How we are responding
As we enter what feels like the Twilight Zone, with all but essential workers in total lockdown, NZ On Air is continuing to work (safely at home in our 'bubbles') to ensure our industry can come through these challenges.
Today we have launched a new page on our website which details our response to Covid-19.
It will be updated regularly and contains key resources and information you need if you are either making or distributing funded content at present.
In particular today you will find a new Digital Signatures Policy which means we can keep issuing contracts remotely, and official guidance on News and Media as essential services.
Innovate and respond
We've been actively seeking information from a range of people and businesses in the sectors we fund, to better understand the challenges and problems. Thank you to everyone for their responses as we know you are under pressure.
The information we've been gathering has been vital both for ensuring Government is considering the industry's needs, and so that we can target NZ On Air's interventions to the right places.
In practical terms, this week we are looking at what the needs are immediately, and in the slightly longer term, how we can ensure the media and creative sector is ready and able to spring back into action as soon as the Covid-19 Alert level drops to 2 or 1.
A real positive in all of this is the innovation we are seeing from many already. And in turn, we are thinking very outside the box as we know BAU is just not an option at present.
Community media in a lockdown
So many times when our communities are faced with extraordinary events (think earthquakes, terrorism) it is community media that comes into its own.
The 12 community access radio stations broadcast in more than 50 languages and Pacific Media Network in nine Pacific languages. That's essential for many of our new New Zealanders who also need vital information.
But right now, community access radio's absolute strength - programmes by the communities they are for - is also its Achilles heel. Getting programme-makers into studios to record programmes is just not possible under Level 4 lockdown.
So some innovative thinking was required. We are very pleased to report that we have found an excellent NZ-created app that we are purchasing for the access stations, and Pacific Media Network (531 pi and NiuFM) so that programme-makers can submit content from the safety of their homes.
This will ensure our communities continue to be served content in languages they understand, and on a wide array of topics, including vital health and safety updates.
Keep in touch and stay safe
NZ On Air's staff remain here ready to respond to you, and hear your concerns or bright ideas. Our leadership team meets daily (via Zoom) to discuss developments and share ideas. Keep emailing and calling us.
We hope you are all following the official advice to keep you and your whānau healthy, and kick this Covid-19 virus into touch. The sooner we can all get back to working normally the better.