ZM Wellington Celebrates 40 Years Rockin’ On

Wellington ZM crew relive glory days


REUNITING: From left, Paul Brennan, Liz Barry, Phil O’Brien, Phil Darkins and Jimmy Stewart are ready to rock out some old 2ZM yarns. Photo: JOHN NICHOLSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Forty years of Wellington radio personalities will converge when a classic station’s former crew come together for a long-awaited reunion.

Wellington’s 2ZM was one of the city’s first real rock music stations. Fond memories of the station’s rich on-air history and old audio clips will be celebrated, when former presenters and crew get together to share stories next month.

2ZM announcer and reunion organiser Paul Brennan says getting everyone together from almost 40 years of radio has been a challenge. But about 70 current and former staff of the ZM brand are now confirmed.

“For a long time we sat around and talked about doing a reunion, but it was time to get off our backsides.

“One of my favourite memories was being a kid and listening to 2ZM, so to have some of those guys I grew up listening to now coming along to the reunion will be amazing.”

The Wellington-based station was founded in the early 1970s as one of three branches of the Radio New Zealand-owned commercial music stations. The other two branches were in Auckland and Christchurch.

The three stations were bought by The Radio Network in 1996 and are still part of the radio landscape today, as the Auckland-based 91ZM.

“2ZM was this shining little rock`n’roll radio station in the middle of the very grey, drab Muldoon era,” Brennan says.

“It was so cool to think all of these fans of radio eventually ended up working at that cool little radio station in one way or another.”

Fellow 2ZM alumnus Phil Darkins says 2ZM was at the forefront of the Wellington music scene.

“It really was at the cutting edge of rock music in the 1970s and 80s. We had some legendary voices on the air such as Justin du Fresne and Jimmy Stewart, so I really had an absolute ball working there.

“It was just the most incredible thing to go from being a listener to be working alongside them.”

The old crew, along with many current ZM staff, will be getting together at Dockside on March 11.

“It really was one of the best places you could possibly want to work. It was a dream come true for a young music fiend like me,” Darkins says. “I couldn’t believe someone was silly enough to pay me for it, to be honest.”

© Dominion Post February 23, 2012.

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

For a current list of all radio stations broadcasting in New Zealand, visit our New Zealand Radio Guide.

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