Cracker by Damian Christie


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

If it isn't in the Sunday papers tomorrow, I'm sure it'll be announced soon enough anyway - bFM is replacing Breakfast show host Mikey Havoc with Back of the Y star and Thursday Drive co-host Matt Heath, as from the beginning of May.

Regular readers will recall I took a strong line on the topic when Mike returned to Breakfast back in 2006, it led to someone starting up a petition to retain the host - one Wallace Chapman - some 1200 people signing it and Mike quite understandably, what's the phrase I'm looking for here... hating my guts. Over the years (and yes, even four years later) there have been various insults thrown my way on-air as a result, which people seem to enjoy telling me about.

I think he thought I started the petition too, which I didn't, but whatever. Having 1200 people signing their names to a vote of no-confidence would be a blow to any of us, much less the deceptively fragile egos that we media types tend to have (myself included). I've been guilty of it before, and probably will be again, but even famous people have feelings, and I've seen first hand the effect of negative reviews/comments on those in the public eye. Genuine hurt from offhand comments made by people they have never met.

For that, I apologise to Mike. No-one should have to feel like that. Well, fascist dictators and child abusers and the like. But not a radio host.

At the same time, I still maintain the key points of that post from 2006. bFM should be about people getting their chance, giving it a good nudge and then moving aside. It shouldn't be a career choice. Some of the best, Graeme Hill, and my personal hero (and reason for getting into radio) Marcus Lush each only did about two years in the main slot.

As a wise man once said on this very topic:

"All things must pass. Part of bFM's mission is to find and train new talent and it's time for somebody else to grasp the opportunity. It's time to hand over the reins.

That wise man was a young Mikey Havoc, when he left Breakfast in 2002, after doing it for five years.

As Russell said of the Sunrise folks, you've gotta feel for anyone losing their job in the current climate. It sure doesn't feel like the recession's over. TVNZ is in the midst of more cutbacks too, so I don't see too many leaving Flower Street for a role at the Death Star.

(Incidentally, the last Sunrise show provided some unintentional humour from the lovely Sasha McNeil, who still has a job there, but said in the closing minutes of the show, "Yeah... it's guttering".)

I'm told Mikey's been offered Drive - again it's a case of history repeating and while I can understand bFM's fear of losing a genuinely talented broadcaster, it's getting a bit co-dependent. Cut the strings. I think everyone involved would be much better off in the long run. Or even sooner.

I also have concerns over removing 5 shows, and five (or more) hosts to replace them with one host five days a week. I love listening to Charlotte Ryan from 10-12am, don't get me wrong, but with Breakfast, 10-12 and Drive each having just one host on weekdays, it further reduces the opportunity for developing talent and eventually finding the right person to take over Breakfast from Matt Heath.

I'm sure Matt will do a good job. I like him, both personally and as a broadcaster. Those of us who work regular hours will appreciate having a host who's there when we wake up. I know Matt will polarise people, because that's what he's spent the last dozen or so years perfecting. Not unlike Malcolm McLaren, RIP. But I also think he'll soften somewhat (in a good way) and become a great host. And I hope he's not there in five years' time.


In other good radio news, I'm stoked to announce that Public Address Radio - the show I host with Russell (and guest appearances from the likes of Simon Pound) on Radio Live Sunday evenings, is a finalist in the NZ Radio Awards. We're up against Mike Hosking's Breakfast show on ZB, and Mike King's 'Nutter's Club' also on Live.

I don't fancy our chances - if only because such awards tend to reflect the underlying purpose as a marketing tool (for use on billboards, radio promos and the like), so I'd suspect it'll go to the big kid on the block, but it's nice to be in the running. Thanks to those of you who listen (you know it's available at eh?) and to the Downlow Boys, and the tireless and patient efforts of our technical engineer and producer Glynis (and more recently Thomas too). Awards announced April 29th.

(Title of this post is courtesy of Ralph Wiggum).

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