Thanks Jim

This afternoon will be the final class of the Commercial Radio Course at Swinburne University. It will bring to a close 24 years of a course that has provided over 350 graduates.

It also will be the last class in the course for the man who has been there right from the very start Jim Barbour (left). I’ve had the pleasure of being a student of the course (2005) and also working alongside Jim for the past six years in delivering the program.

Having the opportunity to work closely with Jim has given me a greater understanding of why he is held in such high regard within the radio industry and beyond.

Those who have been students in the course over the years will remember different aspects of the course, from the sticker wall in the BA building to Jim’s famous lecture on microphones. The Ries and Trout video on positioning to the cart machines for manual radio. In fact the course has spanned a couple of generations of radio technology, cassettes to minidiscs, turntables to computer automation. Reel to reel to Adobe Audition.

It isn’t really known as the commercial radio course at Swinburne, it’s simply Jim’s course.

And it achieved real results, still around the 80% employment mark to this day. Jim’s always been available to talk to and assist former students from each year. He also takes great joy (as I do) in students going on to win ACRA awards and takes pride in all of their achievements.

Jim is a man of the highest integrity, someone who practices what he preaches and treats all within the industry, university and beyond with an enormous amount of respect. He sets an excellent example for others to follow. Having had the pleasure of being a student and colleague, he has been an invaluable mentor to me as well as many others.

While I will never fully understand why the university has decided to close down this course, the past weeks have been a time of reflection and to look back at the many achievements over the life of the course.

It also needs to be noted that we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Commercial Radio Australia for their enormous support over the past 24 year both financial and also with assisting with providing course materials and advice plus placements at radio stations for every student every year.

Thanks must also go to every radio station around Australia for their support and the many guests over the years that have volunteered their time to speak to our students, it is truly appreciated.

Thanks also to everyone who has sent emails and other messages of support over the past few weeks. Both Jim and I have been truly overwhelmed by the support shown by the industry and former students and classmates and we are aiming to get to all of you to thank you.

I know Jim is quite humbled with all the attention, and doesn’t like the spotlight being on him but I think it’s important to recognise the person who has been pivotal to so many careers. From engineering Men at Works Business as Usual album to working at SAFM to starting the course in 1989, Jim has enjoyed plenty of success over his career.

Today will be an emotional day for so many reasons as the door closes on almost of quarter of a century of memories (by the way if anyone’s got a job, call me!) but I think after 24 successful years there is one simple word that sums it up best – thanks!

Peter Marcato


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