OAR FM Dunedin has a new home

The year-long project to relocate Otago Access Radio after 22 years at the Moray Place location culminated in a successful switch-over to new purpose-built studios at 43 Princes St, with the first live-to-air broadcasts commencing the week of October 16.

It has been a mammoth task for staff, volunteers and technicians.

Station Manager Lesley Paris said that when OAR and all other Dunedin Community House tenants were given three-months’ notice to vacate in late 2022, the tight timeframe was incredibly challenging.

“Moving a radio station is a daunting prospect.

“But along with the challenges came new possibilities. The Hills Radio Trust and OAR agreed that the search for new premises was also the perfect opportunity to bring forward future plans to upgrade our broadcast equipment.”

Decision made, the drive to raise around $280K in project costs got under way.

“We’ve been blown away by the level of support from our Project Funders, volunteers and the wider community to get us here.”

Key funders include NZ On Air’s capital fund, Otago Community Trust, Alexander MacMillan Trust, Aotearoa Gaming Trust, Dunedin Harbour Rotary and the Otago Community Broadcasters Society.

Installation of new Wheatstone digital suites was managed magnificently by Marcus Bekker and his Southern Broadcast team, who ensured the transition for OAR’s listeners was seamless.

OAR Community Liaison Jeff Harford said the more-than 190 local volunteers who create programmes and podcasts with the station were now receiving hands-on training in the new systems.

“The response from our content- creators to the upgraded gear, and the new studios, has been really great.

“We have volunteers aged from 9 years to 90-plus, each with their own backgrounds and needs.

“With such diversity of experience, ability, ethnicity and language, it’s hugely important that the equipment and systems are accessible and intuitive.”

The station joins 18 other Dunedin Community House agencies to make the move to 43 Princes St, beginning a new chapter in OAR’s storied history.