Saturday, 23 December, 1961 – fifty years ago today – brought an early Christmas present to residents in the Goulburn Valley and central Victorian regions with the respective areas receiving their first TV stations.
Just two weeks after the debut of GLV10 in Gippsland, BCV8 was opened in Bendigo and serving central and north west Victoria, and on the same night GMV6 was opened in Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley.
|BCV8, Saturday 23 December 1961:
6pm Special: The Magic Mirror A Christmas Pantomime
7pm Official Opening BCV8 by Postmaster-General Mr C. W. Davidson
7.30 BP Super Show
9pm The Phil Silvers Show
9.30 Peter Gunn
10pm Adventures In Paradise
Source: The Age, 23 December 1961
BCV8’s local programming in the very early days included a 15-minute news summary at 6.45pm each weeknight read by Ron Alderton (who would later appear on ATV0 and GMV6), with an expanded 30-minute bulletin from 6.30pm on Thursdays to include a weekly segment presented by the Department of Agriculture. Alderton also presented Be My Guest, a brief interview segment screened in the mid-evening three times a week. The channel’s afternoon children’s session was Cobber’s Teleclub, hosted by John Crook, who later went on to Hobart channel TVT6 and then had a long stint as a morning show host at Brisbane’s TVQ0.
On Saturday afternoons BCV presented a weekly Sports Roundup and on Saturday evenings during the winter there was Football Forum, presenting a post mortem of the day’s games of the Bendigo league. On Monday and Tuesday evenings there was the latest on the local cattle sales in the Stock Report. Local variety acts appeared in A Date With 8, a brief segment that appeared at various times during the week where there was an odd five or ten-minute gap to fill in the schedule.
Like many commercial channels in that era, BCV presented a line-up heavy in imported – particularly American – material but the channel in its first year did pick up a number of popular Australian programs from the capital cities, including Bandstand, The Mobil-Limb Show, The Channel Nine Show, Pick-A-Box and Sunnyside Up.
By the late 1960s regional stations were beginning to open translator stations to expand their signal to audiences in fringe areas where reception would normally be patchy. BCV8 launched its Swan Hill translator BCV11 (later BCV10) in May 1967 with a variety program, Variety Eleven, hosted by national TV personality Tommy Hanlon Jnr and featuring performances by local artists from the Swan Hill area. With the two channels in operation, the station then became known as BCV-TV.
Bendigo was the site of ABC’s first regional television station, ABEV1, launching in 1963 – and ABC stations were soon to spring up around Victoria in Shepparton (ABGV3), Ballarat (ABRV3), Albury (ABAV1), Gippsland (ABLV4), Mildura (ABMV4) and Swan Hill (ABSV2) with their own network of translator stations in smaller towns.
By 1973, BCV8 had partnered with GLV10 (later GLV8) to form a network presenting a common program schedule and offering national advertisers the advantage of offering a larger regional audience with a single buy of airtime. They were later joined by Mildura channel STV8.
Like many regional channels, BCV presented opportunities for talent that would later become known on a wider scale. Glenn Ridge was a presenter of a music program, Breezin’, in the early 1980s before becoming host of Sale Of The Century, and Sandy Roberts had a stint at BCV8 before joining the Seven Network.
In 1986, BCV8 won a TV Week Logie for most outstanding contribution by regional television for its local newscast, Newshour. BCV continued to produce local news from Bendigo until the change in branding to Ten Victoria in 1994.
BCV and GLV are now part of the Southern Cross Ten network which through a series of acquisitions has now expanded through regional New South Wales, Queensland and parts of South Australia.
With three regional television stations opening within two weeks of each other in 1961, Victoria was leading the way in the roll-out of regional television – but there was to be an raft of new stations open during 1962 in parts of New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania and in Canberra.
In the 60s I played my piano accordion on John Crooks Cohns Cobbers Tv show on BCV8. Not sure exactly when it was but is there any way I can find out if there are copies of this show still available. I am now disabled following a major car accident and was hoping I could get a copy of my performance to show our kids. I was only in my teens when it was done. Robyn Anderson (nee Bowman)l
Hi Robyn, please note that any footage of such programs are unlikely to still be in the archive.
This page has more information or you could try to contact Southern Cross Ten (ex-BCV8) in Bendigo but I doubt they will have the resources to assist.
Thanks Andrew. I hadn’t realised there was a reply from you but just noticed it today. Sadly John Crook passed away in Geelong in 2015. I wonder if he kept an archive of his work. He went to Tasmania from Bendigo and then to Brisbane where he stayed doing a morning program for a long time. I wish I had thought of trying to find him a few decades ago.
To whom it may concern, I am look for the clip of Mawsons add before the news that was on TV back in the early seventys. Its of my Dad.who has now passed.Please if you can help I would very much apreseate it. Yours sincerely B Brook
Hi Barbara. Unfortunately your chances of finding this footage is remote. You can try and contact the station that you saw the ad on but I doubt they’d have any archive of it now.
I need to contact someone re the transmission from Goshen to Swan Hill. All channel 9 sites are plagued with pixilating. Why?
Please reply to David Quayle
Please contact Southern Cross Austereo in Bendigo telephone 0354302888
I have been looking for a piece of fotage, of my self on Cohns cobbers teleclub, BCV 8.
I took my carpet snake on the show. It was so funny, as i put snake on ground and it slid off lol.
It caused a very big scare to all the camera men.
Truly i had it under control, but every one thought it had got loose. Not. Hope to find this fotage one day.
Do you have archives going back to 1979??
I don’t have any video archive back that far. You could try the National Film and Sound Archive or the Australian Television Archive.
The Cohn’s Cobbers tv club was actually sponsored by the Bendigo soft drink company, ” Cohn’s Soft drinks”. The Cohn family were well known and respected in the Bendigo community. I was one of their members as well as the Ansett ANA Flying Club, which also had a spot on the local Bendigo tv station. I had my club badges for years and surprisingly, as a member, actually got an Ansett vinyl carry on bag with soaps and face washer etc as everyone who flew got in the early days.
Thanks Eva, I always wondered where the Cohn’s name came from. Now I know!
Could you please advise me if there is any archive available to access of early BCV-8 equipment or personell.
I was involved with the Station installation and transmission from Mt Alexandria until Feb.1963.
I would dearly like to access this material to add to the personal history I am writing.
Hi Stanley. Thank you for your message. I am not aware of any BCV8 collection as such or whereabouts any former personnel.
However the Australian Television Archive http://www.austvarchive.com and Regional TV Australia http://regionaltv.org/wp/ might be of some interest to you.
I loved cohns cobbers tele club, I had a pet Carpet snake, I was on the program, they gave my pet snake some Cohns cobbers soft drink, to advertise snakes also drunk Cohns coppers lemonade lol.
I rember them asking me to put it on the ground, snake took off, and everyone panicked lol
Not sure what year it was. I was only a small kid now 64
Hello, Do you have archives back to 1991? Either Christmas 1991 or 1992, BCV8 recorded in-studio performances of Christmas themed songs, which were aired 1991 or 1992. Please advise if copies are available for purchase.
Hi Cheryl, we don’t have any video archive but you could try the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, or the Australian Television Archive.
What was the name of Sylvia the English lady that hosted the Cohn cobbers club?