Hundreds of advertising dollars have had to be returned to Taihape business owners after local radio station Peak FM went off the airwaves.

Radio station owner Geoff Anderson, based at Raetihi, said a digger had mistakenly dug through the live cable, taking the broadcast down, while working on a West Taihape farm.

Mr Anderson said there was work needing to be done on land near the farm's shearing shed and the farm manager said he had had phoned Powerco to check whether it would be safe to go ahead.

He said the matter was now being investigated.

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"The farm manager told me a Powerco rep came and had a look and gave him the all-clear.

"The frightening thing was that the cable was live. It could have been a very nasty incident - the digger driver could have been killed, it's just damn lucky he wasn't.''

Powerco customer services representative Frances Timoney said yesterday the incident was under investigation.

Mr Anderson said the Taihape station was off air for hours before someone called and asked him what was going on - and it is still off the air.

"Now it's been days, so I'm having to pay back all my Taihape advertisers.

"I really don't know when the cable will be sorted out. It will be costly, so hopefully Powerco will complete their investigation soon and I hope they will pay for it.''

Mr Anderson bought the small private radio station in 1995 and has worked seven days a week since.

"All day on weekdays and half days in the weekends.''

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It has affected his business for nearly a week and the cost is mounting.

"The thing is, there was a tall pole on the land clearly marking that there was an underground cable .''