Waiheke Radio - History

History

The Waiheke Community Radio Trust established Waiheke Radio as a not-for-profit, community radio service for Waiheke in 2008 and began broadcasting on two Low Power FM transmitters later that year. One of the transmitters was paid for from a grant from the Waiheke Community Board. A community lease was also secured in the Artworks complex in Oneroa after pressure was put on Auckland city by members of the Waiheke Community board who lobbied for a month-to-month lease to be granted to the trust.

Many of the trustees and DJs were originally volunteers with the now defunct Beach FM. That station's loss of lease on its broadcasting premises and subsequent loss of its frequency 99.4 in New Zealand's frequency tender process left the island without a radio broadcaster and created the opportunity for the development of a not-for-profit community station on the island. The Waiheke Community Radio Trust attended the August 2008 spectrum auction and was bidding on the 99.4 frequency which eventually sold for $380,000, putting it well out of the trust's reach. The successful bidder was World TV Limited, a company that runs a number of Asian-language TV and radio stations.

The $380,000 paid for the frequency was the second highest sum paid for any frequency in the country in this auction round. The last Waiheke Island frequency auctioned, in 2003, also went for a very large sum, $378,000. The effect of the high prices paid was that Waiheke interests were priced out of the market as there is not sufficient population to support either a commercial or non-commercial operation that had to recover such an amount.

Waiheke Radio made its first live broadcast on Saturday 28 June from 7am to 12pm. The station hosted The Classic Gold Breakfast, a nationally networked Saturday morning breakfast show fronted by veteran broadcaster, Chris Diack who was visiting the island and worked with the Waiheke Radio volunteers to broadcast his breakfast show from the studio in Artworks. The show featured a number of local people, including students from Waiheke Primary School.

The official opening of the radio station was October 25, 2008 and the station is now broadcasting a variety of specialist music and interview style shows.

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