Radio New Zealand is set to give commercial media companies something else to worry about as it moves towards the launch of a youth radio brand.
The non-commercial state broadcaster is currently running ads recruiting a lead programmer to develop and launch the initiative in the near future.
Details of what the brand will entail are slim, with RNZ spokesman John Barr saying it's still "too early to say what the brand will look like as no final decisions have been made" and that the person being recruited will play an integral role in fleshing out what eventually comes to fruition.
Where the new brand will sit is also still unclear, but it seems likely it will be both an online and broadcast play, with the ad specifying that the programmer will be required to implement a strategy across both channels.
"It's certainly no secret and has been public knowledge for some time that RNZ is reviewing its music policy and its approach to music," says Barr.
"As a public broadcaster, RNZ has a responsibility to engage with all New Zealanders and is looking to diversify and grow its audiences through music content."
There has been some industry speculation that this brand could replace RNZ Concert, which could then shift to a strictly online play.
RNZ Concert attracted a weekly cumulative audience of around 173,000 listeners in the latest radio ratings from GFK, but it averaged only about 77,500 in the breakfast slot (6am-9am) between Monday and Friday. The FM breakfast slot particularly feels like a lost opportunity, considering that other major music brands such as The Edge and ZM attract just shy of 300,000 listeners between 6am and 9am on weekdays.
But Barr would not be drawn into the speculation, saying only that "there are no plans to close RNZ Concert".
If the new youth brand does make it onto FM frequencies, this will put it in direct competition with youth stations – such as ZM, The Edge and George – operated by commercial players NZME and MediaWorks.
The prospect of this added competition comes at a time when New Zealand media companies are already facing enormous pressure across other channels.
The frustration of competing not only with global digital players, but also with state broadcasters, boiled over last year when MediaWorks head of news Hal Crawford launched a scathing attack on TVNZ for behaving like a not-for-profit in the commercial market.
Barr was quick to distance RNZ from any comparisons with the state's television broadcaster.
"RNZ planning will take account of what other broadcasters are doing, noting, of course, that unlike TVNZ ... RNZ is an advertising-free non-commercial broadcaster and does not compete with commercial stations for revenue or industry ratings," he says.
Despite these differences, RNZ's move has still caught the attention of commercial radio industry body the Radio Broadcasters Association (RBA).
While RBA chief executive Jana Rangooni welcomes any effort by the public broadcaster to deliver content that is currently not catered for, she adds an important disclaimer.
"We would have serious concerns if a taxpayer-funded broadcaster launched products and platforms that targeted audiences already well served by commercial radio broadcasters," Rangooni says.
"We note that there are already many networks operating in New Zealand that service youth music audiences.
"While it's true RNZ is non-commercial, the networks it operates with taxpayer funding compete for audiences which has an impact on New Zealand's commercial networks."
Rangooni wouldn't comment further on the potential move, given that RNZ's plans are still in their infancy and no final decisions have been made.
One point of difference RNZ could have in launching the new station is in focusing exclusively on local music. This would help to meet the requirements of its charter by giving a platform to local voices, while also separating the brand from the other youth channels which rely heavily on international playlists. Whether this would be enough to appease the commercial broadcasters' concerns is yet to be seen.
This is not the first time RNZ has attempted to attract a younger demographic into a stable that has long skewed heavily towards older listeners.
One of the best examples of this was the broadcaster's youth website The Wireless, which while critically acclaimed, was last year quietly folded into the main RNZ site.
The latest move would be an attempt to lure young'uns in with music, but this will also be fraught with challenges.
In addition to trying to unshackle younger audiences from commercial stations they've spent years listening to, the RNZ youth brand will also be competing with the growing popularity of Spotify and podcasts.
The station will need to offer more than the worthy ambition of giving listeners access to a platform filled with local musicians. Media failures of the last decade have shown that viewers and listeners are unapologetic and will quickly tune out if they're bored by what's being broadcast.
If RNZ wants this to work, it's going to have to be damn entertaining in addition to being worthy. Music will only be part of the fight. RNZ's youth brand will, after all, also be up against some of the biggest, most creative local and international personalities in the business of keeping ears hooked. It's going to take quite a tour de force to shake that up.