How much History can One Beach have?
Written by Archive on February 22, 2018
Almost 17 years ago I arrived on an island in the Hauraki Gulf called Waiheke, with a one year old daughter and de facto partner in tow determined to start a new lifestyle for all of us as a family. Needless to say all these years on there have been many adaptations of the scenario I imagined then of what might lie ahead and thats another story.
The one I’m here to tell is about the history of this islands’ radio as I’ve interpreted it thru my eyes and the numerous morphs that it has progressed through over the last 16 yrs.
The Meeting:Sometime in early 1990,
After having dwelt on the island for nearly a 12 mth period, one gets to know some of the locals and there appeared in the local paper of the time an advert wanting to hear from anyone that would be interested in being involved with an attempt to start up a local fm station on the island. This caught my eye as I was at the time of moving to the island working as a panel operater/ producer of late night talkback shows and had a history of being involved in the music and broadcasting industries prior to that. I was also still commuting to Auckland 6 out of 7 days to work in the aforementioned occupation.
So I met with two gentleman/blokes at the then proposed Artworks complex to look at their studio setup on the top floor above what is now the local library. Where the studios/two rooms was situated is now taken up by the art supplies shop and part of the art gallery next door. Hell of a good view then of the northern coastline of the island stretching away from the big Oneroa Bay out the windows of this upstairs site and the on air studio was situated accordingly in one corner of the building taking in this wonderful vista.
At this time in the then 20th century, as you can imagine the setup was crude and basic in the studio, and from my experiences over the last 20 yrs in the same industry , thats what makes great raw edged radio stations. Running on pioneering spirits made up of guts, enthusiasm and general everyday madness from those involved, I mean we are talking community based media here. Nothing much seems to have changed if we flick forward to the present day setup. The madness all those years ago was disguised in the form of enthusiasm as far as Peter Young was concerned, who was actually a quite well known leather goods manufacturer on the island and general businessman as well, with involvement in a clotheswear shop in the main village.He had an intense interest in the theories of Tesla, and an intense dislike for anything to do with following the rules of the radio spectrum management and their associated inspectors that popped up on the island in a monitoring van unannounced hoping to catch us out with over modulating of the frequency and other nefarious acts. Our problems at that time stemmed from the big boys in Auckland radio that didn’t like the fact that some rogue station on an island in the gulf could override their signals and provide listeners with an alternative listening spectrum that wasn’t gleaned and programmed from the likes of billboard charts and sales of major record companies.
We struggled then as does the latest version of Waiheke radio to obtain and hold any form of consistent advertising to offset the costs of running equipment , paying rent, utility bills and the suchlike. Remember we’re talking about a permanent population of less than 5000 in the early 90’s, that has only swelled to around the 8000 mark now in 2007, (for more up to date figures and statistics a visit to any number of Waiheke or NZ Government websites will prevail