September 27, 2015 by Doug Coutts
Radio New Zealand is poised to become the nation’s number one public service wireless broadcaster when new plans come to fruition, according to an announcement made tonight during one of Bryan Crump’s regularly scheduled and unnaturally long pauses for breath.
The announcement, which can also be found somewhere on the new RNZ website but good luck with that, details the new structure and policies of the organisation as it seeks to build on several decades of consistent success in an often fragmented and sometimes static-filled market.
Due to the length of the announcement, which in written form runs to several paragraphs, RNZ spokesperson Meg Urhirts offered an executive summary exclusively to WWNews on condition we tell everyone we once almost got the Conundrum.
“The business of state broadcasting has changed markedly in recent times,” she said. “And so it’s essential for RNZ to be proactive in its strivation to remain the pre-eminent provider of public service style radio-driven content in this country.”
Modernisation was inevitable, she said. “We run the risk of seeming old-fashioned if we keep putting people who talk in measured tones using complete sentences that are grammatically correct on air. We must adapt.”
From now on, RNZ will only hire presenters who have a high television profile, in order to capitalise on their celebrity status and recognition factor. “Studies have shown radio listeners prefer to be able to put a face to the voice and concentrate on that rather than what the person is saying,” Ms Urhirts said. “There’s often a lot more going on in our programmes than what is actually heard, and we think our viewers appreciate the extra stimulation.”
Programming will also change, with some favourite shows being dumped and others disappearing completely as the emphasis moves from information, entertainment and filler music to saleable content. “We are aware that old habits die hard, so we’ll take every reasonable step to ensure they’re completely dead,” Ms Urhirts said. “Shows with silly names like Spectrum, Insight, Checkpoint, Morning, Report, News and Weather will be phased out suddenly as we bring in a new weekly half hour entermercial catch-up appointment listening segment called “All You Need to Know About Everything, Really.”
The show is expected to be produced by Rachel Glucina, as soon as she can be released from her contract with NZME, and hosted by either Suzanne Paul or the guy selling the ladders on the Shopping Channel. “If we can get him, and another 12 producers, he’ll also run the Concert programme,” Ms Urhirts said. “Provided we can keep his fee under 7 figures as we don’t want to make the current afternoon hosts jealous.”
The changes are expected to take place in the New Year, Ms Urhirts said. “In the meantime we’ll just run repeats of Beale Street Caravan and Womad, which makes sound commercial sense as nobody heard them first time round.”