In the biggest overhaul of its music services in years, RNZ is planning to cut back its classical music station RNZ Concert and replace it on FM radio with music for a younger audience as part of a new multimedia music brand. Mediawatch asks RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson and music content director Willy Macalister to explain the move.
Before I was banned from Radio NZ about a decade ago, I argued that RNZ should create a youth station format and wrote a column for Metro at the time making my case for it, so the question shouldn’t be why should RNZ have a youth station, the question should be why has it taken this long?
The elitist clap trap that has been wheeled out against the idea of a youth station in defence of Concert FM has to be read to be believed. Concert FM will still be available on AM without the presenters, so think of it as the Gold Card minus the ability to catch the ferry to Waiheke on weekends.
That last metaphor won’t mean much to anyone outside of Auckland, but trust me, it drips with boomer contempt.
If adults are allowed to have commercial free radio that isn’t trying to sell them bullshit every 3minutes, then why shouldn’t young people have that same respect?
Commercial yuff radio has had it so sweet for too long. The Mediaworks Grand Cyclops at the time, Brent Impey, cut a deal with Helen Clark to create the pointless ‘Kiwi FM’ brand from the old Channel Z station that played 100% Kiwi music and became a ghetto for NZ Music that the Edge and ZM didn’t have to compete with.
This led to a massive decrease in NZ music having commercial cut through. Kiwi FM withered and died on the vine, and it was at that stage about a decade ago I started campaigning for RNZ to take up the old station and create a new youth format.
The argument is really simple. Why shouldn’t young people have commercial free media space to talk about their issues and listen to their culture and talk about their concerns?
If adults are allowed that privilege, isn’t there a far more pressing case for youth to have it?
In an age of false social media disinformation, a trusted youth brand source of information is critical for society and for those who claim youth wouldn’t listen to the radio, have you ever heard of the Edge or ZM?
Why must bullshit product placement be rammed down young peoples throats every 3 seconds? Shouldn’t young people actually be protected from that toxic consumerism?
RNZ creating their own youth brand is a perfect antidote to consumer culture and if it means Concert FM goes from FM to AM, then that is a price worth paying.
Young citizens deserve the same media privileges the older ones have carved out for themselves.
Boomers get enough.