Wellington Scoop

Facebook support leads to demonstration at Parliament in support of RadioNZ

Media release – Save Radio NZ Campaign
A Facebook group, Save Radio New Zealand, has attracted over 13,500 fans since its creation one week ago, and is growing rapidly.

The group was set up last week after the Minister of Broadcasting Jonathan Coleman told Radio New Zealand’s Board it had to deliver cost saving measures such as introducing sponsorship or reducing its Auckland operation.

The Save Radio New Zealand Campaign founder Jake Quinn was astonished at the rapid growth the social networking site attracted, noting there was immediate and widespread support for Radio New Zealand from all parts of the country, as well as many Kiwis with other nationalities, including many from Pacific Islands sending their support from overseas.

Today at Parliament at lunchtime between 1-2pm the Campaign is organising the first in a series of planned nationwide protests. People are encouraged to bring their portable radios and tune-in to RNZ National’s Afternoons with Jim Mora. This last minute action was planned as the House is about to go into recess until mid March.

“We want to show Coleman that New Zealanders love their state broadcaster. It’s the lifeblood of our history, literature, music, arts, farming communities, sports commentary, comedy, drama, hear stunning documentary about life in New Zealand and so much more. It’s where we can celebrate ourselves and the people will not be silenced,” says Quinn.

Those who can’t make the protest action are encouraged to tune-in to RNZ National and play it really LOUD between 1-2pm to stimulate conversations with neighbours, friends and relatives about why they love hearing New Zealand on the nationwide broadcaster.

Jake Quinn says that as a huge Radio NZ fan he was irked to learn that Coleman was putting the screws on Radio New Zealand. “So I went online and put the site up on Facebook. By morning there were 300 fans, 1000 by close of the day, and since it’s sky-rocketed to over 13,500. There is no way the Government can ignore this shock and outrage.

“Radio New Zealand is the last true provider of public service broadcasting in this country. Coleman is talking about getting rid of FM frequencies, closing regional offices, making advertising and sponsorship an option for flagship shows. This is about the worst set of ideas I’ve ever heard,” said Quinn. “Judging by the comments left on Facebook, thousands of people agree with me and they’re willing to fight for their rights to listen to their beloved noncommercial station.

“What’s more, he just totally misread how Kiwis feel about their iconic state radio broadcaster. Even with National party supporters these moves are unpopular. Across rural New Zealand, in the city’s, among young and old, RNZ National and Concert FM are a huge hit. Last year RNZ National won Radio Station of the Year at the Radio Awards and its currently pulling in its highest listenership and that is all with very minimal marketing and publicity.”

Quinn has been surprised at the variety of comments and at bloggers who have added their support and are well informed about the facts. “Brian Rudman pointed out that a KPMG review of RNZ funding in 2007 said the broadcaster was already on stale bread rations, was understaffed and needed more than $10 million extra in annual income.”

There have been hundreds of other comments, including from those who listen to Radio New Zealand National in the middle of the night – and are worried about the RNZ Board’s suggestion it may have to turn the station off between midnight and 6am to save money.


UPDATE from Save Radio NZ Campaign
A series of ‘sit-in/tune-in’ protests seeking to raise awareness of the funding freeze facing Radio New Zealand took place in Wellington and Christchurch today after only two days planning, while another is planned for Auckland on Monday 1 March.

Around 300 fans of Radio New Zealand came to show their support for the state broadcaster at Parliament. The protest action, entirely organised on the social media page Facebook through the group ‘Save Radio New Zealand’ was a massive success according to group founder, Jake Quinn.

“With the lack of notice we hoped 100 people would come to Parliament, but to have so many come out on a week day with essentially one day’s notice, we are very pleased,” said Quinn. “It sends a strong message to the Minister of Broadcasting that’s he’s incredibly out of touch with people on the street. Many of these were young people tune in to RNZ stations on the FM frequency. It also shows how upset people are feeling about potential reduction in quality due to any changes at Radio New Zealand.”

A number of MPs from a range of parties addressed the 300 strong group, who brandished portable radios tuned into Radio NZ National. The crowd sent text messages to the Radio New Zealand National show Afternoons with Jim Mora to share their appreciation and support for his station and dedicated staff. Anyone can do this by texting 2101 and including your name.

The Save Radio NZ group was set up last week after the Minister of Broadcasting Jonathan Coleman told Radio New Zealand’s Board it had to deliver cost saving measures such as introducing sponsorship or reducing its Auckland operation.

There have been over five thousand interactions on the Facebook site in just over a week (posts, comments etc). From the USA and Britain, to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the comments, links, photos and positive support is flowing in regularly.

Facebook users are encouraged to head online and read through the comments and posts to see for themselves the support from around the world.

Quinn points out that, as well as online users, there has been a huge amount of feedback from members of the community who aren’t online, wondering how they can participate and support their beloved broadcaster. “We’re hearing from parents and those who work from home, people in rural communities, minority groups, the elderly, and the message is the same – hands off Radio New Zealand!”

Photos from the demonstration are here

1 comment:

  1. Alix Bachmann, 24. February 2010, 23:25

    Auckland protest Monday 1 March 12.30-1.30pm outside Radio New Zealand House 171 Hobson Street Auckland. Bring a portable radio 🙂