The RNZ board has backed down on the decision to take Concert off the FM transmission.

The move comes after widespread criticism from the arts community and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement yesterday that the Government would free up unused FM broadband spectrum to keep the station where it is.

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RNZ chairman Dr Jim Mather said the Government's decision would enable RNZ Concert to stay on the FM network and allow the creation of the multi-media music brand.


"The board of RNZ takes seriously its Charter obligations to provide a public media service for all New Zealanders and, as part of that, we remain committed to the new multi-media brand and its exciting range of innovative offerings beyond simply music targeting young people," Mather said.

"To date we have been restricted to two FM transmission networks to serve the diverse
audiences specified in the RNZ charter.

"The news that the Government is looking at granting us a third FM network changes the
playing field as we seek to do a better job of providing relevant content for younger audiences in particular."

Mather described it as an opportunity to service both a younger audience as well as those who listen to classical music.

"We are particularly excited by the opportunity to provide a platform for New Zealand artists to share their unique talents in a way that will also complement our existing range of online services," he said.

"One of the key goals of this new brand is to play local content at higher levels than commercial broadcasters."

Mather also addressed the strong criticism RNZ had faced in response to its controversial move to take Concert off the FM frequency.

"We hear that passion for Concert and look forward to completing the consultation process to consider other possible improvements to that service now we have been given the potential of additional FM capacity."


Former Prime Minister Helen Clark was one of the most vocal critics of the decision, using her social media platforms to express her frustration with the move.

Musicians also got involved, with prominent soprano Gina Sanders proposing a nationwide march in opposition of the proposed cuts.

This outrage ultimately hit a note with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who yesterday expressed her frustration at RNZ's decision.

Later in the day, she would make the announcement that the Government would open unused FM broadband spectrum to accommodate the station.