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Radio Ngakuta Bay

Ngakuta Bay hits airwaves

Tania Butterfield, Marlborough Express

Foss Leach of Radio Ngakuta Bay 88.4FM

Foss Leach has launched Radio Ngakuta Bay 88.4FM as a way of familiarising residents with the local band they should tune into if there is a civil defence emergency.

Ngakuta Bay has its own radio station, thanks to local resident and amateur radio enthusiast Foss Leach who launched Radio Ngakuta Bay 88.4FM as a way of familiarising residents with the local band they should tune into if there is a civil defence emergency.

The radio band which transmits to Ngakuta Bay and Grove Arm homes was used to relay civil defence information, although it had not been needed yet, Mr Leach said.

"If a civil emergency does happen, people would probably forget the station so I thought why not make it a regular broadcast then people would know exactly what station to tune into," he said.

The former Otago University archaeology professor has had his radio licence for 10 years and his home includes a small radio studio and antenna tower to transmit broadcasts into the bay.

He now produces a one-hour radio broadcast on Sundays on the radio band which includes Ngakuta Bay news, weather, safety messages, general interviews and music.

PPNZ Music Licensing and the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) gave Radio Ngakuta Bay a dispensation to run the station for free, Mr Leach said.

The only condition is it can only run music by composers who have been dead for more than 50 years.

"Every week we do something different.

"Last week it was the songs of James Joyce, and on Sunday it was Mozart's Woodwind Concertos. We've also done Gilbert and Sullivan and 1920s swing orchestras."

The 9am to 10am programme is preceded by five minutes of morepork sounds to allow residents to find the right station. It then starts with a limerick written by Ngakuta Bay resident Pip Maslen before launching into the news, interviews and music.

Mr Leach said he had no idea how many of the 50 Ngakuta Bay residents tuned into the station on a Sunday but had received positive feedback from some people.

Most interviews and news items were pre-recorded but people had said they would like some sort of talk-back show, which he was considering, Mr Leach said.

- The Marlborough Express

© Marlborough Express June 26 2011.

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.

For a current list of all Low Power FM stations broadcasting in New Zealand, visit our NZ LPFM Radio Guide.

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