The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bad News

National RadioRadio New Zealand National has undergone something of a brand transformation of late.

Michael Wood has already noted the cheesy "Sounds Like Us" campaign, which was also satirised by Saturday morning host Kim Hill. I didn't mind the SLU soundbites all that much initially, but pretty quickly they seemed waaaay toooo looooong and frequent. Plus the sounds picked seemed to me more like some 1950s NZ that never was, as if the Jon Pertwee Doctor had travelled back in time to the Taranaki of the past and was stranded on a small farm.

While the SLU campaign seems to have quietly diminished, sadly there is no denying that the transformation is no longer limited to external advertising and stings.

Morning Report stories are now often festooned with music, some of which seems irrelevant, and most of which goes on for longer than the actual reporter or quotes of the participants. There seems to have been an increase in "human interest" stories - the dreaded 7 legged spider stuff. And there is now an absolutely terrible advert for Morning Report that tries to sell Geoff Robinson and Sean Plunket as some kind of jovial FM breakfast crew, with Nicola Wright chipping in at the end with "it's not all bad news."

Well I'm sorry, but it is bad news. In fact it's not news at all.

I also feel that Nine to Noon has morphed a bit this year. Instead of a few indepth interviews we now have Kathryn Ryan (who I have totally hearted in the past) engaged in at the most two lengthy interviews per morning and then conducting several short filler chats with various people. I don't mean the regular "columnist" type slots, many of which I find very interesting. These are one off interviews with people who are either a) not that intriguing ("human interest" rears its ugly head again) or b) very very stimulating indeed but only allocated five minutes of interview time.

The rebranding info on the RNZ site states:

There are no major changes to programmes or schedules for Radio New Zealand National or Radio New Zealand Concert as a result of the new branding.
But my strong perception is that the dumbing down has begun. And that makes me sad.

What do other listeners think?


llew said...

"as if the Jon Pertwee Doctor had travelled back in time to the Taranaki of the past and was stranded on a small farm."

And called himself Worzel Gummidge?

Light on detail here (but that's me), I was listening to National Radio yesterday, either during the day when I was out & about in the car, or in the evening, can't recall. But the presenter (whose name I can't recall either) was TERRIBLE! Lame, kept telling us that people were sending him emails telling him he was blathering, which he was, and playing the most godawful MoR music.

Except for some historic Bowie, which was quite cool & the announcer was well briefed on it.

So yeah, it's a worry - but then again, National radio has worried us before & settled down in time.

Span said...

Good call on Gummidge - I knew there was a reason I was particularly drawn to the Pertwee Doctor!

Was it in the afternoon llew? That would be Jim Mora on Afternoons with Jim Mora. I never particularly like Afternoons with Wayne Mowat, so I've not really been overly bothered by Mora's show (which I don't like either). Except for The Panel, which I'll blather about later when I'm not trying to rush out the door.

Insolent Prick said...

There is something really rather amusing about a taxpayer-funded radio service fighting tooth and nail not to have commercial advertising, ostensibly on the grounds that it would damage the integrity of its programming, spending vast amounts of public money advertising itself on taxpayer-owned commercial television.

llew said...

Probably was Mora, I'd have recognised Mowatt's voice.

Paul said...

Nine to Noon's top stories in the first hour are now mostly about health issues. I suspect that the men with the flow charts have decided that the the listeners are mostly women and that these stories will appeal to them. Patronising gits.

aotea said...

Every time NatRad changes I get really worried that I'm going to lose one my favourite things in life. But then I get used to anything new pretty quickly and mostly learn to like it. For example, I couldn't live without Jim Mora now. I have been waking up to the Morning Report jingle for over three decades, and each time they get a new one I forget the old one almost immediately. I prefered Kim Hill in rottweiler mode, but then I go for stroppy women. We are so very, very lucky in this country and I hope NatRad is a feature of life in New Zealand for many more decades.

Span said...

I share your fear aotea (this time anyway! ;-) ) When I was home sick Nat Rad was a shining beacon of intelligent input for me, particularly Nine to Noon.

I've never really got Afternoons (with Mowat or with Mora) but I'm fine with that - I don't expect everything on Nat Rad to be my bag, they have a diverse audience to serve and I'm just stoked there is so much they do do that I heart.

If you like Kim Hill in rottweiler then surely you must adore Mary Wilson in the same? I think she is even tougher than Hill somedays.