National # 1 again


National is always number one with me, but this times it’s not politics but media – RadioNZ National was the number one radio station in 2012:

The All New Zealand Radio Survey conducted by the Nielson research company shows Radio New Zealand National has a nationwide share of 10.5% for the 2012 calendar year – its nearest rival has 8.9%.
It’s the second year in a row Radio New Zealand National has earned the title.
Radio New Zealand says its flagship Morning Report retained its position as most popular programme, with Nine to Noon, The Panel, Checkpoint, Nights, Saturday Morning and Sunday Morning also topping their respective slots.

I listen to the radio a lot and RadioNZ National more often than not.

The national is of course a reference to nationwide not politics. If it was I sometimes detect a bias that would have it more accurately named RadioNZ Labour or something else well to the left of National.

Declaration of interest: I am a semi-regular contributor to Critical Mass on Afternoons.

A good goodbye


A funeral should be about the person who has died and for the people who mourn her/him.

I’ve been to funerals so bad, so irrelevant to the dead and lacking in comfort for the living, that I’ve wondered who’s in the coffin.

I’ve also been to funerals so good that had I not known the one who had died before the service I’d have known them well by the end of it.

Today’s service for Sir Paul Reeves was a very good one, helping those who knew only  the public figure learn about the husband, father, grandfather and friend.

He was a good man and was given a good goodbye.

Thanks to RadioNZ National and Maori Television people who couldn’t be there in person were able to hear and see it.

Appropriate sponsors


John Drinnan, the Herald’s media commentator muses on the suggestion that sponsorship might be introduced to RadionNZ National:

With its medical disease of the week, Kathryn Ryan’s Nine to Noon could be brought to you by Prozac. Chris Laidlaw would work well with extra strong coffee. Mary Wilson on Checkpoint would suit Mack trucks. . .

It would be hard to beat the Mack Truck for mary Wilson on Checkpoint, but who could sponsor other programmes like Morning and Midday reports, Afternoons, Nights, Country Life or Kim Hill on Saturday morning?

What do we want from a public broadcaster?


RadioNZ National’s website features photos of its listeners listening in many varied locations.

The people are as diverse as the places from which they listen.

Quite how diverse has been brought home to me because since I’ve been contributing to Critical Mass on Afternoons all sorts of people in all sorts of places have told me they’ve heard me on the radio.

In theory my blue political leanings should lead me to question whether there should be a public broadcaster but given how often I listen to it I’d be on very shaky ground in doing so.

I am in good company here because many people on the right listen to what most of us still refer to as National Radio and support the concept of public broadcasting even though it tends to have a leftward lean.

Karl du Fresne discussed this in a recent post and concluded:

. . . what could be more boring than listening to people expressing the same views as your own? This is known as the echo chamber effect, where the same opinions are heard and repeated over and over again.

It’s not only tedious, it’s bad for democracy, because democracy depends on a degree of tolerance and understanding of other people’s positions. That’s why I continue to listen to Radio New Zealand, much to my friend’s puzzlement, even though I sometimes fume and splutter at the views being expressed.

I don’t want to be bombarded with ideas that I’m comfortable with. All I insist is that the state broadcaster presents us with information and opinion that fully reflects the diversity of the population it ostensibly serves.

I agree it is good to be challenged but a public broadcaster shouldn’t just be challenging the views of those on the right.

Feedback to programmes like Morning Report, Checkpoint, Nine to Noon and Afternoons  seems to get a reasonable spread of support and opposition from across the political spectrum which suggests that they generally balanced in their approaches.

If there is any bias it seems to be strongest in Maori and Pacific programmes on both radio and television. It could be that I haven’t listened to or watched a representative selection or programmes, but those I have paid attention to do seem to have a distinctly leftward lean.

Dairying & the environment


Phillipa Stevenson left a comment on last week’s post about the proposed dairy development  in the Mackenzie Basin.

In case you didn’t see it, she’s taking part in a panel discussion on dairying and the environment on National Radio at 7.15 this evening:

You can take part too by emailing the programme on or texting 2101. Also on the panel is Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright, soils scientist Doug Edmeades, organic farmer Jamie Tait-Jamieson, and Fonterra sustainable production manager John Hutchings.

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