Upside down: New Zealand restores classical music on radio

Upside down: New Zealand restores classical music on radio


norman lebrecht

February 12, 2020

It was a madcap idea to scrap live programming and replace it with robots, and the prime minister weighed in with her distaste.

Now, Radio New Zealand has overturned its crackpot scheme.

Chief executive Paul Thompson said he has met with staff in the music department this afternoon to withdraw the proposal.

He said things have changed with the government now indicating it would support the youth music service.

Mr Thompson said, over the next month, RNZ will develop a new strategy for Concert aimed at improving its audience.

And it will also work with the government on the new service for young people.

The proposal and its timing ‘frustrated’ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and she said a plan would be drawn up to keep Concert running…

More here.


  • V.Lind says:

    ***Speaking on Morning Report this morning, former prime minister Helen Clark said she wasn’t impressed by Thompson’s comments.

    “I was actually very disturbed about the market speak throughout that interview with the chief executive – constant references to brands and selling things.

    “I think we really come to the heart here of what is the role of a non-commercial public broadcaster and I didn’t feel, from what he said, that he really understands that role.”***

    By oh boy — if a few more people would listen to this wisdom, there might still be a CBC Orchestra.

  • Tony Britten says:

    Can you imagine Boris-Cummings-Johnson wading in to save Radio 3 and then Theresa May adding her support?!

  • fflambeau says:

    Mr. Thompson should be shown the door.

  • Marg says:

    It was a crazy idea to scrap it. Thank goodness for a PM who just steps up and says what needs to be said instead of weighing up the politics of it all.

  • Drazen says:

    Helen Clark and all of us who signed the petition(s) deserve all the credit. Not the current PM. Based on her tardy response, my impression is that she acted reluctantly and mostly motivated by it all being a PR disaster.

    BTW, now it seems clear what was the real reason for renaming “Concert FM” into “RNZ Concert” a short while ago. It was not a silly marketing re-branding exercise, it was a sinister move. Just my opinion, of course.