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10,000 stand against RNZ cuts

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, February 22nd, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: broadcasting, Media, national/act government - Tags:

Over 2,000 people a day are joining the Facebook group to save Radio New Zealand from National’s cuts, which are designed to undermine its service and turn it into another crap commercial outlet. There are a lot of outraged people who voted for a ‘brighter future’ among those 10,000. The backlash is growing.

22 comments on “10,000 stand against RNZ cuts ”

  1. Radio NZ should be sacrosanct ie no advertising no political interference or bias

    • Rex Widerstrom 1.1

      The last two go without saying, really. But why should it have no advertising?

      I’m not suggesting Geoff Robinson start flogging mattresses between interviews, but National Public Radio is sponsored and it hasn’t suddenly started reporting on Pamela Anderson’s latest catwalk stumbles.

      It also accepts donations. Perhaps RNZ should indicate it’s willing to do so, and see if any of the people who’ve joined Facebook are actually willing to put their money where their mouths (well, technically fingers) are.

      I suspect this precious attitude to RNZ would evaporate fairly fast if the alternative was to support it through donations… yet many a US station (usually playing a particular music genre) survives on a mix of donations and sponsorship.

      While I can imagine some sort of vague (and basically spurious) argument being made about NatRad losing its independence if sullied with advertising, it’s hardly the end of the world if listeners to Concert FM are quietly advised of the merits of some European car or fancy restaurant between overtures, surely?!

      • Mac1 1.1.1

        Rex, advertising is an overture, surely?

        Re advertising and considering taste and frequency of it, I am old enough to remember all sorts of strictures against advertising on TV which quietly and incrementally were done away with.

        How long before tawdry and tatty advertising out of sync with the values/music/tone of Nat radio would be part of Radio NZ?

        How soon before it will be written that “before the (Radio NZ) News Richard Long reassured us that Hanover was a New Zealand business with the size and strength to withstand any conditions?”

        Who said that we can’t afford an advertising free, independent, State radio service? It’s a matter of enough people agreeing that this is a just and wise use of our community resources; a political decision but one that should cross party lines.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          “Overture”… heh heh, well played, Sir.

          Yeah, as I was writing the comment above I was considering the fact NZ governments of all stripes have this way of making anything they introduce the thin end of the wedge, and that that might well apply to advertising on RNZ.

          But I figured if the home of capitalism could restrain itself from overt prostitution of NPR then surely we could do the same?!

          Though on past history, perhaps not. I think that’s a shame, personally. Having some funding independent of government lessens government’s influence (and of course would always be in addition to, not a substitute for, existing levels of support).

          NatRad is a tricky one, as I admit. But I don’t see why a dedicated listener to Cradle of Filth deserves to have their pleasure interrupted by commercials whereas a listener to Mozart does not.

          The music industry a few years ago floated the idea of a NZ version of Triple J, IIRC. Considering all that that station does for fledgling Australian artists I’d argue that a NZ version is far more deserving of public money than is Concert FM.

          • Pascal's bookie

            “But I figured if the home of capitalism could restrain itself from overt prostitution of NPR then surely we could do the same?!”

            GWB and Dick Cheney restrained themselves from digging up the ANWR for it’s resources.

            Gerry Brownlee reckons they’re chicken.

      • chris 1.1.2

        NPR is completely different to RNZ sorry Rex. You (as one of the more intelligent internet commenters) should know that. For RNZ to run advertising would be admitting defeat to the commercial model. It is cheap to run and as long as this is true advertising and any sort of commercial radio approach should be resisted at all costs.

  2. 10,000 strong, or 0.25% of the population, in a facebook group. I’m sure that massive uprising is really ruffling a few feathers.

    • lprent 2.1

      The NZ Herald starts wetting its bed and redesigning its front page when it sees that many of its readers march up Queen St.

      (Of course it ignores actual newsworthy events where the numbers are far greater – but the marchers aren’t likely to be its readers).

      In political terms this is quite a large group – probably larger than either of the main political parties membership.

      • Bed Rater 2.1.1

        Agreed. But at the end of the day its still a facebook group. People join those on a whim, It will be interesting to see what the state of that group is, (and how busy its wall/forum/whatever is) in one month.

        • chris

          You miss the point. It may be a facebook group now, but it’s also (in the future come election time), a direct connection to 10,000 plus people to remind them about an issue that mean’t enough to them to join the group. This is not to say the group is a labour thing because it’s not, what it is is a direct connection to remind people about what happened/happens/is happening to RNZ.

  3. Armchair Critic 3

    Says a lot about how much the MSM is held in thrall that only a couple of columnists and opinion pieces have covered this story to any real extent.

    • Mac1 3.1

      Marlborough Express today has as its Editorial, “Hackles raised over Radio NZ,” written by a former RNZ employee. She quotes figures of 15% of the over 15 age group listen to RNZ weekly- some 495,000- according to Nielsen Media ratings. Add another 58000 for Concert Radio.

      Bed Rater, these are more significant figures, surely..

      In 2009, it won 13 annual radio awards.

      It’s my radio of choice and I concur fully with Patricia Ward above.

  4. BLiP 4

    Putting advertisements on Radio New Zealand would be a bit like when a mate turns “Amway”. Suddenly the friendship vanishes and you morph from a mate into a customer. The genuine and spontaneous occasional missing of your birthday becomes a dutiful and timely card with a reminder of what else is available, while the free, frank and robust exchange of views dwindles away from the fun and humourous sport that it is into a carefully orchestrated discussion about “where do you see yourself five years from now”. Is nothing sacred? Must the money changers infect every part of our life?

  5. Shona 5

    Licensing fee, Licensing , Licensing Fee.

  6. Macro 6

    $10 per person would fully fund RNZ. Worth every cent.

    • Gekko 6.1

      OK if you think it’s worth so much you can pay my contribution for me. Or is a bargain at $10 suddenly not so attractive at $20?

      • Lew 6.1.1

        It’s a public good — non-rivalrous and non-excludable — like defence and other canonical public goods. You can’t meaningfully opt out of it — or if you could, such an option would not be verifiable (since any fool with a radio can access it at no cost and with no penalty to others). If Macro pays your $10 for you, there’s nothing to stop you freeloading off him. So you get to lump it.

        It’s like those public goods in other ways, too. Pacifists might not think paying $1.7 billion a year for a defence force is good value for money, or even a good at all — but they benefit from the security it provides nonetheless. It’s the same for you — whether or not you value it, you benefit from its influence on society.

        That $10 is part of the price we pay for a civilised one.


        • Gekko

          “It’s a public good”, an issue faced by other radio stations that don’t force me to “lump it” yet remain perfectly viable. The fact that other stations can survive perfectly well without funding their ‘public’ goods in the same way destroys any claim that Radio NZ could have to require unique ‘public’ treatment.

          To say that I ‘benefit’ from a good that I neither desire nor asked for yet am forced to pay for whether I use it or not and then get accused of freeloading seems to stretch credulity. Or perhaps you are going to try to say that the ‘education’ it provides somehow lifts society and therefore benefits me? The problem is you can never test that as long as the funding is coerced – it is simply a justification and rationalisation you make for the use of force against me for something you want.

          The fact that you can juxtapose “so you get to lump it” and “the price we pay for a civilised one” without apparently seeing any contradiction suggests to me that ‘civilised’ is not an appropriate term for the society you are describing.

          • Lew

            The societal benefit to you from non-charter stations is much less significant, since those channels aren’t mandated to act in the interests of the wider society; only their own shareholders. This is not to say that no benefit accrues — just that it’s not really of an equivalent magnitude.

            You get to lump it because that’s how society works, and society doesn’t come with a guarantee that you’re going to like everything about it. I’m not talking about an individualised libertarian utopia, which I do not consider ‘civilised’ — and neither should you be, since no such civilisation has ever existed in actual fact. I make the point since you brought up the inability to test assertions.

            I’m talking about actual society with actual people who actually have to interact within a common framework of norms and customs reified by social institutions, of which public broadcasting (also other forms of media to a lesser degree) is a fairly significant one.

            Just for the record — I’m not talking about ‘education’ or anything as crude as that, either — I’m talking about social cohesion in a much more general sense. You might not like it, but at least, given this sort of society, you have the option to try to change it. So go ahead — make your views known to the broadcaster which represents you. Give them a reason to change.


  7. vto 7

    What is the justification for making taxpayers pay for the concert programme?

    And why could Jim Mora’s baby boomer burblings every afternoon not have advertising?

  8. Mac1 8

    Something about “knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing” comes to mind.

    It’s a question of values, what’s important to us as a nation. Another quote from a play I’m learning at the moment, “It matters. It does matter. It’s part of us.” Adrian in “Four Flat Whites in Italy” by Roger Hall. Radio NZ is ours, it talks about who we are and what we do, and even Jim Mora’s ‘baby boomer burblings’ are part of it, let alone the literate, erudite discussions, talks and news.

    And the challenges which it gives us, having to listen to commentators with whom I do not agree necessarily, but acknowledging their right to be there, as part of us, the great NZ community.

    Mac’s Bigger Burger is not part of that.

    Rant over.


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