Radio Woodville turns 25

By Dave Murdoch, Hawkes Bay Today
8 Jun, 2023

Radio Woodville as it is today in McLean St.

When Radio Woodville started, they were broadcasting out of a house in Vogel St.

It was June 1, 1998, and it started modestly from a suggestion by the original Woodville Mainstreet Committee as a way to promote the town, which was in need of an economic boost.

Twenty-five years later and the station continues to be the voice of Woodville, celebrating its birthday earlier this month.

They had a picture from their scrapbook of the first broadcast on June 1, 1998.

Over the years the station has gradually grown, changing frequencies and buildings and has morphed into the radio station it is today in McLean St to which it moved in 2004.

Inside the station, Eric Bodell and Pete Pollitt finish their session called Pete’s Pics.

Current manager Eric Bodell, who was there at the beginning, says the station filled a gap the major radio stations had left because they seldom referred to Woodville despite broadcasting from Wharite.

He says the focus for Radio Woodville was and still is to keep listeners informed about local happenings by broadcasting reports on sports and cultural events as well as giving businesses the chance to advertise at absurdly low rates.

The station currently has 19 broadcasters with their own sessions featuring the music they love, all expertly mixing up-to-date local news and amusing stories, advertising upcoming as well as past activities to a listening audience which is within its bandwidth but also can be globally streamed live.

Eric says the station plays an important part in emergencies citing the 2004 floods where it played a major part finding accommodation for the occupants of 55 homes affected.

He says with the caravan as a mobile broadcaster it could have been put to use in Hawke’s Bay during Cyclone Gabrielle when other communication systems were down.

As the current station is very resilient, Radio Woodville also works with the local Fire And Emergency team.

Adding to its service, the mobile caravan is called upon to broadcast at Christmas, Anzac and other functions like the King’s Coronation Celebration in Fountaine Square recently.

Volunteer manager Eric Bodell on the station’s 25th birthday on June 1.

Eric says while there is good financial support from local and other Tararua businesses and organisations including the Tararua District Council, Rural Fire, Woodville Lions and St John’s Health Shuttle, he would like to see a lot more support from locals, such as ringing up with news, or taking out an advert, which he says is the simplest process, volunteering to either broadcast or help behind the scenes and listening/interacting with broadcasts.

As for the next 25 years, Eric and his team would like to continue broadcasting to their listeners.

They cut a beautifully decorated birthday cake.
The night before, the current volunteers celebrated with dinner at the New Central Hotel.

© Hawkes Bay Today – June 8, 2023

This material remains © NZME Publishing Limited and is only to be used for non-commercial personal or research use. Any other use requires permission of the copyright holder.

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