Ra­dio Woody mark­ing 20 years on air

Bush Telegraph - - News - By DOUG COUTTS Ra­dio Woodville

Ra­dio Woodville has cel­e­brated its 20th birth­day, mark­ing the oc­ca­sion with a high tea on June 17 for former and cur­rent vol­un­teers, many of whom have been with the station since it first went on air on June 1, 1998.

Station man­ager Eric Bodell re­calls how it all started.

“The Woodville Main­street group was think­ing about hav­ing piped music down the main street and ap­proached me, be­cause I was run­ning my own busi­ness, Mid­land Elec­tron­ics, at the time,” he says. “I thought about it, chat­ted to some others and we de­cided that run­ning wires would be trou­ble­some, so we should set up a ra­dio station in­stead.”

A small team set up bor­rowed and do­nated equip­ment in a makeshift stu­dio in Vo­gel St, and ad­ver­tised for vol­un­teers. One was Peter Pol­litt, now the station’s trea­surer and reg­u­lar host. Back then he had no wish to get on air.

“I thought I’d help out mak­ing cups of tea. But as things pro­gressed, peo­ple were in­vited to sit in the chair and have a go, and even­tu­ally I had a turn.”

Mr Pol­litt now broad­casts two or three ses­sions a week, main­tains the li­brary of com­mer­cials and keeps tabs on the ac­counts. Ra­dio Woodville has shifted premises twice, mov­ing to another site in Vo­gel St af­ter a year, and to its cur­rent stu­dios in McLean St in 2012.

“We’ll hope­fully be here for a while longer,” Mr Bodell says. “We’ve col­lected too much gear to keep shift­ing!”

One piece of gear that is con­stantly on the move is Ra­dio Woodville’s mo­bile stu­dio. A con­verted car­a­van, it pro­vides broad­cast­ing and public ad­dress ser­vices for street pa­rades, fairs, and AN­ZAC com­mem­o­ra­tions, and can take over from the reg­u­lar stu­dio in emer­gen­cies.

Mr Bodell es­ti­mates over 100 peo­ple have vol­un­teered at the station over the past 20 years.

“Sev­eral have gone on to big­ger and bet­ter things,” he says. “One of our former an­nounc­ers is now work­ing for a na­tional ra­dio net­work.”

Ra­dio Woodville broad­casts 24 hours a day on 99.6 MHz in Woodville and 88.3 MHz in Pahiatua, and streams on the in­ter­net at www.ra­diowoodville.co.nz. There’s a team of an­nounc­ers be­tween 7am and 10pm most days play­ing a va­ri­ety of music, mixed with ads for lo­cal busi­nesses and com­mu­nity no­tices.

“We have lis­ten­ers all around the district,” Mr Bodell says. “We also know that others reg­u­larly tune in from the UK, Amer­ica and Aus­tralia, and we once had some­one lis­ten­ing in Ice­land.” The station is al­ways keen to here from peo­ple in­ter­ested in join­ing the group.

“There are lots of ways to take part,” Mr Bodell says. “You can be an an­nouncer, you can help with fundrais­ing, setting up the car­a­van for live out­side broad­casts — there’s al­ways something that needs do­ing.”

The Ra­dio Woodville So­ci­ety meets on the fourth Tues­day of the month at 7.30 pm at 57c McLean St, and can be con­tacted through the web­site or Face­book Page.

RA­DIO Woodville vol­un­teers past and present gather to cel­e­brate 20 years on air, with music by the Highly Strung ukulele band.

ONE of Ra­dio Woodville’s first an­nounc­ers Peter Pol­litt (left) cuts the cake with the station’s pa­tron, War­ren Jones (cen­tre) and its man­ager Eric Bodell.

THE birth­day cake.

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