Walking on clouds with win

Radio presenter Amir Amini, of Dunedin, prepares another broadcast for Radio Toranj, which has...
Radio presenter Amir Amini, of Dunedin, prepares another broadcast for Radio Toranj, which has been named a finalist in the New Zealand Radio Awards. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
It takes something pretty big to leave a radio presenter speechless.

In Radio Toranj presenter Amir Amini’s case, it was his radio podcast’s recent selection as a finalist in the New Zealand Radio Awards best access radio programme category.

It is the first time a radio programme broadcast in Farsi, has been selected as a finalist in a New Zealand radio competition.

"Honestly, I read the email from the New Zealand Radio Awards and I thought maybe someone had made a mistake or something.

"I felt ridiculously excited and very proud because this wasn’t something that has happened before," Dr Amini said.

"It was basically something we dreamed of when we filled out the application forms. We thought, ‘They are not going to select us’.

"We are just walking on the clouds."

Dr Amini said it made him and his fellow presenters feel very much at home, knowing that his programme was very much an accepted part of New Zealand’s airwaves.

Although the show is broadcast on Plains FM, in Christchurch, he records his part of the show from his home in Dunedin.

He said the show introduces his Persian culture and the Farsi language to New Zealanders, but its main goal was to provide information about the country to new immigrants, refugees and students.

"It’s like a talk show which consists of different sections.

"For example, in one part we talk about music and reintroduce some of the popular music that has been playing here in New Zealand, and in other parts, we introduce the most iconic nature reserves here in New Zealand.

"The concept is to connect Farsi speakers, which consist of Iranian, Afghan and Tajik people, to the things that exist here in New Zealand.

"We try to give as much information as possible and try to connect these two cultures together, by introducing music and events happening in New Zealand, like Matariki and Waitangi Day."

He said it made the radio station very popular with people from the Middle East, who were settling into New Zealand culture.

"Most cases, they don’t have anyone here to talk to, so this is something that they can connect with and they can start to get to know people and make some connections."

When Dr Amini is not presenting on the radio show, marketing it, managing its social media, responding to inquiries and applying for funding, he is a Red Cross settlement case worker in Dunedin.

New Zealand Radio Award winners will be announced on July 21.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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