Short Term Kiwi Radio Memories
No, it’s not what happens to people who over indulge during the holiday season!
Rather, the New Zealand broadcasting regulations in the 1970’s and early 80’s, allowed ‘short term’ local radio stations to broadcast for a limited time.
These so called ‘short term’ licences could be for as little as a few hours on one day, or maybe for a week, sometimes longer.
They were issued to stop the lid exploding off the pot of growing demand for new radio stations, and some of todays radio landscape was crafted by these stations.
The Rhema Broadcasting Group [which now has 3 national networks and more on the way] began with a simple one day broadcast in Christchurch in 1974. Wellington followed for another day much later.
The university b-Net stations began with ‘orientation’ broadcasts to new students for a week or so every year. These later became a series of licences rolled over back to back over the student year to meet listener demand.
The term ‘b-Net’ comes from the original Auckland University station name ‘Radio B’, which, began even less elegantly as ‘Radio Bosom’.
Radio Ribbet from Otago, Radio U from Canterbury and Radio Active from Victoria [Wellington] are other examples of student stations that lurched precariously onto the airwaves through a few days a year of approved mayhem.
Maori Language Week in Wellington gave early impetus to todays Iwi Radio networks with a short term licence issued for a few days broadcast. Many others followed.
Regional commercial stations such as Radio Waikato [1XW] in Hamilton, jumped on the summer market bandwagon, with short term stations like Radio Sam [1XC] covering the Coromandel during January, reaching thousands of Aucklanders and others on vacation in a radio dead zone.
Everyone from the Caravaners Association to Boy Scouts Jamborees, fund raisers for restoration of a historic ship at Waiuku, farmers at the early Fieldays at Mystery Creek, organizers of Air Displays and Street Car Races, local town boosters, and anyone who could fill out a form and find a transmitter, studio gear and someone who could switch on a microphone got their time on air.
At this holiday time of the year, when short term memory loss is forgiven, we remember some of those early broadcasters, the fun they had, and the good causes they supported.
Do you have your own [hazy or otherwise] memories of short term radio in the 1970’s and 80’s? Dig out the old cassette or reel to reel tapes of those few hours or days of broadcast and share them with us. Dust off the old photos, find the old promotional car stickers, and let’s let the memories linger a little longer.
Contact us today or send materials to Radio Heritage Foundation, PO Box 20024, Wellington 6242, New Zealand.
As part of our ‘Celebrating Over 85 Years of Popular Kiwi Radio’ campaign in 2007, we’ll bring you more about these stations. For now, enjoy these images from ephemeral ‘short term’ broadcasters that paved the way for Kiwi radio today.