Radio review: NotRad

By   /   November 2, 2013  /   4 Comments

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It’s part of the wanky Wellington money-go-round actually and Wrightson knows it because she’s riding on one of the little unicorns like everyone else in the club. RNZ is getting this money for not radio. If RNZ applies for anything it should be for radio rather than not radio because not radio is rather off their brief.

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Radio NZ’s website hasn’t got it along their top ribbon: it’s still Home, National, Concert, News and International. Underneath are the three channels to listen to: National, Concert and International. Nothing either anywhere along the bottom navigation bars. Are we to conclude from this that the new internet youth experiment “the wireless” is just that – an experiment and nothing more? Without the headlining and promotion and the status which it gives on their main page it appears this youth thing is designed to be a minor adjunct at best. Apart from the news caption about it in the news section – nothing.

How they think they can launch an internet service without even linking to it from their main page is beyond me – that’s an automatic fail right there. It is part of some muddled thinking given an airing on Morning Report by the chirpy project manager who attempted to explain that the youth are not well served or connected to RNZ… but they do trust the editorial neutrality of the news service… but they don’t want to be part of anything considered adult… and therefore they need a separate website that’s their own space… but would appreciate the non-commercial environment… They don’t want to poison it for the youth by making it like RNZ, but RNZ is what gives it credibility… These threads don’t weave well – it’s conceptually a bit ragged the way they are trying to set it up.

It is difficult to reconcile what she was saying. Her belief that their 18-30 year old target demographic didn’t connect well with RNZ is hardly going to be assisted by hiding the youth initiative away somewhere else. Do the management at RNZ not want to connect the two together? Some questions are begging: Who is this project for? Is it to blunt the perennial criticism that RNZ is for grey folk? or is it to absorb some of NZ On Air’s dubious Digital money (once again destined to be purloined away from the leaner, meaner, more dynamic private sector by the institutional pomp and bureaucratic bloat state broadcasters).

My thought when this was originally announced some months ago was that it is the beginnings of a full youth channel – something mooted for many years by the editor of this blogsite. How – after all – can a state radio network justify launching a website for a large audience it knows it does not serve if the end result would not be a radio channel? That surely must be the long-term objective. Not an internet radio channel either, a full radio channel just like National, Concert and International. That is where this should be going and it would be a disappointment were it not to arrive at that point in the future. Those were my initial thoughts.

So what of this website?

Firstly it is at its own address thewireless.co.nz. Secondly it has larger type than rnz.co.nz… because kids don’t read much. Is that the presumption here? Of course it is the elderly on the old site that need bigger type not the bloody youth! Presenting it like a children’s book isn’t appealing. Thirdly, there are no ads; but so what? The ad-free platform is the weakest of all the supposed advantages. There are many websites without ads and the ability exists to block ads on web browsers so this selling point amounts to nothing. Non-commercial only really counts on air – and since there isn’t a channel to not have commercials on it really is of no consequence. The geeks from Wellington have the luxury of not having to look for advertisers and sully themselves with the stench of the ghastly Aucklandy advertising only because the government and NZ On Air is paying for it.

And fourthly there are blogs from the said geeky Wellingtonians who are passably under 40 (alright I don’t intend to investigate this but all these skinny white people look like they are from the capital). It seems utterly redundant in this day and age, but the site also hectors the viewer for “your” feedback, your input, your stories etc. Are we not totally over non-blog websites that insist on maintaining a string of blogs and molested by “your” two bloody cents worth? – I am totally over it. The thought of NZ On Air forking out $197,000 so that RNZ to ask you for your two cents worth is just priceless.

Sitting alongside, with every other cliché of what a middle-aged person considers mandatory for the youf, is telling people they are free to do certain things. Along with “your”, “free” is the designated catch-cry of the young and is every bit as annoying:

“SHARE YOUR STORIES
Free to do what you want
With our theme this month being free, we want to hear about what gives you the sense of pure freedom.”

Gawdawful shyte. You are free, apparently – who knew? Like we will be free not to visit this website – that sort of freedom? Theme months are – as any youth would retort – so hipster fucktard.
The main page is underwhelming. Just as there are no links from the RNZ site to this one there seems to be no links (except way down in the bottom corner via a sponsorship logo) back to the RNZ site. Like RNZ is an embarrassing parent the teenager pretends they haven’t got. It’s all a bit silly and not really grown up. Certainly from a strategic perspective it is unfathomable.

There’s all this stuff about money – apropos of nothing – maybe because that’s another youth issue the RNZ focus group has determined is a hot button. And they’ll be bashing their hot buttons with their foreheads until it falls over too no doubt. So what constitutes success for this venture? Will it be audience numbers for the site alone – because it most definitely is not built with sending clicks through to RNZ in mind. It isn’t built with getting the kids to listen to NatRad either. How is NZ On Air measuring this – the usual uiga board?

I haven’t gone past the front page yet and already I see nothing of the showcase promised in the press release:
NZ On Air has provided $197,000 in funding to support the development of a strand of content, ‘Fresh Voices’ which will showcase new creative talent to the intended audience and include contributor-produced video, audio, photos, blogs, events and topical discussions.

“We have supported the project because it provides a relevant way for this age group to interact with and appreciate content that is high-quality, impartial, and targeted to their interests,” said Jane Wrightson, CEO of NZ On Air.

It’s part of the wanky Wellington money-go-round actually and Wrightson knows it because she’s riding on one of the little unicorns like everyone else in the club. RNZ is getting this money for not radio. If RNZ applies for anything it should be for radio rather than not radio because not radio is rather off their brief. The funds are being treated like it was institutional welfare and just internal transfers within government departments. I doubt these decisions have much to do with “creative talent” etc. etc.

Nothing appeals to me – or I’m sure anyone under 30 either – on their front page. No desire to click anything.

God help me I’ve clicked “share your ideas…”.

OK, was that a pop up it just triggered somewhere. It’s underneath the frame FFS.

And it is from:

And it is an Outlook sign in page. What THE FUCK!? How annoying. How bloody annoying. That’s just really arseholes. Fuck off. I’m not signing into Windows anything. I feel yuck – like I’ve been spammed or something.

No, I’m not going to bother clicking on anything else. That’s the internet eh. One bad experience and never again.

Oh well.

What was the slogan again: “Upfront. In-depth. In tune.” Really? More like out of sight, out of their depth and out of tune.

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About the author

Tim Selwyn

Founder, Tumeke Blog

4 Comments

  1. dwh says:

    Microsoft sign in page: yuck, pooh! I do wish this money was going towards RNZ. Their funding’s been frozen for years.

  2. Grant Buist says:

    +1 for the Homestuck graphic…

  3. Cam says:

    And it is an Outlook sign in page. What THE FUCK!? How annoying. How bloody annoying. That’s just really arseholes. Fuck off. I’m not signing into Windows anything. I feel yuck – like I’ve been spammed or something.

    The reason it’s probably goes to an Outlook page is due to how your browser is configured to handle email links, it’s got nothing to do with RNZ.

  4. Joe Public says:

    “the wanky Wellington money-go-round actually”

    At least two minds have independently come to this conclusion.