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Kapiti's Beach FM to Change Spot on Dial

4 September 2006

Kapiti’s Beach FM to Change Spot on Dial
Station Gets Own Frequency … Benefits for Listeners

The Kapiti-Horowhenua fully local radio station, Beach FM, is to change its broadcast frequency to 88.6 on the 14th September 2006.

The station, now in its ninth year of local broadcasting, announced the change today, following two years of negotiations on behalf of the station.

Chair of the company that owns and operates the station, Ron Wilkinson, says there are likely to be a number of benefits for listeners.

Beach FM will face less interference from other radio stations, Japanese car radios will be able to receive it without a band expander and it should be easier for listeners to find. Engineers expect that reception of the new signal will be better in some locations where the hills impair the current signal; if not immediately, certainly within a couple of weeks.

For the past eight years, the station has been using a frequency under rights held by the New Zealand Racing Board. The Racing Board now plans to operate Trackside Radio on that frequency.

Ron Wilkinson, says that only the broadcast position will change. The local programming and local hosts will continue to inform and entertain as they have always done. People with existing car stickers will continue to be eligible for monthly prizes.

The popular BBC World Service programmes will continue to be broadcast at night.

He says it’s unfortunate that there has to be a shift in dial position, but present auction rules have enabled the internationally controlled networks to take other potential frequencies to the disadvantage of local broadcasters.

Mr Wilkinson says his comments do not apply to the NZ Racing Board that has been an excellent landlord and sympathetic to keeping real local radio on air as the board moved towards establishing its own network. Staff of the Radio Spectrum Management section of the Ministry of Economic Development has been very helpful.

“We know that the Government, through the Minister of Communications, has recognised the problem and we fully support current attempts to establish some local-only frequencies,” he says.

“We have been strongly encouraged in our efforts by local members of parliament, Darren Hughes (Otaki) and the Hon. Luamanuvao Winnie Laban (Mana) and Kapiti regional Councillor, Chris Turver,” said Mr Wilkinson.

Councillor Turver says Beach FM is the heart of local community radio news and information in the wider Kapiti-Horowhenua area and the recognised voice to turn to for events ranging from civil defence emergencies to fund-raising extravaganzas.

Beach FM was established by 37 locally associated people who wanted the Nature Coast to retain local news and information in a music format suited to the region’s demographics, in the face of international ownership and programmes chosen and mostly networked from outside of the area.

Change Welcomed

The Mayors of Kapiti and Horowhenua have welcomed the change.

Kapiti Mayor, Alan Milne, offers his congratulations to the station on its perseverance to get its own frequency and welcomes the proposed increased strength and coverage. “I want to acknowledge the contribution the station makes to our community with local news,” he said.

Horowhenua Mayor, Brendan Duffy, says it’s really exciting to see that another local enterprise is able to expand its marketing base and also provide a local service in what is a competitive radio industry.


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