Pulling the FM plug on the Concert programme was a matter for Parliament to decide

This post by TOM FREWEN is one of two being published on Point of Order today on the restructuring of state broadcasting and the fate of RNZ’s Concert programme.   

Tom is a journalist and broadcaster who has worked for both commercial and publicly funded media. He reported on the NZ House of Representatives for 22 years, starting the Today/Week in Parliament programmes in 1994, and he established Mediawatch on RNZ, fronted first by Russell Brown and now by Colin Peacock.   

There was never any need for the QC trio, hired by local orchestras to fight RNZ’s plan to turf Concert off its high-quality FM frequency, to go past the first of the three legs of their proposed legal action.

That was the claim that RNZ was in breach of the Radiocommunications Act 1989 which, together with the Broadcasting Act of the same year, provides the legislated foundations for the broadcasting system established by the Fourth Labour government 31 years ago.

Section 174 of the Radiocommunications Act entitles RNZ to use “certain frequencies” for “the operation of four services including “the service known as the FM Concert Programme”. Section 175 specifies the conditions of the licences relating to the FM Concert Programme and National Radio

RNZ’s chief executive, Paul Thompson, assured Lisa Owen on Checkpoint on Tuesday this week that legal advice had been obtained when they hatched what they call their “strategy” to become more relevant to younger people. Continue reading “Pulling the FM plug on the Concert programme was a matter for Parliament to decide”

The TVNZ–RNZ merger – is this another broadcasting train wreck? 

This post by BARRIE SAUNDERS is one of two being published on Point of Order today on the restructuring of state broadcasting and the fate of RNZ’s Concert programme.   

In the 1970s Barrie worked for the NZBC, ABC, UPITN, NBR and the BBC, he  was a director of TVNZ from 2011-2017, and he listens via the internet to the ABC, BBC and other public radio.   

The RNZ Concert programme train wreck is but a prelude to what is likely if the proposed RNZ-TVNZ merger goes ahead.

The Government has asked PWC to flesh out a plan that doesn’t stack up.  But we can be 100% confident that PWC will find the proposed merger is viable when they report to the government in mid-year.   Consultants rarely produce reports that customer don’t like and – unlike the private sector – this one will be taxpayer underwritten.  And we all know what that means.

In a small democracy and economy, I accept there is a case for a publicly owned broadcaster.  But it should exist alongside a thriving private media, which at present is in deep trouble as foreign digital media hoover up most of the digital advertising, without providing any real NZ content. Continue reading “The TVNZ–RNZ merger – is this another broadcasting train wreck? “

The future of broadcasting is in Faafoi’s hands (which might not be as fumble-free as CEOs decided last year)

Back  in  September,  when reporting  its annual assessment  of  what it calls  “Mood  of  the  Boardroom”,  the New Zealand Herald featured  an article on how  CEOs ranked  Cabinet  ministers on  performance.

Lo and behold,  17th-ranked  Kris  Faafoi  emerged   as  the minister  who  most  impressed  “top  chief  executives”.

The   report    quoted   a  “leading  banker”  (who  sensibly  remained anonymous)  as   saying the

“ … unsung performers of this  Cabinet   are  David Parker and  Kris Faafoi.  Both have  reached out to the business  community to  genuinely ask for  our  views and  listened. They also put  government policies  in their  areas  into perspective”.

 Point  of  Order   can only wonder   whether   those   top  CEOs   are still clinging to the  view  they  expressed  last  September  that   Faafoi  is  a  “safe  pair of hands”. Continue reading “The future of broadcasting is in Faafoi’s hands (which might not be as fumble-free as CEOs decided last year)”