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Champion of NZ music finally in the limelight

3 May 2006

Background champion of New Zealand music finally in the limelight

It’s not a high-profile radio personality or programme director who’s been acknowledged for playing a major role in the growth of New Zealand music on radio. It’s a champion who works away quietly in the background.

David Innes, the executive director of the RBA (Radio Broadcasters Association) received the RIANZ (Recording Industry Association of New Zealand) Tui Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Growth of New Zealand Music on Radio at this year’s Radio Awards at Auckland’s Sky City on Saturday night (29 April).

Innes says he was “honoured and not a little flattered” to receive the Tui, which now resides in appropriate surroundings.

“My Tui is bolted to the shelf in my music room.”

He has other prized music memorabilia – Innes is proud to be the first person who bought Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock when it hit the shops in Oamaru in 1956. Music and radio have always been a big part of Innes’ life; he was the drummer in a Uni band, Undergrads, which owned the first set of Fender Stratocasters in the South Island, circa 1962.

“Red to match The Shadows’ guitars,” he says.

Youthful rock ‘n’ roll dreams became part-time when he pursued a career in advertising, eventually joining the RBA in 2000.

“I nurse New Zealand music behind-the-scenes,” says Innes. “And it has been tremendously satisfying to see the results we’ve had. How often do you get to work on a project where everyone’s a winner?”

Innes is referring to the RBA Code of Practice for New Zealand Music which was implemented in 2002 to address very low local content - only 2 per cent of music on mainstream radio in 1995 was local.

When presenting the Tui last Saturday, Brendan Smyth from NZ On Air described Innes as an “unsung champion of the New Zealand music revolution”.

“Radio has delivered on its promise to get to 20 per cent twelve months ahead of schedule. David created that possibility and delivered that extraordinary result.”


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