a decent grasp of world events. But even the best had their off days. In this YouTube compilation, newscasters from Australia’s ABC News bungle through the daily news, slurring words, misreading sentences, and repeatedly mispronouncing the names of important people and places (is it “Vietnam” or “Viet-na-man”?).

Paired with documentary footage shot at Melbourne’s ABC Radio studios in 1978, the short blooper reel offers a hilarious and surprisingly endearing glimpse into the daily lives of classic radio announcers, trying—and failing—to maintain a sense of professionalism in the face of technical errors, drunkenness, and the tedium of the job (“Thank you for the total boredom,” concludes one announcer after listening to another newscaster’s report). Though the YouTube poster doesn’t identify the specific newscasters or dates of the recordings, it seems they include clips from Paul Maclay, Bruce Webster, and Clive Robertson, who were prominent ABC announcers in the 1950s to 1970s. Check it out above.

Banner Image Credit: vk3ase, YouTube.