Silver jubilee: 25 years of commercial broadcasting: an impression.

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Tono kōrero mai

Produced by Jim Henderson to mark the 25th anniversary of national commercial broadcasting in New Zealand from 1936-1961.

It includes interviews with several people who were members of the ZB radio station staff through the 1930s-50s and excerpts from early serials including" Easy Ace"s, "Fred and Maggie Everybody", "Tusitala - Teller of Tales". Also excerpts of radio dramas and features, some anecdotes about early stunts and competitions, radio during the war years and some of the quizzes and competitions since World War II.

Tape 1:
Early station ID from 1ZB - the first commercial station went on air on 29 Oct 1936.
Radio serial excerpts
Music - "Little Sir Echo", "Man in the Street"
Excerpt of "Coronets of England"
Aunt Daisy's theme music "Daisy, Daisy" and an excerpt of one of her programmes ('Beetroot chutney' episode)

Jim Henderson then recounts history of the advent of commercial radio, coming at the end of the Great Depression.
Excerpt of community singing - "Pack up Your Troubles"
Short memories from some early 1ZB broadcasters:
Aunt Daisy - Maud Basham
Irene Collins
Arthur Collyns
Dudley Wrathall
Nancy Don - "Nan"
Jim Boswell
John Griffiths
Guy Nixon
"Marina"
Emily Munro

Methodist minister Reverend C.G. Scrimgeour was the first head of the National Commercial Broadcasting Service.
Excerpt of "The Friendly Road" choir singing the "Long, Long Trail"
Archival recordings of announcers:
Arthur Collyns
Claude Agassiz "Aggie" - reading a commercial for men's lounge suits
John Batten - reading commercial for furniture
Lou Paul - singing

Musical excerpts of Stuart Harvey and June Barson, singers discovered in radio talent quests
The first big outside broadcast relay by 1ZB was in 1937 was the arrival of the Pan American clipper - an excerpt of commentary.

1ZB started taking 30 pounds a day. In 1961 it is taking 1,000 pounds a day. Bob Gibson, early station accountant, recalls chasing bad debtors.
Shopping reporters Peggy Walker and Suzanne talk about persuading retailers to advertise.

2ZB Wellington went on air 27th April 1937.
Claude Agassiz - "Aggie" was a popular 2ZB announcer - he is heard commentating on the Diggers departure from Wellington for celebrations in Sydney [for Anzac Day 1938]
Maurice King of 2ZB recalls some early personalities still with the station.
A 'pygmy princess from the Congo' was an early visitor - excerpt of tribal singing.
Request sessions were popular - a frequent request was "Clair de Lune"
Gladstone Hill compering"Wellington Speaks" from the concourse inside Wellington Railway Station.

On 28 September 1937, Christchurch 3ZB began: Ian McKay, Grace Green, Bob Pollard, Lionel McGovern, George Boyle were first announcers.
They recall "Aggie" who also worked on 3ZB and their early broadcasts.
3ZB Opening music: "The Eyes of the World are on You."

Grace Green sounds her 'Magic Bell' and tells how children were relieved it survived the 3ZB fire. Aunt Daisy was overseas and sending discs back for broadcast but they were damaged in the fire, so Grace Green had to stand in for her.

Oct 12 1937, 4ZB opened. There were problems convincing local businesses to advertise at first.
Excerpt of a song about 'Bonnie Dunedin'
Peter Dawson, an original 4ZB announcer talks about working with young people.

Tape 2:
Excerpt of broadcast from a hospital nursery with crying babies.
Outside broadcast from on top of a ladder outside the Dunedin Stock Exchange.

Radio features and dramas - excerpts from "Chuckles with Jerry" with Dudley Wrathall, "Ma Perkins", "Popeye the Sailor Man". An announcer talks about the sponsor of "Popeye" in New Zealand which was a brand of tea, which had to be inserted every time the original programme mentioned spinach.

Radio publicity stunts are recalled by unidentified announcers including boxing with a kangaroo on 2ZB, broadcasting from an extremely high chimney, 1ZB taking 150 orphans to an amusement park. 3ZB broadcast of a stunt involving a pig.

Aunt Daisy recalls the [1940] National Apple Pie competition with the final held at the Centennial Exhibition in Wellington. The Centennial of the Treaty of Waitangi and the live broadcast of the re-enactment of the signing relayed from Waitangi via radio hams.

10 Oct 1938 2ZA Palmerston North started broadcasting - excerpt of a song "Manawatu in the Morning" and station ID. Unidentified man talks about early broadcasts on 2ZA. Archival recording of Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage talking about the reason for a national commercial broadcasting service being under government control.

Alan Loveday, boy violinist of Palmerston North, playing at age 12 and his favourite song "Steamboat Bill". In their first year of operation the first four commercial stations made a profit of 10,000 pounds. ZB Sportsflash sting - Bernie McConnell of 4ZB thanks listeners for their support.

4 April 1939, mobile station 5ZB took to the rails.
Music theme. Description of 5ZB which was housed in a railway carriage, and its operations, travelling the country and broadcasting from provincial areas. An excerpt of programme 60 from 5ZB is played.
It broadcast from the Centennial Exhibition in Wellington, archival excerpt of "Our First 100 Years" programme.

The outbreak of World War II, 3 Sept 1939 is recalled by a 1ZB announcer who was on-air that night. He says as he went home late at night he noticed lights were on all over the city, which was unusual. Excerpt of BBC news on attacks on Poland and Neville Chamberlain's broadcast. A woman recalls a school dance around the time of the outbreak of war and young people speculating about the possibility of war - most of the boys wanted to be in the airforce.

Archival excerpt of General Bernard Freyberg's broadcast as the NZ Division leaves in early 1940 and actuality of a troopship departure.
Excerpt of a United States Marines radio broadcast - Colonel W.G. Hawthorne speaking. The Military Band of the American Expeditionary Force plays "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree."
Archival excerpt from "Paging Uncle Sam" - messages from U.S. forces in New Zealand.

Tape 3:
Lyell Bowes talks about wartime censorship of broadcasting and radio's sponsorship of concert parties which entertained the troops. Funds were raised for the war effort. One telephone appeal alone raised 49,000 pounds.

Messages from Kiwis serving overseas were broadcast.
1943 the two broadcasting services (National and National Commercial) were amalgamated. HMS Achilles returned to Auckland - excerpt of the archival broadcast by Captain Parry.

Maurice Hawken of 2ZB remembers breakfast announcers Kingi Tahiwi and Geoff Lloyd, who were both lost during war service. Excerpt of Kingi Tahiwi's last broadcast from Britain.

BBC broadcast of bells ringing in London to mark the end of the war.
Excerpts of archival broadcasts of peace celebrations - Dudley Wrathall in Queen Street and Jack Maybury in Cathedral Square - drunk soldiers.

Live broadcast of a telephone quiz - Announcer 'gets the giggles' when trying to give the answer to the question "How does a kiwi get a worm?"
1946 - 10th anniversary of the commercial division. Norman Corwin, the well-known American radio author says New Zealand, Russia and Britain are the nations making best use of radio.

Radio features were dominated by Australian and New Zealand productions. The National Orchestra gave its first concert (excerpt) - [This was in 1947] financed by the commercial broadcasting service.

18 Jan 1949 3XC Timaru, the first 'composite' station goes on air. Five new regional stations were inaugurated this year.Excerpt of "The Empire Quiz of 1949" - Australia challenges New Zealand. "Book Review" was a popular new programme.A "Citizen's Forum" radio discussion of 1950 looks at what lies ahead for the rest of the 20th Century - men talk about world peace and the atomic bomb.

2XN Nelson and 2XP New Plymouth go on air. Excerpt of "The Goon Show", a very popular programme from the BBC. Archival excerpts of Mr Ed Hillary of Papakura interviewed about the prospects for climbing Mt Everest, followed by the Queen's Christmas Message 1953, broadcast from New Zealand.

"Sunday Showcase" and "The Mobil Song Quest" were popular new productions - excerpt of male competitor Donald Jack, winner of the 1956 Quest. Radio game shows: excerpt of Selwyn Toogood. Mrs Dorrie Holdsworth musical whistling performance.

In 1956, radio in New Zealand made one million pounds. Uncle Tom's "Friendly Road" children's choir. 4ZA Invercargill became the most southerly station in the network. New stations continued to open over the next four years, taking the total to 19 stations.

Sputnik signals broadcast in 1957 and the International Geophysical Year.
Expeditions to the Antarctic by Hillary and Vivian Fuchs.

The programme ends with a compilation of early radio excerpts over the song 'Little Sir Echo." Maud Basham "Aunt Daisy" signs off, thanking the 600 broadcasting service staff of 1961, sponsors and advertisers.
Call signs are given by stations 1XN, 1ZB, 1ZH, 1ZD, 1ZC, 2XG, 2ZC, 2XP, 2XA, 2ZA, 2XB, 2ZB, 2XN, 3ZB, 3XC, 4ZB, 4ZA.

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Request information

Year 1961

Reference number 1825

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Documentary radio programs
Nonfiction radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits Henderson, Jim, 1918-2005, Producer
McGregor, John, Recording engineer
COLLINS, Irene
COLLYNS, Arthur
Garland, T. T. (Thomas Threader), 1877?-1964
Green, Grace Winifred, 1907-1976
Wrathall, Dudley
Hawthorne, W. G.
Scrimgeour, Colin Graham (b.1903, d.1987)
Daisy, Aunt, 1879-1963
3ZB (Radio station : Christchurch, N.Z.)
2ZB (Radio station : Wellington, N.Z.)
4ZB (Radio station : Dunedin, N.Z.)
1ZB (Radio station : Auckland, N.Z.)
5ZB (Mobile radio station, N.Z.)

Duration 01:30:00

Date 05 Nov 1961