The Dim-Post

March 9, 2011

Quote of the day

Filed under: media,Politics — danylmc @ 11:42 am

Here’s fun:

The Government has thrown a lifeline to ailing private media company MediaWorks, which owns TV3, Four, and about half New Zealand’s commercial radio stations.

MediaWorks’ latest accounts show it has essentially received a $43.3 million loan from the Crown to enable it to renew its radio broadcasting licences for the next 20 years.

The Government appears to have agreed to the deal despite MediaWorks taking the Inland Revenue Department to court over a disputed tax bill. The IRD alleges the company owes $24.5 million in tax, interest and penalty payments from 2002 to 2004.

Telecommunications Minister Steven Joyce yesterday said the money was not a loan, but a deferred payment system to help the radio industry during tough times in 2009

I’m so glad we have a government that only intervenes in the free market when it’s absolutely necessary – like when the Telecommunications Minister needs to bail out a company he used to own.

Hilariously, MediaWorks chief executive attacked Radio New Zealand and demanded its funding be cut right about the same time his own company cut a deal with Joyce to receive a taxpayer funded loan.

A KPMG report says extra cash is needed to remedy severe under-staffing and under-funding at Radio New Zealand.

But MediaWorks – the private equity-owned firm with half of New Zealand’s commercial radio stations – says the squeeze should go on public radio, not be taken off.

MediaWorks chief executive Brent Impey said some of RNZ’s problems arose from being institutionalised and it was outrageous to hear calls for more public cash.

RNZ is looking for 5 per cent ($1.5 million) in cost cuts to meet the latest shortfall. But Impey says cuts should be 15 to 20 per cent ($4.5 million to $6 million) to match the private sector cutbacks.

On Monday, the Herald reported details of the KPMG baseline funding review. The review suggested the $30 million to provide Radio New Zealand National, Concert and RNZ International was about $5 million short.

Impey – who heads RadioLive, More FM, The Edge, The Rock, Mai FM, The Breeze, Solid Gold and Kiwi FM – blasted Radio New Zealand for “crying poor”.

He said calls for extra funding were “galling” when private sector media companies were laying off staff.

RNZ has had constant funding and an increase ($2.4 million) last year, Impey said.

“We [private sector media companies] have had to make paradigm shifts in the way we run businesses to keep them viable.

Having your friend become a senior Minister who is determined to gut public broadcasting while financing your private company is, I guess, a kind of paradigm shift.

Update: Not unusually the comments section is more enlightening than the original post: the point is made that the government offered this deal to all broadcasters during the recession.

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65 Comments »

  1. i guess Impey thinks we live in the Golden Age of Hip-Hopcrisy.

    Comment by Che Tibby — March 9, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  2. You should fact check before regurgitating the herald.

    I am pretty sure the arrangement to pay off the leases over time was agreed to for ALL radio brands, not just one companies.

    Comment by dsafsda — March 9, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  3. MediaWorks chief executive Brent Impey said some of RNZ’s problems arose from being institutionalised and it was outrageous to hear calls for more public cash.

    Impey is right! It’s outrageous these calls for more public cash are able to be heard. Why can’t RNZ do a quiet backroom deal with Joyce for more public cash, the way private enterprise does?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 9, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  4. FWIW Joyce made the offer to all broadcasters in October 2009. They were offered a deal that would allow them to pay off their licenses fees over a five year period (plus interest) instead of having to pay it off in a lump sum. The reason; because of the economic downturn at the time.

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/govt-extends-frequency-payment-terms-radio-broadcasters

    Comment by Felix Marwick — March 9, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  5. Yes it went to all broadcasters, but given Mediaworks owns about half of the major channels they pretty substantially benefited. And the point holds that a former major player in the private broadcasting industry just gave that industry significant assistance whilst gutting their publically-owned counterparts.

    The actual change in payment terms seems entirely reasonable to me, especially given the interest rate, but the irony and general intent (will happily do things to make it easier for my old private companies, but do the opposite for companies I currently own on behalf of taxpayers) makes for a good story…

    Comment by garethw — March 9, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  6. “There will be appropriate mechanisms for the Crown to have first security over any licenses paid for in this manner until the payments are completed.”

    Wow, someone was awake this time.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 9, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  7. You should fact check before regurgitating the herald.

    Well, if we can’t rely on lead stories from APN, who can we trust to give us the news?

    Looks like we need that public broadcasting after all.

    Comment by sammy — March 9, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  8. I’ll make no defence of MediaWorks, but they only own slightly more spectrum than TRN (38% compared to 35%), according to the initial presser on the spectrum allocation. Also, although TV3 is often mentioned as being owned by MediaWorks, it’s worth pointing out that these licenses in question aren’t for TV spectrum, they’re only for radio.

    So the front page of the paper this morning showing Hilary Barry is misleading. They should have shown Michael Laws instead. Or maybe the idiotic misogynist bogans from The Rock.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 9, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  9. Isn’t Hillary Barry a RadioLove presenter too?

    Comment by garethw — March 9, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  10. Garethw, you have me on a technicality, but she is listed as “former” RadioLIVE host, and is only recognisable from her TV role. Also, they include smaller photos of John Campbell, Mike McRoberts and Marcus Lush, only one of whom has any significant radio presence.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 9, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

  11. Lew, while I agree in the main regarding certain presenters being TV identified, McRoberts and Barry have filled in for Lush on breakfast, Barry is still listed as Lush’s morning cohort on Radio Live’s site, and 3 News is included in their programming. The ties are tight. Although, I think that Campbell’s presence would be limited to promos during the 3 News simulcast.

    Comment by BRT — March 9, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  12. Not trying to get you on technicalitites, just thought I’d seen her used in a lot of RadioLive advertising.
    But if they’re using photos of TV journalists in a story about radio licences then yeah, they’re not really getting the point. Yay for private media companies!

    Comment by garethw — March 9, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  13. In all fairness, its fantastic that national are so strategically picking winners and backing them to lead NZ out of recession. Such as:

    the rock
    the edge
    the breeze
    eck fucking cetra

    Comment by k.jones — March 9, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  14. Another thing which nobody has asked Joyce about is his statement that he’s had “no dealings” with MediaWorks since he sold RadioWorks to them in 2001.

    I’m sure it’s true. Except for when he was a host on RadioLIVE in the mid-oughties.

    Whilst simultaneously running the Nats’ election campaign.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 9, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

  15. “Except for when he was a host on RadioLIVE in the mid-oughties”

    hmmm… wonder if there is anything on the register of pecuniary interests about that relationship.

    Comment by Che Tibby — March 9, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  16. All he’s got in the register is trusts, not sure how you see the holdings of those trusts (one of them is blind anyway)

    Comment by garethw — March 9, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  17. I am pretty sure the arrangement to pay off the leases over time was agreed to for ALL radio brands, not just one companies.

    It doesn’t improve the corrupt stench any if you make an offer to smaller companies or others that don’t need it as cover for providing a great benefit to your friends.

    However the corrupt stench isn’t the over-powering smell here; the reeking hypocrisy of people who demand governments divest from investment in society and reduce aid to the troubled finding good cause to rescue the investments of the wealthy drowns it out.

    Comment by Fentex — March 9, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  18. Why is this even news?

    Comment by gn — March 9, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  19. GN, because it makes people go “gee whiz”.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 9, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

  20. “…GN, because it makes people go “gee whiz”…”

    And slap their thighs. Or is that just me revealing to much?

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 9, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

  21. Out of interest – how much does radio pravda pay in broadcasting licenses? Is this on top of its 30 mill operating budget?

    Comment by leon — March 9, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

  22. What is this pravda crap people always spout about RNZ? Is it really that any public ownership is automatically Soviet or is there a less-asinine reference I’m missing?

    Comment by garethw — March 9, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

  23. keep your stalinist “asking questions” to yourself gareth

    Comment by greg — March 9, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

  24. I thought Pravda was an Italian fashion label until I discovered Smirnoff and woke up in Gorkiy Park with a newspaper over my face.

    Comment by kahikatea — March 9, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

  25. As I thought, pravda pays no licenses and still manages to spunk 30 mill without publishing listener figures.

    And BTW pravda comes from all the die hard Labour supporters that staff the place, kinda like Student Union rest home. HTH’s.

    Comment by leon — March 9, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

  26. Theory: “leon” is Redbaiter on strong tranquilisers.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 9, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  27. “…I thought Pravda was an Italian fashion label until I discovered Smirnoff and woke up in Gorkiy Park with a newspaper over my face…”

    Did you PAY for the newspaper, you socialist parasite?

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 9, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  28. Theory: “Lew” is Sanctuary on heavy antidepressants.

    Comment by leon — March 9, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

  29. I retract my theory. Denial nowhere near furious enough. Disappointing.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 9, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  30. Lol. Comparing you to sanctuary isn’t rabid enough?!

    Comment by leon — March 9, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  31. “…Theory: “Lew” is Sanctuary on heavy antidepressants…”

    Make your mind up – you were accusing me of being that Smiley fellow a few months back. Leon, if you could cope with polysyllabic words you would find that I consider Lew to be a most annoying identity politics wrecker and hater, and feeling has been mutual at times in the past.

    Now back to the chewing on your crayons before the nurse comes to put you to bed.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 9, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  32. Wasn’t talking to you blather boy.

    Comment by leon — March 9, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  33. leon, no the comparison is insulting enough. I consider Sanctuary to be the sort of tired old reactionary Marxist I thought we’d mostly gotten rid of; someone with the written style of someone in their 30s, but the ideas of someone in their 60s.

    But I was really expecting a lot more in the actual form of the denunciation.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 9, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  34. I do agree with your views quite often Lew although not always so don’t get all familiar on me.

    Comment by leon — March 9, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

  35. Ok, that’s concerning.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 10, 2011 @ 7:59 am

  36. And I thought they said it was going to be warmer today.

    But leon makes a point: the taxpayer makes money from private media through the spectrum licence fees. The taxpayer pays for national radio. I for one could handle a bit of advertising on NatRad. As I listen exclusively to NatRad or read the news online, I am often the last in my circle of friends & workmates to know of offers and events that may be of interest to me. Contrast, watching Super 15 rugby, I learn a lot about drenches.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 10, 2011 @ 8:04 am

  37. “…But I was really expecting a lot more in the actual form of the denunciation….”

    I think I can now add humourless to your list of failings.

    Alas, a failing all to typical of easily offended, purse lipped identity politics afficiandoes.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 10, 2011 @ 8:28 am

  38. BTW Lew – I am trolling you so don’t get upset.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 10, 2011 @ 8:33 am

  39. What is this pravda crap people always spout about RNZ?

    Not people, just Leon.

    Comment by helenalex — March 10, 2011 @ 9:09 am

  40. Sanc, aww, you ruined it by being all earnest.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 10, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  41. “As I thought, pravda pays no licenses and still manages to spunk 30 mill without publishing listener figures.”

    My understanding is that rating concerns are driven by advertisers – the more listeners, the more money you can sell your bandwidth for ads for sheep drenches, Hamilton nightclubs and erectile dysfunction clinics. No ads on RNZ. Plus the commercial broadcasters are probably quite happy for NatRad to not be counted in the ratings surveys, as they are a bit of an elephant in the room when it comes to the number of listeners. The other thing, is how do you count the users of the international services (shortwave, podcast, streaming etc).

    Cheers,
    FM

    Comment by Fooman — March 10, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  42. “As I thought, pravda pays no licenses and still manages to spunk 30 mill without publishing listener figures.”

    Shocking that the government gives no funding to National Radio for NatRad to pay the government for its licence.

    “I for one could handle a bit of advertising on NatRad.”

    This from someone who doesn’t listen to commercial radio and has no idea how disruptive the advertising is. I’d suggest a licence fee like we used to have, but the previous government cut that particular tax, back when opposition policy consisted of “tax cuts now!”

    Comment by Paul — March 10, 2011 @ 10:53 am

  43. Yes, what has NatRad’s $30 million budget done for us lately, apart from getting us a national broadcaster that can instantly switch from high-grade ad-free informative New Zealand public service content to constant up-to-the minute news coverage and civil defence information to suffering people for days on end?

    Comment by Sam Finnemore — March 10, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  44. “This from someone who doesn’t listen to commercial radio and has no idea how disruptive the advertising is.”

    Actually it’s not the advertising, it’s the inane Disk Jockeys. I’m at an age that I no longer need to listen to prnak phone calls EVERY freaking morning of my working week.
    What I find funny is that, although I no longer listen to 2ZM or Radio Windy, I still get to hear and enjoy mellowed and matured Lloyd Scot and occassionally, Roger Gascoigne and the aging tow-rope, Phil O’Brien.

    And in defence of the NatRad demographic, I suspect we’d be treated to ads for superschemes, gallery viewings, theatre, Lexus (and Skoda!), hair loss, LSE lectures, golf clubs (both sorts), stores that sell wooly sweeters with leather arm patches…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 10, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  45. “constant up-to-the minute news coverage and civil defence information to suffering people for days on end?”

    You mean geoff robinson with suitably (and ridiculously) sombre tone, wandering around Christchurch describing what he can see, even though he had no idea what it was he was looking at. It was a bit cringeful.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 10, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  46. forgot to ad: I am sure it was the LOCAL radio stations that local people found useful for CD info, not NatRad.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 10, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  47. Is there any way that assbutt leon can be banned from commenting on this site? I’m not against dissent at all, it’s just that he’s obviously a simple common-or-garden troll and adds nothing to the discussion.

    Comment by Purple-Shirted Eye Stabber — March 10, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  48. forgot to ad: I am sure it was the LOCAL radio stations that local people found useful for CD info, not NatRad.

    Comment by Clunking Fist

    Yes, first place I turn in a crisis is The Breeze.

    Radio New Zealand National is the designated Civil Defence lifeline utility radio broadcaster for all regions of New Zealand. Including the fantasy worlds inside people’s heads. Yes, that’s right. You can get RNZ in your own private Narnia.

    Comment by Dizzy — March 10, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  49. “Actually it’s not the advertising, it’s the inane Disk Jockeys”

    I think they do that for the ratings – advertisers like high ratings.

    And though I would rather stick a pencil in my ears than listen to it, what you are describing CF sounds like that shite with Leighton Smith on it.

    Comment by Paul — March 10, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  50. “what you are describing CF sounds like that shite with Leighton Smith on it.”

    ¿Qué? I’m describing the all night programme on National.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/allnightprogramme

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 10, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

  51. Ah, CF, I hate to be accused of maligning you!

    I meant, your plan would turn RNZ into talk radio with ads, cos it appears that rubbish with Smith etc is what the punters like, and what the punters like, the advertisers like.

    My point (and I do have one), is that you can have a public service broadcaster, or you can have a commercial one. You mix them at your peril – just look ay TVNZ.

    Comment by Paul — March 10, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

  52. Aw, purple shirted eye stabber, we know you’re Sanctuary because the prose and personal vitriol is the same.

    Besides, what is the beef with NatRad competing publishing listener numbers?

    Comment by leon — March 10, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  53. Leon,

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/about/audience_research

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 11, 2011 @ 7:43 am

  54. “I meant, your plan would turn RNZ into talk radio with ads”

    I think you are wrong: there’s a bunch of us who like what NatRad does, if they start playing ads, where will we go? There is no other station for us. So we put up with the ads. The advertisers are clever (that’s why they know to put shit ads on what you & I might consider shit stations) so they study the NatRad demographic and we get ads for stuff that we might be interested in.

    I would guess that there is no station that offers what Nat Rad does, because they would have to have advertising, and, being rationale, if I had a choice between close substitutes, one playing ads, one not, I guess we would always choose th one without ads. Can you see what I’m getting at? level playing fields: no competitor to NatRad will emerge while NatRad can broadcast without ads.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 11, 2011 @ 7:52 am

  55. @ Pascal, sorry I should have specifically noted that pravda does not benchmark itself against its peers in the radio industry but indulges itself by commissioning an annual survey about itself. Kinda like psycho-analysing yourself eh Pascal.

    Comment by leon — March 11, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  56. “Impey is right! It’s outrageous these calls for more public cash are able to be heard. Why can’t RNZ do a quiet backroom deal with Joyce for more public cash, the way private enterprise does?”

    Anti-intellectualism, that’s why.

    Comment by DeepRed — March 11, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  57. Silly leon.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 11, 2011 @ 10:48 am

  58. “I would guess that there is no station that offers what Nat Rad does, because they would have to have advertising, and, being rationale, if I had a choice between close substitutes, one playing ads, one not, I guess we would always choose the one without ads. Can you see what I’m getting at? level playing fields: no competitor to NatRad will emerge while NatRad can broadcast without ads.”

    I see what you’re saying, I just disagree. If NatRad’s format was commercially viable it would have competitors. There is more than one way to differentiate service offerings than just the absence or otherwise of advertising. BBC Radio Five Live is dedicated to sports and has no ads. It has a commercial competitor in TalkSport. Same with the likes of Radio One and the other music stations. From memory, there is no competitor to BBC Radio Four, “a speech station for serious minds”. (You will raise the obvious difference in market size. I mention Radio 4 because the size of the market is immaterial – where an audience exists, a competitor will exist).

    Comment by Paul — March 11, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  59. On the topic of RNZ, anyone know what happened to these huge cuts (closed down after midnight, ads and sponsorship etc) that was mooted back in 09?

    There was a huge struggle, then it kinda fizzled out? What is happening?

    Comment by millsy — March 11, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  60. Leon, RNZ isn’t ‘indulging’ itself by having surveys performed by an independent company. It is obligated to under it’s broadcasting charter. Further to that, the data is directly comparable to commercial radio stations anyway. The data collected for the RNZ survey is actually more comprehensive than TRB surveys.

    This is, of course, without taking into consideration that data for RNZ listenership is collected during the TRB surveys. It just isn’t published by them. As RNZ note: “The commercial radio industry excludes Radio New Zealand audience data from published survey information because Radio New Zealand networks are non-commercial and their listeners are not considered part of the market available to potential advertisers.”

    So I’m not really sure what your issue is, short of being incapable of reading and having a perverse resentment of non-commercial radio.

    Comment by The PC Avenger — March 11, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  61. The pattern around the world seems clear. The private radio stations give us toilet jokes and pranks and populist, drain-sucking, shock-driven “talkback”…..while the public radio broadcasters give us solid news, analysis and information – almost always verifiably correct – and that we want and need to know.

    People to refer to RNZ as “Radio Pravda” clearly have little interest in verifiable reality…and are someone sad as a ‘type’.

    But far worse is private radio execs touching up their former buddies, now in government, for a business-saving loan to keep them going. Ta.

    Lots of businesses of all kinds have been in strife in the past two years…..but the ones that get murky sweetheart deals from the government have close ties to certain ministers.

    If the “Radio Pravda” types can’t smell manure in that….then they are probably too close to it already to know the difference.

    Comment by Steve — March 11, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

  62. “while the public radio broadcasters give us solid news, analysis and information – almost always verifiably correct”

    And who are “united by the conviction that the high standard of living they enjoy is the product of the West’s contempt for the world’s poor” and the environment.

    http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/3743/full

    Hows that for a quote of the day.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 11, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  63. Yes CF, you wouldn’t be caught dead listening to such elitists, would you? Oh right…

    “…there’s a bunch of us who like what NatRad does…”

    Comment by Paul — March 12, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  64. Paul, imperfect as NatRad is, it still beats what ever is in second place. At least I’m keeping my ears on what the “enemy” is saying. I bit like this blog, really: as imperfect as some of your ideals might be, at least you ain’t bat-shit crazy, gloabl warming excepted.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 12, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  65. “at least you ain’t bat-shit crazy…”

    At least we ain’t bat-shit crazy yet

    Comment by Paul — March 13, 2011 @ 3:25 pm


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