Radio news has always been in the news

It’s ironic that digital, like formaldehyde, is killing newspapers yet preserving them for all time.

Back in the day (early 1980’s) every major newspaper worth its salt had its own radio column – giants of the trade such as Marius Webb, Sue Javes, and the redoubtable Heather Chapman.

And then there was Don Groves with his column Around the Dial appearing weekly in the Sun-Herald. Long defunct, I came across one the other day from August 1980, well preserved on the internet. By coincidence it was about the quality of radio news, a topic we’ve been discussing here on radioinfo in recent months, only 36 years later.

It seems that WSFM’s veteran Mornings presenter Ron E Sparks, then program director at 2UW (now KIIS) and with the subtly hipper name, Ron E. Sparx, was hell bent on making changes in the newsroom.

His target was Pat Thorogood (deceased) a prince among newsreaders despite being afflicted with a Canadian accent which, to most listeners, sounded American… perish the thought!

Sparx (how cool was that x?) went on to defend Thorogood’s sacking which, according to Groves’ article was part of a cull that took the 2UW newsroom from 15 souls to just six. Sparx told the Sun Herald, “We have been dissatisfied with the standard of his (Thorogood’s) on-air work lately. He’s a good journalist and writer, but it’s the presentation that we’re concerned about.”

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