Covid-19: Lockdown won’t stop East FM playing the hits

By PJ TAYLOR

Lockdown for the prevention of Covid-19 spreading has not deterred East Auckland’s community radio station from broadcasting.

East FM is continuously transmitting through the Coronavirus crisis, albeit with fewer of the regular live shows presented by all of the station’s 30 volunteer DJs and hosts.

About five DJs have the equipment to broadcast live on East FM from their home studios during lockdown, after the tough choice to close the Bill Mudgway Studio in Howick Village, as station manager Mike Rowse explains.

“It was a tough decision to close the studio, but felt it was the right move for everyone’s health and safety during these rather extraordinary times.

“Officially, we could continue to operate from the Bill Mudgway Studio, as we’re technically media, but in a facility like ours where we have some 30 volunteers using the equipment every week, temporarily closing is the responsible thing to do,” Rowse says.

“Being able to continue broadcasting to our community is a big deal for us. Thankfully, we live in an age where technology makes it possible.”

Despite the studio’s temporary closure, with the assistance and technical skills of Saturday evening DJ, Beagle (Matt) Everitt, Rowse has been able to fine-tune and enhance East FM’s transmission signal on local frequencies 88.1FM and 107.1FM, and made it possible for home DJs to connect and broadcast live.

It’s enabled the now-extended Late Breakfast show to have two hosts presenting on-air together from their respective home studio bubbles, Rowse and regular host Phil Dark.

“It’s been great fun being able to put together a show with numerous people in different locations,” Rowse says.

“We’ve also been able to have phone chats and interviews with leaders in our community such as Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown and police community constable Craig Hammonds. It’s also quite nice being able to broadcast from my study while still in my pyjamas.”

Long-time East FM DJ, Tony King, is broadcasting live all his regular shows and Rob Turner’s Hits, Misses and Memories on Fridays 10am-1pm, while Beagle Everitt and Sally Cooper (Saturday Night Inn) are presenting theirs too.

“In trying times as we’re experiencing, it’s good for local people to hear their familiar and friendly local voices on the airwaves, to play an excellent selection of music, relay important Covid-19 information from www.times.co.nz, and also have fun, Rowse says.

“We’ve had a great response and encourage listeners to keep making contact, at studio@eastfm.nz, or at our Facebook page www.facebook.com/eastfmnz.”

East FM can also be heard at www.eastfm.nz.