Ewing Stevens remembers broadcasting pioneer Merv Smith

Opinion 25/09/2018
Merv Smith. Photo: File.

By Ewing Stevens, former RadioLIVE host.

OPINION: Merv Smith has been a broadcaster and a personality who has left his mark on society.

After a legendary period from the 1960s to 1987 in the breakfast host's chair at Radio 1ZB, Merv's life had to change dramatically.

1987 brought a big style change of breakfast broadcasting with the appointment of Paul Holmes. Confrontational realism had entered via the microphone.

Merv was first re-employed by ZB's opposing station, in those days Radio l. Many of Merv's longtime, faithful listeners followed him which showed in ZB's huge drop in ratings which at the time caused them to question the wisdom of their change.

However, time proved them to be correct and their ratings recovered.

Merv was out in the cold again. His next move was to help establish a country music station to follow his interest in music, but the whole broadcasting scene was growing in Auckland and it was time for Merv to move on.

Radio Pacific was another key station which Merv approached. But even their breakfast show had moved on.

Radio veteran Ewing Stevens. Photo: File.

However, his love of music led him to Derek Lowe's attention and he went on to assist with Derek's memorable weekend music extravagances

And then his period of fronting the memory lane's Open Country programmes brought him in touch with Radio Pacific's nationwide Open Country audience.

Until recently, Merv's voice continued to be heard and appreciated in Mediaworks-crafted radio adverts.

Merv was never a quitter; he just did not give up. His hobby of trains made him an expert in that field which many appreciated.

Merv Smith was a man of his age which he exemplified in all that he did. He had values which never wavered though the world that changed around him. And through it all he exhibited a cheerfulness and good humour which cheered and encouraged all who had the privilege of experiencing his friendship.

Ewing Stevens is a veteran broadcaster, now retired, formerly of RadioLIVE.