RNZ National: a foreign concept
RNZ National once had a slogan, 'Sounds like us'. Then along came the Irish lilting Noelle McCarthy, 'This way up', with inter-changeable Poms, various Americans and so they dropped that tag line. Observers will notice too that the foreign accents on RNZ are white, Europeans. Add to this the absence - the exclusion - of Maori voices and the overall impression is Radio Rhodesia National. It is a colonial institution (promoting and affirming the European and marginalising the Maori), being run as a Wellingtonian cultural expression with all the limitations and subsidisation that entails.
So I've been noting down the voices on the 9 to noon show this week as a small exercise to indicate the extent of the foreign voices. Apart from Wednesday after 10:30am. (which I missed), here are the results:
MON: 9:30 2xEng; 9:50 Eng; 10:10 USA; 10:40 Eng.
TUE: 9:40 Eng; 9:50 USA; 10:10 USA; 11:15 Eng; 11:25 Eng.
WED: 9:30 USA; 9:50 Aus; 10:10 Ind.
THU: 9:40 Eng/USA; 9:50 Eng; 10:10 Eng.
FRI: 9:10 Eng; 9:40 Aus, ... 11:20 Irish
The time on air is quite long being in a public broadcasting format: between 5 - 25 mins. That is a lot of listening to sounds not like us. This is an odd concept of National: the opposite of what should be expected. Some of the above are NZ residents (like Rod Oram and the one after him on Tuesday), but this rather underscores the Europhilic fetish at RNZ. What is the bet the behind thescenes staff are similarly composed? Is the cultural cringe maintained by the supposed higher talents from abroad? I get the feeling the only brown people at RNZ are the cleaners. There have been no Maori or Pacific or (NZ)Asian voices yet this week from what I recall. The brown folk are allowed to do the music, but not to speak. It's a white person's radio station for white people after all, that's their heritage and they appear to be making the most of it. I doubt it could survive a serious assault in the Waitangi Tribunal now.
An incoming government should hold an inquiry into RNZ: what and for whom are they broadcasting? Why should the state provide a network. Just for middle-aged Pakeha who don't like ads? There's plenty of other citizens who don't like ads either, so where's their equally state subsidised network?
A recent occurence can serve as an illustration of the present ssituation: a Pakeha leftist is cut from a panel and there's a great deal of discussion about the merits and ethics of it (as there should be), but not having any Maori or brown or non-white people on the whole of RNZ is never discussed. The ease and capacity for the European to exclude and ignore the non-European - indivvidually, but especially in collusion - is well documented despite the fact they rely on the passive forces of silence, denial, omission, ignorance and inertia to maintain control.