He's been on the Tauranga airwaves five minutes and already he has a whole bunch of potentially cold Merivale kids rugged up and ready for winter.
“It's a local show, I am the local guy. And we care about Tauranga.”
Mark Eagle has been living in Tauranga. But he was leaving home at 4.30am each day and traipsing up and down State Highway 2, 88km to work and 88km back each day, for years. He was the voice of Whakatane.
Finally the man and the voice are in the same town. Mark has just completed his first week on the bacon and eggs gig, 6am-10am, on the Breeze 95.8FM. “Now I get into the car at 4.45am and I am at the Breeze (opposite the fire station in Cameron Rd) five minutes later.”
It's dog eat dog in the commercial radio game in the bigger cities like Tauranga. “It's a lot bigger job, there's a lot more at stake so I have to be at work by 5am.”
And when he was looking for a “stunt” to stake his claim in the Tauranga market place, he picked a goodie. It was rugs.
“We heard the principal of Merivale Primary talking about the kids getting sick in winter. They would get so cold and sick at home they would go to the sick bay at school to get warm. As a parent I think that's just awful.”
Mark also thought it would be irresponsible not to do anything about it.
“We go home in the middle of winter, turn on the heat, have a hot meal, pull a blanket around us to watch TV and then turn on the electric blanket and go to bed. Then you hear about the kids getting cold and sick.”
So Mark and the Breeze launched the great blanket drive and a week later they'd collected 120 blankets to warm little hearts in Merivale. They were presented this week. “The kids were great. I will always remember the smiles. They don't expect anything but they were thrilled someone gave a damn.”
“Bid” in Greerton – she's in her nineties – she had a whole lot of thick warm blankets which she gave to the Breeze. Mark had a coffee and a chat with her. And that's his advantage.
Brian Kelly, another Tauranga local on The Coast, might rule the airwaves in this city. However his show comes out of Auckland. As Mark points out, he can't really talk to “Bid” in Greerton. And Gary McCormick and Simon Barnett might be “highly entertaining” – but funny people on the networks out of Christchurch can't provide a Tauranga perspective …or events.
And that's Mark Eagle's business. “We will concentrate on reflecting our patch. You will get local, you will get our twist on it and we love connecting with local people.”