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An Audience with Max Bostock

Posted by ken On July - 21 - 2009

TVW veterans Richard Ashton, Gordon McColl and Ken McKay had an enjoyable meeting with former TVW Chief Executive Officer Max Bostock, on Tuesday July 21st, 2009.


Max reminisces with Richard and Gordon whilst Ken records the event


Richard and Gordon listen intently to every word

All have the highest regard for Max, who joined TVW in 1960, in the role of Musical Director, and true to the early prediction of the late Brian Treasure, climbed the ranks to join the upper echelons of not only TVW Channel Seven, but also the Channel TEN Network. As Max points out, there was a time when former TVW executives were at the top at the Seven Network (Kevin Campbell), ATV Melbourne (Bill McKenzie) and Network TEN (Max Bostock). Wherever he went in the industry he encountered people who gained their grounding at Seven in Perth.

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Oral history recording

Not only were many humorous anecdotes exchanged, as old colleagues reminisced, but valued insight was gained into the inner working of television stations, regarding matters of program scheduling and station philosophy.


Gordon provides an anecdote

Gordon tells the story of an aged lady viewer who had fallen asleep watching her TV, to be alarmed on waking in the early hours of the morning, to discover TVW broadcasting the birth of a baby, in vivid detail. Little did the viewer know that she had happened upon an unlisted broadcast for the medical fraternity. No doubt she found the graphic content alarming, in the strict and highly censored era of the early 1960’s. She immediately rang the station to complain of the disgusting material being broadcast, to then be enlightened by Seven’s polite switch board operator, of the secret nature of this broadcast, which was only aimed at gynecologists and other medical practitioners. In fact, TVW took the precaution of turning off the transmitter for an extended period, to safeguard against people tuning in. But then there’s no accounting for the sleeping and waking habits of sweet little old ladies.

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Max fondly remembers the family atmosphere at TVW in the early days

Max was keen to emphasize how much of TVW’s operation was a team effort. It would be true to say that Max was fondly thought of as a father figure by the younger members of staff, for the way he cared about people and the product. He was also a mentor to many. A trait he had in common with Darcy Farrell, who also fostered many in the field of television journalism. Max and Darcy have the highest respect for each other, even though they often had to compete for the use of limited resources. Both program making and news gathering often needed to share the same same studio facilities. TVW did not have the vast space of a major Hollywood studio, so often hard choices had to be made, based on whose department had the highest priority.

Later we’ll provide a transcript of Max’s most relevant points, in his own word… rather than the paraphrased summary here.

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