National | Iwi Radio

Iwi Radio may lose frequency

Te Māngai Pāho want iwi radio to move with the digital times. But Te Upoko o Te Ika Radio is concerned about what will happen to their air wave frequency.

Radio Te Upoko o Te Ika is welcoming a move for iwi radio to become digital.

But station manager Adrian Wagner believes a radio frequency should still be a priority, “We still don't know whether our radio frequency will be affected. If the thinking is around going digital, we would be concerned. The board and I feel for some of our elders who haven't yet got a firm grasp on the technology.”

Te Māngai Pāho CEO John Bishara says the agency is no longer looking at investing in radio broadcasting through terrestrial transmitters because the future is in a digital world.

Bishara says, "It's hugely expensive in Aotearoa to rely on terrestrial coverage with transmitters on hills to be able to broadcast for iwi radio stations and there is opportunity for instance to use the internet and again as an example from your cell phone using many of the listeners can access any station that they choose through the internet."

Adrian Wagner says the transmission of their radio airwaves costs around $50,000 per annum.

Wagner says that is expensive, “I want to review the way Te Upoko o Te Ika and iwi radio operate.

The staff and the board still want to broadcast the Māori language and encourage our children and grandchildren to do this work as well.”

John Bishara says the days of traditional radio are numbered and the future of broadcasting lies in the likes of podcasts, apps and streaming online.

"I admit it's scary I admit it's scary and change is always scary, technology is a scary thing too but I don't believe our iwi radio stations aren't actually scared or afraid of change but hey it's human nature and I accept that and my organisation Te Mangai Paho are prepared to stand by them and work through those issues they may have," says Bishara.

The issue is expected to be discussed at a National Māori Radio network meeting in Auckland tomorrow.