The cardboard cut-out promoting Brent Gare, right, a finalist in the Woman’s Day’s Hottest Radio Hunk contest, with his nominator, Mediaworks promotions coordinator Saphron Yaxley. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
Brent Gare’s journey onto the airwaves began when he was just 14 years old. Since then, he and his listeners have shared hundreds of moments together – both terrifying and joyous. HAYLEY GASTMEIER catches up with Wairarapa’s only commercial radio host, who has been voted as one of the country’s ‘hottest radio hunks’.
Twenty-five years ago, a bunch of fourth formers from Marlborough Boys College started their own radio station at the school.
One of them was Brent Gare, who has gone on to have a fruitful career in the radio industry – albeit with a few unusual twists and turns.
Gare, 39, is Wairarapa’s More FM Breakfast show host, a role he’s had for 14 years.
In that time, he tied the knot to his long-term partner, Trudi, with their wedding the centre of a radio promotion, and, more recently, Gare finds himself the finalist in a beauty contest of sorts.
Radio was always something Gare wanted to do.
“I guess everyone grows up having listened to the radio at some point, and I always sort of thought ‘that’d be a cool job’, and it just went from there.”
Starting out at high school, it wasn’t long until Gare had to juggle his fourth form school projects around his job hosting shows on Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoons, on Sound 93 FM (now More FM) in Blenheim.
“While my mates were doing milk rounds and paper runs, I was doing radio.”
He moved to Greymouth when he was 16, and worked for Scenicland FM [now The Hits] while also DJing at local nightclubs.
Christchurch was his next move, where he took a year off from radio and delved into security as well as trying his hand at being an apprentice chef.
Eventually, Gare edged his way back into part-time radio work, and hounded his old boss from Blenheim to get him a full-time gig again.
“He had a nights job going so he got me up from Christchurch to have a bit of a listen so he could see how much I’d changed, because I was 21 at this stage. Before I knew it the job was mine.
“Six months later I was on breakfast as a co-host, and less than 12 months later I was hosting the show.”
Gare then did a stint in Timaru before his path led him to Wairarapa.
“I got a phone call asking if I wanted to move to Masterton for an operations manager and breakfast host job.
“I said ‘where’s Masterton?’ and did a bit of googling, thought that place looks all right and moved up here.”
He never dreamed he still be here 14 years later.
“Everyone helps you here, and that’s really cool.
“If you want a city there’s one north and one south, and if you want the beach or the bush, they’re not far away, everything’s so close.”
Not long into the job, Gare pitched his wedding as an idea for a promotion.
After getting the idea signed off by his fiance, invitations to the couple’s wedding were given away daily to More FM listeners, along with giveaways, which included the Gare’s honeymoon package.
“The couple who won were getting married, but they couldn’t afford a honeymoon, so it couldn’t have worked out better.”
Gare, a sports lover, said when it came to music his taste was “really, really broad – everything from Michael Buble to Rammstein”.
He struggles to think of a career he would rather have, but said joining the police force had crossed his mind before.
“Every day [in radio] is different, every day is a new challenge. You can plan everything in your show but that can all change.”
He said he always had to be prepared to react to breaking news, with the September 11 attacks in New York, in 2001, an event that stands out.
At the time, working in Marlborough, he contacted a councillor’s son who was in New York.
“We had him on air within an hour, describing what he’d seen.”
Gare recalls how sobering it was to hear of the scenes unfolding before this man eyes.
“That’s the real emotive side to radio which makes it really good – it doesn’t always have to be funny.”
However, one memory that would be considered “funny” to most, though not for Gare, was when he had to perform the chicken dance in the middle of a Masterton street, in his underpants, as part of a kindergarten fundraiser.
“And speaking of embarrassing moments, the fact that I’m in the top 10 hunkiest radio announcers, that rates right up there.”