Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Radio Times

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  • insider outsider,

    I'm a major NR listener. Download podcasts all the time and still can't keep up.

    One of the problems with MR and Checkpoint is that I think they are pushing them too hard. MR starts at 6am and Checkpoint goes for two hours. They are stretching both programmes yet retaining the shortish interview format - a lot of fluff starts to creep in as a result. Most of the time we just don't have enough hard news to fill the space. Cut CP back to one hour or use features more to fill out space.

    MAry Wilson - biggest critism is her regular "who's to blame?" approach. Sometimes it is better to just explore an issue and allow the listener to decide who is credible and where responsibility lies. BTW I spoke to her on the phone recently and she was really lovely - not the scary wilson persona at all.

    Plunket - can let his ego get in the way. Shouting 'answer the question' is not always the best interview option and should learn to move on.

    Geoff R -always considered him the most dangerous interviewer as his cuddly approach can lower defences allowing him to slip in the stilletto

    kathryn Ryan - she is great. Smart, dogged and mostly doesn;t tolerate BS or drift off topic.

    Lynn freeman - always struck me as a bit too slow witted for NtN and often not well researched. Could be because she is often a fill in but I don't think she is searching in her questions. Far to willing to accept unchallenged interviewee's assertions - generally a problem with many Nat Rad feature interviews IMO - I think this is where the Radio Left Wing criticism becomes valid as it seems to be that these interviewees come from that end of the spectrum.

    Simon Morris is just great. I love that he is willing to say that he enjoys movies like transformers as pure entertainment, and that he doesn't think every film has to be 'art', something Jonathan Dennis I don't think could do.

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    It peaves me no end, it really does.

    God I know what you mean, I feel the same way about bad spelling :)

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    Oh and Kim Hill - generally incredibly well informed but please remember at times that you are the interviewer not interviewee...

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • David Ritchie,

    If there's anything which annoys me about Morning Report it's a/ Sean's occasional sniping after the interviewee has gone off-air or the pre-record has finished (his recent mocking of somebody's accent recently had me feeling uncomfortable), and b/ Geoff's slightly-less-occasional grumpy-old-man-esque harrumphing when intro-ing or outro-ing anything slightly celebrity-based or other trivial items.

    I remember about 3 years ago Geoff introduced an item about the Michael Jackson verdict with bared-concealed disdain: "Has the world gone mad? I rather think so!". It's a phrase one expects to come from him all-too-frequently nowadays.

    That said, MR beats commercial radio breakfast shows hands-down any day of the week.

    Wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • glenn coster,

    Morning Report - can't do without it, especially in election year.

    I really enjoy Kathryn Ryan's Nine to Noon. Yea okay, it can be a bit hit and miss but often it does deliver the goods. The feature interviews are usually always worth a listen to. Enjoy most of the regulars esp Denis Welch's Media, the overseas Correspondents and Politics from the Left/Right (lol with Kathryn Ryan's slip this morning in which she thanked "Laila Hootton" .. you could hear the audible gasp from Laila at that one).

    The Panel used to be good but I'm fast becoming weary of it - too Auckland issue orientated; am sick of the tedious Auckland v Wellington discussions - as though anyone outside Auckland/Wellington care; thankfully Sarah Chatwin, psychologist and expert in stating-the-bleeding-obvious hasn't made any appearances for a while...

    christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Simon Morris is just great. I love that he is willing to say that he enjoys movies like transformers as pure entertainment, and that he doesn't think every film has to be 'art', something Jonathan Dennis I don't think could do.

    I don't think it's quite as clearcut as that- he spent most of last year bemoaning films like Transformers (in fact that seems to be a pet peeve of him, he's often brought up that pic as representative of everything bad about Hollywood), but I think he's willing to give 'blockbuster' pics a bit more slack if they actually chance their arm and make a few more interesting choices, even if he concedes they mightn't necessarily be for him. It's a crucial difference to merely reverting to the lazy "it's not art so don't expect it be good" criticism that too many fall into.

    Huh, good point about film criticism, Craig- Pauline Kael was someone whose anthologies of criticism I coveted when growing up, even though you can find yourself laughing along and nodding your head while disagreeing thoroughly! She was dogmatic as hell, but- and here's the difference- it wasn't quite sure what her dogmas were. And when she loved something, it was awe-inspiring. Some of the best film writing ever.

    I've actually got the anthology you mention-mostly great stuff there, but also, as you say, stuff that gives pseuds a bad name.

    But that's a bit off the point, isn' it?

    Actually, do some listeners feel that Geoff sometimes manages to get better replies and reveals than Sean from his slightly less...erm...combative approach? Not that he merely sits back- he's a pretty dogged interviewer at the best of times- but I get the impression he's more one to test the waters before diving right in.

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    (lol with Kathryn Ryan's slip this morning in which she thanked "Laila Hootton" .. you could hear the audible gasp from Laila at that one).

    Jeebus... can I sue Ryan for mental distress caused by that picture. :) Hooten and Haare can be painful enough separately -- their fusion into the Mega-Streisand of Kiwi punditry is too horrible to even contemplate. Bad Kathryn...

    But that's a bit off the point, isn' it?

    Almost certainly, but around here it's the voyage is often more interesting than the destination. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11911 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce McKinlay,

    I'm with you on the analysis of RNZ programmes.

    Look forward to ending up in the same rest home.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Stafford Lumsden,

    I think the best thing Radio New Zealand has done in years is offer up all (or most) of their programming as podcasts. That means by the time I'm up and awake here in Korea (3 or 4 hrs behind NZ depending on the season) I can listen to all of Morning Report, the bits that attract my attention, or the Top Stories summary where all the important bits are put into one download.
    Likewise by the time I get home I have The Panel and Checkpoint sitting in Google reader ready for me to listen to while I prepare the tea.
    I'm 29, and I will confess to wearing a cardigan on occassion, but RNZ is top marks with me!
    (So too bFM with it's b-casts, so I might slip a bit of the Havo' in there between my morning report stories.)

    South Korea • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Underage NatRad listener reporting in. I was a bFM person until about the start of '06 when I got properly hooked on RNZN. It helped, I suppose, that my parents had been NatRad people since I was a wee tacker twirling the big Panasonic wireless dial to catch "Ears".

    The regular news and weather updates hardly need be mentioned, but they are pretty much invaluable. Add Checkpoint to this and the TV news can go jump as far as I am concerned. I particularly love Mediawatch, Focus on Politics, At the Movies, and Our Changing World. Kim Hill on Saturday mornings I can take or leave depending on the guests - her chats with Max Gimblett recently and Henry Rollins a bit further back were absolute blinders. Chris Laidlaw I find is a nice mellow fit for Sunday mornings, and Sounds Historical followed by golden oldies is usually far better than you'd expect.

    And a few on the downside: please God do not force me to listen to the banality of Jim Mora's weekday afternoon show, especially not the Panel. Music 101 I can also do without - I twirl the dial over to bFM on Saturday afternoons.

    The online component is pretty much inseperable from my RNZN experience these days. I started downloading shows to listen to whilst in China in early 2007 and have not stopped since. My iPod is about 30 percent music versus 70 percent RNZN shows and interviews. It's something of a Sunday night ritual to scan the website feeds and drop in about six or eight promising programmes via iTunes, so I have something to do with my brain whilst at work, or save stuff to pass on to family and friends.

    Yeah. I hope NatRad can keep on doing its thing for many decades to come.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1556 posts Report Reply

  • larryq,

    Very good summary of Radio NZ Russell. I agree with most of it. Kim Hill is supurb, but I preferred Chris Bourke. General comment - the station needs way more humour. Get Radar on for a couple of hours every morning, replace tired old Chris Laidlaw, he's had his day and hes banging on constantly about his hobby horses.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Stephanie,

    I'm always disappointed by the super-short segment given to Phil Kafcaloudes to discuss news from Australia. The segment is usually dominated by Sean Plunket rattling at top speed through the three most ridiculous stories from over the ditch in the last week. No doubt Phil is a busy man, but what a waste of his time and ours - surely he could be spared a full five minutes and some talking space to discuss something worth hearing other than the latest lurid headlines? And I'm not even an aussie. Am I wrong to want to hear more from Phil Kafcaloudes?

    Lower Hutt • Since Dec 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    An excellent discussion going on here...just hope someone at RNZ is following it.


    More positives and negatives:

    Nick Bollinger has led me to a significant number of CD purchases, and This Way Up is often fun (as in the recent raising chickens theme)

    but

    whoever is responsible for the promos for Storytime needs to be beaten to death with a Bratz doll. I reckon it must put off multitudes of young listeners.

    Nat Radio does seem to cater for the very young and Those of Advanced Years, with not much in between.

    Does anyone listen to Concert FM? I still wonder why one music genre ('classical music') should still be subsidised by the state, and not other genres. Or is this dangerous talk?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2307 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    RNZ isn't too bad, but what of "The Panel" - Let your red-neck shine!

    Barry Corbett, Julia Hartley-Moore, Gordon McLaughlin, Sue Wells and Martin 'Bomber' Bradbury.

    Just to name a few of the bitter angry conservative rednecks that are favoured by - Jim & the Panel.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Am I wrong to want to hear more from Phil Kafcaloudes?

    I love most of their pre-news crosses. Not just Phil, but Kerri-ann Walsh(?) from Canberra. I think partly they're just a sort of filler, so they end up being whatever time they have left, but I don't think it would be sad to end up with more time left every now and then.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 688 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    Another vote for New Zealand Idle, and sorry if I've just given anyone a "Dead puppies" earworm.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Sam F: Interesting what you say about your mix on your iPod. To my surprise, I seldom used my music player when out running or walking - I much prefer being nosy about what is going on around me, and listening out for motorcars - but recently I've discovered it's the perfect way to brush up my French whilst ambling along. Your accent is really good this way!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1796 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Oh christ! It's good someone mentioned Dick Weir's "Ears," now there was a classic show. I might be showing up youth here, but I had a few of my stories read on it, which of course made me and my parents ridiculously proud, although to this day, I wonder what their rejection policy was if they let my, ahem, literary talents slip through...

    But seriously, that was a top children's themed radio show- lots of interesting stories from all sorts of authors read aloud (and the fact they were in installments added to the appeal), wide range of different topics, (well, for kids), and two presenters who just knew how to "talk" to their audience without patronising them.

    In fact, I was so disappointed when it was cancelled, I actually wrote a letter to the Broadcasting Minister begging him to bring it back.

    His (clearly) secretary-typed reply ("unfortunately, I am in a position to bring back Ears...") still rankles.

    I can't say this was the beginning of my political disillusionment, but it is true that since then I have harboured an irrational dislike of Maurice Williamson.

    Speaking of Dick Weir, I found this pretty neat clip of him on Youtube. Talented man.

    Almost certainly, but around here it's the voyage is often more interesting than the destination. :)

    :)

    Ha, as Grant McDougall knows, I'm well versed in the art of thediscussionboard diversion ;). It's a good place here, I don't post often but I frequently enjoy the banter from regulars such as yourself.

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

  • Christiaan,

    Kim Hill used to be one thing I really missed living in London. No longer. Me and the Mrs listen to the podcast each Sunday morning in bed on my iPhone.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Oh christ! It's good someone mentioned Dick Weir's "Ears," now there was a classic show.

    Dick Weir was an integral part of my childhood - waking up and listening to his weekend show in the mornings. Spike Milligan, Benny Hill, and all sorts of other stuff that would probably give some interest group somewhere the vapours in an election year.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    Dick Weir was an integral part of my childhood - waking up and listening to his weekend show in the mornings.

    Absolutely. Sitting in my sofa-cushion fort singing Herbert the Hedgehog, dissolving in floods of tears over The Selfish Giant, wondering if one day I'd get to be a co-pilot (short answer: no).

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 457 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    since then I have harboured an irrational dislike of Maurice Williamson.

    As opposed to most everybody else, who harbours an entirely rational dislike of Maurice Williamson.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7357 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Unless I'm mistaken, Dick Weir can sometimes still be caught on RNZN late at night, as can Lloyd Scott.

    Oh, almost forgot. Any love for This Way Up around here?

    whoever is responsible for the promos for Storytime needs to be beaten to death with a Bratz doll. I reckon it must put off multitudes of young listeners.

    Yes, a thousand times yes.

    Nat Radio does seem to cater for the very young and Those of Advanced Years, with not much in between.

    Eh... I don't know. I flatter myself that I fit somewhere in the middle there. It might be a function of my own interests - current affairs, social issues, history, New Zealand life as it exists outside of the mainstream media spotlight - but I don't feel particularly excluded as a (somewhat) young person by RNZN content.

    For starters, the Internet, and also some bFM content via bCast, is always on tap for my particular taste in music or for a more explicitly "youth" perspective. And as someone who likes to (try to) use the ol' brain on a regular basis, I feel a damn sight more included by RNZN than by regular commercial radio. RNZN links me to a community of listeners who enjoy thinking and learning, regardless of age, and the podcasting adds flexibility which appeals to a huge range of listeners, younger people in particular.

    I might add that, in the Internet age, public radio designed for broadcast over the Wireless feels almost outmoded enough to be hip, but that's really just a nice bonus.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1556 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Kim Hill's Nine to Noon Days were the best and no-one else has quite reached that pinnacle since. I can't put my finger on what doesn't grab me about Kathryn Ryan. She's well-researched and all that - but I don't feel I "have to listen, in case I miss something good" that I used to feel about KH. I agree with the poster who mentioned the Max Gimblett interview KH did recently - She has the knack of picking fascinating, non-mainstream guests of the creative, science, lit. genres, and drawing them out . I notice her guests often compliment her level of knowledge and appreciation of their work.

    Saturday afternoons are pretty good too, but Moira's Hair Salon is dire. I'd rather listen to Maggie Barry.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    * MR does become rather repetitive, if you listen to it for more than 20 minutes

    Actually, that's deliberate, I think. One, it allows follow-up and two - the main one, the one that is two, that is, I mean my second point but the more important one, even though it's not numerically one - it's aimed at people getting up, showering, eating breakfast, commuting who will only get 20-minute bites - but different bites, like a radio CNN.

    As for much of the rest said, I'll have to utter a sturdy "Baaaa" and join the flock. Tend to agree/disagree over this and that as a pathetic attempt to convince myself that I'm an individual.

    What is it with aging males? Is advanced testosterone poisoning what I have to look forward to? That high gallery window at the Boullee exhibition opening is looking awfully tempting.

    Cthulhu

    Hey, it's election year - why choose a lesser evil? Neil Gaiman's take is here.

    Personally, I'm tempted to vote for the Great Race of Yith; they appreciate the importance of forward planning. Pity about them being Australian, though...

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 973 posts Report Reply

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