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About Plains FM

Each month we produce 90 unique community access radio shows in 20 languages by, for and about real people like you! Plains FM broadcasts 24/7 on 96.9FM via a transmitter sited at Sugarloaf on the Port Hills to Christchurch city, north to Cheviot, south to Ashburton, west to the Southern Alps, and into Lyttelton Harbour on Banks Peninsula. We cover the plains of the mid-Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island/Te Wai Pounamu. Our live stream is available from this website, along with selected podcasts (also available via Apple Podcasts) so we can be heard all over New Zealand and the world.

Since our birth in February 1988 our studios have been located on the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology campus, now known as Ara Institute of Canterbury in the CBD

We operate as Plains FM 96.9 and the frequency is governed by a charitable entity called The Canterbury Communications Trust. We receive annual funding support from NZ On AIR but also rely on airtime contributions from users, grants, some sponsorship/advertising and donations.

 We have 5 permanent staff plus interns and specialist contractors as needed.

Community access radio is ‘radio by, for and about the community’

Plains FM is one of eleven independent Access entities operating around New Zealand and is a member of the Community Access Media Alliance (CAMA). We are part funded by NZ On Air, and as such are contracted to provide a specific number of hours per week of programming that provides for the interests of specific groups in Section 36c of the Broadcasting Act. 1989, women, children, youth, persons with disabilities, minority groups, including ethnic minorities and a range of religious and ethical viewpoints.

We provide broadcasting facilities for individuals or groups who would not otherwise have the opportunity to make and present their own programmes.

To learn more about access media in NZ visit the Community Access Media Alliance website

Plains FM Broadcast Region

Our Team

We have 5 permanent staff with interns and specialist contractors as needed.
We provide the facilities and training you need so you can make and broadcast your own quality programme, in your own way and in your language of choice.

Nicki Reece - Station Manager

Laura Gartner - Content Coordinator

Kate Kennedy - Administrator

Pia Titus – Youth Coordinator


Charlie Sierra -Production Coordinator 


Nico Reyes -Production Assistant  

Frequently Asked Questions

So you are a community station then? Yes we are, but we're more than that! We serve the community, we certainly represent the community, and we work hard to develop relationships with community groups, but Access stations do more than that.

What do you mean by “access” radio?
We are part of the Access radio sector, and a member of CAMA the Community Access Media Alliance.
NZ on Air assists Access stations financially, with the expectation that we:
"- ensure that a range of broadcasts is available to provide for the interests of women, youth, children, persons with disabilities and minorities in the community, including ethnic minorities" (Section 36(c) of the Act).
In June 1989, the Minister of Broadcasting issued a Directive to NZ On Air that says that "it is part of the general policy of Government in relation to broadcasting that access radio services should be available for a broad range of non-profit community groups
Plains FM’s strategic plan centres on this concept.

Who listens to Plains FM?
All sorts of people! We don't target any one group, or any one generation, but strive to provide a range of programmes of interest to everyone. If what you hear isn't to your taste, try tuning in later, or another day.

Why do you have such a mix of shows?
We call it 'eclectic and varied'! We take our aim of representing the entire community very seriously, and the result is a mix of shows that far exceeds commercial and most community radio stations.

Why do you have shows that I can’t understand?
Migrant communities are a significant part of the Canterbury community, making up 20% of the population in the region and are specifically named as a priority group for Access Radio representation. We continue to invite all migrant and new settler communities to have a go at making radio, and are constantly delighted at the fresh and exciting shows they bring to our airwaves. Some of our very best shows are presented by migrant groups. Have a listen, you might be surprised!

Why don’t you get some better DJs?
Everyone here is a trained volunteer, not a professional 'radio jock'. We represent everyone. Mistakes can get made, voices vary in their delivery, and often our presenters have English as a second (or third) language - that's the way Access Radio is, and we think this diversity is worth celebrating and representing!
In fact many of our presenters have been finalists or won NZ Radio Awards in the Access Radio categories since 1993.

What happened to my favourite show/presenter?
All shows are hosted by volunteers, and they come and go. People leave town, people choose to take a break, new groups need to be accommodated, so our programme schedule gets adjusted. You can keep up with the latest schedule here.

Who chooses the music?
The show hosts choose their own music, and the station programmers carefully and skillfully select the rest of the music that plays across the schedule between programmes. We don't focus on Top 40, and we're not a rock station. Like the programmes, the music is diverse and we're confident that true music lovers will love the sound. Of course we're happy to take feedback and we welcome music submissions to or 154 Madras Street, Christchurch 8011.

Can I tune in online?
More and more people choose to listen to content via devices other than the radio. We offer a number of ways that you can tune in from anywhere at any time.
Live streaming is available via this site. simply click the Listen Live icon. This stream is in AAC+, and works brilliantly on computers and any other live stream receiving device.
Smart device users [any iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, Google devices, etc] can use this stream in a number of ways. Visiting this site and clicking the Listen Live link will work, or you can find us in popular live streaming apps such as the popular TuneIn app.

What if I miss something great?
We replay a number of well-crafted programmes in various timeslots. Check out the current schedule.
Most of our shows are also available as podcasts so users can listen to them on demand, or download them for later listening. Follow the Podcasts link.
Our podcasts are also shared via Apple Podcast.

Do you still have a question you would like answered? Please use our feedback form.

Our Journey 1988 to Now

28 years of local stories


Community radio station Plains FM goes to air at 5pm on 29th February in the Media Centre at the Christchurch Polytechnic (now ARA’s NZ Broadcasting School). The first non-English programme is Echo Radio produced by Theo Boekel. Media Centre radio students share the airwaves with myriad community groups, organisations and individuals with a need to have their own independent voice on air.


Regular Maori radio programming is first heard in Canterbury on Plains FM.
The Community Broadcasters’ Society (CBS) is formed to support broadcasters and give representation on the governing body - The Canterbury Communications Trust.
The Broadcasting Commission begins to fund “access” radio in NZ with an annual grant.
The first Pacifica radio presenter Viliami Halaifonua begins Radio Tonga.


Airtime Magazine starts with articles and pictures about station life.
The Media Centre gains its own frequency (96.1FM) for its students and Plains FM becomes fully community access radio oriented.
Secondary School Radio Debates begin.


Plains FM hosts the first national conference for the Association of Community Access Broadcasters Aotearoa/NZ Inc.
Tourist Radio begins in the breakfast slot and KidsFM caters to children in the July School holidays. A health-focused programme Operation Hospital Review results in many submissions to the Canterbury Area Health Board.


Chinese Voices wins the first NZ Radio Award in the newly-created access radio category.
A programme created to celebrate 100 years of Women’s Suffrage called Women on Air begin and continues for the next 20 years.


A second production studio opens with financial assistance from Lottery Grants Board, Trust Bank Canterbury and the CBS.
Tama Atu Hau in Niuean wins a NZ Radio Award.


New logo launched.


Plains FM produces a week-long celebration of kiwi music which continues each year until NZ On AIR begins their annual NZ Music Month in May 2001.


Mobile studio broadcasts begin in schools – kicking off at Linwood High School.


Outwaves celebrates 10 years on air. The first station van is purchased.

To be continued….1999-2016

Support Us

Sponsor a show Advertise with us Make a donation

Ideas, Culture, Music
Plains FM96.9 is an independent, not-for-profit station providing diverse opinions, ideas, culture and music - all positive motivators.
We have many programmes made by and for the community, supplemented by a superb "adult alternative" playlist (world, Americana, Alt-folk, blues, soul, swing, kiwi) relevant and innovative talk programmes and a high profile as a successful community organisation.

Targeted Markets
Our diversity creates exciting niche audiences. Over 80 regularly scheduled programmes in 15 different languages.
You can target very specific sectors of the community and associate and align products and services to them.

Loyal and Active Listeners
The audience listens actively, paying close attention to "their” shows created for them by members of their communities.

A Powerful Community Brand
Plains FM96.9 is a brand reflecting informed comment, community development, diversity and loyalty. The station offers several opportunities to businesses interested in creating a brand definition with these attributes by associating with one of Canterbury's most successful independent, not-for-profit community media organisations.


Specifically targeted to defined niche audiences or run of station Plains FM96.9 will assist advertisers to reach attentive audiences. Advertising is limited so your message will stand out. Commercials can be translated into appropriate languages providing a powerful, peer-generated message. We also offer advertising opportunities on our website.
Staff can create an advertising campaign to suit your budget and target audience.
You may want to reach migrant communities, or youth, or people with disabilities…
You may want to reach a certain demographic or community of interest.
We can place ads around, or within, specified programmes or run of station.

Advertising rates vary depending on the duration of ads, the frequency of spots and the need for copy to be translated.

Spot rates for 30 second advertisements run-of-station in English are usually $20 plus GST and campaigns are tailored to suit your requirements and budget.
See our rate card.


Sponsorship is the easiest and most cost-effective way of advertising with Plains FM. It means you get to build a special relationship with a particular show on our station, with prominent mentions from the broadcaster, and other opportunities to promote your brand.

Sponsorship of a programme presented by a not-for-profit organisation is only $16+GST per 25 minute show or $32+GST per 55 minute show.

Sponsorship of all other programmes is only $21+GST per 25 minute show or $42+GST per 55 minute show.

Download the Plains FM rate card.

As Plains FM is a registered charity, the cost of sponsoring a show is a tax deduction for businesses. On top of that, it's seriously cost-effective.

There's also the fact that through sponsoring Plains FM, you’re helping support a vital community resource. Most of our dedicated volunteer broadcasters wouldn't have the resources to make radio for their communities without sponsors, and we thank you for it.

How it works

When you work with the management staff to sponsor a show with Plains FM, you receive:

  • A number of ads, which are played in the sponsored show. The number of ads depends on the show sponsored. For instance, a 25 minute show receives 4x30 second ads each time it airs. Ads are professionally produced in-house by Plains FM to specification, free of charge.
  • A number of ad-libs, which are prominent mentions of your organisation as the sponsor during the sponsored show - "this show is brought to you by..." "Thanks to our sponsor...", etc.
  • Your logo and a blurb explaining your business on the relevant programme page of our website. This logo can link back to your website, if applicable.
  • Once a year, we provide the opportunity for sponsors who have been with us more than six months the opportunity to be featured in our Sponsorship Spotlight. This promotion offers you extensive coverage, including a spot on the front page of the Plains FM website, coverage in our social media channels, and on-air promotion.

Bonus: On top of this, we’re prepared to offer extra advertising as a signing bonus if you sign for a six month (20 ads) or 12 month sponsorship (40 ads) to be used across our schedule during the sponsored period.

Talk to us today!

Contact us today to see how Plains FM can help your business be heard - email or call 03 365 7997 for a Plains FM Info Pack.
See the Plains FM Rate Card
See the Plains FM Sponsorship and Advertising Options
Please note: CHARGES AVAILABLE UNTIL 31 December 2016. New charges may apply from 1st January 2017.


Make a Donation

Plains FM 96.9 is owned and governed by the Canterbury Communications Trust (CCT), a charitable organisation set up to develop and promote community access broadcasting in Canterbury.

Donations to the station are tax-deductible and will be used for a particular purpose like equipment, or to help ensure continued access to the powerful medium of radio for under-represented groups. You will help enable, foster and develop the communities with whom we work.

It’s easy to donate via our secure Give A Little page. Donate here

For further information please contact us.


Links for Plains FM

Other Access Radio Stations 03 365 7997 154 Madras Street (on ARA campus)
   New Zealand
Proudly Funded by New Zealand On Air
Proudly Funded by New Zealand On Air