Hard News by Russell Brown

Let's do it again

Folks, it's Great Blend Time again. Public Address stages the fourth Karajoz Great Blend on Sunday November 13 at the Hopetoun Alpha in Auckland. And boy, do we have something for you. Our star guest is Ashley Highfield, the BBC's Director of New Media and Technology.

Ashley was recently named third on this year's Silicon.com list of the Top 50 Agenda Setters in Technology, behind only Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Apple Computer's Steve Jobs. He is a member of the BBC's nine-member executive board and his responsibilities span the spectrum of media directions, from the BBC's Creative Archive project to its Integrated Media Player trial.

And, thanks to the British Council, he's coming especially for our event. Actually, make that events.

Yes, the Karajoz Great Blend is coming to Wellington. We'll be firing up the roadshow at the Film Archive from 6pm on Monday, November 14.

Both the Auckland and Wellington events will feature an illustrated onstage interview with Ashley Highfield, who will then join various well-informed locals for a panel discussion on new media, digital community and where TV is going. (In the context of this week's events, I must say I see it as a welcome chance to discuss TV, and public broadcasting, as being about something other than famous people's salaries.)

The Auckland panel is: Michael Carney (Mediacom's new media analyst), Idolblog co-founder Regan Cunliffe, Julie Christie (Touchdown) and David Murphy (interactive content manager, TVNZ).

The Wellington panel (with perhaps one to be added) is Jo Tyndall (who is charge of digital TV matters at the Ministry of Culture and Heriitage) and Richard Naylor of Citylink and R2 (who I think is doing amazing work).

The Auckland event will open with a performance from Ladi Six and conclude with a multimedia throwdown by Pitch Black. It will also feature Great Blend TV: a reel of stuff you can't - yet - see on TV in New Zealand. The Wellington event is slightly more compressed (and audience capacity is very limited), but will include the interview and the panel discussion and a performance by Ladi Six.

Both events will continue the Karajoz Great Blend tradition of free admission, friendly bar prices, a relaxed atmosphere and good vibes. The assistance of TVNZ and Microsoft Mac Office is much appreciated.

So go ahead, and RSVP for Auckland or for Wellington.

PS: If you miss out or can't come, I'll have both events recorded and we'll make them available online. You gotta love the Interweb.

PPS: On my bFM show today the main interview is with Murray Cammick at 12.30pm. We'll be discussing the development in the local music industry that no one seems to be able to talk about - the purchase of Festival Mushroom Records by Warner Music. The deal, done in Australia, has unknown implications for New Zealand. Not only does FMR own the Flying Nun copyrights, it's the home to the Phoenix Foundation, Dimmer and others, and distributor of Scribe's label, Dirty Records. So what happens next? Listen here.