Iwi radio in the era of media convergence: The opportunities and challenges of becoming ‘more than radio.’
Operating for the past 30 years, New Zealand’s 'iwi radio' stations broadcast a mixture of te reo Māori and English language programming throughout the country. The 21 stations that presently operate were established as a strategy to improve upon the severe decline in the indigenous language. As radio stations, each initiative also affords individual Māori groups some autonomy in the mediated protection and promotion of indigenous identity. Collectively represented by Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori, the iwi stations stand apart from the highly-consolidated mainstream commercial and public service sectors, but are now similarly confronted with the challenge of a rapidly changing media landscape. Utilising convergence as a prominent, albeit contentious, descriptor of media transformation, this article analyses the response of the iwi radio sector to convergence processes. Initiatives that include the integration of web and social media and the establishment of a networked switching platform to share iwi content highlight parallel opportunities and challenges for the iwi radio stations as they strive to become ‘more than radio’ on limited resourcing. This discussion highlights the experiences of radio practitioners tasked with the preservation and progress of indigenous voices in an era of convergence, providing further contextual insight into contemporary accounts of media transformation, radio and Māori media.
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