Editorial: Pressure on Radio NZ

00:59, Feb 26 2010

A visitor to New Zealand waking up to Morning Report and the 7am news, and catching the raucous shriek of the wandering albatross, would surely wonder what he or she has struck.

But to many Kiwis – those without feathers – Radio New Zealand is something of a national treasure. More than half a million of us tune into Nat Rad or the Concert programme every week.

Its mana was recognised last year at the annual New Zealand Radio Awards. Among the 13 awards RNZ National picked up were ones for best news and overall station of the year. Clearly, it is getting something right.

Not good enough, says Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman. He has challenged the state broadcaster to consider ways to cut costs and/or boost income.

Among the options are seeking sponsors for some programmes, axing the midnight-to-dawn shift, reducing staff, turning off the FM frequency in some parts of the country or even altogether, and running a close eye over branch offices.

Any enterprise can benefit from timely reviews. However, while careful pruning can stimulate growth, savage hacking tends to destroy.

Mr Coleman must be mindful of the difference, and not insist on steps that will dismantle a winning formula. We need a healthy and vibrant state broadcasting system.

We have just that in RNZ National.


The Nelson Mail