Rhema's LPs sale: Jesus 'is a Spotify user now'

9:13 am on 28 June 2019

A Christian radio station is reluctantly selling off its 7000-strong vinyl collection but hopes it will be enjoyed by people who will treasure the LPs.

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Luke Weston expects a vinyl lover will buy Radio Rhema's records and use them instead of them being tucked away in a music library and ignored. Photo: Photo / Jessie Chiang / RNZ

Radio Rhema started buying vinyl back in 1978. But now they lie tucked away in an obscure corner of its central Auckland building in a large closet stacked high with LPs.

Rows upon rows of vinyl records in faded covers line the wooden shelves and Luke Weston, the content director for Radio Rhema said they are all up for sale.

"While these are lovely monuments to the past and beautiful references historically... they are just not used as much as they should be," he said.

"We're aware that there are people in New Zealand who love vinyl. It's coming back in and there are people who would love to grab hold of a collection like this, it would mean a lot to them."

He said all their music was now digitised and he was unsure whether they still had a working vinyl player in the building.

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Peter Shaw says there is everything from easy listening to Christmas music in the Radio Rhema collection. Photo: Photo / Jessie Chiang / RNZ

Mr Weston's colleague, Peter Shaw, has been at the station almost since it first started collecting records. He said it was hard to let them go.

"I knew that this day was coming so I have fought it for a little bit but you've just got to move on," he said.

"It's sitting here gathering dust, we really don't use it and if it can go to a new home and somebody else can get pleasure out of it and use it I think that's a better use of this record collection."

There was no surprise that Christian music featured heavily in the collection, with records from Jessy Dixon and Amy Grant, but Mr Shaw said there were other gems.

"We do have some secular LPs, most of it is easy listening. We also have a lot of Christmas albums... instrumental albums, a lot of traditional hymns, gospel music so when I talk about Christian music there's a whole lot of different styles within that," he said.

There were also classics from Lionel Richie, Al Green and the Carpenters.

The records are being sold on Trade Me as an entire collection and Rhema has put on a starting price of $1200 dollars with no reserve.

Mr Weston said there had been a lot of interest and a lot of questions.

"[We've had questions like] 'Have you got this particular album?' [That's] like trying to find a needle in a haystack," he said.

"We've had some... tongue in cheek questions as well. Someone asked whether Jesus knows that we're selling his records to which I responded, 'Yes he does know and he's cool with it and we think he's a Spotify user now', so hopefully we do have his blessing to get rid of the LPs."

Mr Shaw said some buyers have even come from out of town to take a look at what their money will buy.

"Somebody came up from Hamilton who was interested in it and just wanted to have a look at it physically," he said.

"We've been blown away by the interest in it."

Bidding for the collection closes on Sunday afternoon.

So those nostalgic for old tunes - in the words of the Carpenters - have the chance to memorise each word, those old melodies, that still sound so good.

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Photo: Supplied

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