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I've been wondering about this ever since I saw this comedy TV show as a kid called Macken ("The car repair shop" in Swedish). Originally aired 1986 in Sweden, it features absurd situations and funny characters, but doesn't really use any "prop comedy", normally keeping the environments very realistic, which makes me ask this question.

In one episode, a local radio reporter enters the car repair shop wearing a huge metallic "backpack" with a large antenna and a microphone. It doesn't seem (to me) as if this is intended to be funny, and it seems "somewhat" reasonable to me that, even in the mid-1980s, such a thing would be required for a radio reporter to be able to "live-stream" the interview with the owner of the shop to the radio station's headquarters. Maybe it was old equipment even in 1986, supposed to indicate that the local radio station cannot afford the latest fancy gadgets?

Still, it does look rather goofy, and seems like something you'd associate with the 1950s or earlier rather than the 1980s. I cannot figure out if this was actually what radio reporters had to carry around as late as in the 1980s to "report live", or if it was seen as an obvious joke even when this was first aired.

It seems to me that, with 1980s technology, they would just need a small box with an antenna, which can be carried with one hand, but I'm obviously not an expert. And, again, maybe it was decades old inside the show's universe, supposed to highlight outdated equipment and the lack of funding.

The image shows two angles of this weird contraption from the episode.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ They still do. Phone lines are often preferred where available, and recently, the internet. But she's missing the RPU $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Jul 18 '20 at 16:32
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On the BBC in London, in the 1980s, if a BBC radio station had to report on a live sports fixture, and it was not a live broadcast of the whole game, just a half-time report, or full-time report, the reporters usually phoned the London studio from a public pay-phone (land-line) and were switched live into the on-air feed.

For a soccer match, broadcast with a live radio commentary, the BBC had a number of Outside Broadcast vans. These were equipped like a small radio studio, and ran a cable from the van up to the commentary box, with a microphone on one end. The van usually could plug into a post office line, which was a special high quality phone line, like the internet backbone, to carry a high quality feed from the van to the BBC studios in central London. The engineers in London switched the O/B van into the feed to the transmitter.

Apart from sports reporting, there was very little live outside broadcasting. Most items were taped, and broadcast from the tape at a later time, not reported live.

In the 1980s there were no all-news radio stations, and no all-live O/B stations. Radio was very different then. Live shows were entirely studio-based, except the stuff handled by the Radio sports unit, described above, which mainly only broadcast on Saturday afternoons (live soccer) and one or two evenings in the week from 7pm to 10pm (more live soccer).

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Well, in 1985 cellphones were first used. The handset weighed less than a kilogram without the charger, but battery life was only 2-3 hours.

enter image description here

At the same time military field radios varied in size from the size of a toaster up to the size of a backpack, with the battery being the largest part. So I suppose the thing in the picture is possible. There was a shortwave setup used in Australia in the 50s that looked like this:

enter image description here

It was used for a regular insert called The Roving Mic so one would imagine something smaller was in use by the 80s. However I mostly remember the radio reporter pitching up with a crew in a van that was basically a mobile studio. The reporter would have just a microphone, all the rest would be in the van.

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