AN emotional Helen Ballard closed a chapter in local broadcasting history last night, signing off from the Prime studio at Lavington for the last time.
From Monday the news bulletin will be presented in Canberra by weatherman-turned-anchor Daniel Gibson.
Former and current employees, friends and families packed the control room at the Union Road studio for the last bulletin.
“Normally the control room’s empty except for two or three people but we had half of Albury here,” news editor Paul Terry said.
Ballard shed a tear as she farewelled her audience for the last time.
“It’s been a privilege to be invited into your lounge room every night with the news from across our region,” she said.
“It’s been an honour to play such an important role in our community as presenter of your local news.
“For the final time, thanks for joining us and good night.”
Ballard, who has presented the Albury bulletin since 2001, will remain in Albury as a senior reporter.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunities that that’s going to bring me personally, but also what we’re going to be able to do now that we could never do from this great, but old studio,” she said.
Mr Terry said it was a sad time for the people who put the local bulletin together last night and every weeknight for the past 47 years.
“But we’re on at 6pm from next week which is really good because it gives us a bigger audience,” Mr Terry said.
“If you’ve got a good story to tell you like to reach an audience so I’m really looking forward to that, to getting into more homes.
“It’s a new challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”
The station began broadcasting as AMV4 at Union Road on September 7, 1964 in black and white.
Albury Upper Murray Television Ltd spent ?260,000 on the station which was officially opened by postmaster-general Alan Hulme.
The hour-long opening program included a brief address by Mr Hulme, a live show featuring local artists and a documentary film of noteworthy events on the Border over the previous year.
The 40-minute film included the running of the 1964 Albury Gold Cup and the Floral Festival.
An eight-minute local district news service was presented five days a week.
The Border Mail’s pages from that time were filled with “special deals” for new televisions to coincide with the launch.
But many viewers had already erected tall antennas to receive the signal from Shepparton’s GMV6, on air since 1961, and the ABC’s Goulburn Valley transmitter, switched on in 1963.
To woo viewers away from the Shepparton stations, AMV4 offered free antennas.