Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: How a thing happens

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  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    But there are frequencies and then there's frequencies. The ones that had coverage of a viable population catchment were bought by the existing operators who had either the cash needed or the assets against which to borrow. They bought not only the frequencies on which they were operating at the time but also any which a start-up might have been able to use to offer a viable alternative to the pap they were churning out.

    Hence the current dearth of choice in talk radio as is being bemoaned here. Anyone who wanted to start a station was forced to give it a go on a frequency which either power rating or geography confined to an unviable market. I know a few people who gave it a go, and produced more vibrant radio than the networked dross coming out of (mostly) Auckland, but failed because they would never have enough sets of ears to sell to advertisers even if they were the number one rated station within their relatively tiny coverage area.

    Most advertising buys are national, and why would you muck round buying time on the locally operated station, even if it had the most listeners in some backblocks town, when a national buy on Dross FM will get you on the second or third rated station, and the rest of the country?

    What intrigues me is that a truly free market would see, first, a show rating 2.8% canned, let alone when it halved its audience. And it would see a station which dropped 40% of its audience between surveys shut down and/or sold off at a bargain price to someone who hopefully had a clue how to manage it.

    Does Mediaworks really believe, after years of lacklustre ratings despite paying ridiculous amounts to "controversial" hosts with little or no experience of the medium, that a reversal of fortune will occur?

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rex Widerstrom,

    What intrigues me is that a truly free market would see, first, a show rating 2.8% canned, let alone when it halved its audience. And it would see a station which dropped 40% of its audience between surveys shut down and/or sold off at a bargain price to someone who hopefully had a clue how to manage it.

    Because it's not exactly a free market in the NZ FM band, but more like a textbook case of a cartel with prohibitively expensive barriers to entry. Same kind of thing has happened with NZ TV.

    Another idiosyncrasy to consider is that many used imported cars from Japan have FM radios with the Japanese 76-90 MHz range, meaning in that Auckland only Newstalk ZB and Mai FM can be picked up on these radios. That issue was raised around 10 years ago, and I'm not sure if much has changed since then.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Lyall, in reply to Pete Wobh,

    Adding up the total NZ Blog stats shows perhaps 6 million page views (Whale Oil is up 1.5 million from September, probably due to Len Brown) and if we add in Public Address and a few other uncounted NZ-orientated blogs then I guess we might get to 8-10 million pageviews a month acroos the “NZ Blogosphere”.

    By contrast the advertising departments for the various major sites list:

    Herald: 15 million pageviews/week
    Stuff: 17 million pageviews/week
    TV3: 3.9 million pageviews/week
    TVNZ: 4 million pageviews/week

    eg 40 million page views per week or 160 million pageviews per month.

    In other words the main mainstream sites get 15 to 20 times the traffic of the NZ Blogosphere.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Does anyone not install a band converter? (although for $25 plus fitting, a new head unit might be more attractive).

    But even with a band converter, all the stations are in the wrong place.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Good Gravey!,

    I applaud what Gio has done, and I have seen what sort of reaction it can get.

    A few years ago, I was with a Facebook group called The Watchers who were working on taking down rape-enabling pages. After many complaints to Facebook, we were getting nowhere.

    I started targeting advertisers whose ads appeared on these pages. In one memorable case, I googled the company and found an email address for their CEO and senior Comms advisor. I sent them an email with a screencap of images of rape juxtaposed with their brand name. I didn’t really expect much.

    I got an email back very quickly saying they were horrified and were immediately pulling all their Facebook advertising and re-evaluating their entire advertising strategy.

    My email wasn’t a threatening one. It was one that expressed concern about their product and brand – one I liked – being associated with such horrors. The idea took off.

    I was thrilled to see that recently Laura Bates of the wonderful The Everyday Sexism Project started doing the same thing. And that got international media attention.

    Not detracting from the awesome work Gio has done, it is now a recognised method of activism. In fact it invalidates the comments of his detractors because it is a recognised method.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2013 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Good Gravey!,

    A few years ago, I was with a Facebook group called The Watchers who were working on taking down rape-enabling pages. After many complaints to Facebook, we were getting nowhere.

    While Facebook - or should that be Rapebook? - is quick to take down perfectly normal pages about breastfeeding mothers and artistic nudity in a flash.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Matthew, may I congratulate you for your resolute stance on walking out on those two characters when they crossed the line? Well done, that man! :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    What would be the advantage of using G3 instead of FM?

    I'm big at work at the moment about how things going digital shouldn't be about transferring from one to the other (straight analogue to digital), they should be about enhancement - how does digital make things better.

    So a good player over 3G could rewind to relisten, would have metadata and so could have a button to automatically go purchase a song that you like, could have a button to automatically phone up talkback and cut the radio as you get put through.

    And have several thousand listening options.

    You could also mix and match your radio stations. Fav music station is some place in the UK, but like your NZ news? The player could play the music from overseas and then kick back to an hourly NZ news bulletin from Radio NZ. Or detect when a song finished and then go to your news elsewhere.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Should Gio start contacting TVNZ's advertisers?

    TVNZ defends executive after cracks at Auckland hit a nerve

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Hey, Hey, it’s into the Blue…

    TVNZ defends executive after cracks at Auckland hit a nerve

    Can The Shaw Shock Redemption be far away?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Has anyone noticed TV3's Think Tank programme, hosted by Tamihere, also seems to have vanished from its Saturday lineup? One wonders if this is mere coincidence, or...?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I just want to add my support for Giovanni and co. (I should be "retweeting" or whatever it is you digital folks do, but I'm about as familiar with this new-fangled social media as yer average Herald columnist).

    Anyway, it's a sad fact that even a moderate, principled and well-reasoned response (which Mr Tiso's was) will provoke a nasty backlash, and there's been some of that in other places online. The abuse is absurd and even funny if it's not directed at you, but if you're the recipient it may not be so easy to roll your eyes and ignore. Sticking your head above the parapet is a courageous thing to do, and many of us (i.e me) are not keen to do it, because of the toll it can take.

    So good on ya Giovanni, you have made a difference - and you are not alone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Thank you Simon. That's awfully generous.

    I must say, I haven't read many of the comments online, but the emails I got were overwhelmingly of support. Some just... I don't have words to describe what they have meant to me. And while there have been a few downright abusive ones (not all that many), there have also been ones that I'm hopeful will develop into mutually useful conversations. That would be a great outcome.

    All told, though, I've been in a really privileged place. The brave people are the ones who told their story. And there have been so many. Few things have moved me as much as the 100+ comments to Marama Davidson and Leonie Pihama's open letter to Willie & JT.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    And while there have been a few downright abusive ones (not all that many),

    Onya, Gio. The abusers can’t swallow the fact that ad boycotts do actually get results. If they whinge about censorship, they’ve obviously never been to Gitmo Bay or Siberia.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    If they whinge about censorship, they’ve obviously never been to Gitmo Bay or Siberia.

    I find the free speech angle ludicrous. And frankly it's been voiced by a number of people who are clearly worried about what might happen next time they say or do something misogynist themselves.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I find the free speech angle ludicrous

    Same. Frustrating to behold the dimness of its proponents in the Dimpost discussion.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I find the free speech angle ludicrous. And frankly it’s been voiced by a number of people who are clearly worried about what might happen next time they say or do something misogynist themselves.

    Indeed. It goes to show they're not always bulletproof as they think they are. The age-old litmus test of shouting 'fire!' in a crowded theatre, or the more recent adage of joking about bombs in airport luggage comes to mind.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Same. Frustrating to behold the dimness of its proponents in the Dimpost discussion.

    In that thread, I made the observation:

    What’s been meted out to Willie & JT isn’t censorship. Proper censorship would be if Willie & JT got press-ganged away to a dimly lit room, and got the waterboard treatment or their lips forcibly sewn together.

    If anything, it’s simply civil disobedience in action. Although to certain people, civil disobedience is nothing more than unlawful assembly, because they know deep down that it usually gets results, just not the results they like. And as for Psycho’s mentioning of theo-cons staging boycotts, they’re well within their right to do so. The right to make a complete moron of oneself comes to mind.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Proper censorship

    ...is not normally quite that drastic. It would more likely take the form of government or party officials (often leaving it unclear precisely who) ordering that their broadcast be cut, they not be allowed on any radio station perhaps for a certain period, perhaps forever and ever amen, and any and all recordings of them be returned and destroyed, and a small army of censors policing internet discussion of the issue, deleting any posts that don't adhere closely enough to the party line. All that water boarding and beating and disappearing of people is more about stopping those stubborn bastards who won't learn their place and try to organise social or political movements outside of the party's/government's control - more of a security/stablity-maintenance/power thing than censorship.

    But yeah, people whingeing about Tamihere and Jackson being censored? That's pretty funny, almost in a Darwin Award kind of way.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Proper censorship

    ...is not normally quite that drastic. It would more likely take the form of government or party officials (often leaving it unclear precisely who) ordering that their broadcast be cut,

    Heritage censorship NZ style.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Heritage censorship NZ style.

    Great story! And just like the CCP, firstly in its cackhandedness - an approach bulldozer-like in its subtlety, bald-faced denials even when confronted with evidence - and secondly:

    It was established that instructions were issued by the former Post Master General to put 1ZB off the air for that occasion. No written instructions were given but evidently officers of the P & T decided to take action as they did.

    Sounds very familiar.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Nice. I was just about to go looking for that. The way we used to roll.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Arrgh! Has anyone read Matt McCarten's latest inept defence of the Dismal Duo's Radio Live brainmelt in the Herald?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Craig Young,

    I thought it was pretty good. It didn't excuse the outburst, but correctly pointed out that they weren't adequately supported in their work by the station. Which also means having expectations of them. (I feel the same way about so many of our columnists, who would turn in much less ignorant and hateful opinions if only editors started to demand more of them.)

    But I don't think he was justifying the episode at all. More explaining the conditions that allowed it to happen.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

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