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Radio Kidnappers - Radio Programme

Giving the community the ability to talk to our wider region via radio (and now internet) is the aim of the Access radio station Radio Kidnappers, reflected in its catch-phrase: ‘Putting YOU on air’.

Hastings District Council is again supporting the charitable organisation, donating $4480 from this year’s Contestable Grants Fund. The fund is distributed annually to groups developing or delivering a community service or project which fits with Council’s aim of “building a safe, liveable, sustainable community”. Council is profiling successful applicants from this year’s grants round.

The contribution to Radio Kidnappers will help produce four programmes: its intermediate school debate challenge; the Women’s Refuge Show; police update On The Beat; and Planet Women, hosted by the Heretaunga Women’s Centre.

The 2017 Talk-The-Talk Intermediate Schools Debate Challenge was reaching the pointy end of the competition towards the end of August, with just the quarter and semi-finals and then the final to go. The year 7 and 8 students in the first of the two quarter-finals were about to tackle two weighty topics: ‘Voting in Parliamentary elections should be made compulsory’, and ‘All intermediate schools should close their libraries in favour of electronic devices’.

Radio Kidnapper’s debate organiser Chris Gane said the annual programme had been running since 2002 and had steadily gained in popularity. “The driver when the competition started was to get these youngsters involved in public speaking and debating, within the constraints of live radio. Over the three to four months you can really see the kids grow in skills and confidence,” said Mr Gane.

“A big part of this learning process is the detailed feedback and critiques offered on-air to each debater about their speech, by the adjudicator.  In recent years this has been an adult who is themselves an accomplished debater.  The comments add credibility and flavour to the competition”.

This year 12 teams of three from schools across Hastings and Napier had entered. The debates are run using standard debating rules slightly tweaked to make sure the debates fit between the hourly news bulletins.

Support from the schools for this innovation, and overall, had been excellent, said Mr Gane.

“We get great feedback from teachers and parents. We have had to cap the team-numbers to make the competition manageable, which indicates that the schools see real value in it.”

Radio Kidnappers is one of 12 Community Access radio stations. The first went to air in 1981, with Radio Kidnappers broadcasting from 1995. Since 1989 the stations have been part-funded by central Government, tasked with  broadcasting community programming and providing facilities, training and on-air time for individuals and community groups to produce programming.

Programme manager Ken Morrison says the NZ on Air funding covers about three-quarters of the cost with sponsorship and grants covering the shortfall.

For that support, Radio Kidnappers gives airtime to a broad range of non-profit and community organisations which exist for the benefit or welfare of ethnic, religious, cultural, minority, disabled, youth, and educational groups, and for those catering for specific women's, men's, and children's interests and concerns. 

Hastings District Council’s community grants subcommittee chairman Malcolm Dixon says the grants fund is crucial to community groups and society. “There are so many groups who do such a wonderful job of supporting people in our community; addressing a whole range of issues and interests. It is a real pleasure to be able to assist on behalf of our community; without our volunteers our society would not be half as successful as it is.”

For more information on Radio Kidnappers see:

For more information on the debating competition see:

For more information on Hastings District Council Annual Contestable Grants see:

24 October 2017

Back to Contestable Grants Recipients


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