Music pioneer Grant Hislop launches FM station in Tauranga

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The Bay of Plenty radio market is about to heat up with the launch of a new radio station – to be known simply aas The Station – takes to the airwaves on 105.4 FM from this Saturday 5 August.

The station is the brainchild of music industry identity Grant Hislop and is part of his ‘conscious media’ company Monarch Media incorporating  retail store, radio station, and online video streaming.

Hislop founded The Rock, Coastline FM and Kiwi FM. He also helped found Radioworks and at various times programmed ZM, Hauraki and Channel Z.

He’s also had a parallel career in artist development, developing and managing Pluto, Goodshirt and Opshop.

This time, he says, he’s doing things differently. Over the last two years he reckons he’s been on a journey of self-discovery and his new ‘conscious’ business venture is driven by a community-minded vision and a desire to make a difference – all the while delivering a great music experience.

The Station (105.4 FM) will broadcast out of Vinyl Destination, a popular record store in the heart of Tauranga, and Hislop says it will feature a completely unique approach to radio programming – not bound by genre or era.

“Listeners can expect to hear recognisable hits whilst also embarking on a journey of discovery,” he says. “The traditional radio format has been completely deconstructed.

“Currently there is no local radio company and we’re about to change that in a big way. The Western Bay of Plenty will have a voice in the media.”

“Like every other business – radio has to evolve. I’ve started with the listener in mind and worked backwards. The formula includes less invasive commercial content, better variety and deeper catalogue of music, fewer announcer interruptions and an alternative source of information. The biggest difference, however, will be the mix of genres and eras.”

The record store – recently acquired by Monarch Media – will enable music lovers to shop and browse extensive vinyl collections while watching live radio take place, “all the while enjoying coffee and food for which Vinyl Destination is already famous”.

“When I first visited Vinyl Destination, it was apparent that something special was happening,” Hislop says. “It’s a treasure trove for real music lovers. Broadcasting The Station from the shop provides a physical presence – something not often possible in radio – along with a chance for listeners to connect both with us and each other.”

“The record store and radio station are just part of the plans for a media and music company, he says. “They will provide a launching pad for up and coming New Zealand artists.”

The station is committed to 30% NZ music content, including a commitment to develop and programme local Bay of Plenty artists. Complete artist development services are part of Monarch Media – along with plans for magazine and television extensions.

“With community and causes at the heart of Monarch’s vision – and a belief that media platforms should be used to further such messages and education – a number of initiatives will be supported,” Hislop said.

“Airtime will be used to champion issues such as reducing the use of plastic bags in the Bay of Plenty and Hislop is keen to partner with likeminded businesses to progress ideas in this space.

“At the end of the day it’s about a great local listening experience. Currently there is no local radio company and we’re about to change that in a big way. The Western Bay of Plenty will have a voice in the media.”

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