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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Radio Broadcasting Co. of New Zealand Ltd., 1925–31

A principal feature of the agreement was that the company was to establish and operate radio stations in the four main centres. Major advances were made with the opening of 500-watt transmitters in Auckland (August 1926) and Christchurch (September 1926) and a 5-kilowatt station in Wellington. Dunedin followed in 1929. A large body of listeners was assured of a daily programme service, with the exception of one silent night each week, and this generous service was reflected in the remarkable growth of radio licences. At 31 March 1925, there were under 5,000 licence holders; by December 1931, there were approximately 70,000. Finance had been assured for development by an annual licensing fee of £1 10s. which became payable from 1 April 1925. By March 1929, out of a total yearly revenue of 64,653, the company received £54,166 and it was this money that assisted in the financing of the main centre stations and gave a tremendous impetus to broadcasting growth. In the short space of 10 years, broadcasting had grown to a large and thriving industry. In coverage it served a considerable portion of the population for apart from the national stations, the smaller stations continued to flourish and were even covering areas where there were sufficient pockets of population to support them. During the period 1925–33, the number of stations licensed by the Post and Telegraph Department totalled 40.

Other countries – more particularly the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada – had adopted almost from the inception of broadcasting, as part of its system, corporate control as the form most appropriate to the development of this new social service. New Zealand was greatly influenced by the apparent success of the system and, when the agreement with the Radio Broadcasting Company expired in 1931, it was not renewed, the New Zealand Broadcasting Board being charged with the responsibility of extending the national broadcasting system.