New voices sought for radio

Staff and volunteers at Central Otago's last surviving independent radio station are juggling shifts while positions are advertised for additional announcers and a new station manager.

Applications for a station manager at Ranfurly's Burn 729am close today.

Melissa Inder, who had taken over as station manager earlier in the year, resigned this month.

Mrs Inder said she was working extra hours on the family farm while continuing other employment in Ranfurly, and there were not enough hours in a day.

She now works 15-20 hours each week, and will finish on January 15.

"When we are really desperate I may be able to fill in and help out [announcing shifts], but I will not have a definite weekly slot," she said.

Amie Pont, who stayed on as the board's chairwoman, said announcers would be fully trained.

"In the past, a select few have done the majority of the work at Burn and we want others to come in and share the load a bit more", she said.

The station has been a training ground for primary and secondary school pupils from the Maniototo, as well as a launching pad for broadcasting graduates from throughout New Zealand.

Three of this year's four announcing pupils have moved to secondary or tertiary education outside of the Maniototo, while other adult announcers left due to other employment or lifestyle pressures.

"At this time of year people end up busier because agricultural work picks up and they have to spend more time on the farm.

"In a community like the Maniototo, people come and go. . . and it's particularly difficult sometimes being a volunteer-based entity, because people can only do so much for nothing," Mrs Pont said.

 

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