Access Radio a true story of success
YVETTE BATTEN – NORTH TARANAKI MIDWEEK
Two years ago the voice of the community first wafted over our airwaves when Access Radio Taranaki began broadcasting on radio’s 104.4FM frequency.
Since then the station, on which people can hear shows made by community groups, has punched well above its weight when compared with others in New Zealand.
“All of the people who have participated who work for the station feel constantly enlivened,” says station manager Daniel Keighley.
“We’re all looking to the future and the growth that we see happening with glee.”
The station’s step into broadcasting was kick-started by a grant of $240,000 from New Zealand on Air, renewable annually.
Among several stipulations, the station needed to show the need for the station in the community.
One way to do this was to produce at least 25 new community show hours each week. By the end of the first year they were up to 136 a month.
At any given time there could be up to 13,000 people tuned in.
“We’d over-achieved. The amount of groups that had come to us wanting to make radio were considerably more than NZ on Air had ever imagined.”
It’s a trend that’s continued as the number of groups wanting to create shows has been consistently 50 per cent more than the authorities anticipated.
But the grant from New Zealand on Air, which has just been renewed for next year, only covers 60 per cent of the station’s operating costs.
“We spend quite a bit of the year trying to find the other 40 per cent,” Mr Keighley said.
There are several other big funders including the TSB Community Trust, Lottery Community and support from councils around the region.
But more often than not the station operates under the 100 per cent it needs. But this doesn’t stop the station leaping ahead.
There are almost 3000 previously aired shows available on the station’s website.
“We find that people are using them as a resource.”
He uses the example of Man’s World, a show created by Kerry Babbage of Mates, that has gone into its third series. Mates is a support group for men going through difficult times.
Mr Babbage also writes a column in the North Taranaki Midweek and South Taranaki Star.
“Mates network has now proliferated massively largely in part due to their radio show here in Taranaki.
“They tape their three series and they gift them as CDs to people in need,” Mr Keighley says.
People around the country and the world tune into Taranaki’s shows via the live streaming feature on the station’s website.
This week the station begins doing live interviews with people around the world via Skype.
The first is with a Taranaki woman living in London who’ll give updates on the Olympics.
© Fairfax NZ News
© Taranaki Daily News July 11, 2012.
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