Reminder of public radio importance

BY FEILIDH O'DWYER
Last updated 17:25 01/03/2010

70 protesters today staged a demonstration outside the Auckland offices of radio New Zealand to show their opposition to proposed budget cuts.

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Yesterday's tsunami was a timely reminder of the importance of public radio in New Zealand, speakers at a protest against changes to Radio New Zealand claimed today.

Around 70 people turned up outside of the Radio New Zealand station on Hobson Street, Auckland.

"Yesterday we had tsunami warnings for the entire country, guess how I found out? On Radio New Zealand," Save Radio New Zealand Facebook group founder and protest organiser, Jake Quinn told the crowd.

He said when he formed a Facebook group he intially thought that the group would get 1000 fans.

"We had 14,000 inside of a week and now it's about 16,700. Our goal is to put pressure on the minister and the government," he said.

The protest was in reaction to suggestions from Broadcasing Minister Dr Jonathon Coleman that Radio New Zealand needed to save money.

Mr Coleman suggestions included shutting down FM frequencies outside of Auckland, closing the Auckland office, and putting sponsorship on Concert FM.

Speakers included MP's Keith Locke and Carol Beaumont, broadcaster Martyn Bradbury, writer Chris Trotter and AUT lecturer Martin Hurst.

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