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The Rise & Fall Of Electronics Today International

40 years ago this month, a brash new electronics magazine burst onto the scene in Australia: Electronics Today - later called Electronics Today International or simply ETI. It really caused a stir and provided stiff competition to the long-established "bible", Electronics Australia. Here is the story of how it began, as told by ETI's founding editor, Collyn Rivers.

by Collyn Rivers

Around June 1970, newspaper adverts, for months, sought someone ‘experienced in public relations and with a sound practical and theoretical understanding of electronics’.

I ignored it for a time, as that’s like seeking a priest with a plumber’s license (also because I’d sooner be in jail than work in PR) but I eventually advised I could write reasonably well and knew a fair bit about electronics. I also asked what the job really was.

One interviewer, Colin Ryrie, was clearly a businessman, another was Colin’s son and then a young schoolboy – Kim Ryrie – electronics enthusiast and later of Fairlight Synthesiser fame.

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ET Vol.1, No.1 – deliberately released on April Fool's Day, 1971. It had a bright, fresh approach – just compare it to the venerable April 1971 issue of "Electronics Australia" at left!
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I worked out fast that a kid in short pants had to be there for a very good reason – so attended mostly to him.

Kim asked what I thought of Electronics Australia, revealing that he had read it from way back (as indeed had I). He fortunately shared my view that while technically excellent, it read like Edwardian editions of Ecclesiastic Monthly (even reviewing religious gramophone records).

In essence it was instructive – but boring as sorting batshit. It seemed as if an ultra-conservative staff were unaware (or did not care) that most of its readers were 12-25 year-old dudes.

I was asked if I could produce something more readable. And if so just why I thought I could.

My background

My background is a bit unusual. I left school (and also most else) of my own choosing when I was 10 and never went back to any part of it.

I vaguely coped until 13 or so and then spent my days building bicycle wheels rather better than most during the day, and reading anything I could get hold of at night.

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