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A History of Student Radio – NZ Music Month

Written by on 4 May 2015


To celebrate, every Thursday for the month of May RDU will be playing an episode of the History of Student Radio produced by Radio New Zealand.

Here’s how Radio NZ described the shows.

The History of Student Radio is a four-part journey through 45 years of student radio in New Zealand – the stars and bands who got their breaks, the politics, the music, the piracy and the ‘No. 8 wire’ sink or swim mentality.

Thursday 7 May, Midday – History of Student Radio Part 1
From the humble home-made AM transmitters, illegally manned by tech-nerds on islands around Auckland for limited weeks of the university term, campus radio stations rapidly evolved into a beacon for music-lovers, on-air talkers and people who never finished their degrees – we talk to some of characters who set the template for student radio in New Zealand, breaking rules, records, and radio transmitters.

Thursday 14 May, Midday – History of Student Radio Part 2
Broadcasters who would go on to become household names recall their youthful antics in student radio, the ‘taste barons’ attempt to limit the playing of Joy Division, and the station managers negotiate with their Student Associations, amid the volatile political climate of the mid-80s.

Thursday 21 May, Midday – History of Student Radio Part 3
Student radio stations tap into the ‘youth market’ to generate advertising revenue; the ‘alternative’ becomes mainstream; and we hear about some of the non-musical exploits of student radio, including dubious news gathering practises, the art of making a student radio advertisment, and 95Bfm’s ‘Dad’s Tips’.
In the last Episode of A History Of Student Radio we left you hanging, with some stations ceasing to be……

In 1992 Wellington’s Radio Active was shut down by the student’s association because of the financial burden – losses amounted to around $200,000. Twenty five investors – mostly DJs and fans – put in two thousand dollars each, set up a limited liability company and within a week it was back on air.

Radio UFM in Christchurch also closed it’s doors briefly in 1989, for the same reasons. But a proposal to improve the station’s management convinced the student association to resume broadcasting.

So, in this week’s episode, they’re back on air, trying to make some money, and getting stronger than ever.

Thursday 28 May, Midday – History of Student Radio Part 4
We pull focus to the years following 2000 and zoom in on those to come, considering the place of alternative independent radio in the ever-changing modern media landscape.

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