Ra­dio sta­tion goes ‘main­stream’

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A devil-may-care ra­dio sta­tion with ‘‘no DJS, no re­quests and no com­mer­cials’’ is plan­ning a more ‘‘main­stream’’ ven­ture.

Res­i­dents of Blen­heim and Ren­wick, in Marl­bor­ough, will soon be able to jam out to more pop­u­lar mu­sic once Brian FM starts up its new sis­ter ra­dio sta­tion.

Brian FM played noth­ing but mu­sic 24 hours a day, with a ro­ta­tion of 2500 songs, punc­tu­ated by short bits of Kiwi tongue-incheek hu­mour.

But in an emer­gency, Civil De­fence could in­ter­rupt trans­mis­sions of Brian FM us­ing its own ra­dio to broad­cast mes­sages.

But those not nor­mally tuned into the sta­tion – 100.9FM in Blen­heim – had to go there to hear emer­gency mes­sages.

Marl­bor­ough District Coun­cil emer­gency ser­vices man­ager Brian Paton said Brian FM’S new ra­dio sta­tion would help the re­gion’s emer­gency broad­cast sys­tem as new users would al­ready be tuned into the sta­tion.

‘‘It will have the abil­ity to broad­cast our emer­gency mes­sages over that chan­nel as well, and be­cause it’s a more main­stream one, we’re ex­pect­ing a lot more peo­ple to plug into it,’’ Paton said.

Brian FM needed the coun­cil’s ap­proval to add ad­di­tional equip­ment to their build­ing on the Wither Hills, on the south­ern edge of Blen­heim, which would al­low them to broad­cast their new sta­tion.

The Wither Hills had a des­ig­na­tion over them re­strict­ing ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tions in that lo­ca­tion to emer­gency and coun­cil ser­vices, Paton said.

As Brian FM con­trib­uted to util­ity and emer­gency ser­vices in Marl­bor­ough, it was able to broad­cast from the Wither Hills, he said.

The des­ig­na­tion was cre­ated to pro­tect the abil­ity of these ser­vices to op­er­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems with­out in­ter­fer­ence from oth­ers.

If this was al­lowed to oc­cur, too many com­mu­ni­ca­tions fa­cil­i­ties in one place could cre­ate in­ter­fer­ence, which may ren­der some com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties un­re­li­able.

Brian FM’S new ra­dio sta­tion was not ex­pected to im­pact com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

The ra­dio sta­tion was orig­i­nally set up in Blen­heim in Fe­bru­ary, 2013, on a fre­quency that did not reach a large area.

It re­launched in March, 2014, on a new fre­quency to en­hance the mys­tique of its broad­caster ‘Brian’, whose iden­tity re­mains a mys­tery.

While Brian FM did not have a mar­ket­ing bud­get, it did ac­cept ‘‘big fat cheques’’ from donors,’’ ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

The new sta­tion was the first phase in Brian FM’S three-phase plan to pro­vide cov­er­age to Marl­buri­ans who had tra­di­tion­ally strug­gled to re­ceive ra­dio broad­casts.

Brian FM cur­rently broad­casts into Blen­heim, Pic­ton, Have­lock, Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, Sed­don and the Awa­tere Val­ley, as well as some other se­lect re­gions in the North and South is­lands.

Fu­ture plans in­clude mov­ing both Okiwi Bay and Pic­ton ra­dio trans­mit­ters to a higher site, and

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