Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears to be planning on dusting off an old, un-used FM radio frequency for a new youth-focused radio station.

The move could mean that Concert FM would not need to move to an AM frequency, which has a lesser sound quality and could keep its current channel.

Speaking to reporters in her post-Cabinet press conference this afternoon, Ardern said she had been "very clear" in her determination New Zealand "would not lose RNZ Concert, on FM".

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She said Cabinet had today decided to look at what would be involved in ensuring this continues to be the case.

"From here," she said, "our expectation is that a Cabinet paper will be prepared which lays out what would be involved in freeing up the 102 FM frequency."

She said that frequency has been shelved for the last 20 years for the purpose of providing youth-targeted programming back in 1999.

It has never been used.

This morning, she told Newstalk ZB she said describing herself as "a little bit miffed by the situation would be an understatement,"

"We're pretty frustrated by this situation."

The issue was catapulted into the headlines last week, after former Prime Minister Helen Clark publicly challenged the Government over RNZ's plans to scrap Concert FM for a more youth-orientated service.

She said she was concerned to see the programme being marginalised – "this equates to a dumbing down of cultural life in New Zealand".

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RNZ's top brass want to expand its reach to a more diverse audience.

Prime Minister Helen Clark publicly challenged the Government over RNZ's plans to scrap Concert FM for a more youth-orientated service.
Prime Minister Helen Clark publicly challenged the Government over RNZ's plans to scrap Concert FM for a more youth-orientated service.

An RNZ spokesman said it was clear the broadcaster was not yet relevant to people in all their life stages and it failed to connect with some groups, particularly younger people.

"Music provides an ideal way of reaching those audiences that do not currently engage with RNZ and the new station will be unlike anything currently available from commercial networks."

But Ardern was not convinced.

She said she has been advised that contractually, RNZ are obliged to provide the Concert FM service.

RNZ has New Zealand On Air Funding obligations to continue programming until June, she said.

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"We intend to use the time available to work constructively to find a solution."

Ardern said she has been very mindful as to whether or not the Government was interfering with RNZ's independence.

Interfering with the editorial line, she said, would be inappropriate.

"But the decision here that has been made around the removal of the service from the frequency, I think steps into a very different realm around the structure of RNZ."