Behind the cough button (part 26, February 2024)

Behind the cough button (part 26, February 2024)
Behind the cough button (part 26, February 2024)

Some stories on the radio remain hidden from the listener, sometimes for the better, sometimes also unfortunately for education and, above all, entertainment. These are the stories of program makers and technicians that take place behind the cough button in the studio and on location. Every month a new message from behind that button, possibly no longer completely accurate due to time, slightly strengthened or weakened.

“If we tell this in 25 years, no one will believe it.” These are the words of Arjan de Ruiter, director, producer, music composer, in short, a radio talent. He spoke these words in 1999 while sitting next to Hans Schiffers in his car with a NOB technician in the back. Hans sent his mobile phone in Hilversum from the then AVRO studio on ‘s-Gravelandseweg to the NCRV studio on Bergweg two kilometers away. It was the time when all broadcasters had radio studios in their own buildings: the NCRV in the building on the Bergweg, the KRO on the Emmastraat, the VARA on the Heuvellaan, the TROS on the Lage Naarderweg and the AVRO and VPRO on the ‘s -Gravelandseweg. But there had already been a reorganization storm in radio land. Various studios were closed, and at the Mediapark (then called Omroepkwartier) the NOB, on behalf of the NPO, had set up a central radio control center where the signal from all those studios came together and was sent to the transmitter.

Until then, all studios in the various broadcasting buildings were paid for from the GPG (Great Pot of Money) that was poured annually into Hilversum. But those broadcasters now had to furnish, maintain and therefore pay for the studios themselves. After much deliberation, the AAS, the AVRO Audio Suite, a multifunctional space, was set up on the second floor of the AVRO building. The studio was equipped for self-sliding but could also be operated by a technician. On Monday there was the AVRO Radio News on radio 1 from 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM and on radio 2 from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM Thuis op Twee with Hans Schiffers. The AVRO attached great importance to the use of its own AAS, but two programs at the same time from that studio were just not possible. The solution was nearby, just two kilometers away, a radio studio in the hall of the NCRV building, called studio Plaza. A NOB memo to the technicians dated March 12, 1999 states:

“The technician from Thuis op Twee reports to the editorial office of Thuis op Twee at 3:30 p.m. They then travel together to PLAZA for the first hour of the broadcast. The technician does not have to worry about transport, parking, etc. Around five o’clock a quick drive is made to the AVRO, to continue the broadcast just after five o’clock. If necessary, the radio news technician will start the broadcast after the five o’clock star.”

Arjan de Ruiter: Yes, this is one of the most unlikely chapters in my radio career. And incomprehensible when you listen back to it now. At that time I did the music and often also the direction. Before the start, I left a suitcase at the AVRO for hours 2 and 3 and took the suitcase for hour 1 to the NCRV*. We always ended up there with a long record. Hans, the technician and part of the editors already left for the AVRO during that last record. I finished the hour in the NCRV and then climbed on my bike. Yet things went wrong very often. Hans was late, couldn’t find a parking spot or the studio’s circuit from Radio 1 to radio 2 went wrong. Then the emergency band started and it always started with ‘Sweet Freedom’ by Michael McDonald. Apparently he still pays his mortgage from it.”

* At the time, the music still came from CD, Dalet was only used a year later.

A new Kuchknop next month. Then the “Tom Mulder incident”.

Contributions remain welcome: [email protected]

The article is in Dutch

Tags: cough button part February


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