Cracker by Damian Christie

Weekend at Brian's

If the Paul Holmes thing was a ratings stunt, then it worked rather well, didn't it? Whether people got the joke or not - whether it was a joke or not - everyone's been talking about it, even other radio stations. Linda Clark interviewed the little man himself, bFM breakfast Hugh Sundae talked about very little else the following morning, TV3 ran a story on it, even the PM saw fit to comment. Holmes was on the front of newspapers around the country.

Any way you look at it, the comment has generated tens of thousands of dollars worth of free publicity. I called the Broadcasting Standards Authority to find out what the maximum fine was that the station could face. $5000, apparently. As Mr Brown notes, survey is looming, and more people are bound to tune in if they think Holmes has gone off the rails than would listen to win a free trip for two to Sydney, and other more conventional ratings bribes. $5000 is nothing compared to the value of the Paul Holmes Breakfast show coming up trumps in the survey, both to Paul Holmes personally, and Newstalk ZB.

Is it even bad publicity? Half the people I've spoken to seem convinced it was satire. And even if people don't consider it to be satirical, we're talking about the station whose flagship talkback host is Leighton Smith, whose insidious "I'm not a racist, but…" schtick attracts huge audiences every day. ZB's liberal audience could fit in the same WC as National Radio's reactionary conservatives. It ain't done them any harm, trust me, even though some people are inevitably offended.

Re the pickled people, this response was a little more literal than I had in mind. Although, give the man a couple of hundred grand and some airtime, I dare say he could come up with something a little more lively than Edwards' show.

My mate Jen in the UK pointed out that while she was fresh out of pickled people, if I get in quick I pick up a weasel riding a chicken for a song.

And while we're on the animal tip, here's an invisible turtle that has captured my imagination.

Have a good weekend - DC