In 2010 Oamaru DXer Peter Grenfell donated these two recordings of “opening broadcasts” to us. The first is of 4ZJ, a short-term station broadcasting for the 1978 Scout Jamboree in Oamaru, the second being the start of full-time broadcasting from Radio Rhema in Christchurch. The quality of these recordings is less than perfect, but they are both interesting events.
Opening of 4ZJ Jamboree Scout Radio
The 3rd Asia-Pacific Scout Jamboree was held at the Oamaru Racecourse, Oamaru, in New Zealand’s South Island, from January 4th to 11th 1978. This was also the 8th New Zealand National Jamboree, with the theme of “New Horizons”.
A short-term radio station with the callsign 4ZJ operated on 1320 kHz, with a power of 1kW, during this Jamboree, and DXer Peter Grenfell recording the opening of transmission from his home in Oamaru.
This recording was made in his kitchen using a microphone next to the radio loudspeaker, and has some “domestic interference” sounds in the background.
QSL card from 4ZJ recevied by DXer David Ricquish. © Radio Heritage Foundation, David Ricquish Collection
Commencement of Full-time Broadasting from 3XG Radio Rhema
Rhema Media began in the 1960s as Gospel Radio Fellowship, a small group of evangelical Christians who wanted to set up a radio station in Christchurch. The New Zealand Government legalised private radio, after illegal pirate broadcasts by Radio Hauraki in the Hauraki Gulf. The fellowship set up a radio studio and transmitter in an old church building and applied to the Broadcasting Authority for permission to broadcast in 1972. However, the authority was skeptical about the need for an evangelical radio station, and declined the station’s application based on a lack of public interest, finance and professional staff.
Gospel Radio Fellowship changed its name to Radio Rhema in 1974, and raised enough money to employ twenty staff. It received a one-day license for Christchurch in November 1974, a one-day license for Petone in October 1975, and a 10-day Christmas license for Christchurch in 1976. The broadcasts had to be live, medium wave, no more than 100 watts, and only directed at supporters. The station published newsletters for its Christchurch and Wellington listeners, and launched a monthly publication, Frequency, in 1977.
Radio Rhema gained a permanent licence in 1978 after about 55,000 people pledged their support to the station. It was launched by prime minister Robert Muldoon, who said the station promoted “a faith that moves mountains”, and made its first broadcast officially on 11 November 1978. The station was allowed to broadcast six hours a day on weekdays and 18 hours a day on weekends, making it the first permanent Christian station in the British Commonwealth and one of the first Christian broadcasters in the world.
Peter Grenfell recorded the opening of permanent transmission from Christchurch at his home in Oamaru, with speech by New Zealand Prime Minister at the time, Robert Muldoon.
Unfortunately the latter portion of this recording is of poor quality.
Peter Grenfell passed away in July 2017.
You can read his “DXers Profile” on the website of the New Zealand Radio DX League: