Kate Hawkesby: Is Concert FM really the biggest issue right now for Jacinda Ardern?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Feb 2020, 9:23AM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed her disappointment in plans to punt classical musical off an FM station and, voila, it was fixed. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Kate Hawkesby: Is Concert FM really the biggest issue right now for Jacinda Ardern?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Feb 2020, 9:23AM

COMMENT

It's incredible how quickly the Government can move on a classical music radio station.

Yet there are other pressing issues at hand it seems to be taking forever to deal with - or, indeed, even express a solid view on.

Ihumātao springs to mind. Child poverty. Housing. Domestic violence.

But no, when it comes to Concert FM, the Prime Minister was straight out of the blocks and firing.

Possibly amped up by hype girl Helen Clark on the sidelines but, nonetheless, within days of the news of Concert FM's potential demise, the PM had thrown it a lifeline.

Because God forbid the cardigan elite can't get their Tchaikovsky into their car radio on an FM frequency.

Just as an aside, have any of these listeners ever heard of Spotify?

The PM declared, almost as soon as the terrible news broke that Concert FM may be toast, that this just would not do.

She declared she was "frustrated" and "more than miffed".

RNZ reported "classical fans and arts grandees complained en-masse. A protest march, a musical demo at parliament and a possible legal challenge" were all proposed.

Shame that didn't get to go ahead, that would've been very entertaining - mainly to see whether any more than four people turned up to the protest march.

But the Government swung in with another FM frequency offered post haste, and the viola and friends were saved. Concert FM will remain on an FM frequency, listeners will not have their Mozart meddled with.

What a relief.

So how is it that so much angst and action can be sheeted the way of a classical radio station, and be resolved so quickly?

Where was the working committee? The report? The inquiry? The endless consultation with highly paid consultants?

Nope. None.

Just a miffed PM, Kris Faafoi overridden and a quick resolution.

What's even more incredible about this, is that fans of the station actually bemoaned how long the Government took. They wanted quicker action than one whole week. Five stressful days, they claimed, was just too much.

Are you serious? Have they seen the pace at which this Government usually moves? I'm still shocked at how fast they fixed it.

So the big question is, should we expect more lightning speed solutions to problems in this country from now on?

Even though it's election year, I wouldn't get my hopes up.

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