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>> Notices, obituaries and tributes >> Albert "Charlie" Austin
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Message started by JohnW on Mar 14th, 2022, 4:31pm

Title: Albert "Charlie" Austin
Post by JohnW on Mar 14th, 2022, 4:31pm

Message from Rebecca Austin-Datta, daughter of Albert "Charlie" Austin (BBC Radio London, Solent, & BFBS) - 13th May 1928 - 2nd March 2022

Funeral: Thursday 17 March, 10:00-11:00 GMT (live webcast)
If you'd you'd like to contact Rebecca, or if you'd like details of the live webcast for his funeral, please send an email to natasha.maclean@bbc.co.uk.

Charlie Austin was an active BBC broadcaster throughout the 1980s. He broadcast on BBC Radio London (Natural History slot every Thursday on The Robbie Vincent Telephone Program in 1980s, and also during occasional special series such as "Beside the Seaside"), BBC Radio Solent as well as BBC Radio 4 (Woman's Hour). He was also the Countryside Correspondent/Natural History Correspondent for BFBS during the 1980s (possibly 1970s too).

Rebecca recalls ...
Dad had very fond memories of working with Robbie Vincent, and Norman "the Mosquito"* (not his real name!) from the BBC Radio London Newsroom.
He also consulted on the TV-AM Good Morning Britain Opening Titles project in the early 1980s, where you see hundreds of pigeons flying in to form the word "MORNING" in Trafalgar Square (see 17 to 19 seconds in clip). Dad told the story about how they did this: he and my mum spent a week boiling sacks of grain in the kitchen at home, then he and some friends made the letters in Trafalgar Square at silly-O'clock in the morning, by spreading the boiled (now sticky) grain on the pavement - I think he said the letters were about 2 meters high! The pigeons came in dribs and drabs, and ate... once all the letters were full of pigeons, Dad clapped his hands and the pigeons all flew up into the sky. The clip shown in the opening reel is the *reversed* film - i.e., played backwards: it is actually the birds flying away, not flying in.
I recall watching Dad spend hours editing out 'ums' and 'ahhs' on his reel-to-reel Uher tape recorder, using chinagraph pencil and a sharp razor blade, manually winding the tape back and forth to find the pauses. I can't spell the sound it makes when you run the tape through the felt heads: anyone who has ever done this will know exactly the sound I am talking about!
I remember my brother and I would help make sound effects for his interviews (the ones which needed outdoor background noises), sploshing through puddles, 'clip-clopping' with coconut shells. Dad explained that his interviewees would always need audio editing, and if he recorded them speaking inside a soundproof room, he didn't have to worry about mis-matched edits of traffic or other background noises. So he recorded people indoors, then added the outdoor sounds afterwards.

* Samuel Norman Bueno de Mesquita - his real name! (28 January 1932 25 July 2013)

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