Back in July last year Steve Maharey announced it would grant Kiwi FM access to new FM frequencies set aside for public broadcasting services.

Those frequencies had been set aside for a public youth radio network, long campaigned for by Kiwi music icon Neil Finn.

Finn attacked the deal as "hypocritical" on CanWest's side, and accused the Government of "cosying up" to commercial interests.

In a letter to The New Zealand Herald, the Crowded House supremo asked why Kiwi was being propped up "when it has proved to be a failed concept with the listening audience".

At the time Kiwi was attracting a tiny 0.7 percent of the Auckland radio market.

Finn noted that CanWest chief executive Brent Impey had gone on record numerous times opposing Government-funded radio.

"He was the arch enemy of a public youth radio network and yet he has now asked for, and received, Government assistance for Kiwi FM," Finn wrote.

"I guess it's only a good idea if he is getting it. This is hypocritical."

The Government was "too scared of or too reliant on commercial radio" to give young people "a real voice", and was now "sweetening its cosy relationship with the biggest commercial broadcaster".

"It has exposed itself as weak and self-serving."

Finn could of well have added that was a slate of presenters on other Mediaworks stations (most notably talkback station Radio Live) that were virulently right-wing and were constantly attacking anything that wasn't 'free market'.

In response Maharey commented "It's a one year trial to see if people like general manager Karyn Hay can make a go of it."

According to Maharey ,once the year was up, Kiwi FM would have to give up the frequencies -which would go back to being 'reserved' for youth radio - but it would be in a good position to tender for new non-commercial frequencies.

Well, the year is almost up and it'll be interesting to see what happens, especially since recently Canwest sold its 70 percent stake in Mediaworks to Australian privacy equity company Ironbridge Capital.

And all the signs are that Kiwi FM is still failing spectacularly in the ratings.

It's perhaps an indicator of things to come that Kiwi station manager Karyn Hay is now hosting a Sunday night show on Radio Live - another Mediaworks station failing in the ratings game.


Post a Comment

Comments are moderated.