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Forgettable Unforgettable?

Fight to tune in

Joe Barrat

A popular radio station for the over-50s isn't being listened to by the powers that be, says Joe Barratt

Playing music from the 1940s to 1970s is a labour of love for the volunteers running the Unforgettable Music Society senior radio stations. However, these efforts are hampered because the station only has a lowpower FM frequency which generally reaches listeners only as far away as one and a half kilometres. Describing his age as "21 with 51 years' experience", a laughing Warren Vickery still works in his trade as an electrical engineer and runs the station from his workplace in Blockhouse Bay. Mr Vickery has been involved with the station for seven years and says Bay Radio gets some great reviews from the people that can tune into it. "It feels great we're providing a service to the elderly community. It is just frustrating we cannot reach further," he says. "We have asked for high-power FM but we're told none is available." Mr Vickery says the volunteers have tried to work with commercial stations to get their songs played but advertisers aren't interested. "Apparently, the 50 and upwards age group have already made their life decisions and are impervious to advertising." High-power frequencies are given selectively to minority and cultural groups by the Ministry of Communications, but Mr Vickery says the Government consistently passes over senior people. "Senior people make up over 30 per cent of the population yet we get no cultural support," he adds. The president of Auckland Grey Power, Donald Dunn, supports the concept of a senior-orientated radio station that reaches the larger community. "It could offer important services such as informing elderly people on issues like health care and gold cards," says Mr Dunn. The ministry has recently released several high-frequency FM stations but only one went to Auckland, says Mr Vickery, and it was a commercial station. The Ministry did not respond to questions from The Aucklander.

© The Aucklander June 4th, 2008.

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