12 Feb 2020

RNZ holds off on plans to restructure Concert

5:04 pm on 12 February 2020

RNZ has withdrawn a proposal to restructure RNZ Concert.

Radio NZ CEO Paul Thompson

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson. Photo: RNZ

Last week, RNZ 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.

Mr Thompson said, over the next month, RNZ will develop a new strategy for Concert aimed at improving its audience.

And it will also work with the government on the new service for young people.

The proposal and its timing 'frustrated' Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and she said a plan would be drawn up to keep Concert running.

Thompson yesterday told Checkpoint the government's decision to look at freeing up additional FM transmission frequency was a "very positive outcome".

"We think it's really affirming that the government has endorsed our strategy, which is that RNZ needs to become more relevant to younger people and that a new music service is a great way of doing that, whilst at the same time reaffirming that RNZ Concert has got a very passionate set of listeners and supporters, and there's a future for that brand as well on FM."

Speaking on Morning Report this morning, former prime minister Helen Clark said she wasn't impressed by Thompson's comments.

"I was actually very disturbed about the market speak throughout that interview with the chief executive - constant references to brands and selling things.

"I think we really come to the heart here of what is the role of a non-commercial public broadcaster and I didn't feel, from what he said, that he really understands that role."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs