12 May 2020

RNZ pursued frequency for youth-focused station, documents show

6:09 pm on 12 May 2020

Newly released documents show RNZ pursued using another frequency instead of Concert's for a youth channel for months, before dropping the idea.

Crowds gather at Parliament to celebrate RNZ Concert.

Crowds gather at Parliament to celebrate RNZ Concert. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

More than 30 documents have been released today under the Official Information Act about RNZ's plan to put a youth channel in Concert's place.

The broadcaster scrapped its plan to remove RNZ Concert from its FM frequencies and move it to an automated non-stop music station which would stream online and play on AM radio.

RNZ Concert would have been taken off FM radio on 29 May and the youth platform would be phased in ahead of its full launch on 28 August.

The plan was dropped in February after a public outcry.

The newly released documents show RNZ asked the Ministry for Culture and Heritage in May 2019 about using the 102FM frequency.

By July, it was proposing a youth and music station.

RNZ told the ministry in November its plan no longer required the frequency.

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

The government then looked into freeing up the 102FM frequency for the youth station.

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