Radio New Zealand isn't known for being the hippest network on the airwaves, but the public broadcaster is launching a new brand aimed at bringing in the youth.
The still-to-be-named youth online project has been in the works since last year and will use multimedia content to provide "quality" digital journalism and story telling – something lacking in New Zealand, says project leader Marcus Stickley.
"New Zealanders in their [twenties] and late teens don't currently have access to quality public service media and no other media organisation is filling that gap," he says.
Four full time roles have been established for the project. Stickley says everyone involved has a journalism or multimedia storytelling background. This is a relatively recent development and although the jobs were advertised for late last year, Stickley was only brought on board in April and the rest of the team was formed in May.
The project's branding and website haven't been completed, Stickley says it's still at an early stage but expects a launch before the end of the year. He adds that like the more established Radio NZ brand, the youth project will be non-commercial and free of advertising.
"Being a source of trustworthy information, free of commercial imperatives is a keystone for this project," he says.
"You can expect the informative, insightful and entertaining storytelling that Radio New Zealand has built its reputation on."
Radio NZ's funding from New Zealand On Air has been stagnant for the past four years, receiving $31.8 million in funding since the 2009/10 decision year – which begs the question: Where's the money for four new staff and a website coming from?
Stickley says Radio NZ has implemented cost cutting measures in the past 12 months and the youth project works inside of existing budgets. Beyond that he wouldn't comment.
Earlier this year, Radio NZ claimed it was the highest rating radio broadcaster in the country with a nationwide station share of 10.5 percent (15+ audience) in 2012, according to the All New Zealand Radio Survey conducted by Nielsen.