Golden oldies on air well re­ceived

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

Eric Allen is us­ing his love and knowl­edge of mu­sic to give back to his lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Af­ter be­com­ing fed up with the lack of ra­dio pro­grammes for se­niors, the 83-year-old Pt Che­va­lier res­i­dent de­cided to start his own sta­tion, Reef Ra­dio, in 2006.

He now runs the sta­tion out of a small home stu­dio 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 106.7FM.

He doesn’t make any money, but doesn’t mind a bit.

“It’s good fun and it doesn’t in­volve much time.”

The 25,000 ti­tles on the sta­tion’s playlist are largely from his own record col­lec­tion which he started “a fair few years ago”.

It in­cludes ev­ery­thing from the 1930s to the early 1970s.

“There’s a bit of ev­ery­thing in there,” he says, in­clud­ing his first love, jazz.

Not just a lis­tener but a mu­si­cian him­self, Mr Allen played drums in his band Lotsa Jazz un­til Oc­to­ber last year.

The idea for the ra­dio sta­tion came when the mu­sic lover got sick of only hear­ing com­mer­cial ra­dio full of ads aimed at much younger peo­ple.

“There was noth­ing for our age group at all.”

Now the sta­tion has been run­ning for al­most two years and he has had a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back from lis­ten­ers within the 5km ra­dius who re­ceive the chan­nel.

“They’re rapt be­cause they don’t have to lis­ten to ads,” he says.

Neigh­bour and friend Cyril Bell has lived in Pt Che­va­lier for more than 50 years and says Reef Ra­dio is a great ad­di­tion to the com­mu­nity.

He and his wife lis­ten ev­ery day and he says it is very pop­u­lar with pen­sion­ers.

“There are no com­mer­cials which is the big thing for me,” says Mr Bell. “We re­ally en­joy it, Eric does a great job.”

Beach Haven res­i­dent Jac­que­line Fisk used to re­ceive the sta­tion from across the har­bour but says the re­cep­tion is no longer clear enough.

She says she was so ex­cited when she first dis­cov­ered Mr Allen’s sta­tion that she played it on ev­ery ra­dio in the house, in­clud­ing the bath­room.

“It’s good be­cause it’s got such a variety of mu­sic that doesn’t re­peat.

“There are re­ally no sta­tions for the over- 60s age group.”

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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