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Radio with pictures hits airwaves

Broadcaster and saxophone player Alex Nyman hosting his show ‘Jazz Club with Alex Nyman’ at Arrow FM’s ‘Radio with some pictures’. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

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Arrow FM and Wairarapa TV have joined forces to lead New Zealand media through its cutting-edge technology in the new programme ‘Radio with some pictures’.

The programming means the station’s hosts are filmed while broadcasting their live radio shows, with most of them being screened later on Wairarapa TV.

Arrow FM manager Michael Wilson said the project had finished its initial trial period and he was “astonished with how remarkably good it looks”.

“A radio programme is just people talking but people find it particularly compelling and are more drawn in because of the visuals,” he said.

The idea was sparked by Wairarapa TV founder Toby Mills, who approached Wilson looking for more content for his television channel.

“My goal was to get as many people in the community involved to contribute as possible,” Mills said.

“I’m very pleased with how far it’s come.”

Wilson said he was interested in the project, but only if it could be delivered to the highest standard.

Not only did Mills deliver, he also provided technology so advanced it enables broadcasters to interview people without having to continuously and manually switch the camera angle.

“They worked on a voice activation system – when it detects sounds on the other side, the camera cuts to them,” Wilson said.

“It’s essentially a TV station with no staff but with expert vision making.”

Mills accompanied Wilson to an Access radio conference to deliver a presentation on the project, which led him to being asked to present to the executives at New Zealand on Air.

“They were pretty impressed,” Mills said.

“Other stations around New Zealand are now looking to take on the technology as well.”

“The littlies have led the way,” Wilson said.

Wilson said Mills’ input was vital during the trial period, as he spent a lot of time ironing out the bugs and allowed them to borrow the equipment until they had secured funding from Rotary clubs of Wairarapa South, Carterton, Masterton and Masterton South.

“We’re grateful to the Rotary clubs not only for their money but for their confidence in what we are doing,” Wilson said.

At present, an image of the Castlepoint Lighthouse fills the screen when there is a musical break, but broadcasters can bring along a laptop to screen their own images.

Wilson hopes to hold a competition to encourage people to submit videos of “interesting and abstract images” which can be used by the broadcasters as well.

Although he found out this week that the building housing Arrow FM is to be demolished to make way for a new furniture chain store, he was excited by the prospect of starting fresh.

“As corny as it sounds, it’s an opportunity for us.

“It gives us more options with the telly stuff and we can do a purpose-built space.

“To say we can have it exactly like this means it will be bigger and better.”

‘Radio with some pictures’ videos are available for viewing on Freeview channel 41, as well as on the Wairarapa TV phone app where previous shows can be accessed.

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