Hard News by Russell Brown


How Lovely

There's nothing like winning something that you've convinced yourself you have no show of winning. You get giggly. And thus it was yesterday. Damian Christie and I had arrived, separately, at a function put on by Radio Live at a Viaduct pub, where the webcast for the 2010 New Zealand Radio Awards was being run through monitors all over the place.

I was still waiting for my beer when our category – 'Best Daily or Weekly Series - one hour or more duration' – came up on the screens. The finalists were the Mike Hosking Breakfast Show on Newstalk ZB; The Nutters Club on Radio Live; and us – Public Address Radio on Radio Live.

I had agreed with my friend and colleague Brian Holland, who helps make The Nutters Club, that if either of our plucky little low-budget shows won that would be a win in a cosmic sense, but I certainly didn't think it likely that we would.

And yet suddenly, Public Address Radio appeared on the screen. We had actually won the award! Damian and I just stared at each other for a moment, went to high-five, then opted for the man-hug.

Public Address Radio started three years this month. I'd been working with the lads from the Down Low Concept on the comedy news quiz Off the Wire, which aired on Radio NZ National, then Radio Live, before losing its funding. We talked about developing a show around the Public Address vibe, Radio Live was keen, and we applied for and got a little funding from NZ On Air.

Since then, we've talked to scientists, comedians, rappers, politicians and film-makers; and aired reports from music festivals, civil war zones and a Nos lounge. David Haywood's science programmes from the first year still bring in traffic from Wikipedia users every day.

I haven't tended to blare about it – you can't blare about everything, and it's just a humble hour of radio. I think it's been on a more consistent footing since I handed over the production role to Damian Christie; as I like to remind myself and others, I'm talent not production.

There have been lots of people involved in making the show, but I'd like to make special mention of two: Craig Ranapia, whose finely worked commentaries put better-known opinionists to shame; and Glynis Bartlam, our technical producer, who is patient, unflappable, effective and unfailingly sweet.

Anyway, nice. 7pm Sundays, if you were wondering.


The Nutters Club, a frank and supportive forum for talk about mental health, has a win of its own in the wings: it's appearing soon on Maori Television, where I gather it has been granted a very good slot in the schedule. I think that shows a great public service broadcasting ethic in action.


Last night's Media7 show, looking at the Law Commission's review of the Privacy Act, is online now.

And I've just been contacted and assured that the Law Commission WILL accept submissions on its Privacy Act review after today, and until the end of May. You email privacy@lawcom.govt.nz with any queries.


Amid the Music Month hubbub, there's Off Air w/ Nick Bollinger ft. Dave Dobbyn, 6pm tomorrow at Mighty Mighty in Wellington. Nick will play a few tunes and talk to Dave about what makes his songs tick.

And if you're not familiar with the excellent catalogue of Auckland's Arch Hill Recordings, they have a 10th anniversary present for you – an 18-track sampler featuring Mestar, The Clean and Luke Buda, as well as newer acts like Street Chant (who I really must get out and see live) and Surf City.

You can get it here from the Arch Hill Bandcamp page, and if you like it, explore further at the Arch Hill website.

And finally, I've been sent a preview of Duncan Grieve's story for Real Groove magazine on the state of the New Zealand music funding system, via NZ On Air. It's very good – well-researched, pointed, sensible. I'll have something on it for Monday, when's the mag's out.

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