Octogenarian captain of the Raglan airwaves isn’t setting sail quite yet

He’s 83 next month but Eddy Cross – better known to local listeners as The Captain – isn’t planning to weigh anchor on his weekly Raglan Community Radio slot for a good while yet.

“God willing”, Eddy reckons he’ll carry on commuting over the divvy every Tuesday for the best part of another year to present The Pugwash Show, which he puts together during his weekends at the Te Rapa retirement village where he and his wife now live.

By next May, says this one-time Londoner who lived down Kaitoke Bay way for 16 years, he’ll have notched up 20 years on air. “Then I will hang up my microphone and hand it over to a younger DJ.”

It was in May 2000 that Eddy did his first stint for Raglan Radio, back when it was 96.6 on the dial, and he’s never missed a beat.

Eddy recalls it all came about coincidentally, “by default one might say … My daughter Julia came to me to say that one of her friends could no longer be a DJ and did I know anyone to take her place.”

In those early days of the new millennium local community radio broadcast downtown from the exact spot where Kapiti ice-cream is now sold, he says. The station studio then moved up to the town hall, where it’s become a permanent fixture.

“Early on I would use only a few CDs and mostly music tapes, but I decided to use more CDs – as they allow you to select the odd track – and music from the station’s computer which holds thousands of songs to choose from.”

Says Eddy, a music buff from way back: “I have loved being a DJ here in Raglan over the years and get such a buzz each week.

“We have an open door so people are able to pop in. I have met so many overseas visitors and locals, and hear where they hail from and how they love Raglan.”

The Pugwash Show features classic hits and golden oldies from the 50s through to the 70s. “That’s my era,” says The Captain. “It’s what I know and what I like.  But I do play the latest stuff too from old rockers like Rod Stewart, Elton John and Mick Jagger.”

Eddy got the nickname Pugwash – the fictional pirate from a series of British children’s comic strips and books – some years ago from a friend who saw him in his prized sailing dinghy.

Raglan’s Captain Pugwash however is proud to say he’s also diversified and in 2009 got to interview for the station a real captain, Pete Bethune, when the Kiwi skipper of biofuel boat Earthrace motored into Whaingaroa Harbour.    

He’s also had the pleasure of interviewing 26 local identities – from Rangi Kereopa to Queenie Tukiri, the late Lorna Lusty to Wayne Morris – and his recordings of their life stories are now kept in Raglan Museum for posterity.

“It was important to have them recorded for the future,” Eddy believes.

“Another thing I do,” says the irrepressible Eddy, “is roll out 160 copies of (British radio comedy programme) The Goon Show which plays on Raglan Radio every Sunday night.”

While Eddy’s looking to complete 20 years on air, Raglan Community Radio itself is about to celebrate the quarter-century mark in November.

Edith Symes

*The Pugwash Show with The Captain is on every Tuesday, 1-4pm, and repeated Saturday afternoon.

Celebrating 25 years of Raglan Community Radio