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”