Saturday, March 14, 2009

CaldecottHill Old Timers - Vernon C Palmer

CaldecottHill Old Timer – I remember Vernon Palmer

I started work with RTS in 1967. Mr Vernon Palmer started in 1945 and it was some years before I met him in TV Studios when he was reading TV News. Also from time to time he would deliver his humorous talk to new recruits at the Telecentre HillCrest Road when I was there as Head of Training. Whenever I encountered Vernon he never failed to tell me a good story about his career at CaldecottHill. One story he used to tell us was the day when he was stopped from reading TVNews. He said whenever he bent his head the TV lights in the studio would get reflected into home viewers TV sets causing a big glare on TV sets and in some instances damaged TV studio cameas. Wearing a wig was not an option for him. The late Mrs Wong then took him out of News and he got posted to Training. It was this kind of stories that most of the staff endeared to him in every conversation with him. I was pleased to meet him again last week in a gathering of Caldecott Old Timers. He was still his usual self.. full of humour about life on Caldecott Hill.
Here is an interesting write- up about him from the Broadcaster –the monthly newsletter of the station dated Mar/April 82:
“Mr Vernon Palmer calls it quits on Tuesday 13 April 1982. Vernon Palmer surprised and shocked a number of his friends and colleagues. He went around bidding farewell and many thought it was one of his many poker-faced jokes.
“It is true” he affirmed solemnly, “This is my last day.” “I love SBC and broadcasting is my life. I am sorry to say goodbye to all my dear friends.” He went on. Mr Vernon Pamer joined the station 1945 as a technician. He steadily progressed up the ranks and his last position was that of Head(T) He had been a phenomenal success in broadcasting and had worn practically every known hat in the profession. After 36 years on the job he has been dubbed MR BROADCASTER-a fitting title to a man who had given his all to broadcasting “It was not just a job, it has been my life.” He often says.
A farewell was hurriedly arranged and was held on Monday 19 April 82 at the Orchid Inn, Dunearn Road. A large gathering of his friends and colleagues turned up to bid him happy retirement. The General Manager Mrs Wong-Lee Siok Tin and almost all the Directors were on hand to bid Mr Palmer adieu.
Our best wishes to Mr VC Palmer for a well-deserved and happy retirement!”
To COT: if you have an interesting tale of life on CaldecottHill whilst you were there email me at

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Top Management Changes at MediaCorp

TODAY dated 12 March 2009 reported the following:

"MEDIACORP is setting up two new units to expand its content
business and grow its international footprint. The Singapore media giant is also appointing
three new managing directors. Commenting on the management
changes, which take effect from April 1, Chief Executive Officer Lucas Chow said there was a need to “align our organisation structure and leadership to the company’s business strategies”.
The changes, he added, reflect the company’s priorities, and “are also the fruition of our
succession planning”. “I am confident this will boost our management bench strength” said Mr Chow.
New Television units
Mr Kenneth Liang will assume the role of Director, International
Productions, a new unit focusing on business opportunities in international television
content. As such, he will relinquish his appointment as Executive Vice-President (EVP), TV
Programming and Production, Channel 5. Taking over his portfolio will be Ms Lim Suat Jien. She
will also oversee Okto, a channel with kids programming, as EVP — Channel 5 and Okto.
Ms Lim’s current responsibilities overseeing MediaCorp’s ethnic TV channels will be taken
over by Ms Ong Lay Hong. Currently a Senior Vice-President (SVP) at Channel NewsAsia’s
China operations, Ms Ong will be appointed Managing Director MD) — Suria and Vasantham.
The other new unit is the TV Content Distribution unit. Itwill consolidate all MediaCorp’s
genres — drama, documentaries, info-educational, lifestyle et cetera.
This unit will be headed by Ms Doreen Neo, SVP of Studios Business distribution unit.
All four will report to Deputy CEO (Television) Chang Long Jong.
Changes at CNA , Radio
Over at MediaCorp’s news, radio and print cluster, the current Chief Editor of TV News,
Ms Debra Soon, will be appointed MD — Channel NewsAsia. She will succeed Mr Woon
Tai Ho who has decided to pursue other interests. The newschannel celebrated its 10th anniversary last week. Ms Florence Lian, who currently helms communicationsand marketing activities at MediaCorp, will take on the appointment of MD, Radio from
Mr Philip Koh. This will allow Mr Koh toon his other portfolios as MD, Press and Media Research
Consultants, as well as undertake certain strategic business development projects. All three will report to Deputy CEO (News,Radio, Print)Shaun Seow."

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What a memorable night

Just back from a memorable event- it was a gathering of Caldecott Hill Old Timers. Lucy the mamasan of Caldecott Hill organised a dinner to welcome Mr and Mrs George Favacho and Mr and Mrs David Lowe who are back for holiday from Perth. George was TV producer in the 70s well known for EnglishVariety and Sports productions . Maureen joined in the 50s and retired in 1987 after spending many illustrious years on Caldecott Hill. She rose to the rank of Director of TV and was responsible for such megashows like Miss Universe Pageant, Hello 85, Singapore 25th Anniversary Gala etc. I was then a young engineer supporting them in their endeavours. Who else was at the gathering ?..,at the Acacia Bishan Park. The grandfather of Caldecott Hill..Vernon Palmer who spoke about his wonderful years there. George stood up in the middle of the dinner and in his usual humourous way said I have bad news and good news . The bad news is you will have to pay for the dinner! The good news is.... Ee Boon Lee chipped in and said ..the end of the News. Yes he was there . Boon Lee was Senior Controller of News in the 70/80s and left to join the Singapore Monitor. George said the good news is the dinner only costs $17..and Miss Yam will made sure you pay up. Yes Miss Yam the accountant at Caldecott Hill was there..all recalled every cent spent was accounted for during her time. Then George got everyone there to say something..
Horace Wee - the guitarist of the Orchestra. George said he remembered him for spotting long hair!
Lim Heng Tow - a tall figure in the HR department during the 80s. He spoke about some ofthe dark secrets on the Hill..for the audience there only
Norman Lim - the radio and TV announcer who rose to Controller Radio. Besides enjoying his retirement he teaches Better English Pronounciationfor corporate and community clubs.
Fong Hoe Beng - our long-time sports commentator..welcome to the National Stadium n all that.
S C Leong - Head of Programme Supplies. He left us in 1989 to join Turner Broadcasting as General Manager..and introduced one of the CNN channels to cable.
Lucy Leong - famous Radio Dejay and Controller (Radio) .She made tonight gathering possible. Many Thanks.
Cecilia Tan (Popular Radio Dejay and Producer),Pauline from Make-up, Ling from MDA, Kok Ying Poh (Chinese Variety Producer and Controller) , Lee Beng Hoon ( Producer and Controller),
JOAN CHEE (Well known Radio Personality in the 60's and then joined CPU (Central Productions Unit) as a Producer. She married well-known Radio DJ - TAN HOCK LYE / "Baby" Belinda Yeo - a colourful Radio personality in the late 70's and enjoyed doing a variety of programmes from Request to Documentary Programmes / BANU VELLU - was a TV Script Assistant and worked in English and Indian television productions. George remembers her as a "Feisty" but hardworking SA, never a Dull moment when she did productions. Currently still involved in Media work in Singapore.
Jeffrey Goh -Sports Producer and Controller, Ow Kee Hong , and Michael Loke who was the Director of HR during the hey-days of Chinese Drama Production....
And of course me who had been there 42 years - one job one department -Engineering.Glad to see they are in the best of health and enjoying their hard-earned retirement.
When I rose to speak I said please contribute your memories to this blog. They sure have memories -the combined age of this group about 2000years!
One parting cackle from George Favacho - we should get all those old timers to form a COT- CaldcottHill Old Timers Club!