RNZ is damned if it rates poorly and damned if it rates well. RNZ did well in the latest second radio ratings survey from new research firm GfK recently, including growth in Morning Report and Checkpoint. It appears that online growth has resulted in an increase in the radio audience, which suggests a strategic success. Yet you will not see RNZ heavily promoting the win by rubbing it in noses of individual commercial radio stations in promotions
CAPTION: Bill O’Reilly. Fox has changed New Zealand TV
The role of radio and television presenter talent emerged as a major talking point recently, with often-abusive social media outbursts aimed at Mike Hosking, the breakfast host at NewstalkZB and presenter of the TVNZ show. Seven Sharp. An attack also came from a former TVNZ Breakfast colleague, Liz Gunn. Some people also petitioned for his removal altogether from row current affairs and opinion show Seven Sharp. They perceived his views to have come from his unashamed support for Key and National views and its policies. And they are pretty much right of course.
As public opinion drifts against the Government TVNZ needs to realign SevenSharp from its reliance on Mike Hosking and his conservative views. There are no issues with Hosking promoting the “Tory Mike” brand on the Newstalk ZB breakfast show in his NZ Herald column. But in my opinion a state broadcaster should not be aligning itself with one view of the world. Its like Mike’s views has become the view of State TV – and TVNZ is not so liberal that is a ridiculous notion.
John Campbell has apparently been suffering from pneumonia that forced him to suddenly withdrew from emceeing a fundraising dinner in Auckland on June 2 of the Peter Jackson Great War exhibition. Bizarrely, The Minister for Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry stood in at short notice. Key, who was special guest, said that Barry had done such a good job maybe she should return to her old job.
That way he might be inclined to accept more invitations to appear on Radio New Zealand, the PM said. By all accounts it was a joke – but why the appearing at such a politicised event that was subsequently emceed by a Cabinet minister. Stuff reported the dinner at the Viaduct Event Centre cost $500 a head.
“The popular exhibition, which opened in April 2015 at Wellington’s Dominion Museum building, traces the history of World War I with a focus on the special role of New Zealanders. Challenges gaining business or charitable backing meant a $15 fee for adults was introduced in March.”
In September 25 last year The NZ herald reported that RNZ has relaxed the rules for its presenters moonlighting at commercial events. The paper reported that John Campbell and his friend RNZ head of content Carol Hirschfeld had both emceed a corporate event for Air New Zealand. As part of their spiel they had played on their daytime role as boss and employee. On September 25 I wrote in The NZ
On September 25 I wrote in my media column for the NZ Herald
Campbell is being heavily promoted by Radio NZ as the exemplar of independence and integrity.This week he told the Herald he was aware of the possible negative perception of his doing corporate events. Campbell said the Air New Zealand function would be his last corporate event, but he would continue to emcee awards shows.Hirschfeld said she was always very careful which events she worked on. There was no question of her commercial relationships affecting news coverage, she said.
I guess you could argue a fundraising dinner for a museum exhibition is not a corporate event even when Jackson is one of New Zealand’s richest men and enjoyed hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funding. Key and Campbell may be able to be nice to each other – but neither likes the other. I’m told that Campbell has been in poor health lately.
And the PM’s joking about answering interview requests from RNZ it probably a bit close to the truth. National has previously frequently refused to be interviewed by the state broadcaster while freely turning up for shock jocks to get a soft ride. It has eased now, but the government continues to starve RNZ of cash in part because of its coverage of politics, in my opinion. The government has picked and chosen the journalists it fronts up to. Which is a a bit of a joke in its own right. I wonder if that had any influence on why Campbell pulled out.
Partial privatisation of TVNZ makes sense. Or it would do if the Government provided more than lip service to the new organisation having some cultural obligations. Sale of a minority stake is one of the options that was being considered by the Government so that the State broadcaster can adjust to big changes in the NZ media sector. TVNZ, MediaWorks and Spark have not merged or entered joint venture deals and as a result they risk becoming media midgets in a land of giants.
More media changes are likely later this year, according to my sources in the sector. The proposed merger of NZME and Fairfax New Zealand was followed on Thursday by Vodafone’s proposed takeover of Sky TV. Zagzigger.com has questioned whether MediaWorks will be left out in the cold, (Room For Me, I Got 3, below) and the same question applies to Television New Zealand.
In my opinion TVNZ cannot afford to sit back and do nothing. And it is hard to see how it will compete in the new world order of merged digital media firms. Sources familiar with Government thinking said that Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams is considering a “slight” change to more public service content TVNZ, though this is not defined.
It might be that that media have got carried away criticising Max Key for posing with a smoke for this Remix “fashion shoot.” The PM’s son was his undies, airing his shoulders and wearing a bandana, to show how cool smoking really is.
I can’t get too upset about the PM”s son in his gruds. It is hard to not believe this is a publicity stunt that is delivers more media coverage. In my opinion a fashion magazine like Remix would have known that putting a cigarette PM’s would get coverage, and it did. That is celebrity publicity. But please – Max – don’s start using Dad’s logic to explain his your way out of trouble.
CAPTION: Former star interviewer Mihi Forbes left Maori TV to join Carol Hirschfeld at Radio New Zealand.
For those who support public broadcasting there is a good case for both Maori Television and RNZ to be handed more money. In my opinion, National has helped Maori TV because it needs Maori Party support. It has ignored RNZ because it just doesn’t like its flavour of news. Which is why if there was any hope of RNZ getting relief in the Budget, it probably disappeared with the appointment of John Campbell for the new-look Checkpoint. (Realistically there was no chance at all).
Caption: RNZ’s Right versus left political commentary has been key in defining Hooton’s profile. (Photo credit RNZ)
Matthew Hooton is attacking RNZ’s joint investigation with TVNZ and Nicky Hager into whether New Zealand is a tax haven. Last week in the NZ Herald, I reported that the government was not pleased that two state media were involved in the contract with the International Consortium of International Journalists. RNZ chairman Richard Griffin is said to be unhappy about what he saw as a focus on Nicky Hager.
Opinion: TVNZ is blasé about the need to appear politically neutral. On Thursday a rant by SevenSharp’s Mike Hosking showed the state broadcaster captured by a conservative commentator. Hosking attacked New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd who featured in a thoughtful item about his backing assured Maori representative on the local council. The public had voted against the idea, and Judd was not standing again due to public abuse of him and his family. The attack appeared personal.