The story behind Radio Dunedin, New Zealand's longest-running radio station

Radio Dunedin is just weeks away from celebrating its 95th year of broadcasting, making it New Zealand's longest-running radio station.

Its legacy will be strengthened when a new documentary film, also named Radio Dunedin, premieres in the southern city in September.

Radio Dunedin, Radio
Director Grant Findlay and veteran announcer Lyndsay Rackley filming the very first frames of the documentary in 2015. Photo credit: Radio Dunedin

First-time director Grant Findlay, who is also a cameraman for Three's Newshub, tells the story of the volunteer announcers who launched the station in 1922.

"I was inspired after watching a documentary at the New Zealand Film Festival a couple of years back, and I thought hey, let's give it a go.

"[There] was this amazing station with all these old-school announcers who were truly passionate about radio and also with the depth of history of almost 100 years.

"It was sort of the perfect storm for a documentary with beautiful characters, which is what you want."

Not only is Radio Dunedin still broadcasting, it's also one of the highest-rating stations in the region.

The most recent survey showed it is the number one station for all people aged over 50 years old in Dunedin.

Radio Dunedin, Arson
The station's transmitter in Highcliff was destroyed by fire in 1985. Photo credit: Radio Dunedin/TVNZ

The station has faced many challenges to stay on-air through the years. It was off-air for a number of weeks after its transmitter was burnt down in an arson attack in 1985.

It survived a lack of funding and attempted Government takeovers in the 1940s to remain independent, before turning commercial in 1990 and joining Radio Otago three years later.

"Anyone who is interested in an inner workings of a radio station or if you're interested in media, you'll like this," Mr Findlay adds.

"Local audiences I think will really love it, especially in Dunedin, they really love Dunedin stuff.

"That's exactly why the station does so well - because they want to hear what's going on in their backyard."

The documentary will premiere on September 20 at Rialto Cinemas in Dunedin.