bFM’s Homegrown Host

June 7, 2011

While New Zealand is celebrating NZ Music Month in May, EIT Hawke’s Bay graduate Zac Arnold has pushed the boat out with a year of dream achievements since completing his Diploma in Video and Electronic Media in Taradale and heading for the bright lights of Auckland. Along with fellow ex Napier Boy’s High School student Ethan McAulay, Zac is hosting 95bFM Breakfast Show on Auckland’s bFM Music Radio Station after a successful stint on The Drive slot on Friday nights which they took over after Mickey Havoc vacated the slot earlier this year.

On the show Zac has mixed with musical legends like Dimmer singer Shayne Carter and become a fixture himself in the Auckland music scene. Zac’s own two-piece band Mean Girls with fellow ex Napier musician and sculptor Martin Selman has performed with acts like The Drab Do Riffs, Popstrangers, Die Die Die and Wayne Anderson: Singer Of Songs. In his spare time Zac has been busy filming various New Zealand bands for an upcoming project. 

Zac says the EIT course gave him a broad base of practical media skills which have served him well. He learnt camera from lecturer Peter Janes who spends half his year teaching at EIT and the rest working in West Auckland on TV series like Legend of the Seeker and Mighty Power Rangers; he did writing with journalist and scriptwriter Claire McCormick and worked with her part-time at Napier’s Century Cinema where Zac got to see the best of international film festival fare; he mastered editing with freelance videographer and editor Wayne Dobson; and design with Jonathan Rogers who worked on props and sets on Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Lord of the Rings and The Frighteners before returning to the Bay: he learnt sound recording and editing from former NZ National Film Unit sound engineer/mixer Chris Verburg who Zac dubbed “Golden Ear”.

“Zac’s extensive knowledge of music and films made him easy to train and I’m sure his brass ears will polish up nicely!” says Chris.

Zac admits staying in Hawke’s Bay to get skills and qualifications with the support of his family before heading to Auckland was time well spent. “Like most people in Napier by the time you finish school you are literally screaming to get out. But I had a sweet time at EIT made some of the best mates and made my first short film.” Zac’s s student short film featured Napier Boys High School English Teacher Hugh Forlong-Ford as a troubled dad and Zac’s current co-host Ethan as a struggling teenager who gets unexpected help impressing a girl through a chance meeting with members of Gisborne punk band The Rocket Jocks. The film showcased the band and their songs. Zac continues to promote the East Coast pop punk band on his bFM show.

The morning show can be live-streamed from bFM’s website and is on Monday to Friday 6-9am. BFM’s website introduces the pair by saying,” Zac and Ethan have the following talents: an opinion on everything, not knowing when to shut their mouths, and always thinking they are right. You never know what you’re going to get with bFM’s version of Laurel & Hardy… or Beavis & Butthead.”

Zac’s Mum Chrissy Arnold who is team leader at Taradale Library is thrilled Zac’s two years at EITHB have paid off so quickly, but she says it took guts and determination. She says Zac threw himself into the Auckland scene taking a string of temporary posts including working at Auckland Museum, a stint shooting stock footage of Auckland, an art gallery internship while volunteering at bFM and catching the attention of bFM Station Manager Manager Manu Taylor,  “Zac’s really willing to work hard, try new things, and throws himself wholeheartedly into projects and that’s made all the difference,” says Chrissy.

Young music-lovers keen to follow in Zac’s footsteps will be thrilled to learn that EITHB is in discussions with the legendary NZ musician and songwriter and MAINZ Director Harry Lyons, to run their Certificate in Contemporary Music Performance locally. Lyons was a member of Hello Sailor who were regular performers at Napier’s Cabana Hotel where Zac cut his musical teeth with teenage band Trashbox. EIT Sound Lecturer Chris Verburg aka Golden Ear is hopeful the MAINZ programme will be ready to roll out in Hawke’s Bay in 2012 to develop other local talent like Zac.