BOLT from bedroom out to conquer airwaves
Ellen Irvine, Bay of Plenty Times
Jake Townsend has a voice for radio and he’s only 14.
The Mount Maunganui College schoolboy started his own radio station, BOLT FM this year.
And while most children will spend the school holidays relaxing with their mates, Jake and his friend Hayden Gies, 13, are looking forward to two weeks of filling the Papamoa airwaves.
The pair started broadcasting from an empty shop in Palm Beach Plaza on Saturday and will be there until the end of the school holidays.
It’s the first major public broadcast for the fledgling station, which is usually broadcast out of Jake’s bedroom.
“I originally started it because I’ve been interested in radio for about three years,” Jake said.
“I got interested and bought a couple of items of equipment. I thought it would be cool to have your own station.”
BOLT FM, which has a 200m frequency zone on 88.3, started in Papamoa, but shifted to Oceanbeach Rd when Jake’s family moved house.
But the boys are hoping to find a permanent home in Papamoa for the station, which plays a variety of music including Pearl Jam, Dizzee Rascal, Lady Gaga and Dane Rumble.
The station also broadcasts over the internet and the boys estimate they have about 30 listeners.
Technology allows them to see how many people are listening online at any given time.
BOLT FM did not have to buy a licence for the frequency but they had to make sure they used a blank frequency.
“If the neighbours like listening to The Rock on 94.2, you can’t be overlapping it,” Jake explained.
During the school term, the station broadcasts live from about 4pm to 8.30pm. Apart from time constraints, power consumption is also an issue, as the boys don’t have part-time jobs to pay for electricity. The boys aim to make the radio station as professional as possible, complete with jingles and the slogan “Top music now, BOLT FM”.
Their goal is to grow BOLT FM into a Tauranga-wide station and to make a career in radio when they finish school.
© Bay of Plenty Times July 5 2010.
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