Forever Tuesday evening
If they achieved nothing else, my posts about the recent shenanigans on Radio Live seem to have helped bring a very promising new blog into the world. The Joy of Radio is the baby of two media studies lecturers, and is intended to be 'a collection of comments, articles, and ideas about the state of radio broadcasting in New Zealand'.
In his inaugural post, one of the proprietors of The Joy of Radio explains that as he read my criticisms of Radio Live he realised that 'there is no regular commentary about New Zealand radio'. Another post on The Joy of Radio considers some of the wider issues at stake in the arguments about the behaviour of Karyn Hay and Andrew Fagan on that fateful Tuesday night and argues that talkback radio in this country suffers from an 'endemic' lack of talent and lack of education. I wouldn't dispute that judgement, though I am surprised to see the appallingly uninformed Kerre Woodham and that cynical old populist Paul Holmes cited as exceptions to the rule.
The latest post at The Joy of Radio celebrates Radio New Zealand's Concert station, which is presented as an oasis of musical sophistication and diversity in a desert of Top 40 and Golden Oldies stations.
While there's some truth to this judgement, I can't help but wonder whether Concert FM sometimes tends to become classical music's equivalent of a Golden Oldies station. It's all very well to note that the station selects tunes from many different epochs, and sometimes plays jazz and World Music, but I wonder how often the Four Seasons gets played, compared to the compositions of 'challenging' living composers like Steve Reich or Arvo Part? And what sort of jazz does Concert FM occasionally indulge its listeners with? Is it more likely to be the twisting, turbulent Miles Davis of late 1960s and the early '70s, or the safe old standards of Dave Brubeck?
I think the conservative set lists of Concert FM and the rather stuffy manner of its presenters delimits the station's audience just as surely as the cruder antics of most talkback hosts delimit the audiences of stations like Radio Live.
Even if I disagree with some of their judgements, I am pleased that the proprietors of The Joys of Radio are trying to foster a serious and informed discussion about a part of the media that has been neglected by many commentators in the blogosphere.
And since Concert FM probably won't play it anytime soon, here's Steve Reich's drop- dead gorgeous 'Electric Counterpoint':