Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: "It says 'Let's b friends', and it's got a b on it"

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  • Jeremy Eade,

    I think on the brighter side of b what it did do which was cool for while in Auckland was quite incredible, it was everywhere here for a while it seemed. BFM Auckland was a cool place to be.


    It was at many times brilliant radio with a big listenership strangely filtered through it's very popular Sunday talkback.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yes and no. On any given weekend night over the first decade of the 2000s I'd wager there was, and likely still would be 20 kids in Auckland entertaining themselves in the clubs along K Rd, Pons Rd, and down High Street for everyone at a live venue that night. But surely the two are complementary.

    Oh, for sure. But the club scene got quite grim at times in the noughties, while a lot of cool, arty kids went to see their friends play in bands. (Looking back, I'm embarrassed at how we dressed in the old days.) The P craze didn't help. I recall having the occasional night out, sitting in a club room full of people glaring at each other, thinking, well this sucks ...

    And I'm not sure if everyone in a bar where a DJ is playing on Ponsonby Road can truly be said to be there for the music ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    When I left George it became almost exclusively house for a long long time. Aural wallpaper as Russell points out.

    Ah, that explains it then. I found it frankly unnerving. And I like house music.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    When I left George it became almost exclusively house for a long long time

    Not really true though Damian. When I arrived there in 2002 there were tons of specialist shows on the station, killer jazz shows on Sunday, Victoria's Sunday show, ambient shows, drum'n'bass, hip hop shows which went for years, a NZ electronica show which went from the late 1990s for a decade or so, funk shows, Cian, the saturday morning shows which were hilarious at times, brekky, which pre-Urlich was quite rocky, Bevan's shows which have always played a huge range of black music.

    The house shows were mostly afternoon and drive, and I guess that's when large numbers were listening hence the stereotype.

    I'll always be grateful when I released the Welcome To NZ house comp, which was the first time many of those acts had had any release in NZ, in 2000, George, at no cost to us, came to me and offered a weekend of free support, with every track on the album being carted and played repeatedly by Thane and others over the next month or so.

    BFM, even though Greg and I hosted their dance show, and Greg featured on the first track strongly, didn't playlist a single one even though some 5000 people bought it. Ever.

    I don't want to bitch about B as they've been hugely supportive of so much I've done, but y'know, it irks..

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3184 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If RadioWorks didn't had the sense to put contractual steps in place to stop that happening, then they've got bigger problems than Thane

    The advice I've had in the past is that restraint of trade clauses are hard to enforce, especially for longer than a few months. They also have to protect the employer from something other than the employee just taking their skills somewhere else.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Active is dull

    It's *variable*. I suspect (somebody can put me right) that it's almost entirely a volunteer operation, so it's up to who volunteers.

    Like I mentioned upthread, *I* think that Liam is pretty good in the mornings. Some of the others play stuff in daytime that isn't really daytime radio. Then there's the guy on Saturday mornings. Nuff said...

    I notice the dance music / rock music divide popping up. They both have an audience, and in Auckland in the middle of the last decade, dance had a large one. I guess if you don't like dance music, then it's crap, and nobody will tell you otherwise. Same for rock. Plus if you're 19, then this is spiritually important. If you're one of the cool kids who goes to (insert current Jafa cool kid rock band name) gigs, then attending Our House is gonna get you ostracised.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Also, while we have the attention of the NZ radio gurus, what's with the Sunday Lunchtime Jazz Closed Shop?

    Do the programmers get together and agree that on Sunday lunchtimes, if you want to listen to the radio, it will be jazz?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    I'd wager there was, and likely still would be 20 kids in Auckland entertaining themselves in the clubs along K Rd, Pons Rd, and down High Street for everyone at a live venue that night.

    @Simon - I think you're probably right, although I'd argue - in terms of one's relationship to the music - there is a difference between me sitting at the bar at 4am that happens to be playing dance music, and making a conscious decision to head along to a gig (whether a band or a DJ gig). I think the days of people heading out to hear certain DJs have definitely waned.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1121 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @Simon: Not really true though Damian.

    The weekends (which include Cian, Victoria, the funk shows, the jazz shows) have always been a bit of an exception on George (and I did say "almost exclusively"). What did happen though, was a number of the shows that I had set up with specialist DJs, were replaced with house shows. The night-time shows, I'm talking about.

    I remember having an argument with Pam about it (who had taken over the PD role from me), she was replacing I think it was the drum and bass or hip-hop show at the time, with another house show (there were about 6 during the week by this stage, not including daytime shows).

    "But it's a different kind of house, doll", was her response.

    When I left doing Drive Monday - Friday in 2000, Drive was divided up into 5 different shows too, and became once again a whole lotta bedroom house DJs. For at least a few years the sound of George FM was that of two house records slowly slipping out of time from each other. It was really depressing after what we'd started.

    Then a few years later, you're right Simon, things changed a bit. You came along, so did others, things got a bit better. Honestly though? I'd given up listening by then. I had a job at bFM, my music tastes were changing too, and I've never been one to listen to much radio in the evening where those good specialist shows are. And I've never really gone back to George.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1121 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    always seemed to overlook us when those Ooonst gigs were put on. We were the only dance show on B and we were not even given tickets to the bloody things.

    Acts of kindness perhaps :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15715 posts Report Reply

  • OscarLow,

    Having listened to b since my lunch times spent hiding in the art room at high school, I get an oddly personal sense of disappointment when listening to it for any length of time - sometimes for very short lengths.

    Like some have said, you can't 'F' with the specialty shows, but the breakfast show for the reasons mentioned above, and a swag of daytime programming just leaves me cold. I figure it's part getting older and part a more fashion orientated approach to the programming.

    As for George, since it was bought and renovated by RadioWorks, it's taken on a whole new commercial timbre that has doomed it to fitting in with the commercial dross around it on the frequency - it just sounds cheesy. Though George too has some stunning shows on the weekend and latenight roster.

    Anyway, for a more relaxed, conversational and homely breakfast show, listen to Chip Matthews and Tyra Hammond on BaseFM (107.3 & Freeview Channel 71). Musicians playing music - it works.

    And lastly, Rich, the Sunday jazz lockdown does NOT apply on BaseFM, my show, "Sunday Sounds" 12-2 every Sunday, fits hand in glove with Automatic over on b with his show kicking off at 2. Four hours of music for Damian to drink to.

    AK • Since Apr 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    The thing that sets the b apart from all the others is that they have never taken themselves that seriously but when they do serious stuff they do it seriously well. Mikey epitomises that. I, for one, will miss my dose of conspiracy theory in the mornings mixed with a certain madness that resonates with those of a suspicious mind and resembles nothing of the false prattle of so called pirates that proves the point that the others are shit.
    Good luck Mikey maybe you'll get a haircut and a proper job now.
    :-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4443 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And I've never really gone back to George.

    I think we've had this discussion before several times, maybe it's not one for a forum, and I know you had your issues with George, which I respect. But when I arrived at the station in 2001 I'd go as far as to say that it was waaayyy more interesting than B at the time, which seemed stuck in a bygone universe, as Sacha implied. I remember being ecstatic at my new freedom.

    So, diversity? I get a bit grumpy when I get this, as I've had many times over the years, mostly from non electronic music listeners who think it's all the same (which, before you get tetchy, I know does not apply to either you or Russell).

    My first show on George was at 6pm on a Monday night, before I was moved to Weds morn, and I was followed by Mark Burgess and Andrew Shearer's eclectic mix of all sorts of things black an rhythmic, Tuesday had the mighty Kog NZ Show at the same time as mine. The UK garage show was after that I think and then a d'n'b show. There were a couple of mighty fine purist techno (just "a different kind of house" to most non listeners to electronica I guess, but well targeted to those that loved that genre) shows week nights (Matt Drake and Miles Cuen did one and Silverbeat another) and a couple of specialist funk shows. Before me, Paul Dean pulled txts in a way I'd never seen a drive show do on B, the few I'd either sat in on or co-hosted. People loved it .. I remember sitting in a cab at 4am after Calibre, and the driver was rabbiting on about how much he loved Paul on the radio. Paul was asleep beside me :)

    Yeah samey at times, later in the week (and some of the very late night here-is-my-new-record-I bought-this-week shows), until they pulled Philipa in on Fridays (my suggestion and it really worked) for drive but for me around 2001-2 the station really began to gel, and it's hard to overstate how immensely popular Bevan Keys' Fridays were. And to look in there during those drives, across the week and watch the incredible volume of txts rolling across the screen. George found an audience that B had missed, urban kids thoroughly dedicated to their black and electronic music mostly and I think you'd be surprised how many of them were those faces you saw at club venues each weekend. I'd go to clubs and get a stream of people coming up to me asking about tracks I'd played and I know Greg and others get the same still.

    Cian's visibility on his 10+ years of George shows has helped keep what may be the best record shop outside Japan alive..no mean feat.

    Still mates, huh?

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3184 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    As for George, since it was bought and renovated by RadioWorks, it's taken on a whole new commercial timbre that has doomed it to fitting in with the commercial dross around it on the frequency - it just sounds cheesy.

    Indeed. It was not good when I was back earlier this year. But it was inevitable when they bought in. I was asked to do a guest show but declined .

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3184 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Simon, no doubt you're right. Yes, I had issues with George, being screwed over majorly by Dave and Thane at the time (after setting up all the weekday nighttime shows - including half of the ones you mention - getting them all sponsored in return for a share of the profit from it they said "thanks, we'll take it from here" which was my bad being naive and thinking we were all in it together...).

    Maybe the house was "limited" to the daytimes, drive, and half a dozen specialist shows. It still represented about a 1000% increase of house music from what precededed it. I still saw shows like the drum and bass show be scrapped or pushed into the wee small hours to accommodate more house. It definitely got less diverse for a while.

    At the same time I agree that bFM had big issues when we started up George. Massively defensive, they seemed to almost dig in and play less electronic music to spite the audience. Even today they have a Nocturnal Dominion death metal show, but no drum and bass show....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1121 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    I should add a couple of points actually Simon:

    I don't do appointment radio. Therefore specialist shows can be great, but only if they're at a time I'm likely to bump into them. Like most people, I listen to radio in the morning, in the car during the day and at drive time. Once PU started doing Breakfast it was pretty hard not to hear a house track 100% of those times. We had a running joke where we'd be in the car and just as we'd flick over to George I'd start doing the 4/4 mmm-sst-mmm-sst of generic house music to see if I could fluke it in time with whatever was on.

    My personal issues with being ripped off aside (because as I say, as a lawyer I shoulda known better and it was a good life lesson in never trusting anyone...), I still stuck around at George for a couple of years after that. In the end I left because they were still on a small frequency and I got tired of doing a show every day that at least half of the people I knew couldn't hear. About two months after I went to bFM, George got a full frequency. Go figure.

    I'm not denying you had a fantastic time at George at some period, but to me as a co-founder and then listener, I heard the diverse thing of beauty I had helped create turn into (at least at the times I was listening) as narrow-minded and stale a beast as the station it had been competing with.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1121 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    @OscarLow - 12pm Sundays? I'm there!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1121 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Even today they have a Nocturnal Dominion death metal show, but no drum and bass show

    'The Warning'? 11-1 fri nights with DJ DWare?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2292 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    Anyone know whats been happening in Christchurch at RDU ? How's Pylonz 'one dollar' investment turning out :) ?

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Even today they have a Nocturnal Dominion death metal show, but no drum and bass show

    'The Warning'? 11-1 fri nights with DJ DWare?

    There's been a D&B show right through, I think. For years it was the one with the funny "chocolate milk" promo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, also Hannah Sarney was mildly miffed to be described by me as part of a "previous generation" when she's still 23 and still has a show on Saturday nights.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    I remember when I first started listening seriously to b it was the “louder than a bomb” time and I do remember a truck load of new dance music and hip hop being played . Grandmaster Flash,Public Enemy,with acid house and house hits alongside the constant run of Flying Nun 1980’s gems.

    And then it went rock apparently but I think you’ll find most of the good keen ears on the planet were particularly bowled over by the guitars and words of the pixies, pavement, nirvana, jamc, my bloody valentine , sonic youth, predominantly american new pop,
    etc but I still remember a lot of various forms of dance music being played.I don’t know the genres, they confuse me but there was a lot of dance/guitar crossover MBV, NWA, springs to mind.

    ....and then a lot of seriously long dance music got played and the dance scene became huge , a huge live earner earner for a few “right place, right time” promoters which tended to attract other money, which created a bubble as it always does.

    And then there was a garage rock renaissance across the western world which found an already well formed scene here, so apparently guitars came back in.

    But my laboured point is that I remember the best playlists being pretty eclectic and the pixies sounded great by ten city. .

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I remember when I first started listening seriously to b it was the “louder than a bomb” time and I do remember a truck load of new dance music and hip hop being played . Grandmaster Flash,Public Enemy,with acid house and house hits alongside the constant run of Flying Nun 1980’s gems.

    Quite a lot was vented on bFM Historical Society about the music wars around this time, with Simon Laan/Nick D'Angelo programming hip hop, the guitar guys revolting and Sir Vere not liking any of them.

    S'funny really: I was involved with the station for so long, but that kind of stuff tended to pass me by. I only really ever had a problem with one person, and that person had ... issues.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    Sunday Sounds" 12-2 every Sunday

    FWIW I think this is a very good show.

    Im quite a fan of the music Oscar's co-pilot kirk james plays too. Kind of a weird mix of funk and jazz and not quite either, old and new. Not quite sure how their time table works, it might be a week on week off thing.

    Both Oscar/Kirk's music is precisely the music I want to hear at 12 on a sunday. Major bummer is the lack of frequency strength, if im not near my computer i miss out. Resorted to hanging my comp speakers out the top floor window a few weekends ago so I could dig a retaining wall and hear the show.


    Back on topic, I really like Mikey, and personally preferred him to Wallace, but was *hugely* disappointed when they reappointed him. I always thought bFm was a bit of a nursery for breeding new talent. Even if it didnt work at least they gave it a go. Mikey's reappointment changed this view for me.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    I always thought bFm was a bit of a nursery for breeding new talent

    and then host Zm breakfast shows and do quirky late night news. It must have a stronger vision than that surely.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

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