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Monday, July 02, 2012

More corporate welfare for Mediaworks?

You would think the $43 million loan at a rate Mediaworks could not gain on the open market to pay for Ironbridge's interest costs would be enough corporate welfare for one foreign owned media company, especially as this Government choose to let public broadcasting whither and die.

Apparently not.

News just released shows that National have staggeringly decided to give Mediaworks the Kiwi FM frequencies back to Mediaworks again. What can't Steven Joyce give the company he once owned?

It's not like there weren't better solutions made available for Kiwi FM. May last year I contacted Richard Griffin when he was searching for funding options for Radio NZ that went beyond selling the pianos at Concert FM, and explained to him that the Government owned more than Radio NZ, that they owned Kiwi Fm as well.

Kiwi FM are the old Youth Radio Network frequencies put aside by Jenny Shipley, for reasons no Labour Party MP has ever been able to explain to me, Labour handed these 3 frequencies (valued at $2 million a piece) over to Mediaworks to run a 100% NZ music content.

I argued at the time that was a waste and that it would become a NZ music ghetto, lo and behold Kiwi FM flopped with the worst ratings results possible, .1%. Those results led to the joke, 'what's shit brown and can't fly? Kiwi FM'. It was vital for Mediaworks to have the frequencies however because a non-commercial youth radio network would have been a body blow to Mediaworks other youth brand radio stations. Who on earth would listen to the Morning Madhouse on the Edge with their awful adverts if you could hear the same music with no adverts?

Kiwi FM finally admitted defeat last year when they dumped the 100% NZ music mandate which begs the question why the bloody hell they have the frequencies now? The idea I put to Griffin was the same as I published in a guest column in Metro this year, that Kiwi FM be shut down and becomes RNZ2. It would be the next generation of Gen X broadcasters doing a talkback based news and current affairs format, it could compete in the market place against Radio LIVE and ZB as both these stations are hard right talkback stations and something more liberal and educated could attract a large chunk of audience.

RNZ2 would have sponsorship on it (you could pipe the RNZ news down to RNZ2 and wrap a sponsorship package around it) and this money would be funding for RNZ. My idea was embraced and was discussed at the RNZ Board and went as high as Cabinet. Everyone was on board with the idea which was by miles the best concept for raising funding for Radio NZ, but Peter Cavanagh refused to allow the idea to get beyond discussion.

It's interesting to note that it was after my name was attached to the RNZ2 project that I was suddenly banned from RNZ. The first to speak officially about my banning was none other than Peter Cavanagh on Mediawatch the Sunday after my banning.

Why $6million worth of state capital is being allowed to rust under Mediaworks because they would prefer to block anyone else from using the 3 frequencies is a question worth asking. The frustration here is that National's competition ethos should direct them into using the stations in a PPP to fund public broadcasting and create a station that generated revenue by using the brand strength of RNZ.

The utter lack of good ideas and vision by people who should know better is depressing. I understand the country is out of money, but there are better, more creative ways to face those financial pressures and champion public broadcasting than just handing the 3 frequencies over to bloody Mediaworks again.

If National were smart they would wait to bring this idea to life just before the election as a broadcasting policy to run on (it was after all Jenny Shipley's idea), if Labour were smart they would have never given the frequencies to Mediaworks in the first place.

More dumb times in the land of the wrong uptight crowd.



At 2/7/12 4:21 pm, Blogger Tim said...

1st thing ist Nat no longer hold the principles that usually (or used 2) go with freemarket capitalism - that old idea huh? It's become an inconvenience, especially when 1 can be a beneficiary of monopolistic/duopolistic corporate largesse. No no - much better 2 still bleat principles, but not actually preserve any mechanism by which they might exist. Small businesses - especially in sectors like food production and media had just better get out of the way so that huge vertically & horizontally integrated corporates can do the bizz. Stevey Joyce is an expert enabler using corp welfare to ensure it happens - all made easier whilst Hobbits remain asleep. Not that long ago even the TELSTRA Ceo was hinting things may no longer be worth their while. Stevie's response - give the fucking lot to Chorus so that NZ could return to something similar to the good old days of a Telecom monopoly (but dressed up in drag so that he could still claim competition exists simply because of a Telstra/Vodafone and others brand name).
This is actually corruption using any traditionally understood definition.

Watch them BLEAT like pigs though, if and when there is a change of gubbamint, and IF and when that gubbamint actually grows balls and seeks not only to even the playing field, seek compensation for the 'taxpayer' , but ensures that there is competition (across all sectors), and ensures there can be a number of private players in "the market", but also public participation. Right now, democracy & concepts like a diverse public sphere (free from the hegemony of state or private interests) is a bloody inconvenience.
And where have we seen that before? - mmmmm - usually in fascist spaces. If I were someone like Chris Finalyson or even Peter Dunne (let alone Pita and Turee) - I'd be reflecting on that and the decisions they've chosen to make. (Oh!...just by the way - when young Maori would rather adopt a GC-like CULTure and see them [P&T] as a bit of a joke, surely they're not SO unintelligent as to not see the reasons why: Maori Party?? - the cudda shudda wudda Party! DON'T get me started on Turia's latest fuck up - TPK is still as dysfunctional and factionalised as it always was such that she's playing a risky game protesting her innocence)
ANYWAY.... a future gubbamint with balls (or ovaries even) may just do a lot of things that are actually quite sensible - especially since elsewhere in the world they're done and accepted.
SKY could be directed to unencrypt free-to-air source they broadcast (& make money from)
THey could be levied to support a public service broadcaster
Freebies in corporate welfare handed to Mediaworks (who by the by act more in a public service type interest than TVNZ does could be recovered by a variety of means
Trust-type institutions setup in the Public interest might reduce future state interference - although there is something more fundamental required that is relevant not only to media, but all other sectors as well (those that enable a basic right to food, shelter and good health).

I'm sure legal minds could be put to good use but they might investigate a relationship between a Governor General (and his/her capacity to grant Royal ascent - or some Presidential alternative), and a Bill of RIghts - something that could ensure that failure to do so would ensure self-destruction of position and power). I know that even Liz and Phil - given their Empire-inspired guilt and willingness to rectify wouldn;t object - they wouldn't be such champions of Nellie Mandela otherwise. Even Charles and his horse would agree.

At 2/7/12 4:21 pm, Blogger Tim said...

I can't understand WHY Nat is being so fucking stupid!
Well I can IF I stick to my conviction that Key - whilst he might be popular and well trained in the ideology and buzz-word spin, ISN'T actually that bright. Also my conviction that Stevie boy is of average intelligence but also as cunning as a shithouse rat....
that the likes of those trad Nats have been neutered (those such as CHris Finlayson - reduced to the status of a bitter old queen; Nik Smith: a-wishin, a-hopin (etc..).....
but then what would I know:!
I once thought Doug Graeme was an OK guy willing to put aside partisan politics when required. I'm sure there are a few that just want to neck him now.
FAR BE IT from me to intervene. I'm sure others are being considered too.

I still have images of people strung up by their ankles in Europe cum the fall of Fascism - AND the "never=again-chants" that followed. Well folks - here it all is again. WWII followed WWI after all.

Please Dont expect me to feel sympathy for those involved though.
Hopefully a free and fair election will intervene but if it doesn't, I could probably name those I'd expect to pass on my travels.


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