Wanted: Pacific radio memorabilia
David Ricquish and the New Zealand based non-profit organisation, the Radio Heritage Foundation, have embarked on a gigantic task. They plan to collect and publish on the internet, details of every one of thousands of radio stations, past and present, that have broadcast in the wider Pacific region.
Their new website (www.radioheritage.net) will present thousands of fascinating stories about radio in the Pacific area, from the 1890s to the present day. It's a virtual on-line archive that keeps long-gone radio stations alive and embraces contemporary radio as well.
"We hope to make the website a comfortable place to visit from a social, cultural, political, engineering, historical, radio, DX [distance listening], artistic or other viewpoint," says David, a 50-year-old journalist and broadcaster in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington.
"We're slowly adding stories from broadcasters themselves. We focus on the human stories, rather than dry 'official' reports and statistics. In fact, many queries are about genealogy and our database of people and personalities will become an important part of the project.
"Some of the stations written about have attracted more memories from those involved with them, such as WXLE Canton Island and KMTH Midway Island, and new nuggets of knowledge always add to these stories."
New stories are coming on-line as volunteer resources allow, and the "top 10" stories so far posted are:
Here are some extracts from the Radio Heritage website:
For any given station, you'll begin to find stories about how it came to be, interesting and exciting times, photos of the studios, transmitters and towers, information about the staff, artwork from old logos and marketing or propaganda material, program schedules, and sound bites so you can listen to what the station sounded like.The Radio Heritage Foundation also carries out advocacy to protect radio heritage sites such as old transmitter and studio buildings under threat of demolition, provides a safe haven and storage facility for original items (such as recording tapes, QSL cards, photos, memorabilia etc), produces regular radio documentaries heard on Radio New Zealand International and other stations.
It will soon launch a series of simple guides to radio stations in New Zealand, Australia and around the Pacific, guides to WWII stations in the Pacific, and engage in an oral history project to collect original stories from those who remain from the early days of radio.
If you can offer David interesting information about any radio station in the Pacific, or wish to learn more about how you can get involved in the project, you can email him at infoATradioheritage.net