I can still remember the day the music died in New Zealand. Recently I watched “The Boat That Rocked” and was reminded of the great times I had enjoyed in radio over a 36 year period both here and over the Tassie. What happened to radio? When did it change from being run by programmers, to sales managers then to offshore corporates?
I remember when it started. Although only small players, when Energy first got its hands on the Rock and the Edge and then the Otago group, it was a clear signal that radio in New Zealand was in its first stages of networking. Mind you Radio Pacific had already started, by networking Waikato in preparation of setting up their TAB network.
This was OK, there were radio people at the helms, but when Radio New Zealand sold off its commercial arm all that changed. The corporate raiders got their snouts in the trough and suddenly they were spewing out words like “Integrity” to cover for the fact that they had no real interest in the welfare of New Zealand and certainly not the many professional radio people who now no longer work in the industry.
If you thought the supermarket duopoly was bad, the radio duopoly of The Radio Network (owned by the Irish and the Americans) and Mediaworks (owned by an Australian investment company) is far worse. There have been hundreds of redundancies in the industry and as a result, both companies have lost their soul.
They don’t care about the communities they pretend to operate in, only the money they can extract from its advertisers. They no longer care about broadcasting. They are simply sales machines.
I was always taught if the product is good it will sell. These corporate pigs believe if it isn’t selling, get rid of those who make the product. Replace them with cheaper versions. It’s funny that one of these many network stations is called The Edge, because that is exactly what radio has lost. It has become a safe, boring, sales machine sending its profits offshore.
They do it at their peril. Remember the “Indie” movement in the 90’s music business? The top bands turned their backs on the major labels and revelled in the new creative freedom that the independent labels offered. Slowly, small “indie” radio stations are popping up here. You watch (and listen) my friends, the tide is about to turn and the corporate pigs will drown in their own disgusting troughs. Me, well I am now working in publishing and listening to my trusty iPod.