Television his life for 50 years and counting

Ross Griffiths checks an aerial at his Ravensbourne home. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Ross Griffiths checks an aerial at his Ravensbourne home. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Ross Griffiths is a legend of the small screen.

For the past 50 years, he has been bringing television to the living rooms of Dunedin's residents, as an aerial and satellite installer.

Despite recently turning 65, he had no intention of retiring.

''I'd like to think I can do it for another couple of years, but we will have to wait and see,'' he said.

He started working for Tisco in 1964, aged 15, despite a company requirement for workers to be 16.

It was not an issue until he turned 16 and his co-workers expected their ''17-year-old workmate to shout''.

''I'll always remember getting pulled into the boss' office and he told me, `You have proved yourself, so you can stay on, but I could lay you off'.''

In those days, television was black and white, viewers had the option of one channel and ''television sets were bloody heavy'', he said.

He had fond memories of working for the company, but 26 years ago he took a ''gamble'' and went out on his own.

''I had no money, I had a young family and I borrowed $2000 from the bank to get me up and running,'' he said.

But the gamble paid off, as he had developed a ''loyal'' clientele, many of whom had ''become very firm friends''.

The constant changes in technology had kept him on his toes and between that and his customers' needs he believed ''there wouldn't be many people as busy as me''.

He learnt the trade mostly through ''trial and error'' and these days with the help of the internet.

''It's like going back to school again,'' he said, of the major changes to the profession.

While he knew the time was coming to retire, he would not leave the job until he could find someone to ''actually put their heart into the job'' as he had for half a century.

''It's been a good journey,'' Mr Griffiths said.

''Television is my life.''

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