National radio to move to FM frequency

  • Marie Hasler
Radio New Zealand Ltd

Government has approved Radio New Zealand's proposal to start broadcasting National Radio in FM giving listeners a better sound quality, the Minister responsible for Radio New Zealand, Hon Marie Hasler said today.

"This decision reflects Government's commitment to RNZ as our national voice and RNZ's commitment to increase its quality and listener coverage," Ms Hasler said.

"FM has a better quality sound output, particularly for music. RNZ is expecting to increase the number of its listeners as a result of moving to this band as, for a number of years, there has been a demand for FM service.

"Initially RNZ will have FM broadcasts in two areas, Auckland and Taupo, with extensions to other areas examined on a case by case basis after reviewing its success.

"FM gives better coverage in urban areas, such as Auckland where office people and those in apartments currently have difficulty picking up National Radio. Areas of low ground conductivity (Taupo) also have difficulty getting a good reception.

"As a result of moving to FM, broadcasts in Taupo will give a better service for lower cost. This and the fact that Auckland is National Radio's largest market with over 100,000 listeners, is why these two areas have been chosen for initial FM coverage.

"National radio has some of the highest rating radio shows, including Morning Report, Kim Hill's Nine to Noon show and Top o' the Morning with Brian Edwards and now more listeners will be able to enjoy these programmes," Ms Hasler said.

The frequencies have been allocated in the 101-108 Mhz FM spectrum and coverage is expected to start by June next year. If FM is successful AM coverage will be phased out in Auckland with FM replacing AM straight away in Taupo. Other areas being considered for the second stage of FM transmission include Hamilton, Tokoroa, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Alexandra.