Public Radio and the “University of Life”
You might have heard the story about the underfunding of Radio New Zealand on Morning Report this morning. The item, “Save Radio New Zealand says broadcaster is being strangled“, covered a meeting on 16 March in which people discussed ways of responsing to government funding cuts to our national broadcaster. Green Party MP and broadcasting spokesperson, Sue Kedgley, reported that she received a call from a man who works as an electricity meter reader, and who listens to Radio New Zealand all day. He said that “for me, it’s my University of Life”. Ms. Kedgley suggested that the government has invented a financial crisis in order to push Radio New Zealand towards the path of commercialization (you can read her report of the meeting on the frogblog). By the end of this month, the Radio New Zealand Board must report to the Minister of Broadcasting, Hon. Dr Jonathan Coleman, on how it will cut costs. The minister expects the Board to make substantial changes, commenting that “Members of boards who are not able or prepared to meet these expectations might need to move on or be replaced by members who can“. The Save Radio New Zealand Facebook site, which was founded one month ago, has 19,709 members, and includes an opinion piece by Brendon Burns, Labour Spokesperson for Broadcasting, in which he argues that the current government has its priorities all wrong. Brian Edwards also has an excellent post on his blog, “Why should we care about Radio New Zealand?”.