This is a chronological look at the history of broadcast radio in New Zealand.

 Information is taken from a special edition newsletter published by The Radio Network called “Planet Radio” (Edition 7, August 1996.)

(TRN’s Source: “The Radio Years”, By Patrick Day.
Published 1994.  “Voices In The Air”, by Peter Downes & Peter Harcourt. Published 1976.)

The history of Radio Hauraki is taken from 
“The Shoestring Pirates” by Adrian Blackburn.   Published 1975 & 1989.

The Websites of 95 bFM, Auckland
(written by Richard Huntington)

and Radio Active 89FM, Wellington,

and my own acquired knowledge.

NB:  More information about other stations will be coming to fill in the gaps at later dates when I get the information.


November 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”.


1923:        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.


1925: 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.


1931: 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.


1932: 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.


1934: 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.


1934: Colin Scrimgeour (“Uncle Scrim”) buys the private station in Auckland, 1ZB, for 50 pounds.


November 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.


1936: 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.


1936: 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 show nationwide.


1937: 2ZB opens in Wellington, quickly followed by 3ZB in Christchurch and 4ZB in Dunedin.


1939: 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.


1940: 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.


1942: 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.


1944: Auckland station 1ZM is loaned to the United Sates Army for the use of American troops stationed here.


1944: 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.


1946-1947:A 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.


1949: Four new community stations open as part of the NZBS post-war expansion.


1949: 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 again.


1953: 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.


1953:        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 service.


1955-1956:        The 45rpm single disc is introduced and the manufacture of 78rpm discs soon cease altogether.


1956: 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 incomprehensible.


1962: 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.


Mid-March 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.


Saturday April 9th, 1966 (Easter Saturday):                                

The 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”.


April 1966:        “GOT YOUR SEASICK PILLS?”

2 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.                              


Sunday May 1ST 1966: Radio Hauraki gets some editorial support from the Wellington based Dominion Sunday Times through a headlined reading - “BREAK THIS MONOPOLY”.


May 1966:        An on air target date was set - 11am 1ST October 1966.


Mid-July 1966:

Radio 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.


July 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 - Radio International.


August 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.


Friday September 16TH, 1966: One day before setting sail the TIRI was detained.  Radio Hauraki is prevented in taking the TIRI to sea - by the Government. 


11am, 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 Auckland.


Sunday October 23RD, 1966: THE BATTLE OF THE TIRI.

The 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.


Wednesday, October 26TH,  1996:       

A 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”.


Wednesday, 2ND November - Monday,7TH November, 1966:

Radio Hauraki directors in court over the detaining orders of the TIRI. 

Hauraki 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.


10pm, Thursday, November 10TH, 1966:

The 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.


6:30am, Friday, 11TH November 1996:

The TIRI anchors at what would be her home, or the closest to it, for the next 31/2 years.


Monday, 21ST November, 1966:

Hauraki 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.


1ST December 1966:

Radio 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.


9am, Sunday, December 4TH, 1966: On air tests started up again.


11am, Sunday, December 4th, 1966:

Listeners 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.


Saturday, January 28TH 1968: “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY”.

The 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.


Sunday January 29TH 1968:

The TIRI is towed back to Auckland.  The TIRI was badly damaged and is beyond repair.  The TIRI’s days for Hauraki are over.

Most 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 immediately.


1:15am, Tuesday, February 27TH 1968:

The TIRI II sets sail for International waters from Auckland.


Wednesday, February 28TH 1968:                                         

Hauraki 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.


April 10TH, 1968: THE WAHINE STORM.

The 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.         


Because 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.


Easter Monday, April 15TH 1968:

After 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.


Between April 20TH - May 19TH 1968:

Radio 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.


May 15TH 1968:  The TIRI II is beached at Whangaparapara.

They’re back on air on May 19th 1968.


June 13TH 1968:

The TIRI II runs aground at Uretiti Beach, about 20 miles south of Whangarei, Near Waipu.  The Hauraki crew again safe.


Hauraki started 24 hour broadcasting just before Christmas 1968.

The 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.

October 1969:                                                                               

Applications 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.


1969:        Early Days - Challenging The System:

With 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.


Radio 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.


January 27TH 1970:

Hearings 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. 


Late afternoon, Tuesday, 24TH March 1970:

The 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.


June 1ST 1970:

The 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 Auckland.


June 2ND, 1970:                                                               

Announcer 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.


The battle was on once again between Radio Hauraki and Radio i to get on the air first.


6am, Saturday 26TH September 1970:

Only 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.


Late 1970 or Early 1971:  A 3RD private radio station went on the air from Hamilton.  This was Radio Waikato broadcasting on 930AM. 


1970: There were only two broadcasting radio stations for the entire

Bay 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).


November 10TH 1970:

A private broadcasting licence was granted to Radio Whakatane

Limited by the Broadcasting Authority.


12pm 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.


November 1971:

A Private radio station goes to air Dunedin - Radio Otago Limited’s 4XO - broadcasting on 1210AM.


1972:  Wellington’s private radio station Radio Windy goes on the air


August 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.


Mid 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 building.


The minister of broadcasting was nervous and conditions were         strict,

the 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.




1975: 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” that year.


By 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.


1976: 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).


1977: Wellington’s Radio Active hits the AM airwaves as a project of          the radio club of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association.


September 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.


November 1978:  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


1979:        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 supportive.


1982:  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.

The 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 - 12am         Midnight.  Each night FM 90.7 featured different types of music to attract various spheres of the population and to encourage individual musical tastes:

Monday - Country Music                                       

Tuesday - Album Rock                                                

Wednesday - Classical Music                                               

Thursday -         Jazz                                                         

Friday - Rock & Soul Music                        

Saturday - Top 40 Music                                       

Sunday - Big Band & Beautiful Music


Ultimately 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.                                                                         

FM 90.7's main on-air studio was studio B in the 1XX Building, but on other occasions the 1XX caravan was utilised.                                                                                                                    

It was the entent of FM 90.7 to convey the many aspects of music in an informative, as well as an entertaining programme.    

29 people were involved on-air - some regular 1XX announcers

& staff members, while others were recruited form the public.

Each one come in to practise their shifts, before their big moment on New Zealand's first FM radio station - FM 90.7.

1982: 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

Radio Pacific, which he had invested in, and were he is now the

Managing Director of the 26 frequency nation-wide network station.


1982:  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 application.


1983: 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.


1983: 2 FM stations began broadcasting in Auckland. These stations were the 1ST fulltime licenced FM stereo stations - 89FM and 91FM.


1984:  The first major evaluation of Campus Radio 1XB. 

Private 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.



February 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.


The next few years were a constant push to increase hours and

transmission 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!)

but it didn’t go unnoticed by the other operators in their objections.


bFM 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.


May 1986: Independent Radio News (IRN) a network news & sports bulletin service from Wellington for private stations came into service.


1986: 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 Pacific!




Coverage 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

Mt. 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 year.


Finances 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.


A 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.


The 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).


Monday, 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.


1987: Auckland’s 1ZB becomes Newstalk 1ZB and later Newstalk ZB - the pioneer news talk station in New Zealand.


December 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         each day.


1988-1989:        BCNZ divides and Radio New Zealand (RNZ) becomes a separate entity and a State Owned Enterprise (SOE)


1988-1989: 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.


February 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.


The 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.


1990: 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 day.


1992: 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 rock station.


1992:        Though still located at the university, Radio Active has been a private company since it was sold by VUWSA.  Active 89FM is         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.


1993:  The Radio Bureau – a national advertising agency for radio was established in Auckland.


February 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.

This 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 1991/1992.  Bayrock         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.


1994:  Radio New Zealand’s “Classic Hits” brand group was launched nationwide.


1995-1996: 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.


September 21ST, 1995: 

Radio 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.


March 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.


August 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.


1997: 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).

In 1998 a New Plymouth based polytechnic station – 92.3FM The Most joins b-Net.


1997: 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.


1998:  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. 


1999: 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

1999: 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.


The 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. 

Some of the existing Radio Otago frequencies in some markets change into one of the 3 RadioWorks network music brands in the South Island.


1999: Radio Hauraki re-launches its Auckland based programme back into Hamilton & the Waikato but this time on 96.0FM.


April 2000: Radio Hauraki expands even further, this time into Tauranga and the Western Bay Of Plenty on 89.0FM.