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Hear the Lights 88.1 FM

Programmer's lights flash to the music

The Press - 01.01.2009

Santa will have no trouble finding one Christchurch house this Christmas -- 6000 lights flashing to synchronised music will see to that.

Software programmer Nathan Kennedy has upped the ante for Christmas lights with a hi-tech, drive-by display in Wetlands Grove, Bexley.
image of Nathan and Tracey Kennedy

SOUND AND VISION: Nathan and Tracey Kennedy show the frequency to tune to while watching their lights
© DON SCOTT/The Press.


A neon sign tells you to tune your car radio to 88.1FM. A low-powered transmitter plays Christmas instrumental Wizards in Winter through your radio as the lights on the roof flash in time with the music.

Kennedy read about the technology on the internet, trialled it last year and opted for a bigger display this year.

The free software came from the United States, and Kennedy spent $300 building the light-controlling hardware.

"It's just for the fun of it," he said. "I am a bit of a computer geek and a bit of a Christmas fan. People say you do it for the kids, but hell, I do it for myself."

Kennedy will have a webcam on his site, pacificlights.co.nz, in a few weeks to let viewers control part of the light display at the click of a mouse.

He has also installed a flashing donations bucket, with proceeds going to the fund for murdered Christchurch woman Emma Agnew.

© The Press 01 January 2009.

This material remains © Fairfax New Zealand Limited and is only to be used for non-commercial personal or research use. Any other use requires permission of the copyright holder.

image of Pacific Lights 88.1 FM

Pacific Lights FM 88.1 in lights
© TVNZ

Nathan Kennedy operates this station annually.

Visit PacificLights for more information about the project, video coverage from TVNZ and podcast audio from Plains FM in Christchurch.

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