Steve now adfree, and more noisy.

Just a very quick note – I’ve paid for a couple of upgrades from WordPress to enhance the enjoyment of your visits.

As of today, we are ad-free, so there will no longer be adverts popping up for services that are beyond my control.

I’ve also upgraded the storage space which adds the ability for me to directly host audio on the site, so I can now include clips of off-air recordings etc if they add to the article.

By way of trial, below is a clip from half a lifetime ago, back in my newsreading days with Radio Caroline, at sea on board the ship Ross Revenge. The microphones and audio processing used on Caroline were very good at pulling in background noise whenever there was silence, hence the fact that on music programmes we tried to always speak over song fades and intros rather than dead air. This was not possible in the news of course – just listen to the amount of ambient ship noise (mostly generator rumble) being pulled in behind me on this bulletin – not to mention how dilligently the system amplified my between sentence wheezes!

noisy-news-24Oct1987  (this opens as an mp3 clip)

Steve Conway in the Caroline newsroom in late 1987, around the same time as the recording. This was originally the ships chart-room, off the bridge, and unlike the main studios, had no soundproofing.

We could have used a news bed (music behind the news) but a huge poportion of the audience find this really intrusive, so we lived with the background noise instead! The location of the newsroom just off the bridge,  the closest to the generator room of any of the on board studios, did not help either.  The best studio on board for silence was studio 2 (the “overdrive” studio) situated right at the back of the ship. On the clip, the news is followed by  Peter Philips reading the latest Lotto 6/49 results (the Canadian Lottery was our biggest advertiser at the time) – this would have been pre-recorded in studio 3, and you’ll note that although generator noise is much reduced, it can still be heard in the background between sentences.

Anyway, I shall add in the odd audio piece here from time to time, and hope that you continue to visit and enjoy this blog.


3 Comments on “Steve now adfree, and more noisy.”

  1. Christopher England says:

    What was the computer spied in the picture front of you, and did you actually read from the screen?

    • steveconway says:

      The computer was an ACT Sirius, the predecessor of the Apricot. (the machine was called the Victor 9000 in the USA, and imported by ACT who were then a data processing firm in Birmingham – they had great success with this, and then designed the Apricot as their own replacement). Although basic by todays standards it was way ahead of the IBM PC which launched at the same time – floppy disk drives holding 2.4Mb per disk (as opposed to IBM 360k or 720k at that time) and a sound chip capable of playing music at what we would today call mp3 quality. The floppy drive packed in the data by using a drive that read and wrote at different speeds of revolution depending where on the drive the data was located, there was a system of belts and pulleys inside, and when it was reading or writing it actually sounded like you were travelling on a bus, with a throaty roar of disk drive, and constant “gear-changes”.

      Occasionally I read off the screen, but I found it easier to print out the story and read from the print-out, as that avoided the need to scroll while reading (scrolling on early computers not always quick!).

      The ACT Sirius was also unusual in another respect – it could boot and operate with both MS Dos and CP/M and came with boot disks for both as standard – as some software vendors sold their products for CP/M and others for MS Dos. So you might reboot to change operating system when moving from, say, word processing to your database program!

      A pretty amazing machine, and very rugged too – it coped well on board with all of the things that the operator’s manual said you should never expose a computer too – an often fluctuating power supply, a damp salty atmosphere, and just possibly, a little more electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere than the manufacturers might have expected . . .

      The computer was already second-hand and 3 years old when I bought it in 1986, and served on board until 1991, when it eventually gave up the ghost when one of the drive pulleys snapped.


      • Hi Steve
        Seen your site whilst browsing the web and was amazed to see the picture wit the Sirius in it. I run a user group for the ACT Sirius 1 at
        With your permission I would like to put the picture on the site with all necessary links and copyright back to you.
        Please take a look at the site and if you agree let me know.
        Post in the guest book on the site.

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