My first conscious memory of Radio Hauraki is probably in 1972, as a child in Auckland growing up and being fascinated by Auckland Radio. I became aware of alternatives to my preference for 1ZB, and although I also enjoyed Radio I, Hauraki started to fascinate me with its lively and varied programming. Who were the “good guys?” and why did Peter T talk the way he did? Fred Botika’s breakfasts were significant during my childhood, especially Bimpy, who was Fred’s duck who came alive to coincide with Merv Smith’s school bell and Scottish spider at 7:50 each school morning. There were other great voices and personalities:
By 1977 I made sure that I was listening to Barry Jenkin, and his punk music had to be played (of course) as loud as the radio could hack it. Barry also had Sunday evenings, and on occasions would chat with respected people in the New Zealand music game: Tommy Adderley comes to mind and in addition to discussions about Punk and New Wave, there would be jazz and country, with the good Doctor demonstrating his extensive knowledge of music and his ability to provide classical analysis of what was being played. Always thought this was strange, but it showed how Jenkin’s broadcasting skills could be used to provide quality radio when given freedom to say and play whatever he liked.
But the programming was more than just music. During Auckland summers Hauraki had Barry flying his Cesna along the coastlines, reporting on beach conditions, and there was the harbour patrol – a launch cruising the Waitemata and giving away summer prizes. And Roctobers were great! Special programmes and documentaries celebrating rock music – some of these were legendary – produced or presented by great radio broadcasters, including the late Robert W. Morgan out of Los Angelese. I remember the enjoyment I derived from Hauraki’s playing of “The History of Rock ‘n Roll” and thought that all we needed to survive was an endless supply of good music.
In this same vein – weekends of live rock concerts – and I remember a fantastic radio special entitled “Fantasy Park” which was a collection of rock’s finest in a mythical rock festival.
Sundays were special: American Top 40 gave us music that we would otherwise not hear, presented in a way which still belongs to Casey Kasem, and of course, there were no ads. But even some of the commercials were great: lively and extensively arranged jingles for Coke come to mind, but there were probably others.
During my childhood and teenage years, Hauraki represented a summer sound and was blessed with talented radio people who always sounded like they had fun. Today, although Radio Haurki is the only music station I listen to, the formula is not individualistic enough – too much scripting, too few jingles and not enough fun. This is a shame, as there are fine broadcasters who carry the Hauraki name forward, but we don’t hear their full range of talents in the way I heard Peter T, Fred Botika, Kent Robinson, Kevin Black, Ross Goodwin and the rest – including for instance Karen Hay who for a short time in the 1980s hosted evenings and had a request programme called the “Rock Line.”
Many Hauraki people have stayed in the game and we hear them on other stations, but I for one will ensure that I don’t miss a second of the special programming coming up next weekend.
Happy partying guys and thanks for so many memories. Vaughan