6:30 GET UP UP UP UP UP UP !!
- 3/12/2006 <--Prev : Next-->
Down Memory Lane
Memories Of The Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation
Written By Phil Morris
"6:30 Get up up up up up..." This was the wake up call of a rotund
fun loving clown by the name of Leslie Sullivan who was the morning
man on Radio Rhodesia. Leslie, I am told was quite a night owl and
would show up about 45 minutes before Radio Rhodesia went on the air
and had a "Power Sleep" waking just in time to get the morning radio
show kicked off.
At about 5 minutes to 6 in the morning, the day began on the air for
Radio Rhodesia. It started with "A thought for the day", an
inspirational message to help face the day. At 6AM the morning call
would go out announcing what meter band and wave length the RBC could
be picked up on.
When I think of this, somehow the aroma of toast and Jungle Oats come
Between 6AM and 6:30 a short recap of the news and weather forecast
for the day were given, some music played and then, 'voila! it was
time for Leslie to perform his magic and get the children out of bed
with his "Get up up up" routine. He usually followed with a kiddie
song like "Teddy Bears' picnic or "Pink Toothbrush" but the greatest
was when, once a year, he would play a short piece each morning from
a story about a fat Chinese boy who fell down a well but because of
his long name lost potential rescuers when he would call out for
help. His name that being Nicky Nicky Tembo etc etc.
Leslie was always so much fun to wake up to in the morning, it almost
took the sting out of having to get ready to go to work or school.
His audience comprised of both parents and children.
Later in the morning it was time for another sorcerer to perform his
Radio magic, in the form of a kindly chap by the name of Don
Burdette. Don had a hospital request show with "Silver Lining" as his
theme music. Don showed tremendous empathy for the ailing whether it
was a "new mum" at the Lady Chancellor hospital or Lady Rodwell
Hospital, or a malaria case in Salisbury Central hospital, maybe
Umtali General, The Mater Dei in Bulawayo or Greenwood Park hospital
or even someone recuperating at home.
Don always saved a special segment for his "Little Horrors", the sick
children who were in hospital. Usually he would play Alvin and the
Chipmunks. It always perked a person up listening to his kindly voice
admonishing you to cheer up and get better soon.
Around noon, shortly after the "Daily Service", a wonderful woman by
the name of Beryl Salt would exhort children to "Bring a cushion or a
chair right up to the radio", at which time she would read a story
with the most amazing professionalism, never mispronouncing a word,
stuttering or losing a beat. I will never forget her for she made my
childhood so much more enjoyable with her lovely voice.
Around 2PM there was usually a short news update, following which a
"Serial" came on. It was usually a radio theatre presentation of a
book and sooo very well done. These programs brought something to
look forward to and were seldom missed.
Radio really had an impact on our lives as Television did not come on
until 6PM and that was only in the larger cities, until later years as
technology became better. It was the great spirit in a small box that
penetrated our soul and mind and left that indelible image there.
It forced your imagination to take you to places your eye could not
see, truly wonderful!
Monday nights there was a great show entitled "The Missing Persons
Bureau" about an agency that traced folks who had disappeared. Henry
Simon, was the director of the bureau.
During the rest of the week several radio drama shows were done
usually by some great entertainers like Ken Marshall and his
Claire. These folk along with other celebrities not only did
wonderful radio dramas but often performed in plays at the well known
Reps theatre in
There were many fine voices on the air - one was Gerry Wilmot who
left Radio Rhodesia to work for Lourenco Marques radio, I think that
about 1961 or 1962.
My favourite day was Saturday for all the great hit music generally
got played. A chap by the name of Ian Warren had a show at 9AM
playing new songs that were potential hits. Everyone's favourite was
none other than Lyons Maid hits of the week. The show was done by
Martin Locke a young Chap who not only had a great radio voice but
held quite an appeal to the young ladies.
Each week there was a jackpot, and if the top ten hits of the week
were predicted correctly the winner would win the amount, or if he or
she got the top three correct free ice cream was in the works! How we
lived for this show! Martin left the Rhodesian airwaves for a while
and Keith Kennedy took over the show.
Both gentlemen were excellent at their craft and the show was
Another great at Radio Rhodesia was a chap that I thought never got
enough credit for his excellence and that was Malcolm Russell.
Malcolm had a show called "New Tracks" and it was the last biggie for
we young folk on a Saturday morning. The show's theme song was "I
Will Follow Him" and was just super. Saturday afternoon at 2PM, a
radio game show, "The Eyegene Jackpot", was presented and it was
A game show programme presented by Mervin Hamilton and Vic Matheson
that featured housewives pushing a shopping cart around Meikles
gathering groceries without duplicating items in an allotted time,
brought excitement to the listeners. It was always quite a rush to
listen to especially when a very dear friend of ours not only
participated but won more than anyone ever had on the show.
My favourite was "Forces Requests" with Sally Donaldson on Saturday
afternoon. Sally was a beautiful young woman with a voice to match.
She played all the forces favourites and with the escalating
terrorist bush war she became very popular as young men went off to
defend their country. Dusk was usually falling as we would listen
with the lights turned out in our living room, with only the lights
of (my mother's pride and joy) our Philips Radiogram. It was so
peaceful thanks to our security forces.
Sadly Sally passed away a few years ago but her wonderful
personality, charm and looks will never be forgotten.
There were several distinguished voices like that of John Bishop and
Peter Tobin that graced our airwaves.
As the years passed small stations were set up in the provinces that
covered local issues for about 2 or 3 hours on Friday nights. I am
exhausted as I write this (3AM) but have a smile on my face thinking
of all the fond memories of a wonderful Radio station. My times for
the programming may be slightly off bearing in mind all of this
happened so long ago and in a land far away!
Thanks to all of these dear people, some still with us, others not
but everyone is fondly remembered and never forgotten.