The Breeze apologises after playing song request from missing woman
The daughter of a Wellington woman who disappeared six months ago was surprised to hear her mum requesting country music on the radio.
The Breeze apologised to Upper Hutt resident Susan Geerars after mistakenly airing an old song request from her mother, Mary Berrington, on January 3.
Berrington, who suffered from bipolar disorder, has not been heard from since last July.
The recording, understood to be from March last year, sparked surprise and confusion over the whereabouts of the missing 62-year-old.
Geerars described events as "a bit rough". "It was quite hard hearing my mum's voice.
"It kind of opened it all up again. It digs it up again, I guess.
"Christmas was hard, of course, and new year's."
A friend alerted Geerars to the recording after someone shared a copy on an Upper Hutt Community Facebook page, asking if it was indeed Berrington.
They checked with the station, which confirmed it had been played in error, and apologised. A representative visited Geerars and gave her flowers.
On the plus side, the family now had a full recording of Berrington asking to hear a song she loved: Wagon Wheel, a country classic recorded by the Old Crow Medicine Show, and covered more recently by pop singer Darius Rucker.
"We would follow the Emerald Brothers around from Whanganui when they came to the [Petone Working Men's Club] or the [Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club], and they would play that song," Geerars said.
"You can either have a laugh or a good old cry."
A Breeze representative said that, at the time the clip was played, the announcer was unaware Berrington was missing.
"This was an honest mistake."
The announcer played a historical clip of a song request from Berrington, who was a "frequent listener and regular caller".
"After learning of the issue, The Breeze reached out to Mary's family, and met with them to offer our apologies for this unfortunate error and any distress caused.
"We understand how upsetting this mistake may have been for Mary's family and friends, and would like to once again unreservedly apologise."