From David’s Desk: Issue 2

09 February 2005

New Zealand’s radio heritage sites in danger.
But you can help turn these threats into opportunity!

3ZB listener confirmation card from North Beach transmitter site, 1948 (Cleve Costello Collection)

The ease with which radio heritage can be destroyed overnight recently became painfully obvious.

A spectacular fire in central Christchurch destroyed the Cashel Chambers block, home for many decades to the Canterbury Farmer’s department store. In the early 1930’s, this housed the studios of 3ZC, one of the first radio stations in the city, and owned by the Canterbury Farmer’s Co-operative Association.

3ZC letter from Cashel Street studios, 1933 (Eric Shackle Collection)

3ZC manager William Shackle was known to young Christchurch school children as ‘Uncle Bill’. The tearooms in the store were often used for children’s parties, and young local talent would line up in front of the big old microphone to recite poems, sing songs and tell stories.

I heard from Uncle Bill’s now 81 years old daughter the other day. She was sad to hear of the loss. It closed another chapter in her life.

Grace Green features on New Zealand ‘Emerging Years’ postage stamp issue, 1994 (Radio Heritage Foundation)

Even as the old 3ZC studio building burned to the ground, the original transmitter building and stand by studios for 3ZB at North Beach also come under threat of potential demolition by the Christchurch City Council as part of its management review of the area.

Ironically, popular Christchurch radio personality Grace Green broadcast from this very site when the original 3ZB studios in the central city were destroyed by fire soon after the station began operations in 1937.

Together with the Christchurch City Council, we’re looking at options to protect and restore the original 3ZB building instead of seeing it demolished. You can contribute time, materials and funds to take advantage of this opportunity to keep the building and find a contemporary use that celebrates radio heritage in the city. Will you help? Please contact us today.

3ZB original transmitter and stand-by studio building, North Beach, 2005 (Christchurch City Council)

On February 22, again together with the Christchurch City Council, we’re holding a meeting to bring together people and interest groups concerned about the threat to local radio heritage sites. Similar meetings will be considered for other areas in both New Zealand and Australia to raise awareness of the issue.

Radio heritage sites across the Pacific are largely unrecorded, unprotected, and in need of your help today. By financially supporting our on-going advocacy work, getting involved and ‘adopting’ a place of special interest in your own location, you can make a difference.

Please start today, because fires and bulldozers can destroy yesterday’s radio heritage tomorrow! You can make an on-line donation now, or contact us .


Happy 80th Birthday Radio 2UE Sydney

January 26 2005 saw Australia’s oldest commercial radio station celebrate 80 years of broadcasting to the residents of Sydney.

2UE advertisement for ‘technical tops’ in 1952 (Cleve Costello Collection)

When it started in 1925, it was owned by the Electric Utilities Supply and had the call sign 2EU, later changed to the now familiar 2UE.

The oldest sports service on Australian radio began on 2UE, with coverage of horse and greyhound racing, and the station later played host to popular New Zealand radio personality Colin Scrimgeour whose earlier broadcasts from 1ZB Auckland were jammed by the New Zealand government.

Radio 2UE currently broadcasts 24/7 on the AM frequency of 954 kHz and still entertains and informs a new generation of Sydneysiders.

2UE listener confirmation card issued in April 1933 (Eric Shackle Collection)

Interested in Sydney radio? Can you volunteer a few hours a week to bring the stories of these stations into our on-line archive? Simply send us an email today to find out how you can help keep decades of Sydney radio ‘on the air’, listen to the ‘old’ jingles again, and enjoy a wide collection of adverts, car stickers and other memorabilia, as well as true Sydney radio stories.


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