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Jamie Mackay: The country comes to town

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What started as two young blokes commentating club rugby from the Gore Showgrounds 25 years ago, for the princely payment of a dozen cans of DB Bitter from the Mataura Licensing Trust, culminates on Monday when The Country comes to Auckland on Radio Sport.

A quarter of a century ago I was one of those relatively young bucks. The other one was Lee Piper; these days the Head of Rural Content for NZME. Back in 1994 we decided it would be a great idea to buy a radio station from the government of the day.

Brief history lesson; at the time, the state-owned Radio New Zealand commercial division was haemorrhaging cash and Jim Bolger's government wanted to investigate the possibility of selling off the unprofitable assets to private enterprises.

A strategically insignificant station called 4ZG in Gore seemed like an ideal guinea pig. However, the elongated sale process proved to be a dog rather than a guinea pig and the net result was the launch of Hokonui Gold Radio on April 11, 1994.

The Shareholders were Lee Piper, yours truly and another rugby commentator by the name of Grant Nisbett threw his trusting hat into the ring as a silent partner.

While I was gleefully dismissive of Piper's lack of farming knowledge, to his credit he did know radio having been sent to the unfashionable outpost of Gore to be the........

© New Zealand Herald