Wanganui Branch History

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Listeners' League

Twenty-two months after the closing down of the 2AH Transmitting station, the wireless enthusiasts decided to regroup. The inaugural meeting, and setting up of a local Listeners League, was held on July 5th 1927 and John Ball, former Editor of the Wanganui Chronicle and then an announcer of 2YA Wellington, was in attendance.

The committee elected comprised of Messrs N C Barstow, A Hardie, W Draffin, A C Whitehead, R S Withers, D A Morrison, E Bennett, E A Barton, L Sheppard, N Hopper, T C Carrad, R Robinson, F J Hill and G F Lomas.

In 1928, a group of amateurs, in co-operation with local radio agent and dealer Mr G Carrad, put Wanganui’s second radio station on air under the call-sign of 2ZG but it was short-lived and was followed later in the year by 2ZK, owned by D.A. Morrison and Co and built by licensed radio amateurs and company electricians. The announcer was Miss Hilda Newrick, believed to be the first female announcer in New Zealand.

ZL2ZK was owned by D A Morrison & Co, Victoria Avenue, running 120 Watts on 500 Metres, 600 Kcs and its programme schedule in 1931 was: Wednesday , 6.45 – 9.30pm Popular Programme, and Sunday 7 – 9pm, Popular Programme. Whilst it was still operating, ZL2ZR also began transmissions and, for a time, Wanganui was one of the few cities with two stations.

Our fourth station, ZL2ZR, was another amateur effort built and operated by Mr L Brake, a qualified licensed amateur and in the radio trade. ZL2ZR was listed as being owned by Radio Specialities Ltd, 205 Victoria Avenue, Wanganui and ran 150 Watts on 500 Metres, 600Kcs and its programme scheduling was listed in one 1931 publication as Popular Programme, daily 10.30 – 1.00pm daily. In another publication the programme listing is radically different: Mon – Wed – Fri, 1 – 5pm, Tues – Thurs, 10 – 1pm and Sat 10am – 1pm; 7 – 10pm. Take your pick!

*(Both stations were still listed in early 1933 publications but I believe they closed down around this time as in 1932, the copyright fee on playing records on B-Class stations was raised and the stations faced huge bills. The Government would not assist. Barely paying, Don Morrison decided to close down his station: He admitted that he was a little premature as eventually the Government paid compensation to similar stations.)

Wanganui fifth broadcast station was Government owned (New Zealand Broadcast Service) and opened up on 1200 Kcs on the 22nd October, 1949 under the call sign of 2XA.

Who remembers our sixth station? This hit the airwaves for 28 days over the 1979 Christmas period and Allan Little, (ZL2AYA - now ZL2GB) then a Branch 48 member, was the driving force behind this project. Harold Burton, ZL2AYS was the Branch’s appointed liaison officer for the project.

Allan since has gone onto bigger and brighter things setting up the Radio Reading Service which operates out of Levin on 1602 and 3935 kHz.

These days, every Fred and his dog appear to have their own broadcasting station!  

*I have since found that in August 1932, ZL2ZR was not being listed in the daily programme guide.

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