The latest six monthly commercial radio ratings were released on Thursday and they provided more evidence that Kiwi FM simply isn’t working.

The station that is occupying the three FM frequencies supposedly reserved for a non-commercial youth radio network attracted a dismal 0.1% of the nationwide ratings – exactly the same as it got in the last ratings sweep.

But in the cumulative audience figures category it actually shed some 3,900 listeners, dropping from 23,900 to 20,000.

In the crucial Auckland market Kiwi FM dropped from 0.2% to 0.1%.

It all adds up to a station that New Zealand youth don’t want to listen to.

The former Minister of Broadcasting Steve Maharey said the station would be given a year to prove itself – yet nearly two years later this radio flop continues to occupy the three frequencies that should be home to a non-commercial youth radio network.

Maharey ignored the warnings from Neil Finn and others that Kiwi FM would be a disaster.

Interestingly there appears to be signs that more and more people are giving up commercial radio for the varied delights of internet radio – listeners are fed up with the diet of pop and pap that dominates commercial radio and are simply switching off.


  1. Steven,
    It's taken me a while to get to replying to your blog mainly because it was so screamingly inaccurate I almost couldn't be bothered correcting you. However, if I don't make the effort no doubt you will maintain your stance indefinitely, so here goes.
    Yes, Kiwi FM was not a ratings winner in the last survey but that hasn't been a priority for the radio station. Even though we come under the umbrella of Radioworks we are a not-for-profit organisation within the company who could not exist without the support of Radioworks eg technical support, office space etc etc. As with other radio stations on non-commercial frequencies eg Access et al, 50% of our income can come from advertising and 50% from sponsorships and grants.
    Our agreement with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is that Kiwi FM exists to champion 'difference and diversity' within New Zealand music.
    We were never a substitute for a youth radio network, merely a good use of three of the 102 frequencies which to my knowledge were never formally set aside for a YRN.
    I am not entirely sure why Government turned down the idea of a YRN. Maybe they didn't think the proposal was viable, or it was going to be too expensive - who knows? I wasn't privy to that information. I do know that the commercial broadcasters campaigned vigorously against it, but then what else would you expect? However Kiwi FM was not part of some devious plot to undermine or usurp any YRN. I know this because it was my suggestion to Brent Impey to keep Kiwi FM on air, not the other way round. Personally I quite like the idea of a YRN, and can't see why a YRN (which incidentally is a totally different concept to Kiwi FM) couldn't co-exist - if Government had the funding and the will to support it.
    The frequencies Kiwi occupies at the moment are unable to be purchased by anyone - they belong to the Crown. I don't imagine that situation to change no matter what Government we have. If we are asked by Government to come off those frequencies we will do so, however that would be a great shame for the very good work we have done and continue to do for NZ music locally and internationally. Ask a few musicians what they think of the station. I don't think you'd find many who wouldn't champion it, besides Neil Finn who is understandably annoyed because an idea he wholeheartedly supported never came to fruition.
    I am still General Manager of Kiwi FM but as a broadcaster I chose to be on air at Radio Live 7-10pm week nights. This doesn't interfere with my role at Kiwi FM. Furthermore I'm exceptionally proud of the work Kiwi FM has done to date and for the recognition we've provided for those outside of the New Zealand mainstream.
    Karyn Hay
    General Manager
    Kiwi FM


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