23 Apr 2019

Mediawatch Midweek: the megabucks miner v Mister Twisted Sister

From Mediawatch, 6:03 pm on 23 April 2019

Mediawatch’s weekly catch-up with Karyn Hay on Lately: This week Colin Peacock talks to Karyn about the megabucks mining magnate taking on Mister Twisted Sister across the ditch; Breakfast TV going stale; so long and thanks for all the features - and the end of the 'umm' . . . for a sum.

Twisted Sister Dee Snider before the Senate committee hearing into offensive music in 1985.

Twisted Sister Dee Snider before the Senate committee hearing into offensive music in 1985. Photo: screenshot / YouTube

Mining magnate vs Twisted Sister

An intriguing article from Rupert Murdoch’s paper The Australian appeared on the Herald website this week: 'Make Australia great' billionaire Clive Palmer's NZ office is almost empty

It says mining magnate Clive Palmer opened a New Zealand office of his company Mineralogy in Auckland in January because he needed to move offshore as part of a legal fight with a Chinese company in Australia.

It's virtually empty.

Yet it is from here, the paper says, that the company is funding Palmer’s political party - United Australia - contesting the federal election in in Australia.

Palmer has been spending millions of dollars on text message spam, a bizarre online game -- and costly television advertisements like this one complaining about foreign influence on politics:

Do you recognise the tune?

Echoing the National Party vs Eminem case, Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider says the political hopeful is ignoring an order to cease and desist after allegedly using the band’s 1980s hit ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’.

This row blew up in January and Palmer pressured the Home Affairs Minister to cancel the Snider’s visa ahead of his forthcoming Australian tour.

Palmer also claimed Twisted Sister had ripped off the tune themselves - from a Christmas carol.

Here’s Ross Greenwood from Sydney station 2GB sounding unconvinced.

Dee Snider has promised to sort it out face to face. Fight! Fight!

And Dee Snider has form for taking on politicians in defence of his music.

In 1984, his band was named as one of “the filthy 15” by the Parents Music Resource Center - fronted by Al Gore’s wife Tipper Gore - which wanted violent and explicit lyrics censored and labelled.  

Along with John Denver and Frank Zappa (what a supergroup that would be) Snider testified at  a senate hearing where Al Gore (then a lowly senator) grilled him about sado-masochistic imagery on their merchandise:

30 years later he told Rolling Stone:

"Everything I represented, stood for and said back then, I have lived and stand by today. I stand by every word. As a parent, I monitored what my kids listened to. When my kids wanted to listen to Eminem, I listened to the album and talked about it with my kids and used it as a forum for discussion. And I practice self-censorship.”

Also, I reckon Dee Snider has quite a bit in common with would be politician Clive Palmer. In a promo for a golf retailer last week - he said this:

"On the list of job requirements for a frontman are three essentials. It says 'narcissist,' 'self-absorbed' and 'egomaniac.' If you've got those three things, and a voice — you're in."

Good advice for his political enemy Clive Palmer?

Speaking of good frontmen . . . .

John Campbell’s breakfast order

Stitched together  - a hasty image for an apperntly hasty switch at TVNZ.

Stitched together - a hasty image for an apperntly hasty switch at TVNZ. Photo: supplied / TVNZ

Last week TVNZ announced Breakfast show host Jack Tame was moving to politics show Q+A and roving reporter John Campbell (ex RNZ Checkpoint) was joining the Breakfast team.  

I thought it was a bit odd given that he left RNZ saying he wanted a change from daily studio-based shows to go back into the field just over a year ago.

But it felt a bit like when Hillary Barry left Newshub for TVNZ in 2017. The media got all excited but the story was basically: ‘New presenter changes employer’. No big deal. Happens all the time.

But since the Campbell move the media pundits have been analysing it

Newsroom’s Mark Jennings - a former longtime boss of John Campbell - said  the TVNZ media release was “a shocker.”

“At the top were file photos of Tame and Campbell stitched together. It had all the hallmarks of a last-minute scramble. Normally, there would have been a group shot of a smiling Campbell and a happy Breakfast team of co-presenters," he said.

Campbell’s quote was clearly not written by him, Jennings added.

Here it is:

“Breakfast offers the best of a live studio environment, with the opportunity to still work in the field – to me that’s the perfect balance. It’s a privilege to be part of New Zealander’s first news source of the day, bringing viewers breaking coverage from overnight, sharing stories that matter from around the country, and giving people a voice. I’m looking forward to joining the team.”

"It is off the shelf anodyne, something Campbell is not, and it contains a grammatical error that Campbell would never make," said Jennings.

Nine To Noon’s Gavin Ellis said it should be John Campbell on Q+A.

The Spinoff’s Duncan Grieve said John Campbell is the TV journalist of his generation and his career is drifting - and this is not what viewers fought the save Campbell Live campaign for

The Herald’s media writer Damien Venuto compared Campbell to Mickey Rourke’s washed up fighter in the movie The Wrestler. “who later in life resorts to wrestling in small-scale, often violent weekend events in grimy venues.”

“Throughout the film, it's clear Robinson still has fight left in him. But, as the world moves on, he's steadily squeezed into a corner, removed from where he imagined he'd end up."

Ouch. But maybe he has point about breakfast TV.

Mark Jennings pointed out that breakfast TV news is on the wane ratings-wise:

“The heady days of Hosking and Kate Hawkesby or Henry and Pippa Wetzell pulling in 300,000 viewers to Breakfast are long gone. This year, Breakfast and AM’s combined audience is averaging around 160,000. The picture is worse in the commercially important 25-54 demographic. Breakfast averages 30,000 viewers and AM about 28,000.”

Farewell to ‘Featured’

Mike White and Nikki MacDonald from Featured.

Mike White and Nikki MacDonald from Featured. Photo: PHOTO / Colin Peacock

For the past five years, feature writers Mike White (North and South) and Nikki MacDonald (Stuff) have been curating great New Zealand longform journalism and putting it out via e-newsletter Featured and the associate site.

It was founded by Naomi Arnold who sent this message out to subscribers yesterday:

“After five years and 500 New Zealand stories, Featured is winding up. We have enjoyed the process of reading top-quality work from so many great New Zealand journalists and bringing you some of our favourites."

Freelance jounalist and writer Naomi Arnold

Freelance jounalist and writer Naomi Arnold Photo: Twitter / Naomi Arnold

We will keep featured.org.nz online in some form to provide an ongoing resource for journalism stuents and so you can catch up on anything you've missed. With 500 stories onboard, there should be plenty of material to last a few more Easter breaks yet. “

Certainly is.

It’s a bummer but must have was a tough time-consuming voluntary gig and I don't blame them for taking a break.

So long and thanks for all the features.

The end for the umm - for a sum

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Photo: screenshot

'De-umming' is a key skill for radio producers  - and one that is mostly 100 pure arse-ache. '

Some interviewees say 'umm' so much that they have to be edited out painstakingly one-by-one to make a better  - and shorter - listen for the audience. Countless hours have been spent making the hesitant sound perfectly fluent for the benefit of listeners. 

Now an automatic transcription and voice editing tool called Spext is offering podcasters a service to de-umm recordings. the catch? It costs US$10-$20 an hour. 

Here’s a video of someone removing the “ums” in a podcast.

Digital witchcraft?