Despite the fact that New Zealand youth don’t listen to it, Kiwi FM is still occupying the three FM frequencies that the Labour Government has supposedly reserved for a non-commercial youth radio network.

The former Minister of Broadcasting Steve Maharey said that the station manager Karyn Hay would be given a year to see if she could make the station work.

This was in May 2006.

Nearly two years later, Kiwi FM still occupies the three frequencies - broadcasting to a tiny audience.

The March 2006 ratings showed that the station – which broadcasts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch –had just a 0.1% audience share.

Kiwi FM’s ratings actually halved in just over a year. In April 2006 the station attracted 43,000 listeners – by October 2007 that audience had shrunk to just 23,000 listeners.

Clearly Kiwi FM has not worked – but Maharey, despite saying he would, took no action.

There is now a new Minister of Broadcasting - Trevor Mallard.

I understand that Mallard doesn’t regard Kiwi FM as a ‘priority issue’ which means that Kiwi FM will still be broadcasting on the three reserved frequencies once a new government is sworn in.

National criticised Maharey for ‘playing favourites’ with Kiwi FM but at the same time, National is not a supporter of a non-commercial youth radio network – which has long been championed by such notable New Zealand music luminaries as Neil Finn and Arthur Baysting.

The end result may be, thanks to Labour’s total mishandling of this issue, three FM frequencies being auctioned off to the highest bidder - which will be a overseas-owned media conglomerate.

Meanwhile Kiwi FM station manager Karyn Hay, along with partner Andrew Fagan, (picture) is now doing an early evening talkback show on another Mediaworks station, Radio Live.


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