The Wireless: youth site a brave step into the net for Radio NZ

by Toby Manhire / 31 October, 2013
A youth radio network has long been mooted, but The Wireless, RNZ's boldest innovation for years, is definitely not radio.


On Labour Day morning, Ben Uffindell, the wunderkind behind the Civilian satire website, tweeted that he was about to appear on Radio New Zealand.

Which, he added, “I find is always sort of like visiting your grandparents”.

And that somehow encapsulates a strength and weakness of RNZ: a cosy familiarity, something reliable, but also undeniably, how to put it, mature.

For some some the challenge for the national broadcaster has been how to attract younger listeners. The proportion of the audience under 30 is said to be puny.

The idea of a “youth” station has long been mooted, with some arguing it should replace Concert FM.

But years of discussion have at last borne fruit.

The Wireless is the boldest innovation from the cash-strapped grandparent for a long time, probably since the RNZ website added news and audio in 2005.

Crucially, however, this is not an online radio station: more a digital magazine, with features, blogs and plenty of video, aimed chiefly at 18-30 year olds.

And it looks very promising indeed. Each month will be themed, the first of which is “Free”, starting with a feature by Megan Whelan about personal finance, majoring on, unsurprisingly, debt.

There are blogs on music – written by National’s excellent Music 101 team – as well as film, TV, sport and gaming.

Here’s Marcus Stickley, in an introductory post:

The Wireless aims to produce inspiring, insightful and entertaining stories for New Zealanders who have grown up in the digital age.


Our work was born out of idea of a youth radio network, which has been kicked around in New Zealand for the past 20 years.


But the time for a radio network has passed. We live in an age where you can tell a story anyway you want on one platform – the internet.


You’re going to find stories told in video, photos, audio and text. Some will be told in two types of media, some will be told in all four, or maybe even more depending on where technology takes us.


And Whelan (Lena Hesselgrave and Elle Hunt complete the editorial team of four) has written for Public Address to mark the launch. She says:

The Wireless is aiming to tell entertaining, informative New Zealand stories for those people that have grown up in the digital age. We’ll tell their stories without advertising, without shying away from controversy, and with all of Radio New Zealand’s core ethics of accuracy, fairness, independence, respect and diversity.


Radio New Zealand has an obligation to serve a wide range of interests, and all age groups. And while there are parts of the organisation who do that last part well, only a small percentage of its audience are younger listeners. The Wireless is reaching out to them.


Glance about the crisply designed front page of The Wireless, however, and there’s no obvious sign of RNZ-ness.

Scroll right the way to the foot of the page and, look, there it is, the Radio New Zealand logo, in the bottom right corner. For better or worse, it does feel a little like the Wireless doesn’t want to be seen with its elders.



 
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and present lend their support
86105 2018-01-19 15:45:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and pres…

by RNZ

Politicians from at home and abroad are reaching out to offer congratulations to the Prime Minister mum-to-be.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND a mum
86091 2018-01-19 12:36:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND…

by Katie Parker

New Zealand’s newly minted PM and bizarrely cool and normal lady Jacinda Ardern has announced that she and partner Clarke Gayford are expecting a baby

Read more
Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy
86074 2018-01-19 11:11:36Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy

by RNZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she is pregnant, with the baby due in June.

Read more
What the media silly season taught us
85933 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

What the media silly season taught us

by Graham Adams

To the eternal gratitude of media chiefs, each holiday period seems to throw up at least one minor scandal that runs in the absence of anything newsy.

Read more
Richard Prebble: Jacinda Ardern will face the tyranny of events
86009 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

Richard Prebble: Jacinda Ardern will face the tyra…

by Richard Prebble

I predicted Bill English would lose the election and the winner would be Winston Peters. But no forecaster, including the PM, predicted her pregnancy.

Read more
Aokigahara: More than just the ‘suicide forest’
85966 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z World

Aokigahara: More than just the ‘suicide forest’

by Justin Bennett

It's known as a 'suicide forest', but Justin Bennett found Aokigahara's quiet beauty outweighed its infamous reputation.

Read more
Truth and Lye: New perspectives on the brilliance of Len Lye
85816 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Arts

Truth and Lye: New perspectives on the brilliance …

by Sally Blundell

New essays on New Zealand-born US artist Len Lye elevate him to the status of Australasia’s most notable 20th-century artist.

Read more
Brain activity may hold the secret to helping infertile couples
86046 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Health

Brain activity may hold the secret to helping infe…

by Nicky Pellegrino

For about a third of infertility cases in New Zealand, there is no obvious reason why seemingly fertile couples struggle to conceive.

Read more