11 Apr 2014

Te Reo station attracts more listeners

6:32 am on 11 April 2014

A traditionally staunch Maori language broadcaster has started providing its programmes in both English and Maori, and believes it's listenership has increased.

Te Reo Irirangi o Te Arawa - Radio Te Arawa in Rotorua - is backing a new model adopted by Te Mangai Paho - the Maori Broadcasting Funding Agency, which suggests a greater understanding of the language can be gained through bilingual programming.

Te Mangai Paho has told television and radio makers about the strategy, which the agency adopted last year.

Radio Te Arawa general manager Rawiri Waru said the station primarily broadcast in Te Reo for many years, but two years ago it made a change to its programmes.

He said having bilingual shows means the station isn't pushing people away, rather it's about pulling people in and keeping them tuned in.

Mr Waru said it's easier for listeners to digest what's on the radio if Te Reo is put in bite sized chunks instead of a whole hour of hardcore Maori korero and music.

Mr Waru believes the station has attracted more listeners - based on an increase of about 200 percent in the number of phone calls the station gets, as well as social media interaction.

He said the station expects to know its audience figures once research is completed in November.