Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pan-Pacific radio group in hot seat again

Cyberspace is running hot over at Google's PIMA.nius group over the future of Pacific Radio Network and its pan-Pacific radio stations, including NiuFM. The network recently announced restructuring and staff were invited to reapply for jobs. Several jobs are on the line. And tomorrow is D-Day for redundancies, according to the coconet wireless. Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) this week posted a statement saying that it accepted the need for restructuring and called for patience. But chairman Aaron Taouma says this "process is unfortunate" and his statement shouldn't be interpreted as PIMA backing for the PRN move.
"Let's make this a positive new beginning for Pacific media and Pacific radio broadcasting," he says. "Get rid of old shackles and bonds and begin again." PIMA seeks to work in the interests of all Pasifika media people. And it can be tricky balancing interests.
Some of the PIMA.nius online posters have been calling for some sort of a public debate. Their argument runs that, as the network is a community broadcaster and receives considerable public funding, it ought to consult more with a broader Pasifika media fraternity, at least. The pro-debate lobby is being led by Will 'Ilolahia and others who have been frustrated at what they think is stonewalling by both PIMA and PRN. So Will has set up his own blog to hear from disgruntled NiuFM fans who want a voice. If you have something to say, then you know where to go. The word seems to be that PIMA is having a rethink and might organise a wider "general media forum". A good idea.

Stop Press: Since I posted this item, a nutter has apparently run amok on Will's Pasifika broadcast gripes blog. Somebody closely associated with NiuFM - we all know who she is, of course - "TellTheTruth" can hardly get anywhere near the truth through her fog of personal abuse. If this is the sort of hack on the radio station's payroll, no wonder there are so many problems in Ponsonby. If she thinks she is onto something about my protracted and well-known clashes with PINA (now ancient history), then where has she been over the past 20 years? Check this out for balance for the real story behind her selected letters clogging the PiTV blog. She also might actually do some journo's homework and read my 2004 book Mekim Nius! Jason Brown has also filed a riposte on PiTV. For the record, Cafe Pacific has no particular interest in NiuFM - although we want to see it prosper for the good of the Pasifika community. We raise media issues as needed throughout the region as they arise.


Mesepa Edwards said...

Well...Now PIMA doesnot want to host a public forum on Radio Niufm/531pi and its ruling body National Pacific Radio Trust (NPRT) where do we as Pacific Island media personal turn to?

Takafly Brown
Liiki Nius

Xstaff said...

thankfully Will you are there for us...I unlike other X staff members of NPRT's network am prepared to come out of my PG and say...
I regret not speaking out before
but the CEO has got to go... too
many mistakes far outweigh her good decisions...

café pacific said...

An update today from PIMA - 'a general media discussion'

The PIMA Executive Committee are holding a general media discussion at a Forum next week on "Information / the lack of". Welcome.
Details: Thursday, July 3 at Pacific Business Trust fale, Conference Room 1 (upstairs), 733 Great South Road, Otahuhu, Auckland.
Time: 6pm to 6:30pm start, to 8:30pm.
Some PIMA Members/Others in Media and PIMA Exec have indicated their wish to hold such a Forum.
Please RSVP to, thank you.
Angelina Weir
PIMA Executive Committee

café pacific said...

From Pacific Media Watch:
4 July 2008


AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): The Pacific Islands Media Association has agreed to broker a public meeting between the community and key stakeholders to discuss concerns about the controversial restructuring at Pacific Media Network, operator of NiuFM and Radio 531pi.

The decision at a meeting at the Pacific Business Trust in Otahuhu last night follows weeks of intense – and divided – debate on the PIMA website about the station’s alleged financial woes and management decisions.

Some critics fear funding could cease – or the station could be axed altogether - under a National government after this year’s general election.

PIMA’s deputy chair, Chris Lakatani, told the meeting the Pacific media industry group had been under pressure to get involved in the dispute but it had been difficult because the role of “media watchdog” was no longer in its constitution.

Lakatani also said members of the executive had unsuccessfully tried to discuss the restructuring with the board.

About 25 people at the meeting – mainly broadcasters, journalists, community representatives and former NiuFM staff – said their concerns were legitimate. Speakers reached a consensus that PIMA had a mandate to organise a wider meeting.

Proceedings were recorded by a Tongan video team from TNews.

PIMA has agreed to organise a meeting with the ministers of broadcasting and Pacific Island affairs and the Pacific Island Affairs ministry along with the National Pacific Radio Trust Board.

Fifteen positions at NiuFM and Radio 531pi have been affected by the restructuring, which the trust board endorsed as necessary to streamline business.

But the job losses - six so far – are regarded by critics as evidence of poor performance by management and the board rather than staff.

Critics at last night’s meeting claimed NiuFM had performed poorly in spite of the $12.3 million in taxpayer-funded grants since 2005.

A decision this month by Broadcasting Minister Trevor Mallard to advance a further $300,000 to the broadcaster was seen as “sweeping problems under the carpet”.

In supporting a call for more transparency, one speaker, who declined to be named, said the community would have to insist on being heard by government about their concerns.

Another speaker, Natasha Urale Baker, said people had “given up” on NiuFM and that such a public mentality needed to be changed.

She said people had turned off rather than spoken up.

Baker hoped community would use the planned meeting to get its concerns across to government rather than abandon the station as some had done.

Many speakers also raised concern over a “chilling” climate that was stifling reporting and comment about the issue by Pacific journalists.

Cuts to the paid hours of staff on the community language teams, plus reduced broadcast hours have led to three groups – Fijians, Niueans and Tongans – now wanting their own frequencies.

In March, concerns came to a head when news bulletins were taken off air for a week and a public relations consultant was appointed news editor after conducting a controversial survey for the station on the performance of the news department.

The survey, which has been quietly endorsed by the board, has still not been released to staff or community.

With the restructuring in recent weeks amid several personal grievance cases, demands have grown for a shake-up of the management.

NiuFM was launched in 2002 but quickly became embroiled in a public dispute after it broke away from its sister station, Radio 531pi.

The two stations merged early last year but problems have continued.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update about the outcome of the recent public meeting held at PBT regarding the Pacific Island Radio Network in NZ.

It's encouraging to see PIMA taking an active role in this issue considering their lack of interest in previous years over PI Radio.

While I appreciate committee members have changed over the years it is notable that only now PIMA has taken an interest--because I know PIMA was approached in the distant past when PCNL (the original provider for Niu FM) had its contract cancelled by NPRT in June 2003, yet it took another five years for PIMA to speak up. Why now though? Could it be that two of the PIMA exec are directly affected by this?

I feel for the staff of Pacific Media Network who have had to endure a lot over the last few years. It is sad to see it has attracted much negative publicity over that time when I think there is a lot of good work going unnoticed. Current and ex-staff no doubt have plenty of stories to share. I believe credit should be given to those staff who continue to work in PI Radio who are passionate and committed to providing a service to our PI communities.

Let us hope there are some positive solutions to come from these meetings with the board and key stake holders. Let's not forget there are other PI Radio stations that are getting on with the business of servicing the communities; Radio Samoa, Planet FM, Access Radio... and the likes of Mai FM and Tahu FM are increasingly targeting the Pacific Music scene.

It's time to put aside egos and ill feeling of ex- and current staff and other significant parties. Enough is enough!

PiTV said...

Do you know Where is the NPRT press release about another restructuring that occurred today 22 august 2008, being released?

Tell me, is today's restructuring getting closer to what was requested & sighted by many @ NPRT/Niufm AGM 3 years ago????


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