Station 1ZR – Vacuum Oil Company

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Announcer Dudley Wrathall began his radio career in the 1920s and worked for many years on Auckland station 1ZB. Prior to that he worked for 1ZR, one of the early private "B class" radio stations. These were forced to try and exist without any form of advertising revenue – radio advertising being forbidden by the government during the early years of radio in this country.

Like many early radio stations, 1ZR was set up by a music retailer, in this case, Auckland's Lewis Eady Ltd. It was a popular broadcaster during the Depression playing a mixture of music and religious programming. However, in a 1966 interview, Dudley Wrathall recalled how they strayed too close to advertising by naming the sponsor of a programme, the Vacuum Oil Company. (Note their sponsorship of a 1ZR radio programme is mentioned in this newspaper advertisement of the era.)

The station was already in disfavour with the government due to the populist political views of station manager Reverend Colin Scrimgeour. The Post and Telegraph Department (who controlled radio licensing) decided to crack down on radio station sponsorship and 1ZR was soon acquired and closed in late 1933. Like his workmate Maud Basham (Aunt Daisy), Dudley Wrathall moved on to 1ZB and continued to enjoy a long radio career.

As part of the 1966 interview, he re-created his offending announcement – which could be called one of New Zealand's earliest radio "commercials."

Catalogue Reference 26338

Year 1933 (1966 recreation)


Advertiser: Vacuum Oil Co. Pty. Ltd
Broadcaster: 1ZR
Announcer: Dudley Wrathall

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