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Pirate stations inspired love of radio

Richard Williams

Richard Williams, the former general manager of the Radio Network. Photo: Cameron Burnell

Hiding under his duvet and listening to pirate radio stations started Richard Williams' love affair with the airwaves.

Mr Williams can clearly remember the fear and the excitement of sneaking his radio into bed with him when he was a teenager in England.

"All of the shenanigans that went on at Radio Caroline were wonderful, I used to hide under my blankets once everyone had gone to bed and listen to it all. Oh it was great," he said.

Yesterday was Mr Williams' last day as the western general manager of Radio Network, after a nationwide restructure had removed his position.

The 60-year-old, who comes from Chester in England, stumbled into the industry 25 years ago after he had a beer with the sales manager of a new radio station in his home country.

"I remember walking into the station and there were all of these creative people and journalists running around and it was fascinating and so exciting.

"I just knew I had to get into this," said Mr Williams, who previously had worked with the British Inland Revenue Department.

In 1998 he moved to New Zealand with his family to take up his job at Radio Network in Taranaki.

"It was raining when we arrived, just like everybody told me it would be, but after three weeks we finally got to see the mountain," he said.

Eight stations are under the Radio Network umbrella, including Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits and Radio Hauraki, but Mr Williams said his favourite was ZM, a station aimed at women between the age of 18 and 39.

"I certainly don't fit into that demographic, but ZM is the station I have playing in my car all of the time.

"I like Lady Gaga. I think it's the vibrancy she has, and the energy.

"It's all about the energy," he said.

Mr Williams is the father of Bryony Williams, one of New Zealand's most promising emerging sopranos, and says music has always been a part of his life and the life of his family.

Classic Hits breakfast show announcer Barney Proctor started six months before Mr Williams, and said he had enjoyed working with the competitive and passionate manager.

- © Fairfax NZ News

© Taranaki Daily News May 1st, 2013.

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.

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