Radio station will connect

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Local radio is coming back on air in North Otago.

Radio Waitaki 104 would have its official launch on November 1, broadcasting as far afield as Palmerston to north of the Waitaki River, on the frequency 104FM.
General manager Dan Lewis, a voice­over artist and former senior announcer at UK commercial broadcaster ITV, said the station would provide the North Otago community with a ‘‘connection’’, something no Auckland­based radio network could do.
The former Waitaki Boys’ High School pupil said radio was a medium people could interact with at any time, as opposed to other traditional media outlets and even more modern ones.
‘‘It’s the only medium you can take with you — it’s completely transferable.’’
Mr Lewis, who will be the only staff member at the station initially, was looking at generating local content featuring breakfast and talk­back hosts and serving as a platform for local musicians on occasion.
‘‘The position statement is about connecting North Otago and that’s what the heart is. ‘‘There’s a lot happening in our district. I think it helps to have a voice for ourselves and be able to have a central resource where you’re able to connect.’’
He believed independent commercial stations were enjoying a resurgence as they offered choice to rural and regional listeners around New Zealand.
Learning this, Mr Lewis decided it was time to launch a regional station for North Otago, based in Oamaru.
‘‘These days and ages there’s so much choice, but it’s very much the same.
‘‘It’s bland and impersonal.’’
Mr Lewis said while media mergers and shutting down smaller stations may have saved networks money in overheads, it did nothing to provide people a reason to feel connected to the bigger players.
‘‘How can anyone in a studio in Auckland look outside the window and say ‘it’s a lovely day’ and it’s hosing down here again?
‘‘It’s not good for the smaller places. You takea personal connection away. When a local business or local service goes, you lose that connection and you become a number.’’
He also thought what he offered advertisers was a parcel of community content and access that bigger network players could not.
Mr Lewis said the radio station was an outlet where media graduates could get their first real taste of radio.