NZ Local News

Fringe station Reality Check Radio needs hundreds of thousands of dollars to get back on air

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RCR host and former TVNZ host Peter Williams. Photo / NZ Herald

Fringe radio station Reality Check Radio (RCR) is still almost half a million dollars short from returning to airwaves, but says an outpouring of support since it went off air has been immense.

In a video earlier this month, RCR host and former TVNZ star Peter Williams said the station was off air and in need of donations from supporters to continue broadcasting.

“We’re not a big corporate media company. We don’t have access to government funding either. We’re listener-funded, which means we don’t have sponsors telling us what to do or what to say,” Williams said in the 14-minute video.

”Hopefully, it’s just a temporary closure.”

In a statement tonight, RCR said while the station is “close” to being able to return, it required a further $480,000 in donations to get back on air.

“The target has been set, and the sooner we are able to reach this goal, the sooner we can return to the mic and resume calling it like it is.”

The station also announced some “GREAT” news that some “extremely gracious supporters” have offered to cover half of the amount for this week only, by matching donations dollar-for-dollar to reach the goal.

“It means that the goal has effectively halved in size and is actually just $240,000.”

Reality Check Radio launched a little over a year ago, born from the anti-vaccine movement and anger over the way New Zealanders were treated by the previous Labour Government during the Covid pandemic.

It has also built a support base on the back of criticism of mainstream media.

Peter Williams, Chantelle Baker, Paul Brennan and Rodney Hide feature large in Reality Check Radio's marketing. Picture / Reality Check Radio
Peter Williams, Chantelle Baker, Paul Brennan and Rodney Hide feature large in Reality Check Radio’s marketing. Picture / Reality Check Radio

Over time, RCR has faced its own media critics, including from the likes of other new broadcasting entrants such as The Platform’s Sean Plunket.

But the station has also hosted interviews with mainstream politicians including senior coalition MPs such as NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Earlier this month, a 14-minute professionally shot PR video, hosted by Williams, outlined dire consequences to New Zealand society if the station can’t return to the airwaves.

In the video, Williams said the station needed funding to continue.

Tonight’s statement said ever since the “radio silence began”, the station had received thousands of messages of encouragement and well wishes flooding in.

“People write in daily to say they’ve stopped Netflix, Sky and Spotify memberships in order to back RCR, or that they’re foregoing their weekly latte to support, or that they’re rationing their pension, or giving up other things,” the statement read.

“Reality Check Radio will return when the remaining $240,000 goal is met. And the quicker we do, the sooner RCR will be back stronger than ever.”

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