Station History

1990

The Otago Community Broadcasters’ Society is founded to further community broadcasting in Dunedin and Otago. Initially, the Society leases airtime from Radio One (Dunedin’s student station) and local station 4XD during hours when those stations had no other scheduled programmes.

NZ on Air Executive Director Ruth Harley formally opens access radio’s office in the Corso building, Moray Place, on 14 December.

On 15 December the first broadcast airs on Radio One – ‘Looking International’  hosted by Sue Culling

1991

By August there are up to six hours of weekly broadcast via airtime leased from Radio One 91FM (Dunedin’s student station) and 4YC (900AM), supported by funding from NZ On Air.

1992

The first OCBS Air Awards are held on 29th of May at the Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin Town Hall, recognising the achievements and diversity of access radio’s volunteer broadcasters.

1993

The station gains the frequency 1575 kHz AM along with the name Hills AM. Shifts to 24-hour-a-day broadcasts from the new premises at 375 King Edward St, South Dunedin.

1999

The Hills Radio Trust is formed to govern the station, a role previously filled by the Otago Community Broadcasters’ Society. The Society remains in existence, becoming a support organisation for members, and organising fundraising and social events.

2000

The station shifts into a purpose build premises in Dunedin Community House, 301 Moray Place.

2008

Hills AM changes its name to Toroa Radio in anticipation of a future move to FM broadcasting.

2011

The station gains the frequency 105.4FM and re-brands itself as Otago Access Radio (OAR 105.4FM) to better reflect its role as one of New Zealand’s 12 Community Access stations. The station continues to also broadcast on 1575AM and via live stream from its website www.oar.org.nz

2012

The station upgrades its On-Air and Pre-Recording studios following a significant fundraising effort.

2013

The station wins the regional Trustpower Community Award for Arts and Culture. OAR establishes Youth Zone programming, offering free training and weekday airtime for young volunteers aged 8-22.

2015

OAR FM experiences huge growth in downloads of podcasts as its audience embraces radio in the digital age. More than 80 local groups and individuals deliver over 3000 hours annually of locally produced content. Station wins Trustpower Community Award for Arts and Culture, for a second time.

2016

February 2016, Otago Access Radio, The Otago Community Broadcasters Society, and past broadcasters celebrate the 25th year of Access Radio in Dunedin.

Hear audio from our Online Listening Post below

Celebrating 25 Years Audio Banner