In praise of public radio

Radio New Zealand is a national treasure, a lifeline in troubled times, and a trusted source of the very latest news. My interview yesterday on RNZ National reminded me of benefits of old fashioned public radio. Public radio is always under threat because, obviously, it costs the nation. We get brilliant value for our investment in infrastructure and above all highly skilled people starting with those top-drawer professional journalists.

  • authentic, verified, up-to-date news: radio moves fast
  • a reliable, trustworthy source of information
  • literally a life-saver in crises such as earthquakes and pandemics
  • a medium that can function when the internet and cellphone towers and power lines fail—don’t know how, but that’s been my experience
  • comforting familiarity and support and entertainment in troubled times.

Nielsen reports on the role of radio in a pandemic

screenshot from Nielsen article, 03-26-2020, Americans listening to as much or more radio as before the pandemic

Radio is ‘comfort food’ in Covid-19 pandemic: report from

I always loved writing for public radio because it can take you anywhere, in reality or imagination. And as a listener we participate more fully, without visual constraints.

In an interview, you and the journalist have a genuine personal conversation, interacting in a lively way—and simultaneously your words are beaming out to whoever happens to be listening. As a bonus, anyone can listen later by visiting, where audio files are stored for a while.*

Let’s never lose our public radio. Ours has incorporated all the modern media support that we expect these days, but the core is still solid, miraculous, and indispensible.

*This link won’t work forever, of course. Catch it while you can.

6 thoughts on “In praise of public radio

  1. Nyla Carroll says:

    Loved the interview and love the illustration! You are a real inspiration Rachel….and amazing how much you were able to share of yourself in that time with Kim. And so wonderful with technology that we can listen to the interview after it is aired…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Yes, it’s the best of both worlds, radio live and on demand.

  2. Margaret says:

    During the Covid 19 pandemic Rachel I have tuned into the radio for news & other interesting programmes. I particularly enjoy daily ‘Woman’s Hour’ on BBC radio 4 in the morning. I find tuning in is a great comfort. Old films on tv Talking Pictures and Sony Movies Classics channel and an art programme I enjoy as alternatives to radio.

  3. Enjoyed this interview, Rachel!

  4. Oh, I did so enjoy this Rachel. A zest for life is so evident, and so welcome. Thank you, as always!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      And thank you for your warm support, once more.

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