Radio Puketapu stakeholder has pirate past

A British company with links to a pirate radio station which once broadcast from a ship in the North Sea has acquired a stake in Radio Puketapu in Palmerston.

Radio Caroline has been bidding for New Zealand radio frequencies and now owns the AM 756 frequency used by Radio Puketapu.

Radio Puketapu had been off air for three and a-half weeks to allow time for negotiations between Radio Caroline and the volunteer-operated Palmerston station, technical spokesman for Radio Puketapu Lawrence McCraw said.

Radio Puketapu started beaming out to East Otago again last Wednesday. Radio Caroline is also seeking frequencies in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to add to its Palmerston frequency, Mr McCraw said.

Radio Caroline is believed to have bid unsuccessfully for other New Zealand radio frequencies in the last tender round earlier this year.

Radio Caroline is distantly linked to Radio Caroline, the first pirate radio station to operate in international waters, which broadcast to the United Kingdom more than 40 years ago.

The organisation is now believed to be based in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Radio Caroline has not responded to emails from the Otago Daily Times seeking information about its plans for expansion in New Zealand.

The Radio Puketapu programme will run during the day from the Palmerston station and the Radio Caroline programme will beam out at night, It is also hoped to broadcast the Radio Puketapu night programme on an FM frequency, initially from Palmerston and later from Waikouaiti, Mr McCraw said.

Radio Caroline plans to set up a Community Club website for its Radio Caroline and Radio Puketapu listeners.

The changeover had cost Radio Puketapu $5000 for new equipment and partial rebuilding of its Palmerston studio.