Om Everlasting Summer
Everyone's got their own memories of hearing cricket on the ABC. It's been the soundtrack to summer for 90 years. Meet the characters behind the microphone, get insights into the art of commentary and hear tall tales and true from the commentary box.
For 90 years the ABC has brought cricket to people all over Australia: listening on tractors, at the beach, in caravan parks and at work. Everyone has memories to share of listening to the cricket on the ABC. And, your favourite commentators offer their stories from behind the microphone. Whether it's sharing the commentary box with Prime Ministers, or being caught out by a broken hat trick, or getting locked in the ladies' toilet at a ground, what's going on behind the scenes isn't always going as smoothly as it sounds on air!
In the 21st century, ever shorter formats of cricket are being played at domestic and international level. And the women's game and women's voices have made their way into cricket coverage. What difference does having female commentators make to the broadcast sound, and to listeners? And more broadly, what is the art of cricket commentary? A range of commentators share their experiences and tips.
By the 1980s, a diversity of international teams was touring Australia with much greater frequency than ever before. Sri Lanka visited for the first time in 1982-83, and the West Indies, Pakistan and India were touring far more regularly. Australian teams were also playing in these countries more often, and the commentary team introduced new voices. What impact did hearing coverage of visiting teams have on local communities, especially South Asian and West Indian Australians? What was the experience of broadcasting from South Asia and the West Indies like?
It's hard to remember now, but televised cricket in Australia was led by the ABC for over 20 years. From the beginning of television in 1956, ABC TV was the country's predominant broadcaster of cricket. Then in 1977, Kerry Packer created World Series Cricket; a move ultimately designed to get the exclusive rights to broadcast cricket on the Nine Network, and off the ABC. It was called a cricket revolution, but to what extent had the relay technology, the camera angles, the action and slow-motion replays — as well as the commentators — been pioneered and nurtured by the ABC?
After the tumultuous Bodyline series, Australia toured England in 1934 and 1938. The technology of the day wasn't up to live direct broadcasts from the other side of the world, so a different method of bringing cricket to Australian audiences was developed. Make believe was involved! Cables were sent from the match venue on the other side of the world to the ABC. From this brief information, commentators in the Sydney studio elaborated a description of the play. They added their own sound effects of the ball being hit, and crowd noise was played off a gramophone recording. It was ingenious but what did listeners at the time think they were hearing? Did they know it was largely made up?
It was a great start. Over the summer of 1932 and 1933, the brand new Australian Broadcasting Commission presented its first live, national sports broadcast. It was Test cricket, played by Australia and England—the Ashes. It also just happened to be the infamous 'Bodyline' series, designed to limit runs by the brilliant young Don Bradman. Bodyline caused a great deal of ill-feeling between Australia and England, in a climate of broader tension in Anglo-Australian relations. But to what extent was the drama and controversy of these matches heightened because they were broadcast by the ABC, and for the first time could be followed live by large numbers of people all over the country?
Everyone's got their own memories of hearing cricket on the ABC: on holidays at the beach, driving trucks or tractors, or lying in bed late at night. The very first live national sports broadcast by the ABC was the infamous Bodyline series of 1932/33. Over 90 years cricket commentary has become the soundtrack to summer. Meet the characters behind the microphone, get insights into the art of commentary and hear tall tales and true from the commentary box.
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