Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Frustrated By RNZ Concert Proposal Timing

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Jacinda Ardern said she's frustrated RNZ pushed ahead with announcing proposed changes to its Concert radio station, when the government had asked for time to discuss alternatives.

RNZ is proposing to remove Concert from its FM frequencies and transform it into an automated nonstop music station which will stream online and play on AM radio.

At her weekly post-Cabinet press conference, Ardern announced an alternative plan would be drawn up in a Cabinet paper to be presented to ministers.

It would involve freeing up the 102 FM frequency - a spectrum for youth programming that has been shelved for the last 20 years.

"In the meantime, we believe RNZ has NZ On Air funding obligations to continue programming until June, and we intend to use the time available to work constructively to find a solution,'' Ardern said.

RNZ is planning to take the classical music station off the FM frequency and replace it with a new station aimed at reaching a wider, younger audience

Earlier today RNZ defended the proposed changes, saying it is taking public feedback into account and continuing to consult, but argues the station is not closing down - only moving to different platforms.

RNZ said it cannot meet its Charter obligations as a public service broadcaster without broadening the diversity of its audiences.

But Ardern argued one programme doesn't need to come at the cost of the other.

"[Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi] explicitly asked for time so that we could see if whether or not there was something we could do to prevent the loss of the FM frequency for Concert. RNZ went ahead and announced this regardless,'' she said.

Government sources have told RNZ Faafoi met with RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson and board members a couple of weeks ago to discuss the proposal.

It's understood the minister's main issue was with the shift away from the FM frequency and he asked those in the meeting to hold off making any decisions or announcements until some further work had been done on alternatives.

The minister asked for time for officials to explore other options - work that the Prime Minister plans to plough ahead with.

It's understood the minister met with Thompson again last week and expressed his unhappiness with how things have played out.

Thompson has not yet responded to questions about the meetings.

RNZ planned for concert to be taken off FM radio on 29 May and phase the new programme in ahead of its full launch on 28 August.

The move would eliminate 17 jobs at RNZ Music, including all Concert presenter roles, from late March.

It draws in an audience of approximately 173,000 people a week and amongst those who tune in are some vocal critics.

None have been more vocal than former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who has taken to social media to fight RNZ Concert's case.

Another politician that has weighed in is former Attorney-General, Chris Finlayson, who is one of three lawyers mounting a legal challenge to stop changes going ahead.

Finlayson told Checkpoint the plan to move Concert to an AM frequency was a 'complete stuff up'.

"I'm commenting this afternoon, not as a lawyer, but as a person who's very involved in the arts... above all I'm talking to you as a lover of Concert FM.

"It is not the preserve of the wrinklies, it is something that provides a wonderful service to all New Zealanders so I certainly hope the Prime Minister will do something about it.

Finlayson said he hoped the plan is dead in the water.

"I understand why [RNZ board chair] Mr Mather and Mr Thompson have run for the hills because they should front up to explain their lousy process. The second thing they need to do is to explain why it is that a public service broadcasting organisation is going to have some kind of ZM-type channel... it's pretty dopey."

He said that young people are already being catered to with Concert FM.

"It's a fundamental flaw to think that young people are only interested in the music of Amy Winehouse rather than the music of Brahms."

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Use Of Existing Drugs To Reduce The Effects Of Coronavirus

So now, we’re all getting up to speed with the travel bans, the rigorous handwashing and drying, the social distancing, and the avoidance of public transport wherever possible. Right. At a wider level…so far, the public health system has ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Oil Market And Regulation Crusades

Safe to say, Vladimir Putin did not expect the response he has received amidships from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Russia chose to walk away from the OPEC talks in Vienna that were aimed at reaching an agreement on how to reduce world oil production (and protect oil prices) in the light of the fall in demand being caused by the coronavirus. No doubt, Russia and its allies in the US shale industry probably glimpsed an opportunity to undercut OPEC and seize some of its customers. Bad move. In reply, Saudi Arabia has smashed the oil market by hugely ramping up production, signing up customers and drastically cutting the oil price in a fashion designed to knock Russia and other oil suppliers right out of contention. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On 22 Short Takes About Super Tuesday

With obvious apologies to the Simpsons….Here’s my 22 short takes on the 14 Super Tuesday primaries that combined yesterday to produce a common narrative –Bernie Sanders NOT running away with the nomination, Joe Biden coming back from the dead, and the really, really rich guy proving to be really, really bad at politics. In the months ahead, it will be fascinating to see if the real Joe Biden can live up to the idea of Joe Biden that people voted for yesterday – namely, the wise old guy who can save the country from the political extremism of the right and the left... More>>

Gordon Campbell On Shane Jones: A Liability No-One Needs To Bear

New Zealand First has needed a diversion after weeks of bad coverage over its dodgy handling of donations, but it really, really doesn’t need what Shane Jones has chosen to provide. According to Jones, New Zealand has ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Strong Man Legacies: Burying Mubarak

Reviled strongmen of one era are often the celebrated ones of others. Citizens otherwise tormented find that replacements are poor, in some cases even crueller, than the original artefact. Such strongmen also serve as ideal alibis for rehabilitation ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Humanity Is Making A Very Important Choice When It Comes To Assange

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it... More>>

Gail Duncan: Reframing Welfare Report

Michael Joseph Savage, the architect of the 1938 Social Security Act, wouldn’t recognise today’s Social Security Act as having anything to do with the kind, cooperative, caring society he envisioned 80 years ago. Instead society in 2020 has been reduced ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog