George FM started broadcasting in the spare bedroom of a flat in Grey Lynn, Auckland in 1998. The original pirate broadcaster on the Low Power FM Band, George FM was nurtured through it's infant years by a team of passionate volunteers, who helped shape and form it into the full featured radio station we have evolved into.
Thane Kirby, founder and Programme Director of George, answered a few questions for Get Frank in the wake of strengthening of their 96.8 Auckland frequency by 50%.
Thane, aside from a short break, you have been at George since you founded the station in a friend's Grey Lynn flat in 1998 - is it crazy to see how far it's come?
I'm completely overwhelmed and over the moon that the station I kicked off all those years back is now all grown up and a part of a stable of stations owned by a massive company.
It means that George is a serious player in the radio market. Honestly from 8 turakina street in grey lynn in a 5k radius to the whole of Auckland and beyond is dream come true! We've beaten 95bfm a couple of times, seen familar faces come and go and added new sounds and talent. George has become a much loved station over the years and its been put down to a cool crew, djs who are passionate about music and lots of giving it ago. Its a tribute to the fine men and woman who have dedicated their time and ideas to support this precious little station.
Some of those early contributors in the first few years have gone on to interesting careers in media and music - tell us about a few old school George peeps, and where they have ended up.
Obviously there's Jacquie Brown who was a former programme director in the early days who went on to become music television royalty and a comedian as it turns out. We enjoyed the breakfast noise of Dave Gibson who went on to front the band ELEMNOP. One of the guys who owns Republic was a contributor as well as Francis Hooper from World had a regular slot. Dominic Bowden voiced an ad for George as well as Anthony Starr and Tyler Jane who was our news reader for a spell. Fleur Saville who plays some blonde p.a opn Shortland Street was a copywriter. Damian Christie was an early drive host - hope he has a job at the moment - you never know with him. The notorious Nick Eynon hosted a breakfast show for 3 days before I fired his arse for being to MORE FM. Dai Henwood had a show in the early days as well as guest spots from Newsboy and Havoc.
How significant is this recent powering up of the frequency? How far do you guys stretch across Auckland now in all directions?
Everywhere - the station goes where everyone else does.. finally I can drive all the way to Pakiri and back and not miss a beat!
It's been a big year for George with a few major changes, a new owner - MediaWorks - and a new breakfast host. Firstly, how is it going being part of the MediaWorks family of stations?
It was hard to get used to at first, but you slowly get with the programme. There are more systems and structure. Not so many boozy lunches and going home for a sleep during the day. If you visit the studios you'll see a new rack room where the gear is kept, new computers, a new phone system - lots more resources and assistance.
In Feburary this year, Breakfast host Peter Urlich moved on, and was replaced by the 'new guy' Nick D, who has brought a lot to the table. How's it going six months down the track?
It goes very well. It was a hard decision to retire Peter after 7 years of service but I believe we made the right decision. Nick brings a fresh feel to the station with up to date tunes that set the trends for the club land and the scene. Every big tune gets played on George first!
You yourself do a daily lunchtime radio show - what do you love about making live radio, and tell us a bit about your show...
I love playing music and being a part of the George family on-air. I bring a broad selection of music with left over interviews that Murry and Nick couldn't fit in breakfast. Live radio is the best - MJ dies I bust out a 2 hour tribute show, listeners call up and go straight to air and put their thoughts out there. I'll play a request ot two as well.
George listeners love to get out and about and party during summer - you guys planning the usual summer day party action?
George listeners love party - be it in a club, on a beach, beside a pool or in a park we're up for it.. so there's plenty of that this summer! George is all over it. Keep an eye out for news on our website and twitter updates.
And finally - why should people tune into George?
Because you'll be missing out on 50 + DJs and selectors who are playing your favourite tunes!
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