In New Zealand, plans to cut live classical FM channel are met with protests

Posted on: February 11, 2020

“Radio New Zealand Concert, the staid classical music arm of Radio New Zealand, does not usually create headlines,” writes Charlotte Graham-McLay in Monday’s (2/10) Guardian (U.K.) “But the hackles of classical music lovers across the nation have been raised after the public broadcaster announced it was cutting much of the station to make way for programs targeted at a younger audience…. The station draws about 170,000 listeners a week in New Zealand… Fans mobilized last week when Radio New Zealand proposed to throw out its classical arm’s FM station in May…. An automated classical music program, without presenters, would be streamed 24/7 online. Some scathingly referred to the planned format as a classical music ‘jukebox’ … By Monday, more than 23,000 people had signed a petition urging Radio New Zealand to reconsider the move. [Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern] announced on Monday that her cabinet would consider its own plan to free up FM frequency for the proposed youth station so that Concert could remain at its current frequency…. Radio New Zealand is funded entirely by the taxpayer…. Its funding has been the source of public angst and pre-election promises, and has at times fluctuated depending on which party is in power.”