14 Dec 2023

Save the B: Radio fundraiser brings together legends of NZ music

From Nights, 9:45 pm on 14 December 2023

The stars of New Zealand music are coming out next Wednesday night in a fundraising concert to save beloved student radio station 95bFM.

Shihad, Marlon Williams, Voom and Tiny Ruins are among the acts performing at Auckland Town Hall for 'Save the B'.

Auckland's 95bFM has been a champion of alternative and independent music in Aotearoa since 1969, but the station says it has struggled to keep up with operating costs and with audiences switching more and more to digital media.

All proceeds from Wednesday's concert will go to keeping the station up and running.

It’s a “dream come true” for music obsessives, says Tom Tremewan, general manager of 95bFM.

“It's a stellar line-up, and there's a lot to enjoy there,” he told Nights.

Wallace Chapman, Jeremy Wells and Golnaz Bassam-Tabar seated around a small wooden table loaded with laptops, microphones and sound desks.

Wallace Chapman, Jeremy Wells and Golnaz Bassam-Tabar when they were on bFM student radio together. Photo: Wallace Chapman/Supplied

Ten acts will perform at the Auckland Town Hall ("one of the most beautiful venues in the country”), followed by a ‘Rave the B’ after party at venues on K' Road.

The fundraiser comes after the station auctioned its precious vinyl collection to raise funds earlier in the year, which went very well, Tremewan says.

“It ended up being absolutely rammed from about 8am to 4pm there was a line, it took about an hour for people to get in, because people were so excited to go have a nosy into the collection.”

Tom stands in front of a black wall emblazoned with a large "95bFM" logo. To his right is a speaker on a stand. In front of him are a pair of worn-down green leather couches.

Tom Tremewan is the general manager of 95bFM. Photo: Sharon Brettkelly

BfM, and the other student stations, offer something valuable, he says.

“We are not algorithmically driven. We aren't a top 40 station, we're not going to be a hegemonic echo chamber of what we think is the most popular lowest common denominator, we will expose listeners to the weird, the wonderful or sometimes downright eccentric.”

The station is also a talent incubator, he says.

“Mikey Havoc, Matt Heath and Jeremy Wells … Charlotte Ryan, Noelle McCarthy, Jesse Mulligan, and that's only looking at BfM.

“If you look across the aisle, as to the talent that the student radio network has produced over the last 40-50 years, you couldn't throw a rock in a media organisation, a newsroom or a newspaper in Aotearoa without hitting someone who has had time in one of the five centres across the motu.”

Despite the stresses of the past few years, Tremewan remains confident the station has a future.

“The power of student media has always been to innovate and BfM's strapline is that we are the originator.”

Talent within the student radio family has always been its strength, he says.

“Increasingly now [they are] people who haven't grown up with radio outside of maybe being dropped off to high school in their parents’ car listening to linear radio, they are now so au fait across multiple digital platforms and their skill set is so sharp that we can reach these audiences by just relying on the talent that we have and listening to them and taking their lead.”

Tickets for the fundraiser (priced appropriately at $95) are available from Ticketmaster.