Radio NZ on the hunt for next chief executive

Peter Cavanagh. Photo / NZPA
Peter Cavanagh. Photo / NZPA

Radio New Zealand will soon be looking for a new chief executive less resistant to change, industry insiders say.

Peter Cavanagh steps down as chief executive towards the end of this year, ending nine years as head of the public radio company.

Chairman Richard Griffin confirmed Cavanagh was not seeking another term and the RNZ board would be looking for a replacement.

He declined to comment on the implications of appointing a new chief executive.

However, a source said the board was expected to appoint a new chief executive more amenable to change, particularly over sponsorship income.

RNZ and its corporate culture has been heavily criticised for resisting change by former journalists such as Sean Plunket, who left National Radio for commercial radio.

Supporters of Cavanagh - an Australian who came to RNZ from the SBS public broadcasting system - say he provided stability after a period of upheavals and maintained its integrity.

Critics say that has been at the expense of innovation and by resisting Government calls for new funding sources.

Government calls for change were rejected following a successful Save Radio New Zealand Facebook campaign in February 2010.

This week RNZ claimed healthy ratings results from survey company Nielsen, which suggested National Radio is the most listened-to talk radio station in New Zealand - for the second survey in a row.

However, commercial radio industry body the Radio Broadcasters Association said the RNZ survey was not comparable with its biannual surveys conducted by Research International.

That survey's result from August suggested Newstalk ZB was the most-listened-to talk radio station.

- NZ Herald

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