Radio Woody marking 20 years on air
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.