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National Radio gets $14.5m boost

Budget 2003: National Radio gets $14.5m boost and will set up FM network

Radio New Zealand is to receive new funding worth $14.58m over four years to to set up a nationwide FM service and meet the rising costs of its core services, Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey said today.

National Radio will receive an additional $3.396m over four years to progressively establish FM services across the country and $2.646m annually to maintain its programming. Around 93 percent of the population will be able to receive the FM service by 2006, the same penetration currently achieved by Concert FM. The current AM service will be retained providing service to those listeners unable to tune in to the FM band.

Steve Maharey said the package, part of Budget 2003, will enable the nation’s public radio network to make a larger contribution to the development and maintenance of national and cultural identity.

“National Radio provides an essential service reflecting and analysing New Zealand news, information and experiences and broadcasting the best international programming 24 hours a day. No other broadcaster approaches its range and depth of coverage.

“The funding package will enable National Radio to continue to meet its Charter obligations and is the first boost in resources for core services since 1997.

“The migration to the FM band will enable National Radio to continue to build its audience by attracting younger listeners who, in general, do not tune in to AM radio stations. All major radio networks in New Zealand operate on the FM band.

“The FM service will be progressively rolled out over the next three years, starting with the four main centres by the end of 2004. National Radio will continue to be simulcast on the AM band for those unable to tune in to FM.

“Radio New Zealand International will also receive $0.6m to enable it to increase its daily broadcasts of original programming, and in particular Pacific current affairs. This also supports legislation currently before Parliament which amends RNZ’s Charter to require it to provide an international radio service to the South Pacific,” Steve Maharey said.

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