I would describe the environment as an almost cult-ish community of progressive thinkers, with an affinity for conversation and controversy. There was loud music and even louder personalities. All of it, with a unique Kiwi twist. They use te reo Māori (the Māori language) and are social justice seekers. I actually learned later on in my radio class that 95bFM was originally called Radio Bosom and broadcasted illegally from a boat. The spirit of rebellion lives on at bFM.
What makes radio so important in New Zealand is the sense of community it creates. They say Kiwis are all separated by two degrees, that’s just how small the country is. Although that might not be completely true, there is a sense of community in the island country. There are public and commercial radio stations, both of which hold a lot of weight over influencing listeners. After the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011, radio was the only accessible medium for people who were scared and needed to stay informed. It was then that commercial radio became a powerful tool.
Radio in New Zealand is very much alive and adapting to new ways of broadcasting. I think as long as music and stories are relevant to everybody’s lives, radio will remain.
Overall, getting involved with something local is the easiest way to learn more about world. I have an appreciation for radio now because I see the process behind speakers. People who work in radio work tirelessly for very little in return. Even for a music station, there is journalistic integrity and the high-held dream of somehow improving society with their platform. These people are intelligent and driven people. They are not to be overlooked.