Daniel Smith – Stuff
Oct 05 2022
Auckland radio station Base FM has been sold to prominent Destiny Church members George Ngatai and Raewyn Bhana.
The move was a surprise to many of the DJs working at the station, and some resigned in protest of the move.
But new owner George Ngatai said there were no plans to make major changes to the station.
“I can’t detach my associations from myself, but I can promise that everything we do will be professional,” Ngatai said.
Ngatai said he had more than 24 years of experience in community and iwi radio and was excited to start working with Base FM.
But former employees of Base FM were surprised by the move and some decided to leave the station.
A former worker who did not want to be named, said there was no consultation between the former owner, and staff or volunteers.
“This is a very liberal station, so I think many DJs will be shocked. But time will tell what happens next,” he said.
In an email to current Base FM volunteers that was shared on Twitter, Ngatai and Bhana said they were business owners with a $25 million operation including eight medical practises, two supermarkets, a Mr Whippy franchise, and multiple childcare centres.
“Our focus has always been on our communities and will continue to be so. We want to support continued services Base FM has been providing and look forward to working with each and every one of you,” the email read.
Former station owner Jasmine Ziedan refused to comment.
Auckland-based media commentator Russell Brown wrote on Twitter that there were a number of “very anxious and concerned DJs out there”.
“I really appreciate what Jazz has done keeping Base FM alive and afloat for 15 years and understand that she’d want to move on. But this was always going to come up and perhaps would have been better addressed upfront,” the post read.
Ngatai and Bhana made headlines last year after a medical centre owned by the pair aided in the South Auckland vaccination programme, despite opposition to the vaccine from their pastor Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki.
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