Despite the best efforts of former station manager Karyn Hay to talk up Kiwi FM in last montn's Next magazine, the reality is that the station has been a complete failure and remains a dismal legacy of the incompetent and duplicitous actions of former Minister of Broadcasting Steve Maharey.
Karyn Hay has moved on to other things, namely being a talkback host on another low rating MediaWorks station, Radio Live.
She has left behind a station that barely registers in the ratings.
The latest radio survey shows that Kiwi FM remains rooted at the bottom of the ratings, pulling in a derisory 0-1 - 0.2 percent of the total radio audience.
The ratings are so low that the station is now lumped into the 'others' category
If this was a commercial station the plug would have been pulled long ago. Indeed that was what former MediaWorks boss Brent Impey was going to do before Maharey, the Minister of Broadcasting in the Clark Government, came to the rescue.
He gave the commercial broadcaster the three valuable FM frequencies that had been reserved for a youth radio network. To quote from a previous post
How all this came about is a bit of mystery - especially since Labour had come up with the idea of an youth radio network in the first place - but its clear that MediaWorks Brent Impey lobbied Maharey hard. Impey was worried that a non-commercial youth radio network would pull audience away from the MediaWorks stable of stations such as The Rock and More FM.
What is also clear is that Maharey sideswiped his own Government's advisory group. The group, made up of representatives from student radio, access radio and some other media-savvy young people, was asked to consider the network among other options for enhancing radio services for youth.
The group strongly recommended a non-commercial youth radio network and the recommendation was backed by , among others, access radio and Mai FM.
As musician Neil Finn noted in 2002:
Those of us who have championed this idea for many years have done so with the belief that it will enliven and empower young people and make New Zealand a more exciting place to live. If we let this opportunity slip away, it will not come again and we will never know what wonderful things might have unfolded.
But instead Maharey, in what amounted to corporate welfare, handed over the three frequencies to MediaWorks and Kiwi FM.
Maharey, in an attempt to justify bailing out a media corporate, claimed that Kiwi FM would have a year to prove itself and then the station's performance would be reviewed.
A year went by and Kiwi FM failed to attract listeners. Maharey though went back on his promise and never conducted any review.
And so Kiwi FM remains on air today and three valuable government owned frequencies are going to waste.
There has, rightly, been widespread opposition to what the National Government has planned for Radio New Zealand. But equally as scandalous was the backroom deal Maharey made with Brent Impey and which effectively torpedoed the proposed youth radio network.
Karyn Hay commented in Next magazine that she hoped that people had moved on from the controversy surrounding Kiwi FM.
Hay may want to sweep this issue under the carpet but as long as Kiwi FM remains squatting in the FM frequencies that rightly belong to the youth radio network, some of us will continue to highlight the dismal performance of this impostor.