Last-minute re­prieve for Ra­dio Ac­tive

The Dominion Post - - Front Page - MATT STE­WART

Ra­dio Ac­tive – the sta­tion that helped foster Welling­ton tal­ent such as Fat Freddy’s Drop and broad­caster John Camp­bell – has been handed a last-minute life­line.

The 88.6FM fre­quency was set to go silent to­day but it has now had a re­prieve, thanks to a raft of back­ers, in­clud­ing bars and busi­nesses around Cuba St, Welling­ton Mayor Justin Lester, and mu­si­cians Fat Freddy’s Drop.

Ra­dio Ac­tive be­gan as a Vic­to­ria Univer­sity sta­tion in 1977 be­fore be­ing bought out by share­hold­ers in the early 1990s.

Play­ing a mix­ture of al­ter­na­tive pop, Kiwi mu­sic and un­der­ground gen­res like house and jazz, it would go on to cham­pion the early ca­reers of some of the cap­i­tal’s most suc­cess­ful bands, in­clud­ing The Black Seeds, Phoenix Foun­da­tion and Trin­ity Roots.

Camp­bell worked there when it was still a stu­dent sta­tion.

A char­i­ta­ble trust has been formed to run Ra­dio Ac­tive, sub­ject to reg­u­la­tory con­sents and share­holder ap­proval.

Spokesman Ross Steele said the trust had been ‘‘ex­tremely heart­ened’’ by the huge num­ber of peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions ex­press­ing good­will and sup­port.

Ra­dio Ac­tive had been an icon in the Welling­ton mu­sic and cul­tural scene for 40 years, he added.

But Steele said the sta­tion was not out of the woods yet. A crowd­fund­ing cam­paign al­low­ing lis­ten­ers to show their sup­port for the sta­tion would be needed to put the com­pany on a more se­cure foot­ing.

Pledges of ini­tial sup­port had rolled in from San Fran Bath House, Havana Cof­fee Works, South­ern Cross Bar, Havana Bar, Good For­tune Cof­fee, the mayor and Welling­ton City Coun­cil, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Rocket Fuel and a num­ber of pri­vate donors.

Last month, com­pany di­rec­tor Ni­cholas Bagnall said while the ra­dio sta­tion had never been a money-mak­ing ven­ture, the past few years had seen him hav­ing to prop it up with his own money.

Bagnall has agreed to sup­port the sta­tion un­til May 1, when the trust will take over.

Steele did not re­veal ex­actly how much money had been raised but said more was needed.

For­mer sta­tion gen­eral man­ager Mark Cubey is ad­vis­ing on tran­si­tion op­tions and said saving the sta­tion was a re­al­is­tic goal given its strong brand, ap­peal to lo­cal ad­ver­tis­ers and strong com­mu­nity sup­port.

‘‘With a pow­er­ful brand ... good­will and peo­ple com­ing to­gether ... I think it’s vi­able,’’ he said.

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