Radio Waatea was contracted to provide daily news bulletins during the week of approximately two and a half minutes in duration four times a day. For that we were paid $280,000 a year which covered four journalists and our admin costs. And that was our national broadcaster’s commitment to the indigenous people of this country during the working week.
Let’s do the sums on this. 10 minutes a day times 250 days a year is 2500 minutes a year of headlines, or around 42 hours of news bulletins. For $280,000 that is an hourly rate of $6,720 an hour.
Now that has to cover reporting, editing etc but I’m pretty sure that that hourly figure is higher than most broadcasters.
With no more than 10 minutes of Maori stories a day, that equated to 0.1 per cent of National Radio air time. That’s about as close as you can get to nothing, zero, bugger all. But, hey, they were giving us 0.8 per cent of their $36 million annual budget, so I guess that’s something!
Well yes, it suggests to me that if they bring it in house, they may be able to afford to do more than 0.1%.
But even that figure is misleading. National Radio is not 24/7 news stories. Most of it is interviews, talk etc.
Their actions and attitude towards Maori is nothing short of shameful. Successive Governments have allowed National Radio to treat Maori in this way. And, sure, they can pat themselves on the back because Simon Mercep and Katherine Ryan are able to pronounce a few basic Maori words, but the Government really needs to intervene to ensure that a Maori voice is heard on a station that is meant to reflect this country’s identity.
Surely National Radio giving Maori only 0.1 per cent of the programming time requires some response from the Government?
This is presuming that Maori are not interested in any of the other programming,. It would be interesting to see what Radio NZ’s listening demographics are.