Radio is best medium for science in NZ

Across public and commercial radio there’s more science journalism going on than ever before and thanks to the internet, it is becoming easier to find.

The volume of content and the flexibility of the radio format which allows for longer interviews, mini documentaries and panel discussions means radio is emerging as the medium that best serves science coverage in New Zealand. Here are what the main radio stations are offering when it comes to science coverage:

Radio New Zealand

rnzRadio New Zealand’s award winning website features streaming audio and podcasts of all of its shows, so it has for some time been easy to hone in on the science programming featured on the Our Changing World show and in the line-up of Kim Hill and others.

Radio Live

rliveRadio Live has recently joined the party, with a drive to podcast the science interviews of weekend host and science enthusiast Graeme Hill. Below are links to some of Graeme’s recently podcasted shows and you can look forward to more in the coming weeks with Graeme featuring some big stars from the science world including Moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Dr Helen Petousis-Harris on the non-link between Measles-Mumps vaccine and Autism.

Dr Nina Fedoroff, Hillary Clinton’s chief science advisor on genetic modification.

Dr Hamish Campbell answers questions on earthquakes.

Skeptics Society chair and Radio Live contributor Vicki Hyde on homeopathy.

Kiwi FM

kiwiOver on Kiwi FM we have Glenn “Wammo” Williams, the breakfast host and a one man multimedia extravaganza. Science features heavily in the line-up, including a weekly science wrap-up with New Scientist’s Janine Young. Wammo features all of his content on his Youtube channel and the in-studio video feed and Skype video links to some contributors makes for strangely compelling TV on the radio.


bfmNo stranger to podcasting is Auckland student radio station 95bFM, which is actually more popular with the over 30 demographic than the teenage undergraduates who lounge in the quad beneath its studios on the University of Auckland campus.

On Thursday’s The Wire presenter talks science with me in the Dear Science segment and science-related stories are scattered through the rest of The Wire programmes during the week.

Newstalk ZB

zbZB has a way to go to tidy up its on-demand audio services with shows difficult to navigate. If you’re looking for science interviews, its hard work. But science does feature on the popular talk radio station so hopefully ZB will get the hang of podcasting so they get more exposure.

All up, I’ve been heartened by the amount of science-related content appearing on New Zealand mainstream radio and the quality of the content is only getting better as scientists become more comfortable in interviews and hosts develop a deeper interest in science-related issues.

Public Address radio

pa radioBroadcast on Radio Live and available in a reasonably user-friendly podcast format is Publicaddress Radio, hosted by Russell Brown and Damian Christie, bloggers on the popular blog network. Science features prominently with recent interviewess including squid guru Steve O’Shea and xenotrasnplantation pioneer Bob Elliot.

All of this means that radio is THE place for good, in-depth science coverage in New Zealand at the moment – long may it continue.

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