Access to the CBD radio studios of many Christchurch radio broadcasters continues to be denied by the civil defence authorities 10 days after the devasting earthquake hit this New Zealand city of 350,000.
Radio New Zealand, The Radio Network and Radioworks all have studios within the cordoned off zone and engineers are still working through city buildings to determine whether they are safe for temporary or permanent access and use. Considerable damage to buildings housing the studios is likely.
NewstalkZB has been carrying its news coverage across 1017,1098 and 1503 AM and 106.5 AM [replacing Hauraki Amp'd]. Their main mast at Orohuia has reportedly sunk in the ground from liquifaction and they are radiating a much weaker signal from a long wire temporary aerial.
RDU 98.5 has returned to the air from temporary studios whilst Tahu 90.5 now refers to Christchurch as Quake City and has been heard carrying iwi network programs. Pulzar 105.7 FM which lost its studios in the September 2010 earthquake is broadcasting automated music programs only.
Local community access Plains FM has studios at the Christchurch Polytech campus in the CBD and continues using its transmitter to broadcast the BBC World Service from London as an emergency measure.
Radio Ferrymead 1413AM is now back on air today with automated programming for the coming four days. They sustained moderate damage to studios and buildings. Volcano Radio 88.5 in Lyttelton continues amazing service to the shattered port area with music and local community and emergency announcements.
Destroyed or damaged local LPFM stations now include One-Eyed FM [Aranui], Beachbreak FM [South New Brighton] and The Wave [Sumner] whilst Burwood Community Radio near badly damaged QEII Park is reportedly silent.
The Radio Heritage Foundation, in association with Classic Gold Radio, is currently working on plans to bring a fully equipped mobile radio studio to broadcast directly from New Brighton to the nearby eastern suburbs in the coming days. Donations of funds and help on the ground would be greatly appreciated.
Power Hits Radio 87.8 in St Albans and Akaroa FM [both Christchurch City] have been carrying earthquake coverage from the emergency nationwide local network anchored by Classic Gold Radio in Winton, near Invercargill, in association with The Flea in Auckland and Splash FM on Waiheke Island.
The full network taking this feed is Classic Gold Radio [Winton], Classic Gold Radio [Invercargill], Radio Cromwell, Radio Mosgiel [Dunedin], Radio Twizel, Power Hits Radio [Christchurch], Akaroa FM [Christchurch], Hutt FM 106.1 [Wellington], Rag FM [Raglan], The Flea 88.2 Devonport/107 Takapuna [Auckland] and six hours daily streaming via the Mader Radio Network [USA].
The status of new community station Compass FM 104.9 FM in Rangiora is unclear, it had been testing recently and its studios and facilities are available but don't appear to be utilised at present.
Radio New Zealand Sound Archives are located in the off-limits Radio NZ studio building and operations are currently suspended. The status of the audio and other heritage collections housed there is unknown.
A full listing of Christchurch area AM and FM stations is online at www.radioheritage.com and is regularly being updated. It's at the home page under the header 'Christchurch Earthquake 2011'.
Please support fund raising for the Helping Rebuild Christchurch project, part of the Kiwi Radio Campaign, with donations by Paypal welcome at www.radioheritage.com.
Radio Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization connecting popular culture, nostalgia and radio heritage at www.radioheritage.com. It hosts the PAL mediumwave and shortwave Radio Guides, New Zealand Low Power FM Radio Guide and is the country editor for the Pacific region for the World Radio TV Handbook.
(Media Release, Radio Heritage Foundation , www.radioheritage.com .March 4 2011)