Sunday 30 August 2015, with Jack Perkins

Sunday, 30 August 2015
Spectrum's Life and Times

Spectrum's Life and Times (Part 1 of 2)

Spectrum team 1980s Jerome Cvitanovich Jack Perkins and Alwyn Owen.

1962 UHER 4000 REPORT. Spectrum's workhorse in the 1970s.

A Wairarapa shearing gang at work - 1972.

Florance Harsant with childhood friend Tai Rawhiti - 1973

Florence Harsant nursed amongst Northland Maori during the 1913 smallpox epidemic - 1973.

Rangi Pohika elder of Ngati Pamoana on the Whanganui river - 1975.

Maori activist Whina Cooper - 1978.

Radio personality Jessica Weddell played Queen Victoria in NZ in a Hop Owen spoof.

Te Aroha New Zealand's last wooden coaster - 1976.

John A. Lee with Sir Keith Holyoake in Parliament - 1975.

Elsa Davis incomparable character and impromptu lyricist - 1982.

Dick Perry champion blade shearer - 1985.

An unexpected visitor a marmot dropped in through the ceiling Wyoming - 1986.

An unexpected visitor a marmot Wyoming - 1986

Australian outback oasis - 1987s.

Kangaroo hospital Australian outback - 1987.

Australian outback 1980s.

Exploring Ausrtalia's outback by campervan - 1988

Noel Fullerfton cameleer Australian outback - 1988

Noel Fullerton and friend Australian outback - 1988

Jack at Wellington's inner-city fruit and vege market. September 2007.

Jack at Trentham's annual British Car Day. April 2011

Jack (community name 'Chopper') Perkins in the rain. June 2011.

Spectrum co-founders Jack Perkins and Alwyn Owen - 2015

My skills are fine - never better - but my energy levels are way down. That’s what age does to you, so it’s time to go. - Jack Perkins

After 56 year in public radio – 43 of them producing the programme Spectrum – Jack Perkins has hung up his microphones.

Alwyn (Hop) Owen and Jack began Spectrum in 1972. The much improved portable tape recorders that had become available in the 1960s released producers from the confines of the studio to seek stories from all corners of the country.

Hop and Jack, who were privileged to be in on the ground floor of this new form of radio, established Spectrum, whose brief was to record human interest stories to balance against news and current affairs programmes.

It wasn’t long before the Spectrum team realised that a very rich seam lay exposed, ready to be mined. Life and work on the gum fields and in the bush, the kauri industry, the first World War, depression years of the 1930s, the Second World War – the men and women who had lived through these times and events were ready and willing to tell their stories and Spectrum was eager to record them.

Hearing ordinary Kiwis on the airwaves helped to de-centralise and democratise radio. In a very real sense, the portable recorder took radio to the people and imbued their voices and stories with an authenticity and veracity undiluted by transcription or reportage.

To mark the end of his long career, Jack chats with Spectrum co-founder and colleague Hop about Spectrum’s life and times.

Gallery: Just a few of the team of Spectrum producers over the years

Spectrum producer Alwyn Owen.

Spectrum producer David Steemson.

Spectrum producer Deborah Nation.

Spectrum producer Sapna Samant tells the story of how a Cornish Pumphouse in Waihi, the only surviving pumphouse of its kind in the world, came to be saved. July 2007.

Sapna Samant hangs out with Les Presling at the Devonport Fire Station while he oversees the first shoot of the 2008 Firefighters’ calendar. September 2007.

Spectrum producer Sonia (Yee) Sly - it's all in a day's work.

Spectrum producer Amelia Nurse on the Hurunui River.

Spectrum producer Justin Gregory on the beach at Whitianga, in his most glamorous and flattering outfit.

Spectrum producer Lisa Thompson.

Spectrum producer Lucy Orbell looks at the increasing role of community gardens in urban Wellington. January 2008.

Jack at Wellington's inner-city fruit and vege market. September 2007.

Jack at Greytown's Road Crash Rescue competition. September 2009.

Jack (community name 'Chopper') Perkins in the rain. June 2011.

Jack at Trentham's annual British Car Day. April 2011

Listen to some of the original Spectrums referred to in this programme

Spectrum's Guide to Kiwi Weddings (1973)

A satirical recreation by Alwyn Owen of the good old Kiwi wedding. Narrated by Bill Toft.

Capital Sound (1973)

Spectrum's microphones travelled Wellington's streets for several weeks to capture this evocation in sound.

And all the Queen's Men (1974)

A recreation of the battle fought at Gate Pa, Tauranga, in 1864 and its aftermath. A previously unknown diary of the affair was used, along with a specially recorded battle scene.

A Festival of Cans (1975)

A nostalgic tribute to that most humble and human New Zealand institution, the dunny. The long-drop, the three-holer, the users, the emptiers, the designers, and, of course, the good-old night-cart. Unique New Zealand humour.

The Stan Graham Murders (1977)

Compiled from official sources combined with eye-witness accounts, some previously untapped, this is a graphic reconstruction of New Zealand`s most famous manhunt in 1941, produced by Jack Perkins.

Queen Victoria's Incedible Journey (1982)

An amazing document has been 'discovered' in one of our research libraries by the Spectrum team. In Queen Victoria's own handwriting, it details how she visited this country incognito in 1882, disguised as a Highland Gentleman.

A Song for all Seasons (1982)

Elsa Davis was Melbourne's unofficial Poet Laureate, and composer extraordinary. With enthusiasm and devotion, she chronicles events in song. She talks to Alwyn Owen, and demonstrates her talent, singing her famous "Phar Lap" song, a Royal Lullaby, and a song about New Zealand's Tourist attractions, composed in ten minutes. (SP426)

Tales From the Tip Face (1984)

His years as overseer of the Nelson tip have brought Jim Hargreaves into contact with all kinds of people and their rubbish. Jack Perkins joins Jim during a busy Saturday morning down at the dump.

From the Back Country - Deer Dogs with Bernie Chaney (1986)

Bernie Chaney tells Jack Perkins about deer culling in 1948 and breeding long legged dogs for hunting deer.

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