SMASH107FM is about to officially hit the airwaves.
Turn on, tune in, but don’t give up. In a few days—this Saturday, May 21 at 8 p.m.—Smash Palace’s own radio station, SMASH107FM, will officially hit the airwaves.
The new station will feature a diverse mix of music including punk, indie, rock, reggae and roots – music inspired by, but not limited to, the good times spent at the bar.
Darryl Monteith and his wife Kerry Donovan – the masterminds behind Smash – both come from long and varied radio backgrounds, and marrying the live venue with a 24-hour music radio station is a logical move.
“I’ve been in radio for almost 30 years, and it’s a way of combining our passions for live music and radio,” said Darryl.
“It’s a great way to promote what’s happening here and helps local artists build their audience. At Smash Palace, we have people from all over, but our main goal is to grow the local music scene.
Another implicated is Langley Gerrard, who played in bands with Darryl, and is also an ex-radio.
“He decided he wanted to get involved, so there’s a small team behind it,” Darryl said.
“For over 30 years, Smash has hosted legendary live music and concerts. Our hope is that we can capture the incredible energy and character of the bar, spark a few memories, start a few conversations, and celebrate the incredible diversity of musical talent that showed up at Smash.
He describes the new station as “Gizzy as”, and local music will be its base. The station will transmit from Wheatstone Road, broadcasting terrestrially on 107FM in Gisborne and on the internet at www.smash107fm.com.
“It has been our privilege to support the region’s live music scene and we look forward to strengthening this on another platform,” he said.
“Ultimately, we’d like to see that translate into bigger crowds at shows and a more sustainable career path for our artists.”
Darryl, Kerry and the Smash crew have long been serious supporters of local musical talent. Punk band sit Down in Front recently signed with Australian label Native Tongue, who were blown away by the energy the local band brings to their music.
“We’re really excited to be involved with the band as they dive into their third album – while still in high school,” said Native Tongue Chief Creative Officer Matt Tanner.
But that’s old news for Smash, who’ve been giving the band the stage since they were in shorts, or 11, whichever comes first.
“They’ve been in the scene since the beginning, but we also feature a band called Lazy 50, who released an album last year and are playing in other parts of the country. We have a group called Uni-fy. . . we feel we are on the verge of becoming a major music scene here.
“We’re also online, so especially ex-Gizzys around the world can tune in. People will get it in Gisborne, all over Wainui. It’s what we know and love and it’s a way to grow audiences for local bands.
The excitement is palpable. Darryl and Kerry have worked in radio for bigger companies, but for the Smash station they had to invest in their own technical equipment. But it’s not a corporate media conglomerate.
“We get by with the smell of a greasy rag, so we’re looking to sell sponsorships to get local advertisers to sponsor shows, but we don’t want to fill it with ads,” Darryl said.
“It’s been a little difficult, but it’s going to be a lot of fun building a radio station – we can play whatever we want.”
It’s not just local musicians that the station will feature, as they will soon be looking for partners.
“Just as we aspire to provide a stage for everyone at the bar, Smash107FM is a platform designed to be shared. We will soon be looking for people interested in developing specialty shows that will help us better reflect the voices of our region.
“We will be offering evening and weekend ‘days’ as a platform for those with a particular musical passion in the hopes that we will incorporate the best music from these shows into the general rotation.”
He said there was already interest in Gisborne in the new station, and they will “throw the switch” at the launch party this Saturday. And this party will feature live sets from Uni-fy, Lazy Fifty, The Crumb Factory and Overdrive. There will be t-shirt and sticker giveaways in the evening.
You’d be crazy to miss it.
But if you do, listen to it on the radio.
On air: Darryl Monteith, Kerry Donovan and Langley Gerrard are the brains and hands behind Smash Palace Radio, which launched Saturday. Photo by Paul Rickard