ZEALAND RADIO HISTORY
is a chronological look at the history of broadcast radio in New Zealand.
is taken from a special edition newsletter published by The Radio Network called
“Planet Radio” (Edition 7, August 1996.)
Source: “The Radio Years”, By Patrick Day.
Published 1994. “Voices In The
Air”, by Peter Downes & Peter Harcourt. Published 1976.)
history of Radio Hauraki is taken from
“The Shoestring Pirates” by Adrian Blackburn.
Published 1975 & 1989.
The Websites of 95 bFM,
by Richard Huntington)
Radio Active 89FM, Wellington,
my own acquired knowledge.
More information about other stations will be coming to fill in the gaps
at later dates when I get the information.
17TH 1921: Professor Robert Jack assembles a small transmitter at
Otago University in Dunedin and broadcasts the first ever radio programme heard
on New Zealand airwaves. The only
known fact about the programme’s content is that it included the then popular
song “Hello My Dearie”.
A set of Broadcasting regulations are issued under the Post And Telegraph
Act 1920. Under the new regulations
the country is divided into four numerical transmission regions. The regulations
also stipulate that the owner of a receiving set is to pay an annual license of
five shillings while permission to transmit costs tow pounds.
The Radio Broadcasting Company (RBC) begins operating after reaching an
agreement with the government to begin a national broadcasting system.
The company succeeds a number of separate stations (1YA, 2YK, 3AQ, 4YA)
which the government has been paying a subsidy of 15 pounds a week.
1927-1929: The RBC starts setting up
relay stations in provincial towns and country districts to counter its
metropolitan bias. The provincial areas were wholly dependant on the privately
owned and poorly financed “B” stations which struggled to survive until
becoming a political issue in 1935.
After being bombarded by over hundreds letters full of new ideas for the
station, the RBC’s 2YA in Wellington employs a Mrs Maude Basham who later
becomes known as “Aunt Daisy”. She
is dismissed months later due to a governmental instruction that only men are to
be employed during the depression.
The RBC’s assets are acquired by the New Zealand Broadcasting Board (NZBB),
which is now in charge of New Zealand’s broadcasting services.
The Board’s 4 year term was largely regarded as a stopgap measure
before eventual nationalisation.
Controversy plagues the NZBB. The
Board bans the broadcast of a talk by Indian philosopher Jidda Krishnamurti for
being “too objectionable” and George Bernard Shaw broadcasts his
pro-Communist views to a scandalised and unsuspecting audience.
The Board also incenses listeners by purchasing private “B” stations
and closing them down.
Colin Scrimgeour (“Uncle Scrim”) buys the private station in Auckland, 1ZB,
for 50 pounds.
24th 1935: On this night just before polling day, it was widely
anticipated Uncle Scrim’s regular weekly broadcast would be the climax of his
long fight on the closure of the “B” stations.
There was a rumour that he would indicate to electors the course that was
open to them. Just after Uncle
Scrim began his on air broadcast 1ZB’s transmissions were jammed.
A newly elected New Zealand Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage announces his
commitment to broadcasting intention to set up its own commercial network. The NZBB is dismantled and the National Broadcasting Service
(NBS) is established as a separate government department.
Auckland’s 1ZB is bought and opened as the first station of the government
owned National Commercial Broadcasting Service (NCBS).
Aunt Daisy is re-employed by the station to broadcast her famous morning
2ZB opens in Wellington, quickly followed by 3ZB in Christchurch and 4ZB in
The NCBS adds the temporary 5ZB to its ranks.
Built into a refitted luxury railway carriage the mobile station tours
the North Island for three months.
Commercial stations start to be used in numerous war effort campaigns, one of
the most successful being the Apple Appeal. Persuasive tactics such as national
pie baking competitions and a competition for an apple song were used to sell
over a million cases of apples which would usually be marked for export bar war
time shipping shortages.
Children’s birthday greetings are banned due to stepped up censorship during
the war. Weather forecasts, references to shipping movements or
anything that could potentially be a code were forbidden.
Auckland station 1ZM is loaned to the United Sates Army for the use of American
troops stationed here.
King Of Quiz begins. The brainchild
of the then 2ZB Announcer Lyell Boyes, the quiz show runs for twenty years
initially on Wellington’s 2ZB and then throughout the network.
Mobile Recording Unit is created to travel parts of New Zealand not within easy
access of a radio station. Talented
performers in the areas are recorded on the spot and broadcast from one of the
central stations. The idea was
inspired by the success of recording units, which worked overseas during the war
and was intended to assist cultural development and national pride in post-war
New Zealand. However when new
lightweight portable recorders arrive in the late 1940’s the Mobile Recording
Unit was shelved.
Four new community stations open as part of the NZBS post-war expansion.
1ZB Breakfast host Phil Shone runs foul of the Minister Of Broadcasting when he
broadcasts an April Fools bulletin about a mile wide swarm of wasps that was
moving across Auckland. Housewives
dutifully heeded his ridiculous anti-wasp precautions - which included wearing
socks over trousers and
leaving honey smeared traps outside the front door.
Phil had the city spellbound for hours with his reports but the
Broadcasting Minister was not amused and condemned the hoax, assuring party
members that steps were being taken to ensure nothing like it would happen
After almost a quarter of a century of enduring makeshift lines, high fidelity
landlines finally became available. NZBS
stations were now bale to link over long distances without loss of quality.
A major step forward for radio drama.
Production centres in Dunedin & Christchurch were opened in addition
to the flourishing studios in Auckland & Wellington.
The writing of plays and serials were now an established branch of the
1955-1956: The 45rpm single disc is
introduced and the manufacture of 78rpm discs soon cease altogether.
The pop revolution. Rock ‘N’
Roll had well and truly arrived and with the change of music a new breed of
announcer. Shedding the old style formality, the new jocks were noisy,
talkative and spoke hip new jargon which older listeners found largely
Control passes from the government department New Zealand Broadcasting Service (NZBS)
to an independent body - the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC).
1964-1965: To counteract the lure of
television, the NZBC establishes the National programme, the Overseas Programme
Exchange, a Maori programme section and NZ’s first talkback show.
Mid-1965: The idea for a Private
radio station in New Zealand in the form Of Radio Hauraki crystallised in a pub
in Wellington. David Gapes, a
Newspaper journalist, moves to Auckland to start the radio station.
1966: 1480kHZ-AM was the decided frequency to broadcast on because it was well
away from and frequency currently being used by the New Zealand Broadcasting
Corporation (NZBC) and any Australian broadcasters.
April 9th, 1966 (Easter Saturday):
Hauraki idea came to light in the public eye through an article in the Auckland
based New Zealand Herald -
“PIRATE RADIO STATION IN GULF PLANNED”.
1966: “GOT YOUR SEASICK
Ex-NZBC employees, Derek Lowe & Chris Parkinson join David Gapes &
technician Denis “Doc” O’Callahan in putting Radio Hauraki together.
Hauraki tried to get a private broadcasting licence by the book but the
NZBC & the NZ Government turned their application down.
May 1ST 1966: Radio Hauraki gets some editorial support from the
Wellington based Dominion
Sunday Times through a headlined reading - “BREAK THIS MONOPOLY”.
1966: An on air target date was
set - 11am 1ST October 1966.
Hauraki hears of pirate radio rivals through an advertisement in an evening
edition of The Auckland Star - the
rival, Radio Maverick then renamed Radio Ventura.
25TH 1966: Yet another
possible rival for Hauraki? Radio
Southern Cross. A Headline ran in The Sunday News -
“PIRATE RADIO BATTLE: TWO NEW STATIONS IN FIGHT FOR AIR-WAVE FORTUNE”.
Yet another announcement of another radio station a little while later -
1966: Radio Hauraki chooses their transmission vessel The M.V. TIRI
– she needed a lot of work on her though before she would be ready for the
rough International waters just beyond New Zealand’s 3 mile limit.
September 16TH, 1966: One day before setting sail the TIRI was
detained. Radio Hauraki is prevented in taking the TIRI to sea - by the
October 1ST 1966: This was the date set for Hauraki
to be on the air but the TIRI is still berthed at the Western Viaduct in
October 23RD, 1966: THE BATTLE OF THE TIRI.
Hauraki crew decide to set sail. The
TIRI gets stuck up against the drawbridge but with a little help from a 200
strong crowd who were lined up along the wharf to see what was happening.
The TIRI is set free and starts sailing but eventually the police stopped
to the TIRI going any further by pulling the fuel line, which shut down the main
engine. The Hauraki crew were
arrested and the TIRI put back to its berth all to the disappointment of the
Hauraki fans but were later set free on bail in the early hours of Monday
October 24th 1966.
October 26TH, 1996:
public meeting in the Auckland Town Hall set up by Hauraki with the Government
Spokespersons invited to speak. Over 2,000 Hauraki supporters jammed the
Auckland Town Hall with banners reading: “LICENCE RADIO HAURAKI”; “WE WANT
PIRATES”; “SURFIES SUPPORT HAURAKI”; “FLAT EARTH SOCIETY SUPPORTS RADIO
HAURAKI”; “DOWN WITH THE NZBC”.
2ND November - Monday,7TH November, 1966:
Hauraki directors in court over the detaining orders of the TIRI.
wins. The Government had detained the TIRI to stop it being used as
a pirate radio station NOT because the TIRI was
to be surveyed before being allowed to be put to sea.
Thursday, November 10TH, 1966:
TIRI set sail again with hardly any one insight except for 3 young teenage
Hauraki fans who had been asked to keep the TIRI’s departure a secret for at
least an hour. The Pirates were
unaware that Jack Scott who was the Minister Of Broadcasting, Minister Of
Marine & the Post Master General, also saw the TIRI quietly slip away.
The dream was nearly complete. All
that was needed now was to get the TIRI beyond the NZ 3-mile limit & into
International waters, start the transmitter up and begin broadcasting.
No news of the departure of the TIRI was broadcast on the NZBC’s final
news broadcast to the exultant cheer of the Hauraki crew aboard the TIRI.
Friday, 11TH November 1996:
TIRI anchors at what would be her home, or the closest to it, for the next 31/2
21ST November, 1966:
starts test transmission on 1480AM – although a bit weak and distorted Hauraki
was on the air for the first time. They
had technical difficulties and began to improve the signal.
Hauraki began transmissions in earnest at sea aboard the TIRI in the Hauraki
Gulf on 1480AM just after 8pm. The
station jingle rang out loud and clear. “Radio
Hauraki, Top Of The Dial”. And
then Hauraki DJ Bob Lahey’s voice came over the air: “You’re listening to
Radio Hauraki, Top of the Dial, and we’re broadcasting a test transmission on
1480. …We’ve done some modifications to the transmitter and
we’ve erected our full antenna, so we’re expecting to be putting out quite a
good signal tonight. We’d like to
know how well you are receiving us. So,
drop us a line: Radio Hauraki, Post Office Box 2964 in Auckland - 2964, and let
us know how you’re picking up Radio Hauraki.
(Pause) Twelve minutes past eight now, Top of the Dial…”
A while later trouble for Hauraki: 30
- 35 knot winds knock the huge transmitter
mast off the TIRI and Hauraki off the air.
Sunday, December 4TH, 1966: On air tests started up again.
Sunday, December 4th, 1966:
who were tuned in to 1480AM heard the sound of seagulls at the start of the
documentary, that was produced weeks before, all about Radio Hauraki.
That was the programme that reintroduced commercial private broadcasting
to New Zealand after a gap of almost 30 years.
The dream was now complete - Radio Hauraki was officially on air.
The first song played on Radio Hauraki - “Born Free” by Matt Munro.
January 28TH 1968: “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY”.
TIRI runs aground upon rocks in treacherous weather in the entrance to
Whangaparapara Harbour. All
communication equipment on the TIRI had failed except the on air broadcast
frequency. Paul Lineham made the mayday call on air.
Derek King kept listeners tuned into 1480AM informed with a
“blow-by-blow” commentary as the TIRI hit the rocks. Paul Lineham made what
was to be the final broadcast for Hauraki from the beloved yellow TIRI.
“Hauraki News: Hauraki
crew is abandoning ship. This is Paul Lineham aboard the TIRI. Good
Night.” Then a station jingle - “RADIO HAURAKI - NUMBER 1”.
Then only silence. Radio Hauraki is off the air.
January 29TH 1968:
TIRI is towed back to Auckland. The
TIRI was badly damaged and is beyond repair.
The TIRI’s days for Hauraki are over.
Hauraki’s transmitter and studio equipment from the TIRI is salvaged and the
search for a new vessel to broadcast from starts in earnest straight away. 4 days after the grounding of the original TIRI a new vessel
is found - the KAPUNI which was repainted in the TIRI’s original yellow and
“unofficially” re-named by the Hauraki crew as the TIRI II.
Work on refitting the TIRI II with Hauraki’s broadcasting equipment begins
Tuesday, February 27TH 1968:
TIRI II sets sail for International waters from Auckland.
February 28TH 1968:
resumes regular programming after evening transmission test the night before. The Hauraki team set an on air target of 5am - they missed it
by 21/2 hours. Hauraki
was back on the air just under a month after the loss of the original TIRI.
10TH, 1968: THE WAHINE STORM.
TIRI II battles the storm and ends up beached again at Whangaparapara Harbour.
The new 160-ft transmitter mast on board was badly damaged.
The old mast from the TIRI I is
pulled up to be put into use. The
storm continues down the country towards the country’s capital city Wellington
for its rendezvous with the ill-fated inter-island ferry WAHINE.
of the storm the WAHINE had beached itself upon rocks at the entrance to
Wellington Harbour. Over 50 people
lost their lives aboard the WAHINE. The
TIRI II crew were a bit more fortunate than those aboard the WAHINE.
Monday, April 15TH 1968:
repairing the transmitter mast back in Auckland, Hauraki was back on the air at
6pm, just missing out on the Easter Weekend Advertising which was needed.
April 20TH - May 19TH 1968:
inspectors catch Hauraki broadcasting in NZ internal waters on several
occasions. Hauraki was starting to
worry that this was going to be the end and that they would never get a private
broadcasting licence for land transmissions.
15TH 1968: The TIRI II
is beached at Whangaparapara.
back on air on May 19th 1968.
TIRI II runs aground at Uretiti Beach, about 20 miles south of Whangarei, Near
Waipu. The Hauraki crew again safe.
started 24 hour broadcasting just before Christmas 1968.
first station in NZ to be on air 24 hours.
They called the session “Yawn To Dawn”.
The transmitter didn’t seem to fail as much now.
It seemed to like running constantly.
for private broadcasting were being put together to be put
before the Broadcasting Authority by Radio Hauraki and two other
companies - Radio Auckland Ltd, a station to be jointly run by the 2 daily
Auckland newspapers - The
New Zealand Herald and The
Auckland Star, and by Radio Hauraki’s old enemy Radio International
which was now calling itself Radio i.
Early Days - Challenging The System:
student politics such a strong force it's hardly surprising that Campus radio
established itself through the 70s largely as a ‘Student political’
challenge to the extremely conservative and stale system of state
broadcasting and Broadcasting legislation.
Bosom first hit the air as a capping stunt in 1969 transmitting from a hired
boat that the students even managed to let run aground. The message was that
radio should be fun. The group went
on to 'Broadcast' over a network of speakers around the student union slowly
building up studio facilities under where bFM is presently, the programme was
mainly music/student political in content.
It's clear that the main interest was to get on air again legally,
several applications were made to transmit (narrowcast) programme to University
halls of residence in the early 70s but the legislators wouldn't budge.
for private broadcasting began on the fifth floor of Caltex House in Downtown
Auckland. The room overlooked the
Viaduct Basin where the battle of the TIRI I was fought.
afternoon, Tuesday, 24TH March 1970:
Broadcasting Authority made its announcement rejecting the NZBC’s claims
against private broadcasting and awarding 2 private broadcasting licences for
the Auckland area. Radio Hauraki
was granted one of the private broadcasting licences.
The other one to long time rival Radio i.
final sea broadcast of the “pirate” radio station Radio Hauraki from aboard
the TIRI II - after 1,111 days out at sea the pirates were finally coming
ashore. The final part of the
broadcast of the “old” Hauraki was a documentary of Hauraki’s history up
till now. The last song played
aboard the TIRI II was Matt Munro’s “Born Free” which was the first song
played on Radio Hauraki on the 4TH of December 1966 from the TIRI I.
The broadcast finished at 10:00pm. The
faithful transmitter shut down for the final time and the TIRI II headed for
Rick Grant was lost overboard. A
bitter end to what was a successful day for the Radio Hauraki team who had fort
so long and hard to get on land.
battle was on once again between Radio Hauraki and Radio i to get on the air
Saturday 26TH September 1970:
98 days after being granted its private broadcasting licence, Radio Hauraki was
on the air - LEGALLY, broadcasting on 1480AM, from the studios on the 4th
floor of Caltex House, just one floor below the room where
the Broadcasting Authority heard Hauraki’s plea to come ashore.
Radio Hauraki had done it, breaking a 30 year State broadcasting monopoly
by the NZBC, and beating the rivals Radio i, to air by more than a month.
But it wouldn’t be Hauraki without something going wrong. A friendly
bulldozer later opening day managed to slice through the direct line between the
studio and the transmitter towers to briefly put the Hauraki Pirates off the
air. But never the less, finally
there was private radio in New Zealand.
1970 or Early 1971: A 3RD
private radio station went on the air from Hamilton.
This was Radio Waikato broadcasting on 930AM.
There were only two broadcasting radio stations for the entire
Of Plenty. One was a nationwide
non-commercial station (1YZ - National Radio), and the other, based in Tauranga,
was commercial (1ZD). Both were
owned by the state broadcaster - the NZBC (now known as Radio New Zealand - RNZ).
private broadcasting licence was granted to Radio Whakatane
by the Broadcasting Authority.
Midday, June 30TH 1971:
1XX (One Double X) went to air broadcasting on 1240AM, becoming the 4TH
private radio station in New Zealand after Radio Hauraki and Radio i, both in
Auckland, and Radio Waikato in Hamilton. 1XX
was also the first private provincial commercial station in New Zealand. Until sometime in 1979 1XX was on air for only 19 ½
hours a day from 5:00am -
12:30am. In the late 1970’s 1XX was also known as Coastline 124.
1XX is now under the company name of Radio Bay Of Plenty Limited and
1XX's AM frequency has gone from 1240AM to 1242AM.
Private radio station goes to air Dunedin - Radio Otago Limited’s 4XO -
broadcasting on 1210AM.
Wellington’s private radio station Radio Windy goes on the air
1973: Radio Avon begins broadcasting in Christchurch on 1290AM.
In its peak in about 1977 Radio Avon had over 50% of the listenership in
the Canterbury area blowing away its state rivals 3ZB and 3ZM.
Radio New Zealand tried to combat Radio Avon’s hughe success by turning
its youth rock oriented station 3ZM into an easy listening station – Radio
Nova. That failed after a couple of
years and the format was dropped was reverted back to 3ZM.
1970’s: The mid 70’s saw a change in legislation allowing short
term broadcasts by special interest groups for special events only, Radio Bosom
(soon Radio B for political reasons) took to the air for capping and later
orientation, transmitting low power A.M. from the top of the student union
minister of broadcasting was nervous and conditions were
broadcast was to be aimed only at university students with no music or
entertainment and was to be non-commercial.
This was however a “foot in the door”, the rest of the decade saw the
boundaries constantly pushed back.
Evidence that Radio B was trying to achieve a licence to broadcast more than
just information for students exists in the records of many applications for an
FM Broadcast licence and the pirate FM transmissions in 1975 (these officially
had nothing to do with Radio B for obvious reasons).
A.U.S.A. strongly supported these challenges to NZ Broadcasting,
evidenced by its ads for the broadcasts in copies of “Craccum”
the end of the decade regulations had been relaxed enough to allow
semi-commercial broadcasting throughout term with a strong entertainment
element, the justification was as a service to students; the students running
the station saw the potential to show the public a whole new way of
broadcasting. ‘Bigger and
Better’ grew as a major theme for the next decade. By this stage A.U.S.A
Executives were putting so much time into the expanding operation that they
created a sub-committee called the Radio B Administration Board; this had the
authority to hire and pay staff (who were required to be students) and work at
Radio B for the whole year.
The NZBC becomes the Broadcasting Corporation Of New Zealand (BCNZ) which also
encompasses the Listener,
the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and the company which would
become Television New Zealand (TVNZ).
Wellington’s Radio Active hits the AM airwaves as a project of
the radio club of the
Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association.
1977: David Gapes resigns from Radio Hauraki.
He later ran the news service for one of Auckland’s 2 new FM stereo
radio stations. That station was
89FM which started in 1983.
The AM Band went from 10-step to 9 Step AM. For example Radio Hauraki
moved from 1480AM to 1476AM, Radio i from 1330AM to 1332AM, 1XX from 1240AM to
1242AM, and Radio Waikato from 930AM to 954AM, etc
Radio Pacific starts broadcasting in Auckland on 1593AM.
1980’s: The 80’s saw a large expansion of Radio B.
New studios were built and much work saw the acquisition of a
transmitting site on reclaimed land at Shore Road.
This expanded coverage of the station greatly, bringing with it the
capability and necessity of maintaining a commercial operation.
At this stage other broadcasters were looking very closely at the
station, concerned and aware of the 'back door' methods by which the station was
developing. This was an on-going
theme of objection but some of the newly formed private stations were very
FM Stereo transmissions were being tested. Radio Bay Of Plenty Limted, which operated 1XX in Whakatane,
ran what was the first of many short-term summer stations and this station was
the 1ST licensed FM Stereo
Radio station in New Zealand - FM 90.7.
station went to air at 4pm on 5TH January 1982 and went through to 31ST
January 1982 with the station on-air each day in two shifts: 4pm - 8pm & 8pm
Midnight. Each night FM 90.7 featured different types of music to
attract various spheres of the population and to encourage individual musical
- Country Music
- Album Rock
- Classical Music
- Rock & Soul Music
- Top 40 Music
- Big Band & Beautiful Music
the main inspiration of FM 90.7 was to broaden the outlook and attitudes of the
listening audience and to place radio at the forefront of public communication.
90.7's main on-air studio was studio B in the 1XX Building, but on other
occasions the 1XX caravan was utilised.
was the entent of FM 90.7 to convey the many aspects of music in an informative,
as well as an entertaining programme.
people were involved on-air - some regular 1XX announcers
staff members, while others were recruited form the public.
one come in to practise their shifts, before their big moment on New Zealand's
first FM radio station - FM 90.7.
Derek Lowe, who had became Hauraki’s Managing Director when David Gapes
resigned, was driving taxis in Auckland and was asked to join a Hauraki rival to
insure its survival – talkback station
Pacific, which he had invested in, and were he is now the
Director of the 26 frequency nation-wide network station.
Wellington’s student radio station Radio Active became one of the first
radio stations in New Zealand to broadcast on FM.
Mid-1982: Radio Hauraki applied for an FM licence but later pulled that
The Broadcasting tribunal was authorising Campus Radio, as it had become known
in Auckland, to “provide an entertainment and information service and to
promote campus activities to students”, quite a change from the 1975
directives. The new transmitter and expanded hours of broadcast in the
early 80’s attracted a whole new range of personalities who saw the great
potential available to them. Music was the major focus and in this time the
station developed its strong NZ, ‘underground’, ‘alternative’ music
focus, the roots of the bFM philosophy today.
All the staff were students, many ‘dropped out’ of studies to commit
themselves to Radio B.
2 FM stations began broadcasting in Auckland. These stations were the 1ST
fulltime licenced FM stereo stations - 89FM and 91FM.
The first major evaluation of Campus Radio 1XB.
FM Broadcasting had arrived and Campus Radio was no longer ‘leading the way’
with its noisy old A.M. transmitter. A major gamble was taken on the allocation
of an FM frequency, tests were done and excuses were found to replace
everything. A major promotional
drive and a general meeting packed with student supporters of the station saw a
loan granted by A.U.S.A. State of
the art was 89FM's new $1.5M station. Campus Radio came as close as it could
(this was actually an objective!) with $100,000.
1985: The newly named bFM began broadcasting from a 50 Watt transmitter atop the
Sheraton Hotel. The application to
the Broadcasting Tribunal for this year was a huge piece of work with much put
into justification of existence and coverage.
With the first transmitter coverage was not good and it was always an
objective to obtain equivalent power and coverage to the major operators, money
was the concrete factor but the station had to be incredibly cautious in its
official politics. Other operators
were pissed off that Radio B had converted to FM when they had been unable to
and strongly opposed any further expansion, plus, the conversion had brought
much general public acclaim, support and listenership to bFM.
next few years were a constant push to increase hours and
coverage. Every short term
application pushed the limits further. Helped
by several campaigns of public support, they were all written to fit into what
was perceived as acceptable criteria for the tribunal and more than anything
else this had the effect of overstating the student connection. The perceived criteria was radio by students for the student
community. The reality and real
philosophy was radio with interested students for the general community which
was gradually ‘leaked’ into the applications in order to gauge a
response. There was no negative response from the tribunal (I'm sure
they knew exactly what we were doing all along!)
it didn’t go unnoticed by the other operators in their objections.
was always looking for initiatives which would increase favour with the
tribunal, the biggest of these was a move toward subscriber funding through the
B-card, based on research of Australian radio.
1986: Independent Radio News (IRN) a network news & sports bulletin service
from Wellington for private stations came into service.
At the end of 1986 a major problem had arisen; the Sheraton Hotel no longer
wanted bFM on their building and no other transmission possibilities had
materialised. Radio Pacific
came to the rescue with an
interview and plea for help on air, it worked and permission was granted to use
the Museum for 6 weeks while another site was found, a real P.R. coup for Radio
from the museum was useless, management wanted a substantial improvement, the
only viable option technically and financially was Mt. Eden but the Maungawhau
protection plan prohibited any more users.
Much work was put into lobbying the Borough council and a dispensation
was given to use the site for one year. The result of this was to force a major
evaluation of bFM's position. Management realised that no-one (aside from a
couple of student politicians) wanted to take a step backwards in coverage
Eden was extremely good, giving better reception than the other stations in some
areas) and the only option was moving to the Waitakere ranges giving full
metropolitan coverage but at a capital cost of around $20,000 plus $40,000 per
were only one problem, it seemed that full metropolitan coverage by a short term
operator would be strongly objected to and there was little chance of success.
The challenge had always been to go before the tribunal in a full warrant
hearing on an equal footing with other applicants and the bFM administration
board decided this was the approach to take giving the opportunity to gain
coverage, 365 day operation and freedom from endless broadcast applications and
objections. To comply with the conditions required to apply for a
warrant, bFM had to become an independent company, (this was required to
guarantee security and continuity of objectives).
To meet all of these requirements much research and evaluation was done
and a legal structure drawn up. This
had the company Campus Radio BFM Ltd holding the warrant and a trust which would
own the assets, keeping them secure for the company, and ensure the objectives
and philosophies of bFM were followed (as would be detailed in the warrant
application). Much work was done to
identify these objectives, philosophies and policies which define
the station and set them concretely in the legal deed of trust.
general meeting was called and once again there was overwhelming student support
to go ahead with the plans, grant a $60,000 loan to set up the new transmission
facilities and get the company started. It
soon became apparent that the transfer of assets could not eventuate so an
alternative structure was implemented, as at present with AUSA holding shares
and administering assets and a board of directors taking on the role of trustees
in guarding the objectives and philosophies of bFM.
intent of the original structure as developed and approved by the general
meeting was to be preserved; it was that: the assets
would be safeguarded and guaranteed to the company.
bFM be an independent entity from AUSA (and therefore immune to changes
there), guided by a board of directors and bound by the objectives which were:
To run a student-orientated alternative programme radio station for members of
Auckland’s radio listening community; To provide accessibility of Auckland
University through communication of services, news and information; To provide
an effective Training ground in facets of radio broadcasting and administration
for students and other interested parties; To encourage and promote the
participation of women and ethnic and minority groups in broadcasting; To
maintain a contemporary progressive alternative music format; To promote New
Zealand music and artists and to record such music, To publish a newspaper;
(in considering these objectives, remember that some were included
largely to better our chances of being granted a warrant).
2ND March 1987: Radio 1XX in Whakatane played a vital part straight
after the one thing most people in the Eastern Bay Of Plenty would rather forget
- the 6.3 earthquake that rocked the Eastern Bay Of Plenty at 1:42pm that hot
Monday afternoon. 1XX did go off
the air for a time immediately following the earthquake for about 20 minutes as
there was a concern about the landline from the 1XX building to the 1242AM
transmitter at Whakatane Airport. Eventually
1242 1XX got back on the air through a microwave radio link from the transmitter
to the 1XX building. 1242 1XX was the
immediate information outlet in and for the Eastern Bay Of Plenty and the
country. 1XX set up its
broadcasting equipment, which was manned 24 hours, in the worst hit area of the
region - Edgecumbe, for the next 2 weeks after the main earthquake.
Auckland’s 1ZB becomes Newstalk 1ZB and later Newstalk ZB - the pioneer news
talk station in New Zealand.
1987 – March 1988:
1XX ran its 2nd short term summer station in a Lockwood Home next to
Brendon's Of Ohope (now the Ohope Beach Resort) across the road from Ohope Beach
- 93 Splash FM.
The station went to air from December 1987 to March 1988.
The 93 Splash FM programme was simulcast on 1242 1XX from 7pm - 6am
1988-1989: BCNZ divides and Radio New
Zealand (RNZ) becomes a separate entity and a State Owned Enterprise (SOE)
Radio Bay Of Plenty Limited - 1XX was granted a permanent FM broadcasting
licence and at 12:12:12pm on December 12TH 1988, 1XX began
permanently broadcasting on 90.5FM
and simulcasting on 1242AM. 1XX FM
brought back 93.0FM permanently on February 6 1989, which was used for 93 Splash
FM in the summer of 1987/1988, to broadcast the 90.5 1XX FM programme for
listeners in Ohope.
1989: bFM began transmission at 800 Watts on 91.8MHz from Waiatarua.
Subsequently after extended legal hearings the bFM warrant was granted
leaving the way open for year round operation.
large jump in professionalism of transmission brought with it the need for more
professionalism in management but the process was not smooth.
A conflict had developed between new staff keen to restructure and
implement more ‘corporate’ values and methods, and existing staff who felt
that their values and the station identity were threatened.
Complicating this was distrust and consequent Ignoring of the
consultant's recommendations and a board of directors split in opinion and
ineffectual in action.
Mid-1989: Hauraki re-applies for the
FM licence and get it.
Radio Hauraki drop the 1476AM frequency they were currently broadcasting on and
started broadcasting on 99.0 MHZ-FM as HAURAKI
99FM - Auckland’s Original Rock Station.
1990’s: A change of frequency for bFM to 95.0MHz in 1990 and the
biggest coup of the station: getting the university to spend almost $150,000
renovating the studio complex, all for the installation of a toilet.
The period from this date has been somewhat of a consolidation and a
re-integration of ideals. Turnover of staff
and directors has been high but all the time seen as leading toward a
realistic and integrated base for the future.
1991-1992: Another 1XX-run short term summer station which was broadcasting out
of the 1XX caravan which was parked outside the Whakatane Surf Life
Saving Club at Ohope Beach. This station was 99.3
Cadbury Moro FM. The 1XX FM
& AM programme was simulcast on 99.3 Cadbury Moro FM from 11pm - 6am each
The 89.4FM frequency, which had been used as private station 89FM in Auckland
since 1983, was bought by Radio New Zealand (RNZ) and the station became 89X - a
Though still located at the university, Radio Active has been a private
company since it was sold by VUWSA. Active
now owned and operated by Radio Active Ltd, and is funded through
advertising revenue and funding from NZ On Air for programmes profiling New
Zealand music. Though Radio Active is privately owned and operated, the
“student” status is maintained by part of the Student Radio Network (SRN)
which is now known as b.Net.
The Radio Bureau – a national advertising agency for radio was
established in Auckland.
10TH, 1993: Radio New Zealand’s Auckland rock station 89X was
unexpectedly shut down and 89.4FM started broadcasting RNZ’s high rating
station in Auckland, Newstalk 1ZB, which was at the time and still is
broadcasting on 1080AM.
1993-1994: Yet another 1XX-run short-term summer station.
time based in Whakatane and this time a rock station – Bayrock
97-7FM. This ran from 12
Midday, 26TH December 1993 until 4pm, February 6 1994.
After many letters, phone calls & petitions from the public, Radio
Bay Of Plenty Limited brought Bayrock 97-7FM back as a permanent rock station at
12pm Midday on July 8TH 1994. Bayrock
started broadcasting on 99-3FM for Ohope Beach in December 1994.
99.3FM was used before by 1XX for 99.3 Cadbury Moro FM in the summer of
has also broadcast its programme to Mount Maunganui on 91-0FM from the
night of Christmas Eve (24th December) 1994 to March 1995. For a time Bayrock programmed by NZ's first private radio
station based in Auckland - Radio Hauraki, but is now self-programmed by Bayrock,
based on Hauraki’s rock format. Bayrock
has received calls from listeners from the Coromandel Peninsula to Taupo saying
that they can receive Bayrock's signal on 97-7FM.
Radio New Zealand’s “Classic Hits” brand group was launched
RNZ is split into Radio New Zealand Commercial and New Zealand Public Radio. The “ZM” brand is expanded – firstly into Whangarei
with 93ZM and then into Dunedin with 96ZM.
Hauraki relays its Auckland programme into Hamilton & the Waikato on 100.0
MHZ-FM as HAURAKI 100FM - Rock Of The
Waikato. This remained on air
until November 1997.
1996: For 6 weeks the sound of great country came to the Eastern
Bay Of Plenty in the form of 100 FM
Country. This was relayed to
the 1XX building by satellite from the Auckland-based FM Country with local
advertisements from local Eastern Bay Of Plenty clients produced at the studios
of 1XX in Whakatane.
1996: RNZ sells its 41 commercial stations for $89 Million and on August 1ST
became The Radio Network Of New Zealand Ltd,
who has since bought Radio Hauraki, Radio i, and the Auckland based
private radio news & sports bulletin service IRN along with other private
stations in Auckland & Hamilton, some of which have been sold once more.
RNZ still exists today out of Wellington, operating 2 non-commercial
nationwide stations - National Radio and Concert FM, its short wave service
Radio New Zealand International and broadcasts of the New Zealand Parliament
sessions on the YCAM network.
The Student Radio Network (SRN), now known as b.Net, is consolidated.
b.Net consists of the following stations: 95bFM - Auckland (Auckland
University); Contact 89FM - Hamilton (Waikato University), which changes in 1999
to UFM; Radio Massey 99.4FM - Palmerston North (Massey University); Radio Active
89FM - Wellington (Victoria University); RDU 98.3FM - Christchurch (Lincoln
University) and Radio One 91FM
- Dunedin (Otago University).
1998 a New Plymouth based polytechnic station – 92.3FM The Most joins b-Net.
Radio Otago Limited sells its 7 North Island stations to Radio Pacific
subsidiary Energy Enterprises Limited. Radio
Otago then buys Christchurch based C93FM (Christchurch) Ltd, owners and
operators of Classic Rock C93FM (which was formerly Radio Avon) and Easy
Listening i 94.5FM.
1997-1998: The summer time sports station Sports Roundup is expanded by TRN as a
24 hour sports station all year round on new AM & FM frequencies nationwide,
firstly taking over Easy Listening i 98FM’s (Radio i) 1332AM frequency.
The “ZM” brand is expanded further into Invercargill with 96ZM, in
Auckland by taking over The Breeze 91FM as 91ZM and into Hamilton taking over
The Breeze 89.8FM and becoming 89.8ZM.
TRN also change Classic Rock 98.3FM in Rotorua as 98ZM and Hauraki 96FM
in Hawke’s Bay into 96ZM.
1997-1998: Radio Pacific’s
subsidiary company Energy Enterprises launches a new music network playing music
from the 50’s to the early 70’s in the form of Solid Gold FM and expands it
2 Hamilton based stations The Rock and The Edge nationwide.
1997-1998: XS Corporation in Palmerston North who own &
operate 92.2XS FM & Magic 828AM/98.6FM in Palmerston North and Masterton
station Hitz 89 FM buys Radio Horowhenua Ltd in Paraparaumu who operate 90.2 2XX
FM & Classic Gold 1377AM which for a while became Magic 1377AM in
Paraparaumu & 95FM in Levin.
Radio Pacific buys XS Corporation and also buys Phoenix Broadcasting
station The Quake in Wellington as well their 94.3FM frequency in Paraparaumu
which was relaying Wellington Based station 92 Hitz FM at the time and another
Phoenix frequency, 98.3FM based in Masterton.
The Quake’s 97.5FM frequency in Wellington will become part of the
Solid Gold FM network as of 1ST April 1998.
The Rock begins broadcasting in Wellington on 96.3FM which was formerly a
station called The Pirate after the death of The Pirate’s founder.
Solid Gold FM starts broadcasting in The Kapiti Coast on 94.3FM
Radio Pacific & Radio Otago Limited merge and become The RadioWorks NZ
Limted – the 2ND biggest commercial radio company in New Zealand.
The RadioWorks expands its 3 music brands - Solid Gold FM, The Rock &
The Edge into Radio Otago’s markets in the South Island – while retaining
the existing local stations in the provincial markets from the Radio
Pacific/Radio Otago merger.
formats of Radio Otago’s existing South Island stations – 4XO & Radio
Dunedin in Dunedin, Radio Central in Alexandra & Wanaka, Resort Radio –
Queenstown, Foveaux FM/AM - Invercargill, Lite FM (formerly Easy Listening
i94.5FM) in Christchurch & Fifeshire FM in Nelson stay as they are.
Classic Rock C93FM in Christchurch drops its rock format and becomes
C93FM – Canterbury’s Big Music Mix.
of the existing Radio Otago frequencies in some markets change into one of the 3
RadioWorks network music brands in the South Island.
Radio Hauraki re-launches its Auckland based programme back into Hamilton &
the Waikato but this time on 96.0FM.
2000: Radio Hauraki expands even further, this time into Tauranga and the
Western Bay Of Plenty on 89.0FM.