Why RadioLive failed

By   /   November 18, 2018  /   3 Comments

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The commercial media market in NZ is at saturation point with right wing pundits and Radio Live never offered an alternative to that and ended up trying to compete for ZB listeners using bait that was not as right wing as ZB could produce.

MediaWorks radio arm RadioLIVE to be merged with Magic network
RadioLIVE stars including Mark Sainsbury face losing their jobs with news that Radio LIVE is to fold.

MediaWorks is understood to be merging RadioLIVE with the Magic network, to form Magic Talk.

A number of jobs are understood to be on the line, including the Morning Talk slot held by Mark Sainsbury. Morning Talk runs from 9am to noon, after the AM Show.

Sainsbury was not on air this morning, with Sean Plunket filling in.

No one can be surprised Radio Live is finally being put down like the sick family Labrador it ended up becoming.

I remember the man who created Radio Live, Larry Sommerville, giving me a guided tour of the studio 15 odd years ago as it was being built when I first started working there as a host. He understood the things that would make Radio Live work, but he left Mediaworks before the thing even got up and running properly.

The problem with Radio Live right from the beginning was market dynamics.

The reason Radio Live never fired was because feral right wing radio is full. If you are a foaming right wing clown, you want your mindless bullshit rhetoric full brewed, you don’t want a diet version.

Radio Live never had any great liberal champions (the last one, Wallace Chapman was headhunted by Radio NZ), so it was left with a few moderates pretending to be balanced and that wasn’t appealing to ZB listeners.

If Radio Live wanted to raise its ratings, it should have taken audience share from Radio NZ, rather than trying to compete with ZB.

Because Radio NZ isn’t allowed in the commercial ratings, Radio Live was constantly trying to claw audience from ZB, if it was a hard left station with left wing polemicists on par with Hosking or Henry, it could have pulled audience share from RNZ instead and made those radio listeners part of the commercial ratings.

The commercial media market in NZ is at saturation point with right wing pundits and Radio Live never offered an alternative to that and ended up trying to compete for ZB listeners using bait that was not as right wing as ZB could produce.

Paul Henry was popular. but again simply split the existing commercial market of right wing listeners rather than pull liberals from RNZ.

Radio Live should have learned from Radio NZ poaching Wallace Chapman from them.

They didn’t and now it’s being shut down.

 

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3 Comments

  1. XRAY says:

    It was always a Jekyll and Hyde station, trying to be ZB but oddly then with the likes of Willie Jackson and Karen Hay. Could never work it out.

    Having said that, listening to the truly ill informed talk about how we are going to hell in a handcart was probably a bridge too far in a second radio station.

    Fact is radio appears in a slow decent in general, the future listen to Spotfy and pod casts, not advertising no one wants to hear!

  2. Marc says:

    But was Radio Live not a kind of successor of Radio Pacific, with its talk back and so? It may have started with good intentions, and some of the moderators and hosts were also a bit to the left. But it is commercialisation over all, that has killed the spirit of most media we have left.

    Look at the same shit on television, TVNZ, Newshub and all that crap, with their useless, silly and chat style ‘am show’, ‘breakfast’, nobody can take such shows all that serious anymore. Breakfast radio flowed into breakfast TV, and we have breakfast and other silly media on other forums, even the web, NZ Herald, NZME, Fairfax, stuff.co, they are full of trivial, superficial infotainment and shit, nothing that informs and educates much.