Editorial:
    Radio NZ proposal for Concert programme

Friday, 6 March 2020

RNZ holds off on plans to restructure Concert

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson. [Photo: RNZ]

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson.    [Photo: RNZ]

Last week, RNZ [Radio NZ] announced a proposal to remove Concert from its FM frequencies and automate it, and use the FM frequency for a new youth station.

Chief executive Paul Thompson said he has met with staff in the music department this afternoon to withdraw the proposal.

He said things have changed with the government now indicating it would support the youth music service.

Original article - 12 February 2020

Media Matters President, John Terris, says:

John Terris

John Terris

    This takes us back to the bad old days of the new government in 2017 when RNZ gave the fingers to the Government over its media reform plans.  To say that RNZ's top management and Board have 'gone rogue', would have to be an understatement.

To say that the Arts community was infuriated by the prospect of the axing of Concert FM is also an understatement.  "Gob-smacked" and "Gutted" don't come close to describing their disappointment and frustration.

I commend RNZ for wanting to do more for the young audience, but they are already doing one heck of a lot.  On National Radio, they carry Music 101 at the weekend; they have Jessie on weekday afternoons, who regularly features youth music; and Concert FM itself often highlight's Jazz, which is the serious young music buff's choice.

On top of that, they offer the most authoritative news service in the country, which must be a boon for youngsters who are locked into the Fake News of the Internet and wondering who to believe.

There's also a deeper question here.

The RNZ leadership are playing politics.

How so?

Media Matters is a media advocacy body with two hundred subscribing members who support our efforts to monitor and oppose media initiatives which harm children and young people.  We are completely non party political, having in the past applauded the changes introduced by the National Minister Amy Adams in the form of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, and the current changes being put forward by the Labour Minister Hon. Kris Faafoi.

These changes are thirty years overdue and RNZ leaders are hell-bent on interfering with them.

For RNZ to introduce one piece of that reform, out of context and with no prior public consultation, is unacceptable. 

The person employed by RNZ to introduce these changes is somebody called Willie, whose main qualification is, apparently, that he has been recruited after 20 years in private radio, where they never consult the public because they are not publicly owned, and where the main objective is not to serve the audience but to sell soap. 

Willie's plans were to include relegating the Concert FM Programme in favour of a Youth station, WITH NO CONSULTATION WITH THE AUDIENCE WHATSOEVER.

Hello RNZ, this is the Public of NZ calling. 

When do we get a say in the changes to services we own?

We pay your salaries you know.