Alma Johnson (aka Alma Evans-Freke) was the first female continuity announcer on New Zealand television. She made her debut in August 1960, a few months after Auckland station AKTV-2 began regular broadcasts. By then Johnson had worked extensively in radio, and studied drama in London. As continuity announcer, she introduced and linked the night's shows. Often she worked with Tim Evans-Freke (her future husband). Johnson was known for her diction and style; off-screen she was a noted speech and drama teacher. Her students included Carol Hirschfeld and Jesse Peach. Johnson passed away on 15 September 2017.
Television announcing to me was never more than just a job. We were public servants and it never occurred to any of us at the time to think of ourselves as personalities or, heaven forbid, stars. There were, however, a lot of things we were asked to do — opening fairs and judging baby shows, which I enjoyed doing. Alma Johnson, in a June 2010 Listener interview with David Lomas
“It’s hard to imagine our way of life before the box turned up in our living rooms.” Newsreader Dougal Stevenson presents this condensed history of New Zealand television’s first 15 years: from 60s current affairs and commercials, to music shows and early attempts at drama. The first part of a two-part special, this charts the single channel days of the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation from its birth in 1960 until puberty in 1975, when it was split into two separate channels. Includes recollections from many of NZ TV’s formative reporters and presenters.