Raglan Community Radio sure does cater for all ages and tastes these days. Take the Peanut Butter Jammin’ Time show, for instance, put together on Wednesday nights by a trio of local schoolboys who squabble and take prank calls, and who sometimes play the kind of music they know will annoy their fathers.
“I played Anthrax for my Dad,” 13-year-old Dughall Eadie told the Chronicle wickedly last week of the heavy metal American band which many listeners might be able to take only in small doses.
Sven Seddon, a year older, will tend more to mainstream tastes like Pink Floyd or Kings of Leon but Jack Kirkwood, the same age as Dughall, is into “Pop Goes Punk” which sounds about as far away from his Dad’s “country” leanings as you could possibly get.
Whatever eclectic mix the three friends come up with – either for their Raglan Area School mates who tuned in specially last week from their end-of-year overnight camp at the local Kokiri Centre, or for their long-suffering parents at home – they’ve loved the past few months as aspiring radio DJs.
“We like chilling and playing music,” says Dughall of their 6-7pm time slot in the studio at the town hall. “We’re excited at least three days before (the show),” he adds.
While he admits they were a bit nervous to start with – “it’s a big thing”— mastering the technicalities of the studio equipment is no problem. They’re part of a school band called ‘Majestic Unicorns’ and got some experience last year while recording one of their songs.
The challenge is more about talking on air, they reckon. “And not arguing between songs,” Sven adds.
The trio aren’t the only young DJs on Raglan Community Radio. Fifteen-year-old Hamilton Boys High student Jack Douglass-Dobson plays his Retro Beats slot just before the Jammin’ Time show, focusing on 80s and 90s instrumental rap. “It’s rap music with the words removed,” he explains, “leaving just the cool beats.”
Artists include Dr Dre, Biggy Smalls, Cyprus Hill, Mobb Deep, Apache, Big Pun and The Crooklyn Dodgers. “I like to play my music loud and I like to share these beats with people,” he says. “I also throw in some history about the rap musicians and their albums.”
Then there’s The Chris & Tracie Show which comes just after the Jammin’ trio have done their thing.
“We’re actually not that consistent,” Tracie Heasman confesses, nine months into the show she puts together with Chris Wallis.
Neither are they convinced anyone actually listens, she laughs – not that it stops these two “soccer mums”, who look forward to getting out of the house each week and playing their kind of music.
“Our favourite theme so far was our 80s night which was a bit of childhood reminiscing for both of us.”
Another show with a difference is Marama Café, Raglan’s only bicultural/bilingual radio slot. Presenter Ngaronoa Renata says she really enjoys the challenge of the Tuesday afternoon show, which has her switching between Maori and English conversation.
Ngaronoa gets Maori/Pacific musicians – from Cornerstone Roots or Green Fire Islands for instance – talking. “I try and pick up on what’s happening locally (in arts and music), or what would be of interest to our young people going between the concerts in Wellington and Auckland.”
She recently interviewed two of the troupe from contemporary Auckland dance company Black Grace while they were in Raglan, and included Stan Walker in her playlist just ahead of his appearance in town to perform at Raglan’s Christmas in the Park.
Station manager Aaron Mooar says he’s welcomed the variety of new presenters – from the quirky to the more serious – on community radio this year. And he reckons that once they can operate the studio equipment he pretty much leaves them to it.
“I want locals to develop their own shows,” he explains of his hands-off approach.
“If you want to create your own show and become a DJ email firstname.lastname@example.org”.