Des Britten

“Hi there you there, Des here” was Des Britten’s introduction when he was one of several pioneering pop DJs on New Zealand’s airwaves.

After the arrival of rock’n’roll, a local radio revolution was inevitable – albeit within the confines of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service. It began on 2ZC in Hawke’s Bay, with the emergence of the country’s first true pop DJs, Neville Chamberlain, David Ford, Keith Richardson, and Des Britten.

Four NZBC disc jockeys, Wellington, early 1960s. From left: Scott Newman, Bas Tubert, Des Britten and Ted Thorpe. 
Photo credit: Peter Downes archive
At the Pines, Wellington, early 1960s. From left: Garth Young, Peter Caithness (founder of Salem Records), a visiting US pop star, broadcaster Des Britten, and the singer’s chaperone.
Photo credit: Don Peat
Des Britten with the Keil Isles - Son This Is She (Viking, 1962). The song had been a No.15 hit for UK singer/actor John Leyton the year before.
Watch: 'Making Of A Record', a compilation film shot by HMV's A&R man Bruce Ward. Includes footage of Des Britten as DJ.
An advert for Des Britten's Platter Spree,
Des Britten, host of the Coca-Cola chart in the early 1960s, writes to Keith Richardson at 2ZC. Des explains the process to Keith but not how the chart was compiled.
Photo credit: Keith Richardson collection
Promoter Ken Cooper and Des Britten with Max Merritt & The Meteors in Wellington
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
Max Merritt & The Meteors disembark in Wellington, December 1962. The crossing from Australia was rough, causing Billy Kristian (far right) to throw up through the night. From left are: unidentified, Peter Williams, Peter Sowdon, Max Merritt, promoter Ken Cooper, DJ Des Britten, Peter Williams's brother Barry, and Billy Kristian. 
Photo credit: Ken Cooper collection
Advertisement for a teenage talent quest, to be judged by Des Britten, Upper Hutt Leader, 21 September 1961
Photo credit: Upper Hutt City Library
"Hi there you there!" Des Britten, The Hi-Fi Club Show.
Photo credit: Merv Thomas archive
"One Big Twist and All." Des Britten comperes a show at Wellington Town Hall, 24 February 1962. 
Photo credit: Roger Watkins archive
In May 1969 a full-page advertisement in Playdate announced that Des Britten was flying overseas to interview musicians for his Platter Spree radio show.
Des Britten with the Keil Isles - So Long Baby (Viking, 1962)
Des Britten, host of the Coca-Cola Hi Fi Club, as pictured in Playdate, October 1961

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