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Friday, November 28, 2008

Last Noelle before Christmas, to be sure

Is RNZ pulling her as a disciplinary measure? or as a PR knee-jerk? or to complete further investigations ("to be sure, to be sure")? All three?

Not news for RNZ. It's an in-house issue I suppose so they aren't drawing attention to it on their news website, but RNZ's media watch programme will have to traverse it on Sunday morning - how could they not?

But let's not dwell on it, my co-blogger Mr Bradbury will be a guest on the 4pm "panel" today - with host Wayne Mowatt.

Yes, Wayne. Say what you like (and people have in the previous post on this subject), but McCarthy, even with that breathy Irish lilt that begins to grate at the hour mark, is a superior quantum of megatons above any weak glow emitted by Mowatt - the chap who made his reputation for playing the worst recordings of the worst arrangements of the worst songs in the world. That was his speciality and the decision to keep him and that format for so many years in the weekday afternoon slot really damaged and retarded Radio NZ. He's a great guy and true professional, but his musical taste is prehistoric - even for National Radio. When you have the drive-time host having to bring in his own 78 needles it's seriously time to upgrade the playlist and the DJ. Half the time it sounded like he was in the Alexander Turnbill Library playing wax bloody cylinders on an Edison machine. And I'm not just criticising the age and quality of the tunes either - I post the odd You Tube music clip from the black and white era myself, but it won't be the sort of excruciating warblings I've heard on his programme.

And Wayne is just plain, plain: boring. And I'm not being insulting here - if you want nasty just listen (if you can bear it) to the way Kim Hill refers to Waayyne Mowatt.

Jim Mora's show (the format and the man himself) is in a position to draw younger listeners across to public broadcasting and renew the audience's bloodlines.

Mowat's show is now isolated at some graveyard hour once a week (I think) where the brand taint can be quarantined. The only way to play music that bad and get away with it is to send it up and max it out and laugh at it, as the Matinee idol team do so brilliantly over the summer break. But taking it seriously is just so funny it's... not.

Here's a picture of Wayne during a technical fault with one of his tracks on last Saturday's show:


At 28/11/08 4:34 pm, Blogger Brewerstroupe said...

Just goes to show how perceptions differ.
Most of my peer group who grew up with the National programme have given up on it since Wayne Mowatt was sidelined.

Once upon a time National Radio filled a niche for older listeners desirous of an eclectic mix of music and intelligent comment by broadcasters whose grammar and diction did not jar and grate.

Mora may indeed draw a younger audience with his "women's weekly" mix of trivia, pop psychology and gay pop but surely this was a market already saturated by commercial (lowest common denominator) radio. These days my workshop radio stays off in the afternoons

Wayne Mowatt is held in very high esteem by many musicians who made NZ music what it is today, most of whom consider him a personal friend. I cannot recall one interview Wayne ever conducted during which he displayed the cringe-inducing ignorance of Mora with any interviewee possessed of an IQ above room temperature. Listening to Mora with John Pilger made me ashamed to be a New Zealander.

Tim may well find Mowatt boring. My grandchildren find anything above their intellectual weight similarly so.

At 28/11/08 8:40 pm, Anonymous Ponty said...

Like Brewerstroupe,I also grew up with National Radio.I still listen to it,mainly,because advertisements piss me off,and also,because it offers me a modicum of intelligent debate.My occupation necessitates a high level of radio listening,I drive, for a living.From the tailend of the allnight show,through to Mary Rottweiller,in the early evening.Over the last couple of years,I've taken to dodging, bits of programming,that are plain boring.Katherine Ryan,on nine till noon,can bore on.Noelle McCarthy,I find can,brass me off,with her incessant jabbering,Jim Mora,I admire for his use of the language,but,other than that,he's pretty lightweight.On Saturdays,Kim Hill,and her propensity for talking over the top of people,she's interviewing,can drive me batshit.Enough to switch over to Phil Gifford, on Radio Live(jock city).I never minded Wayne Mowatt,I liked his music,and he definitely,never tried to ram his opinions down your throat.At the moment, roll on Boxing day,and matinee idyll.

At 28/11/08 9:41 pm, Blogger Brewerstroupe said...

Good on yer Ponty. I second Matinee Idyll. If you want progressive radio, that's the way to go. Mora's whole approach is too post-modern "everyone can be famous for five minutes " for me. No concept seems too inane for him -"greatest song ever written", "6 months to Mars" - spare me. Count the number of times he spouts: "the latest study shows....." followed by "People whose names start with B are the best lovers" or some such bilge.
The Pilger interview finished him for me. After Mora rabbiting on about Pilger's film for about ten minutes, Pilger smelt a rat and asked: "Have you seen my film?" Mora had to admit that he had not. If that had happened twenty years ago, Mora would have found himself looking for a job more suited to his intellectual level.

I too had dubbed Mary Wilson "Rottweiller".
Must say I remain loyal to Kim however- mouth maybe a bit too fast at times but sharp brain.

At 28/11/08 11:36 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

You are old conservative men, but you make some fair points.

Mora is not without his faults, and the format is not perfect, but it's hard to please some people. Old people listening to the wireless who are the heritage audience (Chris Trotter's Old New Zealanders) want things to stay the same, or even go backwards using terms like "I remain loyal," as justifications. Naturally resistant audience - it makes change so difficult, esp. with with a State heritage brand that has politically protected and connected stakeholders.

The Listener has taken a long time since its privatisation to lose its left-wing editorial flavour. Altering the staff roster in this government department though is a cause for public outrage, controversy and news coverage. It must be near impossible to run. Mowatt should have gone earlier.

Ponty's primary reason for listening is my reason too: it has no ads. That is the ultimate point of difference. Do you want to put up with Wayne's scratchy 78's he's dug out of the back shed or do you want to put up with ads? Do you want Jim Mora
's syrupy trivia or do you want to put up with ads?
Wayne "never tried to ram his opinions down your throat" - which was the problem - he had no detectable opinion other than the general feigned interest in whatever gowdawful, boring provincial subject-matter it was he had to do to fill out the show between his gowdawful music. He needed personality - it isn't always a bad thing, if it is handled properly - Paul Henry on Breakfast does a good job in that format, Kim Hill (for those "loyal") similarly on her National radio show. But for me it came to a point in the afternoons that I began listening to the ads on the other channels and then when that proved too infuriating, listening to nothing.

Now I listen to parts of Jim Mora's show, especially the panel at 4-5pm. Unless that gowdawful woman from Christchurch is on, or Steven Franks. In fact there's a few in there that seem unusual. Usually it's the tone that seems to telegraph the poor quality thinking in these cases. But I do like most of the pairings, but it is hard to get right and sometimes it is also spoiled by having frivolous topics injected into the discussion at all the wrong moments. It feels like it's being totally over-produced. Sometimes they are in different studios so there is no effective rapport and the flow can be a bit awkward, so all the over-production in the world will never save them from that problem.

I think they should broadcast parliamentary question time on National Radio - or at least between 2-3 (after 3pm if question time has not ended it tends to be the least important issues). It's free live drama with political and public implications. That would improve Mora's show and will give his subjects something to talk about later in the programme.

At 29/11/08 1:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favourite Radio Nat moments were when Kim Hill used to talk to Chris Hitchens. Boy that was in Clintons time so its a while ago now.

Kim was great in those days.

By the way what does she say about Wayne - do tell, I am intrigued now.

At 29/11/08 9:25 am, Blogger Brewerstroupe said...

This "old conservative man" has played in rock bands all his life, supports marijuana reform, worked with gangs, indigenous rights and is proud of his mixed race family. My musical tastes range from classical to metal though I confess I would rather listen to ads in preference to hip-hop, rap and electronica.
As already stated, I am not change-averse - Matinee Idyll (which I favour) is a fresh new format.

The distinguishing criteria is intelligence.

Whilst I agree with Hunter Thompson that pure objectivity is well nigh impossible, there are a few broadcasters who are able to suppress their own opinions and draw out the interviewee's in a non-combative style. Sharon Crosbie was adept at this. She often exposed Muldoon's mendacity during an interview without him suspecting she was anything but in awe of him.
Wayne Mowatt has a measure of this talent. Tim's comment "he had no detectable opinion" was a high compliment before the media became polluted by the plethora of ill-informed and populist talking heads that currently litter the air-waves and pervert the course of debate.
The recent election is a classic case in point. The opinions of Media figures both right and left captured the debate and we had an election fought on talking points that bore scant resemblance to the real issues. There was little difference between talkback radio and "Afternoons with Jim Mora" in this regard.

The trend in media is towards trivial infotainment. It is a retrograde movement and Mora and co. are its standard-bearers. National Radio was the last bulwark against this trend until the advent of their ilk.

The "old" part of Selwyn's jibe is a comfort. I will not be around to see the result of this trend toward populism in New Zealand media - a populace ignorant of matters vital to the preservation of its culture and governing system but opinionated enough to assert that "Mamma Mia" is the "best song ever written". Personally, in this context, I would plump for "You don't miss your water 'til your well runs dry".

You're welcome to it Tim.

At 29/11/08 3:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wayne Mowatt has a quiet effectiveness about him.
Did Jim Mora really interview Pilger without seeing his film OMG that is terrible.

Kim Hill is OK but she does come across at times as a know-it-all and I wish she would shuddup sometimes and let people speak. And her cackle of a laugh.

At 29/11/08 9:35 pm, Anonymous Ponty said...

Good on you Brewerstroupe,this old man agrees with you entirely.I'm starting to believe that the more recent round of changes in the National Radio format,are merely the latest attempt,at the"dumbing down"of society in general.Couple this with the"about face",of the Listener,over the last two years,and one is left with the feeling,that there might be more substance,than smoke to this idea.

At 30/11/08 12:39 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curious that Tumeke bloggers defend Noelle McCarthy to the hilt, yet put Wayne Moat to the sword...

While Wayne ran a curiously eclectic show, he is a talented host, thoug somewhat less likely to enthuse than Jim Mora.

Mora has enlivened the National Radio afternoon slot, but is running dangerously close to the 'dumb down' accusation - perhaps because he agrees with everyone? The Mora-Pilger interview was cringing; surely National Radio would have noticed the earlier flop of a tv interview Kim Hill did with Pilger? And prepped Mora adequately? Sigh.

McCarthy should apologise for any inadvertent plagiarism. If it was clearly deliberate, she should resign, and keep some dignity. And spare us that breathless smokers lilt.

Did National Radio check her ability to research articles before hiring? What were her qualifications/skill-set - waitressing on Ponsonby Rd surely doesn't suffice for a broadcaster?

At 30/11/08 10:13 am, Blogger porc-├ępic said...

After Mora rabbiting on about Pilger's film for about ten minutes, Pilger smelt a rat and asked: "Have you seen my film?" Mora had to admit that he had not. If that had happened twenty years ago, Mora would have found himself looking for a job more suited to his intellectual level.

Quite possibly. Twenty years ago Maggie Barry was being groomed by RNZ as a replacement for Sharon Crosbie. This attempt at dumbing-down foundered when it became blindingly obvious that suburban self-importance was no substitute for intellectual ability. Hence the rise of Kim Hill, who had a few good years before succumbing to a sense of her own superstardom.

On a day when the creative juices fail to flow at Tumeke and there's a need to resort to a little I'm young you're old, run for your hole posturing, be grateful for old reliable self-effacing Wayne Mowat. That's what he's there for.

At 30/11/08 9:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See I find the panel quite tedious. Over inflated ego's and wannabe funny folk entertyaining themselves with the sound of their own voice.

Question is: Will guests want to work with Noelle? I've heard that since her "accidental" plagerism was outed the contact book of people willing to guest with Ms
McCarthy has shrunk quite considerably.
At least she'll always have Bomber....


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