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Written by on 13 August 2014


Undated letter from P W Davis, Controller
By undated letter sent c/- 386 Papanui Road, Christchurch 5, P W Davis UCSA Orientation “Controller” sought detailed information on the requirements for an application for a temporary broadcast licence from the New Zealand Broadcasting Authority. Refer Pink document 1

P W Davis describes:

“We are faced with an acute communication problem here at Canterbury, due to a new, sprawling campus which is located in the suburbs and away from the major student flatting areas of Christchurch. Also, the campus itself is large, with student hostels scattered around the perimeter, and sadly out of touch with each other and the Student Association as a whole. We feel, therefore, that such a station would serve to strengthen our student community. This programme especially affects first year students faced with the new and at times overwhelming university environment”.

The proposed a programme aimed at the student audience and with the “express aim of coordinating Orientation activities. It would consist of talks, advice on various services, light entertainment, and music, etc. Programme content would be strictly controlled. We would anticipate three periods of operation per day i.e. 7.30-9.00am, 12-1.30pm, and 5-7pm, running for about 10 days.”

Letter dated 2 September 1975 – refer Pink document 2

The Broadcasting Council of New Zealand (BCNZ) replied to Mr P W Davis “Controller, UCSA” in response concerning “an application for a short term broadcasting authorisation during next year’s orientation activities”.
The writer (K M Hay) advises that the Broadcasting Act of 1973 permits short term authorisations for the operation of a broadcasting station for a period not exceeding 28 days.

Short term authorisations could only operate on the following conditions:

• Not more than 100 watts in broadcast strength;

• A requirement to take out insurance cover or other form of indemnity for defamation, breach of copyright or other possible
liability in the sum of $50,000;

• The “on air name” of the station needed to be approved;

• The day to day programme schedules needed to be submitted for approval;

• No advertising programmes were to be broadcast;

• Compliance with the technical requirements of the “post office from whom a licence is required” and compliance with the terms of the Broadcasting Act 1973 and the associated rules.

Mr Hay suggested that Mr Davis contact the Radio Engineering Section of the Christchurch Post Office to obtain information on the technical details.

17 October 1975

The Post Master General’s Office writes to Mr Davis “Orientation Controller” advising him of the conditions imposed on all other groups seeking short term authorisations. These were:

• Broadcast would be restricted solely to the actual period of enrolment, plus a short period for Orientation purposes. They were limited to seven hours per day, Monday to Friday, with a total of six hours each weekend.

• Programmes needed to be directed solely at university students.

• Broadcast content had to be limited in the main to items connected with the dispersal of information relating to enrolment and orientation activities. A limited amount of other university produced programmes or items aimed specifically at a university student audience would also be satisfactory, together with “a very restricted amount of recorded music which may be played as “fill in”.

• “A day by day programme schedule, in sufficient detail to enable a ready assessment to be made of the type of programme items intended for broadcast” had to be submitted one calendar month before the proposed date of broadcast. The secretary or an officer of the Broadcasting Council as appointed by the secretary had the final and exclusive decision as to the suitability of the programme content.

• No advertising could be broadcast and no payment of any type could be accepted for the broadcast of anything.

• A policy of insurance against defamation, breach of copyright or other liability was required in the amount of $50,000.

• The on air name required his approval.

• Compliance with the Broadcasting Act 1973, or rules and an operation licence from the Post Office needed to be required.

The application had to be submitted three full months in advance of the date of proposed broadcast.


This prompted an application for a short term broadcasting authorisation for the period 23 February to 6 March 1976. The applicant was the “Radio U Sub-Committee” c/- Orientation ’76.

Refer Pink document 3

The sub-committee consisted of:

Howie Bruce Amos – fourth year art student. Who was to be responsible or “all aspects of the preparation of programme detail, station administration and day to day running.”

Peter Leonard Kennedy – sixth year student studying law. Proposed studio director. He was described as having considerable experience in audio, sound recording, mixing, and PA work. He was the current manager of the Ngaio Marsh Theatre. He was to be responsible for the maintenance, administration and operation of all studio equipment.

Ian Powell – an arts student and 1975 editor of CANTA. He was the proposed news and current affairs editor, responsible for the collection and gathering and collation of all news and current affair items.

Paul Collins – a BE student and former post office technician who was the proposed technical director responsible for the installation and maintenance of all transmission equipment.

Stephen Krenek – PHD science student studying radio physics who was the proposed technical assistant.

Simon Dalley – a BE student and proposed technical assistance.

Proposed Announcers:

John Farnsworth – BA student
James Chambers – Masters of Science student
Trevor Cattermole – BA student
Glenys Christian – journalism student and chief reporter for CANTA in 1975 as proposed reporter.

The purpose for which the proposed station would be used and the “grounds which justify the application” were described as follows: “To disburse information to students concerning the 1976 enrolment and Orientation”. They described enrolment week as a “confusing and anxious period for both returning as well as first year students. The station would provide an effective and easily reached link between the students and the various University departments and personnel.”

Orientation, described as “the more social introduction to the University way of life” functioned during the first week of the academic year and “aims to solve many of the problems facing the first year student as well as assisting returning students.”

“In the sphere of meeting others and forming friendships the importance of such a period of organised and constructive participation can not (sic) be overlooked.”

The application again referred to the University’s large and sprawling campus with hostels located around the western perimeter. The application went on to say that, “Because of its size the Students’ Association is faced with an acute communication problem when faced with the task of reaching its new members. This problem is further compounded by the fact that the University has only recently shifted to the suburbs and has thus left the major student flatting areas of Christchurch which are located in the old areas of the city.”

As to programme content, this would be “non commercial. There would be an extensive information service made available for such items as interviews with people holding responsible positions in the University and the Students’ Association, information services on the various agencies that are available to help students, and student produced items such as drama, debates, music and poetry”. The application also said that “special items would be produced to introduce and inform Overseas students.”

Music was, at that time, a secondary consideration. The application read:

“Any music played will be intended as a “fill in” and will consist of a balance of classical, rock, and popular music aimed specifically at the student audience.”

The RDU archive holds no further information relating to the 1976 first broadcast.

A number of brand and documents were created to deal with the internal workings of Radio U. The first ever brands / logos are believed to be those Green document 1 and Green document 2.




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