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New Zealand’s 10 Best Community Radio Stations

Presented by Young Henrys, here are New Zealand’s 10 best community radio stations.

Similar to North America, New Zealand is a land of community radio stations, a brotherhood of local fans taking the country’s next musical wave into their own hands. Harking back to the days of pirate radio, several of New Zealand’s community radio stations started off as simple acts of student rebellion. Since then, they’ve grown to become vital assets of campus life and their journalism programs.

Brought to you by Young Henrys, we did some digging and found 10 stations doing great things. Check them out below.

Base FM

Base FM can be found in the heart of Christchurch at the University Campus, a baby born from the local underground scene and a celebration of diversity. If you’re a fan of variety and a personal touch from the presenters, this one’s made for you.

Working around the clock from a newly instated digital platform, Christchurch’s premiere underground station is a total hive for new and exciting music.

Radio One 91FM

With a mission statement which professes to move against the commercial radio model, Radio One 91FM is the premiere station broadcasting out of the University of Otago.

With a focus on variety and playing plenty of local music, Radio One is known for bringing artists out of the shadows and into the light, playing everything from disco to reggae, punk to metal. Otago is a college hub and with such a vibrant and youth centred community, it’s not hard to see why this station goes off.

MUNTfm

Who can’t sit up and take notice with a name like that? A hub for challenging and experimental music, all the way from house and dubstep to local punk and reggae, MUNTfm is a raw, progressive station based out of Massey University in Wellington.

Proudly commercial free and currently celebrating their 15th year in operation, MUNTfm is the perfect stop for any listener visiting Wellington and after something to get them in touch with the local community.

Contact FM

Established in 1974 in Hamilton, Contact FM is the radio station based at the University Of Waikato.

Purely student managed and presented, Contact FM is a mix of features, news, weather, daily updates, and of course, music. They also bring in artists from across the world who are touring in the area, keen on anything from Scottish rock bands to Scandinavian folk artists.

95bFM

Another student radio station! Based in Auckland, 95bFM is New Zealand’s answer to triple j, with a pretty similar rotation to our old Australian favourite. Featuring the vibes of Wolf Alice, Courtney Barnett and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 95bFM is run by the student association at the University of Auckland and is known for its political engagement and conversation-based shows.

A mix of great music and gripping discussions, the station has been running since 1969 when it started as a pirate radio venture. Broadcast from Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour and played illegally on speakers around the University, it has since grown to become one of the most popular stations in the country.

RadioActive.fm

Running as Wellington’s most popular alternative radio station for the past 40 years, RadioActive is a mixture of podcasts, interviews, in-studio live sessions and community conversations.

Acting as a message board for community food, arts, and music events, the station is about connecting audiences with the entertainment in their area. There’s a huge focus on local music and issues, so if you’re visiting Auckland and after a way to feel like you’re a part of the buzz, RadioActive is your saviour.

RDU 98.5FM

Broadcast out of one of the biggest universities in New Zealand, RDU-FM is a student project based in the University of Canterbury. First hitting the airwaves in 1976, the station is known for kicking off the careers of some of New Zealand’s best entertainment journalists.

Often controversial, they’re known for pushing the boundaries and have found themselves in hot water once or twice. Nonetheless if you’re hanging around and want to become a part of the action, then RDU-FM is worth checking out.

They’ve also branched out into throwing some pretty epic parties across campus, so keep an eye on their socials to stay in the know.

Static FM

Another alternate station in Auckland, Static FM is a low commercial and conversation-focused broadcaster. Run by the third year radio communication majors at Auckland University, their motto is “fewer commercials, great yarns and some banging records”.

Really sticking to the community minded, down to earth attitude that most Kiwis hold dear, Static FM is a heartfelt project and one which combines quality local journalism and great music.

Radio Control 99.4FM

With awesome training programs and internships, Radio Control 99.4 is another station based out of Massey University in the north of New Zealand’s South Island.

They profess to ‘being the last protection against commercial radio and only true alternative radio in the Manawatu’ and with a legacy spanning over twenty years, it seems that Radio Control 99.4 are doing something right. With special interest shows running all week and a huge volunteer presenter base, you’re sure to find heaps of left-field tunes and local chats from dawn to dusk.

Salient FM

If you’re looking for a station who will play Atomic Kitten straight after Cub Sport, Salient FM is the station for you. A personal favourite, these guys take variety to a whole new level and never play to the too-cool game. If it’s catchy and makes you smile, cry or scream, then Salient will have it on the airwaves.

It’s a carefree and zero-fucks-given attitude that makes this station so great. They are political, conversational, independent and run by students of Victoria University.

Happy Mag’s NZ Week is a new initiative spotlighting New Zealand as one of the world’s most exciting cultural hubs.

Special thanks to Young Henrys for supporting Happy Mag’s NZ Week.