Life TV's test broadcast

I only had some involvement with Life TV during their December 1988 test broadcast (the only one they did), so I can only comment on those aspects of Life TV.  I rang them up during their test broadcast, hoping to get a chance to become involved, and was invited to pop in (so I did, of course).  The test ran for one week, and I was there for most of it.  Their test was the second one (ACE was first, with their caravan up at Mount Lofty).  It must have been during the week before Christmas, as I can recall being there as the news we were airing showed a massive aircrash disaster, the sudden silence as everyone stopped what they were doing and watched the story, and the only crash I know of that happened around that time was the Lockerbie disaster on December 21.

Life TV was backed by one of the churches (CRC, which I seem to recall stands for “Christian Revival Crusade”), but they didn't push that angle very much (nowhere near as much as their usual evangelistic manner of preaching), although they did broadcast from the church's premises with their equipment.  We broadcast pre-recorded tapes from various places (medical programs from Flinders University, for example; one of which started to turn quite gruesome, so we upped the program rating for it while it was going out to air, and eventually yanked it off part way through, as it was making us feel ill).  The Magill journalism college had some involvement, there was two or three of their students doing our live news bulletins, at least one of them later went into news on one of the commercial stations, and we rebroadcast SBS's “World News” half an hour after their broadcast (an interesting arrangement; I was told that their response to being asked if we could do it was puzzlement at why we'd want to, but we could go ahead and do it).  There was also a live variety show, “Ho hum it's Friday,” produced as a bit of a parody of the Nine Network's (now defunct) “Hey Hey it's Saturday.”  Interestingly enough, most of that show's crew was from the ABC (they seemed to have quite a few people very keen on doing productions, perhaps the ABC didn't seem to have enough production work, itself, for their liking).  Our “Ho hum it's Friday,” had a few no-talent type of contests, and a live band that wasn't too sure they'd get enough cheering from the audience, so they brought a lot of their mates along to sit in the audience (so I was told).

The studio was a hall along one side of their church building, they had several three-tube cameras (it was still the era for tube cameras).  Later I bought these cameras off them just before I went into business for myself, and I still have them (a couple of huge three-tube Philips television studio cameras, and a couple of carry-on-the-shoulder-sized three-tube JVC cameras).  They went to a studio mixer, which went to a master control switcher, which could put the studio live to air, or Umatic and VHS tapes.  I believe all the equipment was theirs, although we borrowed a time base corrector from my high school's TV studio (I was working there, whilst studying electronics at Regency Park TAFE).  The signal went from our control room to a home-built microwave transmitter on the building's roof (apparently built just to transmit a picture, the add-on for including sound was a bit unstable, and needed the occasional tweak), aimed at their transmitter up on Mount Lofty.

I did get a really nice “thank you” letter from them afterwards, but I don't remember hearing anything more about Life TV, I gather they gave up trying to get a license when it seemed apparent that the government wasn't keen on the idea of community television broadcasting.

NB:  A cut-and-paste error struck while writing this page, long ago.  It used to erroneously put the Life TV broadcast as being during 1991 instead of 1988.

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