Support for feuding radio stations

by Kyle

5:00AM Wednesday October 15, 2008
By Matt Rilkoff | Taranaki Daily News
Link to source »

New Plymouth’s low-powered radio frequency boil-over has cooled down to a simmer.

Amateur radio DJ Denis Wadsworth yesterday hotly accused a new Christian radio station, One Christian Radio 106.9, of overpowering his 106.7 frequency and robbing his listeners of his older style tunes.

James Cope of 106.9 said both he and Mr Wadsworth knew he was doing nothing illegal and the frequency was chosen in consultation with experts.

This did nothing to help 82-year-old pensioner Rose Procter who was missing out on her daily dose of opera hunk Mario Lanza since 106.7 “disappeared” from her dial.

Now both radio stations have reported huge amounts of support and Mrs Procter will be getting her reception problems sorted out, care of Mr Cope. “I called Denis in the morning to thank him for the article because when I came into work this morning I had 15 messages of support … A friend of mine said any publicity is good publicity,” Mr Cope said.

Mr Wadsworth had a similar experience, receiving a number of calls throughout the day.

“I guess there is a lot more support out there than I realised.”

He said it was clear the Christian station was causing the interference but after an amicable chat with Mr Cope it seemed they would be able to work towardd a solution.

He did not yet know what that solution might be.

Lanza-loving Mrs Procter knows what her solution is.

A visit yesterday by Mr Cope abd a technician tentatively put her troubles down to an antenna pointing in the wrong direction.

Mr Cope said he would contact a professional to fix the problem and Mrs Procter would not have to pay for anything.

“I’m quite satisfied now,” she said.

Meanwhile, retired broadcasting engineer Charlie Fincham, of Hawera, believes all the trouble could be put back on the Government.

He reckons the Ministry of Economic Development’s radio spectrum management compliance is a contra-diction in terms.

“Nobody is managing the frequency separation any more, that’s why these two New Plymouth stations are at loggerheads,” he said.

“In my day, the space between frequencies had to be 800 kHz, everybody observed it and there were no problems. Now it’s only 100 kHz and that’s just a tiny twitch of the tuning knob. It will only be resolved by one station moving further along the band.”

Radio Spectrum Management compliance manager Chris Brennan earlier said that low-powered FM stations stations knew there was no frequency protection provided but co-ordination between them was encouraged. He said in this case co-ordination appeared to have failed.