Hamilton residents turned out with instruments and their vocal cords in tune for a peaceful protest of Radio New Zealand’s proposed changes to Concert FM.
Around 200 people gathered in Garden Place to show they didn’t want that station to change.
Earlier this month Radio New Zealand (RNZ) announced it intended to move Concert FM’s frequency to a new youth-oriented music channel that it planned to have on air later this year. The plan included a raft of changes, turning Concert into a fully-automated service and axing all of the station’s presenters.
Organiser and local musician Jayne Tankersley said the station was a vital part of the arts community which needs to be protected.
“It must continue to be a platform for our musicians, composers, educators, ensembles, young artists, both here and overseas, continue to be an inspiration to those younger, and to reach out to those listening from their homes, who can’t get to live concerts.”
Musicians and singers young and old performed in the CBD on Friday evening in support of Concert FM.
“One of the big points we wanted to make is that even in the smaller centres like Waikato, you know Wellington had a massive protest and Auckland was big, we can pull our weight here and also there is a lot of support here in Hamilton and in the Waikato for Concert FM and a lot of amazing musicians.”
As a musician herself, Tankersley said she couldn’t imagine being an artist or musician without RNZ Concert RM.
“It’s just a window for not only people outside our world but it’s a community. The radio station creates a community around it that if it wasn’t there we would be disconnected.”
Lara Hall, a violin lecturer at Waikato University was playing along with two of her children Malcolm Murray, 3, and Antonia Murray, 6.
“This is a station for all walks of life to listen to. As you can see here you’ve got babies, young people, middle-aged people, some older people and a lot of listeners don’t have access to other forms of this type of music.
She said her children listen to it and love it too.
“My husband got into classical music through listening to it [Concert FM], and before we ever met he had been involved as a listener,” Hall said.