Michael Devine, presenter of the CBN 8 Orange program Ten Years of Progress, explains how microwave links and satellites brought the world to CBN 8 and CWN 6 viewers. Courtesy of Prime7. NFSA: 441919
The next development in Australian television was compared by Australian Broadcasting Control Board Chairman Myles Wright as being ‘…just like the introduction of talkies all over again’ (The Sun newspaper, 29 July 1972). Although introduced in the USA in 1953, it was not until 15 February 1972 that the Australian government announced that colour transmission (at the time referred to as ‘color’) would commence on 1 March 1975 (C-day). Unlike the phased introduction of regional television, colour transmission would arrive on the same day in both metropolitan and regional areas. Bruce Gyngell, then Managing Director of Channel 7, wasn’t sure that all television stations could convert at the same time and believed that there should be a phasing-in, with Sydney and Melbourne being the first to broadcast colour in Australia, followed by the other major capital cities, then the provincial stations.
In July 1972 Wright met with 28 country station managers in Bendigo to determine their ability to broadcast in colour from 1 March 1975. The managers agreed they could meet the deadline and decided to purchase the necessary equipment in bulk to cut costs. Arthur Evans (Managing Director, TNT 9), who chaired the meeting, stated that, ‘If we bought these things individually we’d only have to look at the costs and we’d all go broke’ (The Sun, 29 July 1972). Some other regional stations were not able to transmit in colour from C-day, for example South Western Telecasters Ltd (WA) announced in their 1973 annual report that funds would be made available to complete conversion but colour transmission would not commence on 1 March 1975.
In order to convert to colour, regional stations had to expand their studios to accommodate the new equipment. CTC 7, Canberra, was the only station to completely rebuild for colour. Chairman Arthur Shakespeare announced that the company would spend about $2 million on conversion, which included the building of new studios. With stations only allowed to broadcast test colour transmission from October 1974 to C-day, these new studios landed CTC 7 in a bit of trouble with the Australian Broadcasting Control Board: