Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Radio Times

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    I was kinda expecting a dissection of the circular logic behind the post that I'd quoted, but hey, Lovecraft is always relevant...

    Heh... Well, I'd like to err on the side of generosity and say Rich is extracting urine with a remarkable lack of finesse. But I'll say two words in rebuttal: Willie Jackson. Mad, bad, fatuous to know and only qualifies as an old white right-winger on this planet .

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11995 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    My understanding of radio audience measurement is that Radio New Zealand was deliberately shut out other system (and dumped into the undifferentiated 'Other' category) by the commercial radio lot--rather than opting out. If they were included (especially Morning Report), it would make some of claims of the commercial networks (RadioWorks etc) look rather dubious.

    On National Radio: I guess it is a sign of our loyalty (and affection for the old gal) that we are able to criticise, and hope for change in certain aspects of programming:
    * MR does become rather repetitive, if you listen to it for more than 20 minutes
    * my problem with Kathryn Ryan is that her voice brings back chilling echoes of Ruth Richardson! Sometimes good but if you miss it, you often haven't missed much. A few too many health-related/overcoming adversity/book plugging items.
    * I like Jim Mora but I wish he was a bit more adventurous with The Panel, which features too many people who already have ample, or too much, access to the public discourse ie Christine Rankin, Michelle Boag (or 'Bog'), Richard Griffin etc. I want to be surprised by the discussions--not be confronted by another bunch of predictable blowhards!
    * I agree with Russell that Saturday pm is a real highlight--also Mediawatch.
    * Chris Laidlaw could be more strenuous with his interviewing style (he was once a diplomat) but there was a very good panel on Nat's broadcasting policy yesterday--Ian Johnston was the highlight.
    * I think people are bit bewitched by Norelle's voice--she isn't really that great.
    * Kim Hill is the biggest brain on radio but if she says 'fillum' one more time, the radio will be out the window.
    * Bill Ralston is an ijit

    One other thought (on another medium): why do so many TV journos preface every sentence with "Now"?--as "Now, John Key is going to..."

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2311 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    I'm in my 30s now, but I definitely started listening to Nat Rad in my mid 20s. Nine to Noon was Kim Hill then and it was one of the things that kept me sane when I was home sick for a long time. Linda Clark I quite liked at the time, but now that Kathryn Ryan is in the chair I realise I wasn't as in to Clark as I thought. I found her very unbalanced on a few issues in particular stuff that seemed to push her buttons as a working mum. Ryan is doing well, imho.

    Morning Report I love. I'm not sure what would happen if it was no longer Geoff and Sean though, there's just something about the blend of this odd couple that really works for me.

    Afternoons I have just never got into, regardless of host. It's wonderful that they have so much content from New Zealanders - the best song ever written, the small town spotlight stuff - but it just doesn't spin my wheels.

    But actually Nat Rad isn't just for me. I don't expect to like everything they have on. In some parts of the country it is the only radio you can get and they have to cover a broad range to reflect not only their diverse listnership, but also their mandate as NZ's radio station of record, for want of a better term. I think they do a great job.

    Orcland • Since Dec 2007 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    One other thought (on another medium): why do so many TV journos preface every sentence with "Now"?--as "Now, John Key is going to..."

    I'd suggest a battery connected to Duncan Garner's testicles that give him a shock every time he starts a sentence "Listen..."

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 561 posts Report Reply

  • James Francis,

    I'd suggest a battery connected to Duncan Garner's testicles that give him a shock every time he starts a sentence "Listen..."

    Aww, do you really need the qualifier?

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 117 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Now if we could just convince Mitch to use Graeme a bit more often say on 9:00 - noon weekdays???

    Wouldn't work. The joy of Graeme's show is the remarkable degree of freedom he has. If he wants to play the Skeptics (the band, that is, not the redoubtable unbeliever organisation), he plays the Skeptics. He can bang on about astronomy or etymology as he sees fit.

    He just wouldn't be able to do that 9-12 on weekdays. In par, that's because Live has a very different audience at the weekend. I think Mitch basically developed that weekend programming in pursuit of a new audience -- because the weekday audience just didn't listen on Saturday and Sunday.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I like NatRad, but that smugness is there and its possibly bringing on a rightward swing in me ...

    I know what you mean. Laidlaw and guests are the worst for it. There's too much "Well, of course everyone knows that such-and-such is a bad thing ..."

    It's like people mouthing cliches about George Bush. It's just not interesting any more.

    OTOH, the equally cliched small-minded Tory drone that emanates from The Panel at least a couple of days every week provides some wretched sort of balance ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I should be enjoying a balmy Vancouver evening, not hunching over my sister's PC. However:

    Kathryn Ryan a) has a brain and b) demonstrates its effective use by researching the people she is speaking to and the things she is talking about and then c) asking intelligent questions of them using both the brain and the facts. In these respects she beats the pants off her predecessor who could never manage more than a patsy and often didn't understand the answers. Ryan may not have a perfect radio bedside manner but I like her.

    By contrast, the reason Jim Mora needs to be removed as soon as possible is that his unctuous tones are the vehicle for a thorough-going, smug ignorance that has me reaching for the off button with all possible speed.

    Like Craig, I loathe Mary Wilson's predeliction for the statement masquerading as a question. I look forward to the interviewee with the brains and stamina to answer just "yes", "no", or "what?" until she gives up. I will cheer for that person, even if he is Winston Peters.

    As for Ralston: suppose he is correct? To whom else are the cardigan wearers supposed to listen? Public broadcasting serves everyone, including them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2965 posts Report Reply

  • Jen Ferguson,

    While a devoted fan of Morning Report (when I get to listen to it, that is, since my car radio decided to give up playing even-numbered frequencies - go figure), I have to give a not-at-all-biased plug for the good folk at Kiwi FM, who routinely get some of the most informative and entertaining interviews around, as well as a host of super weekly guests, including a few chaps well-known around these parts.

    It's not just Kiwi music, you know. And it comes in podcast form as well...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    I rather miss Jonathan Dennis, who -- when the material on offer was just too existentially angst-making for words -- would go off and make a show that ran down the by-ways of New Zealand's film history.

    I don't know, I can't think of a single film critic who was more inclined to lay down a verbose, overwrought sledgehammer to a particularly pesky ant than Jon Dennis (RIP). He certainly had a keener knowledge of film's history, particularly in regards to NZ film, and when he found something worse enthusing about, it was a treat, but the main problem is that so much of the time he sounded like it was actually a chore to be doing the show.

    And as such, too often, it wasn't very enjoyable to listen to him. Look, this is an avid Sight & Sound reader here, but his pompousness could be suffocating. He may have covered (at times) slightly more leftfield fare than Morris's usual mix (though I think he does pretty good with that), and it was a delight on the occasion that a film surprised or enchanted him, etc, but I just couldn't connect.

    Essentially, for all his talent, I don't think he always wrote good "radio reviews"- the language was better suited to the page.

    Morris's show is more entertaining, but it's also more direct and generous- it's imbued with the some enthusiasm and cross-media appeal he used to have in his music specials back in the day. And I enjoy it when he lays into a film because of his array of means of attack.

    But that's all by the by.

    Anyway, I'm a regular listener of NatRad too, especially considering I can't get the opportunity to switch my dial to Radio 1 anymore (RDU just isn't as good). Agree with most of the reservations and plaudits for Morning Report, which is more than just an institution, it's a barometer, the afternoon stuff is hit-and-miss, Ryan's programme definitely fits in with Craig's wonderful "meringue" analogy and Kim Hil's Nine to Noon always brings up something worthwhile- usually the best slot tends to be playing favourites, and her strength tends to be with the arts. Only god could've read as many books as she has.

    Sounds Historical meanwhile, is auditory valium. How could one show be more boring? It's almost surreally narcoleptic, I remember my dad having it on in the background when he ironed, but he admitted he never actually listened to it, he was just too lazy to turn the thing off!

    Bryan Crump is an enjoyable guide, but hit and miss, while Lynn Freeman is great- I just like the way the show seems to cover so much ground.

    Mind you, more young voices on NatRad would always be good, I was disappointed when Radio 1's Aaron Hawkins didn't throw his hat into the ring for Music 101, it would be great to get people like him on the show. And a wider range of music dealt with outside of Nick Bollinger's the Sampler.

    Overall, Ralston is an eejit, with only a faint semblance of a point.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    I like NatRad, but that smugness is there and its possibly bringing on a rightward swing in me ...

    I know what you mean. Laidlaw and guests are the worst for it. There's too much "Well, of course everyone knows that such-and-such is a bad thing ..."

    It's like people mouthing cliches about George Bush. It's just not interesting any more.

    OTOH, the equally cliched small-minded Tory drone that emanates from The Panel at least a couple of days every week provides some wretched sort of balance ...

    That is something that bugs me about Laidlaw's show, I just couldn't put my finger on it. That and the fact that as an interviewer, sometimes it's apparent Laidlaw hasn't done his research and tries to wing it. I mean, we've all been there (well, I have), but on radio it's patently obvious when it happens in a way that can't be disguised later on as you can with print.

    Usually you can tell when Laidlaw hasn't done his homework when instead of letting the subject speak, he interrupts and overtalks them all the time. There was a pretty obvious example when he interview the Ombudsman Bev Wakem a while back. Which was pretty poor considering her prior experience in Radio!

    That said, when it works, it can be illimunating.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Well said Jen F.

    KiwiFM's Saturday morning State of Play sports show is a real breath of fresh air too.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Kim Hill is the biggest brain on radio but if she says 'fillum' one more time, the radio will be out the window.

    Christ on a bike, that annoys the crap outta me too. It peaves me no end, it really does.

    Whenever I hear her say "fillum", I always ask myself if she also has "milluck" in her tea or coffee.

    I once heard her explain her pronounciation of "film" as "fillum" as being due to the fact that he Irish dad used to pronounce it like that, so she learnt to say it that way as well.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 606 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Prince,

    There is nothing that beats waking up to the sound of Sean and Winston going at it. I pine for Kim Hill when I'm in the mountains on a weekend and though I agree with Russell's comment re Chris Laidlaw I actually find this a positive factor; if I wanted to be overstimulated on a Sunday morning I would turn on C4. Long live 'Radio New Zealand: National (although thank God that 'sounds like us' tagline died a speedy death)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    KiwiFM's Saturday morning State of Play sports show is a real breath of fresh air too.

    Yeah, especially that bloke they get in to talk about cricket pfffffffft. ;)

    Since Nov 2006 • 875 posts Report Reply

  • dubmugga,

    Ok i'll try and be constructive here and no offense to all you radio listeners but...

    ...fuck radio :)

    the back of your mind • Since Nov 2006 • 257 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    There is nothing that beats waking up to the sound of Sean and Winston going at it.

    Nothing, but nothing, can now erase that mental picture. *shudder*

    Plunket's tenacity can be vital with the slipperier guests trying to avoid giving an answer, but when he overdoes it it seems like he never gives them a chance to answer at all. There's often a sense of him badgering away until he gets the soundbite he wants, or forcing people to give "yes" or "no" answers to questions that are actually much too complex for such a simplistic response.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Morning Report does become rather repetitive, if you listen to it for more than 20 minutes

    I actually find this a positive character. Most other morning tv/radio things try to have too much new content to try to hold your interest. It makes it much easier to get in the shower, leave for work or whatever, because you've been informed, and you can move on. It's the exact opposite of what I want in the evening, where I actually want to keep listening/watching.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I know what you mean. Laidlaw and guests are the worst for it. There's too much "Well, of course everyone knows that such-and-such is a bad thing ..."

    And it might well be a very bad thing indeed, but it's the air of what Dwight MacDonald called the 'herd of independent minds" masticating into an open mic that gets on my tits.

    OTOH, the equally cliched small-minded Tory drone that emanates from The Panel at least a couple of days every week provides some wretched sort of balance ...

    I gotta get me that gig (does NatRad pay their contributors) because I at least cheerfully admit it when I don't know what I'm talking about, and will throw in some dirty jokes for free. :)

    I don't know, I can't think of a single film critic who was more inclined to lay down a verbose, overwrought sledgehammer to a particularly pesky ant than Jon Dennis (RIP).

    Heh... first time I've ever been pinged (and quite fairly, come to that) for not speaking ill of the dead. But I take your point, Matthew -- film criticism does seem to attract more than its fair share of psueds. The Library of America published a hefty anthology of film criticism last year, and when it's good (Kael's 'Trash, Art and the Movies -- often imitated, never bettered) it's amazing. For the most part, Kael was one of those critics it was a pleasure to disagree with because her pure delight in cinema was caught in that prose. When it's bad... well, the book contains a semen-stained load of wank titled 'Double into Quadruple Indemnity' that sucks all the pleasure out of one of my favourite movies of all time. And that's just unforgivably evil.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11995 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    Would Bill Ralston broadcast live from Camp Low Hum?

    I listen to RNZ every day. I especially like Morning Report (if I'm up that early) or Nights with Brian Crump (if I'm up that late).

    Katherine Ryan has gone from strength to strength in her slot I think.

    The music coverage is better than ANY station in New Zealand. Sam Wicks is an extraordinary asset to the station I think. As is Kirsten Johnston and Nick Bollinger. The RNZ music people are way more in touch with whats happening in the NZ music world than any commercial station. I think they are quicker to seek out new trends in music than the Bnet and re-discovering old classics. They got me into the late Karen Dalton before Mojo/UNCUT etc started fussing over her.

    Afternoons can be a bit dull sometimes. The panel is usually awful. But both Noelle and Jim are pleasant and intelligent hosts but the format is a bit stagnant. I can not stand the greatest song ever written.

    I don't really know what Bill is talking about. In fact neither does he. When he was doing talkback a few years ago I had to listen to him every day. The bigoted dribble he would tolerate from callers was unbelievable.

    I am grumpy about this now! I love Aunty Beeb!

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Jennifer B,

    Here's my take on it all.....Kim says "fillum" on purpose to annoy everybody I'm sure. My favourite NatRad person hands down is Cosmo from Country Life on Saturday mornings (and Friday evenings). He is pure talent - in a slow calm bovine kinda way. Morning Report - I can't believe I'm saying it but I think Geoff's use by date is fast approaching. Noelle in the afternoons - sorry but Willie and JT on Radio Live (despite being the second most annoying radio hosts on at that time) get my ears whenever she is in the chair. Bill R is just being provocative cos he wants to up his audience.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    ...by the way, I had to listen to talk back everyday as I was working with a builder. It was #$%@^&%&@ awful. New Zealand has some issues man.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • nzMM,

    I am 22 and listen to RNZ, not compulsively, it _is_ a bit geriatric at times. Sometimes i think the morning two are just blowhards. There is one stellar effort on RNZ though, Kim Hill! I think Kim Hill is the bees knees. Awesome balance between the arts and sciences like no other imho.

    She doesn't pretend to be a know-it-all, and she'll challenge a point but she ain't adversarial (like she was on tv, wtf!?). She gets amazing interviews out of her guests, i.e. her London science series a year or two ago was totally great, she should definitely do that again! She's the best radio in NZ imo. Otherwise i fill in my idle gaps with bFM, Thursday drive is awwweeesssommme(!!!) or BBC World.

    Radio for me is second only to the internet, TV is largely irrelevant with regard to my daily information intake.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I have to give a not-at-all-biased plug for the good folk at Kiwi FM, who routinely get some of the most informative and entertaining interviews around, as well as a host of super weekly guests, including a few chaps well-known around these parts.

    I was going to mention Kiwi, actually. I think there's a lot of talent at that station -- Wammo, Wallace, Karyn and Andrew, Michael Higgins at the helm -- but the format just kills their listenership.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Otherwise i fill in my idle gaps with bFM, Thursday drive is awwweeesssommme(!!!)

    Oh yeah, was gonna mention that too. Thursday Drive with Matt and Chris is banal, profane, unprofessional and irresponsible. And, thus, totally choice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

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