Village Radio 1XT
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Village Radio 1XT is a radio station on 1368 kHz AM in the Historic Village, 17th Avenue West, Tauranga, New Zealand which only plays the music of the 20s to 80s, weekdays 10am to 4pm and every weekend and public holidays, 9am to 5pm. They also broadcast "Specialised" programs from 4pm to 5pm weekdays covering different genres. Village Radio was opened on 13 April 1984 to commemorate the 21st Anniversary of the City of Tauranga.
The equipment was originally from Radio 1ZD, Tauranga, when it became surplus with their shift to a new location. The transmitter, loaned to the station from Radio New Zealand was the original 1ZB transmitter when it broadcast from Waterview, Auckland, New Zealand.
The announcers, technicians and support staff at Village Radio are all volunteers. The current station manager, is Steve Lambie. Each announcer prepares his or her own programme, based on the easy listening format of the 50's to the 90's, from recordings stored at Village Radio. The record library is extensive with some 104,000 plus tracks of music, 50,000 titles and over 15,000 artists. The tracks are made up of LP's, 45's,78's and CD's from the 20's to the 90's.
The station only broadcast on Sundays and public holidays, then in 2004 weekday broadcasts began. A new announcer operated studio was established to save wear and tear on the older control desk (vintage 1953) which uses valves which are hard to come-by and expensive.
Tauranga Village Radio Museum Incorporated is always on the lookout for new volunteers to help with announcing, panel work, technical support and the general running of the station.
Village Radio made history in January 2013 by transmitting on equipment designed and built almost 80 years ago. After gathering dust and out of action for 13 years with a burnt out high voltage transformer, the old Collins one kilowatt transmitter had been repaired and tested. George Stewart is one of three former radio technicians who repaired the transmitter. Russ Bain and Neil Walsh worked with George to get the transmitter up and running. It was originally one of four transmitters purchased in 1937 by the National - Commercial Broadcasting Service for use by the four ZB Stations. This one was the original 1ZB Radio Station for Auckland.
When more modern transmitters were installed, the little Collins was installed at Paengaroa (NZ) Transmitting station, near Te Puke,N.Z. as an emergency back-up for 1ZD Tauranga, which began broadcasts in 1961. It was then installed at Village Radio in 1984. At the time, in 1937, these Collins Transmitters were regarded by radio engineers as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of broadcasting, with very low distortion and a near perfect flat frequency response. They were considered superior to equipment made in Australia. Considering its age, it is in quite remarkable condition and still puts out 900 watts of aerial power, as designed.
It is thanks to a grant from the Lotteries Commission (NZ) and the expertise of a team from a Judea transformer rewinding business that the transmitter had been able to get back in operation. The Collins will be preserved as a back-up to the more modern 1KW Toshiba transmitter, which is run seven days a week at Village Radio. The transmitter is the only one of its kind known to be working in the world. Village Radio has been unable to tracked down any others still in operation. It is not clear what happened to the other three transmitters installed in New Zealand.
Village Radio is non-commercial and its income is derived from donations and sponsored time. Listeners may support the station by making a donation of their choice, picking out 20 tunes which will be broadcast and they also become a Friend of Village Radio entitling them to participate in functions organized by the Volunteers.