As Paul Casserly’s excellent documentary Radio Punks showed earlier this year, the story of student radio in New Zealand is full of interesting twists, turns and characters. And up-and-coming student directors Olly Clifton and Benjamin Zambo, who are currently in year 13 at Western Springs College in Auckland, have added to the oeuvre by giving their take on bFM, which started as a capping stunt in 1969 under the moniker Radio Bosom, grew into one of the most vibrant media brands in the country in the ’90s and is now attempting to compete against consolidation and a proliferation of other media options now available to the young’uns.
Given the current environment for both the media and music industries, student radio is a tough gig at the moment. Experienced media campaigner and ex-bFM breakfast host Hugh Sundae was installed as the general manager earlier this year in an effort to get things cranking. But it often seems to be less about commerce and more about culture when it comes to student radio. And judging by this documentary and Sundae’s sentiments about the freedom it has in comparison to the stations owned by NZME and MediaWorks, that independent spirit remains firmly in place.
Zambo, who is predicted to do good things in the movie business, also wrote, directed and edited last year’s Atomic Boy when he was just 16.