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Friday, March 08, 2013

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.


At 10/3/13 8:12 am, Blogger Phil said...

Very good point. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. The preponderance of Euro centric commentators and commentary is noted. Don't forget the falling standards of public broadcasting in Radio Nz and the extermination of non commercial TV7. All part of the dumbing down of our MSM. We have lost our view of the world, our current affairs at a reasonable time slot, our national sports broadcasting, advert free children TV, and so on. There is very little worth watching in prime time TV for me. I've switched TV off and can't wait to pay for good content content via the Net. SKY is going down. Despite the complicity of this Government.

At 10/3/13 11:06 am, Blogger Megan Pledger said...

It could be selection bias - perhaps Maori don't want to work there.

But perhaps, it's also an age thing - there's very few young people's voices and if there are, they are either alcohol peddlers or they get bounced for not articulating there thoughts in the way the baby boomers like e.g. Bomber.

At 11/3/13 3:21 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

I’m not sure how selectively you listen to Radio New Zealand National as there are several major omissions in your suggestion that there are no Maori or brown or non-white people on the whole of Radio New Zealand.

In fact those voices are heard across the weekly schedule and feature in the country’s highest rating radio programme, Morning Report, every weekday morning. You are choosing to ignore four major programmes: Te Manu Korihi, Te Ahi Kaa, Tagata o te Moana and Asian Report as well as a the many panelists and commentators appearing on other programmes.

Radio New Zealand’s Maori news, Te Manu Korihi is broadcast four times a day in Morning Report, and in also in Checkpoint in the evenings. In addition, specific Maori music and documentary programmes are broadcast and our programme presenters include Eru Rerekura, Justine Murray, and Maraea Rakuraku. Maori journalists like Rosemary Rangitauira and Natalie Mankelow are also regularly heard on air covering stories for Radio New Zealand News.

Pacific journalists are heard in Morning Report’s Pacific News on weekdays and during the half hour round up of Pacific news and current affairs, Tagata o te Moana on Saturdays. Radio New Zealand International broadcasts quality programming to Pacific audiences every day.

These programmes would not be possible without a team of high quality broadcasters and presenters.

John Barr
Communications Manager
Radio New Zealand


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