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Mainstreet Radio

Mainstreet Radio goes silent

By Heather McCracken - Central Leader

image of Jason_Marconi

SOUNDS CONTROVERSIAL: Cafe owner Jason Marconi doesn't want adverts playing to shoppers outside his business.
© JASON OXENHAM/Central Leader

No one knows when adverts stopped playing on Onehunga Mall. And retailers can't agree if they should start again.

So Onehunga's Mainstreet Radio looks set to be silenced for good unless a buyer is found for the 10-year-old business.

Some shopowners will be happy to see the end of the automated system playing a mix of music and local advertising through shopfront speakers.

Luscious Cafe owner Jason Marconi says he wants to be able to walk down the street and not have advertising in the background.

"The quality is not great, it doesn't sound good."

Mr Marconi took down the speaker outside his cafe six years ago because it was rusty and leaking.

"From a business perspective I've never heard talk of it being a good vehicle for advertising," he says.

"The main thing I hear about it is it's a throwback. People say its like walking down the street in the 70s."

But Gaye Mcghee from Corina Fashions would be sorry to lose it.

"It was a way of people knowing where there were specials on when they were walking around," she says.

"I think the street needs livening up and some music would help."

Carolyn Masefield from Abstractz says she doesn't mind the music, as long as it's not too loud.

"It gave the place a bit of an atmosphere."

Some retailers didn't know about the speakers, while others say they haven't worked in months, or even years.

Mainstreet Radio owner Gary Murphy says he turned the system off a few months ago because he'd had enough.

"I got sick and tired of people not paying their bills," he says.

Some speakers may have been damaged, but he believes most were still working.

Similar schemes run successfully in Pukekohe and Manurewa, and Onehunga's could be revived, he says.

"It needs somebody who's on the spot there to walk up and down and find some advertisers.

"For us it's easier to just turn it off than to be running around trying to get people to pay their bills."

Mr Murphy has told the Onehunga Business Association the equipment will be removed unless someone buys the business.

Association manager Amanda Kinzett says it could serve a purpose for special events but doesn't want it running constantly.

"I just think it's another thing that makes people turn off."

She says some retailers have snipped the wires outside their shops, and most of the speakers haven't been working for some time.

© Central Leader Friday, 24 August 2007.

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