Access to check the status of CBD radio studios of many Christchurch radio broadcasters is gradually taking place 17 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 this zone and engineers are still working through some city buildings to determine whether they are safe for temporary or permanent access and use. Considerable damage to some 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. Another Newstalk ZB frequency audible in western parts of the city is 873AM from Ashburton, 50 miles south.
Other Auckland based network programs heard on Christchurch area transmitters include Niu FM [Pacific Island languages], and those of RBG Rhema Broadcasting Group.
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 Maori language iwi network programs. Pulzar 105.7 FM which lost its studios in the September 2010 earthquake is broadcasting automated music programs.
Local community access Plains FM has studios at the Christchurch Polytech campus in the CBD and this zone will be opened up for access on Monday March 14. It continues using its transmitter to broadcast the BBC World Service from London as an emergency measure.
Radio Ferrymead 1413AM returns again for the period March 11-14 with automated programs and reduced live broadcasts on March 12-13. 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 but may be able to return on air shortly. Power supply is fragile. LPFM stations in Redwood, Bishopdale, Wigram, Kaiapoi, and Akaroa are all operating.
The Radio Heritage Foundation, in association with Classic Gold Radio Winton, is finalizing plans to bring a fully equipped mobile radio studio to broadcast directly from New Brighton in the coming days. Live and local broadcasts to the worst hit suburbs start on March 14. Donations of funds to cover operational costs are urgently needed at www.radioheritage.com.
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 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].
Compass FM 104.9 FM in Rangiora has now started broadcasting on full power with a strong signal into the city carrying North Canterbury earthquake relief information, messages and music. Their signal reaches from Hanmer Springs in the north to Ashburton in the south.
Radio New Zealand Sound Archives are located in the off-limits Radio NZ studio building and operations are currently suspended. The audio and other heritage collections housed there are understood to have survived with relatively minor damage.
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.
Background - Since the earthquake on February 22, the death toll is expected to be over 200, most of the CBD may be demolished because even modern high rise buildings are now on unstable ground, and some 10,000 homes may be demolished and whole suburbs replaced with
parkland, forests and wetland. About 20-25% of the city population has self-evacuated. It is estimated the rebuilding will take 10-15 years.
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. In association with Classic Gold Radio it is bringing a mobile FM radio station into Christchurch to begin emergency welfare broadcasting on March 14.
(Media Release ,Radio Heritage Foundation , www.radioheritage.com ,March 11 2011)