The Generator

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Hamilton alt/rock radio station, 2001-2006.


After running UFM for three years on the 89.0FM frequency without much financial success, station owner Joe Dennehy decided to transform the eclectic, multi-genred playlist of UFM into one concentrating on commercial 'alternative rock', pitching the station as the thinking man's alternative to The Rock (a station Joe had worked for previously).

Enlisting the help of another former Rock associate Grant Hislop, over the course of 2001 the sound of the station shifted to reflect this new focus, culminating in September, when the station relaunched itself as The Generator. The original name pitched to the staff at the time was The Pig - which was unanimously derided.

Within a week of the launch party, almost half the staff were told they were being let go. The number of paid staff continued to decline over the next few years, with the station relying more and more on volunteers.

The Generator continued to operate from the small building upstairs in Victoria Street, above what is now The $2 Shop. Upon Iain Stables investing in the company, a new studio was built and the Production Sound Booth built. Plans were underway to open a partnering station, The Generator began broadcasting Waikato-wide on another frequency (owned by Wayne Hendersen who became another shareholder). Nathan Muller became Programme Director and there was a boost in staff including new DJs, various Promotions Managers and the start of an advertising sales team.

A successful Battle of the Bands was held at Altitude, owned by Laurie Weakes, who later invested in The Generator.

With Joe Dennehy calling most of the shots, The Generator moved premises in 2002 to Level 3, Axa Building, Garden Place, despite reservations from the rest of the shareholders. Shortly after moving, a dispute caused Joe to flee from the building and the remaining shareholders appointed Dale Timms (Radioworks) as Station Manager.

Late 2002 the staff were alerted to The Generator's financial demise by the sudden redundancy of one of the breakfast announcers, Marc Nickalls, and the redundancy of two advertising sales reps. One sales rep, Susan Spirig, was re-absorbed back into the company to her previous role as Schedules Manager as well as manage accounts as Office Manager. Despite perseverance, Susan resigned early 2003 due to discovering deception within the accounts and management/shareholders.

The station continued to run despite Martin Dempster influencing the playlist insisting music such as "Black Sabbath" was played. Gradually the shareholders and staff abandoned the now failing company. On June 9th 2006, The Generator was closed by owner Wayne Henderson. It was rebranded as Backbeat later that year.

Announcing Staff

Nathan Muller PD (2001-)
Martin Walters (2001-2002)
Glenn Dwight (2001-)
Marc Nickalls (2001-2003)
Slaveboy (Martin MacDonald (2001-)
Tariqa Howe (2001-2001)
Spud (Martin) (2001-2002)
Vaughan Smith (2002-)
Gordon Lundy (2002-)
Daile Lambert (2002-)
Eddie Martin (2002-)
Kerry Cooper (2001-)

This is an incomplete list. Feel free to add to it.

The Generator Staff

Joe Dennehy
Grant Hislop
Martin Dempster
Jenny Dempster
Ian Stables
Laurie Weake
Wayne Hendersen

Station Manager
Joe Dennehy (2001-2002)
Martin Dempster (2002 Briefly)
Dale Timms (2002-2003)

Programme Director
Nathan Muller

Production Managers
Martin Walters (2001-2002)
Gordon Lundy (2002-)

Creative Writers
Glenn Dwight (2001-)
Spud (Martin) (2001-2002)

Office Manager/Schedules Manager
Susan Spirig (2002-2003)

This list is incomplete. Please add to it if you have more details.

See also