March 28, 2005

Choo Hoo!

Retro Hit Radio (my iPod 'on the air') delivered some juicy morsels over the weekend. It's great programming the station, but listening without intent is even better. I'm just like one of my 600 listeners. Gems and disasters noted over the weekend:

David Bowie - Underground, Wannadies - You And Me Song, Everything But The Girl - Walking Wounded, Apollo Smile - Dune Buggy, Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms (8 min album), Elvis Costello - Veronica, Split Enz - I Walk Away, Men Without Hats - Pop Goes The World, Skid Row - Youth Gone Wild, Soho - Hippychick, INXS - Disappear.

J Geils Band - Centrefold (not good on sundays), Inner Circle - Summer Jammin (its not summer no more), Robert Plant - 29 Palms (suddenly boring), Richard Marx - Hazard (must fix daypart to 'no brekkie').

It's an ongoing thing... y'know how it is.
No playlist enquiries please, unless you have ID. Refusal may offend.

March 27, 2005

Easter Weekend 2005

This is the first time in a solid month of work that I've had some time off, and quite frankly - JOY.

It couldn't have been better timed. A lot of people I've spoken with over the weekend agree. Last weekends ending of daylight savings (gaining an hours sleep), and now a four day weekend for easter is weird for March, but very very welcome.

The Bob & Eric Podcast is going well thanks - a couple of you have asked about it. Show #1 is now 'out there', and shows 2+3 are already recorded and will be released with billboards, radio and TV advertising, and a small section in the personals.. uhh, who am I kidding. The next two shows are out in April. We record two for May in a week or so. Yeah, organised.

The new design for thoughts v4 is still buggy, but it looks good. I have a static background in mind with rolling text. I've always thought the impression of layering text over images is cool - especially when only the text scrolls. I've never got around to figuring that one out until now. Yes, its very 1997 (see Netscape 4 ha!) - shit thats geeky. sorry.

Work is steady - about to become full-on. I'm about to undertake great responsibility by managing the creative department at Niu FM, so thats one challenge I've been looking forward to. In short, it's been life as we know it - but not as usual. I may move house this year, but only temporary until christmas, before I plunge myself northward to Orewa, to engage Hillary Square and Moana Reserve as often as possible. (Dang, just when I got Sky installed here too - d'oh)

The Royal Easter Show was good fun, although the third consecutive skybound ride hammered by stomach, and got me all queazy. "You can get fucked if you think I'm doing the gravitron after this ride - clown man"

Enjoyed the Alien Quadrilogy on Sky. Shit those movies are good, no matter how naff the first one was. GnR rocks too.

Tomorrow, I plan on spending at least five hours at Real Groovy. See you on the other side :)

Stats R'Ass

I'd forgotten about my old statcounter working silently on every page load.

I've been working on a new design for this blog, and was copying some code across to the new design, when I stumbled on the statcounter code. I hadn't checked this for ages, so I trotted as one can on the sticky web for a jacksie.

I logged in and found that 57% of my readers are from New Zealand, 25% from the USA and 5% from the UK. Then its a bunch of 2% pieces from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Belgium, and the "Russian Federation" - I thought it was just Russia. And WE have flag issues?

Other amazing news is that my estimated readership of seven, has been pressure-popped up to an average of 140 unique readers a month!

Meanwhile, the browser war continues: 31% of you read this with Firefox - Netscape is dead on 1% and is beaten by something called Omniweb (on 2%). Sadly 64% are stuck with IE - although I'd hope to think its because most of my readers read thoughts at work, and their IT people are stuck in 1998.

March 20, 2005

A gadget with soul

It's funny how vinyl is back in.

Producers are picking through their grandparents vinyl collection, enthusiasts are flying overseas on trips for one purpose: Vinyl Shopping, and beginners are seeing P Money swipe the record backwards and it makes a cool noise.

There's been bugger all discussion on the iPods effect on radio. I'd like to think there is next to no effect. I cannot see at this moment how the appeal of a random (or playlist) portable music player can pull me away from listening to the radio. We've had playlists in another form recently with online radio stations ("make your own"), yet local radio listenership is growing. There's been many different gadgets along the way (who had a portable DAT player??)

The gadget with soul has been with us almost as long as commercial radio itself, yet radio still exists. People still demand it. This gadget of course is the walkman (note the lowercase w). We've been able to make our own playlists for years - back then they were called 'mix-tapes'. I think Dubbers idea of a warm fuzzy analog skin with digital innards is pretty neat though.

Phones are becoming walkie-talkies now, iPods are merging into cellphones. Apple have teamed up with Motorola. Microsoft are in bed with Nokia.
What is happening? Technology eating itself?

I purchased Green Day's awesome "American Idiot" album on MC the other day (music cassette) for $6. I have The Warehouse to thank for importing these. Maybe cassette is the new vinyl - its certainly a lot more portable in the car.

Mine still has a tape player. Yours?

March 15, 2005

Q96FM - Ten Years On

It was once Counties Radio, the gear was "borrowed" from Airport Radio, the frequency (95.8) leased from Mai FM, and as quick as it began to make money, traction, the papers - it was shut down. Only two people really know why, and they know who they are.

Q96 was my first 'proper' job in radio. There is a thread that begins to weave one into a sweater, which we wear throughout our chosen careers. Q96 for me, was a particuarly strong thread of string. It had a solid knot at the beginning, and despite its short length, got the ball rolling for me as a broadcaster.

Fond memories. Good people and lots of carts. Sfx on vinyl, a multitrack recorder, a mono desk, a temperamental cart player, no aircon, bare bones sales team, manual playlists, no budget, stolen clients, loose crosses, a preschoolers logo, minimal soundproofing... compromise evident everywhere. It looked like a student station (much like when The Generator 89FM in Hamilton first started) internally, but the output product was anything but. It preceded 'Soul FM 96.8' in South Auckland, and had a playlist that sat "between More, Classic Hits & i98". It was written on A4 paper, hung on the studio wall. Big songs of the day were "I Love The Nightlife '94" from Alicia Bridges, "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow, 4PM's "Sukiyaki" and others.

The people at Q96 really made for me, starting with Danny Wright, who took my phonecall and asked me to come in. I began the next day.
Danny showed me a prehistoric 8-channel multitrack mixer, how to record and playback, how the mixer worked and showed me the infamous sfx library. Danny became the memo 'king' at Q96, closely followed by Thane and Darrell. I worked with Danny a few years later at Coromandel FM, where I held nights and he did the breakfast show for 6 or so months, and he'd eased completely of memo-making by then (Warren Male still reigns as the 'Memo King'). Danny has kids now, which totally freaks me out.

Thane Kirby, was a rock for Q96. He sorted any problems, and still kept the environment fun, relaxed and offbeat. Thane later became the mastermind behind the very successful George FM, and subsequently launched Low Power broadcasting in New Zealand.

The original "Afternoon Breakfast with Thane & Danny" was where we all pissed ourselves daily at the "Crazy Question", today it was to Cairo. They rang a hotel, and tried to ask the clerk "how many pyramids in Egypt". Unfortunately, the satellite phone-delay had them playing "hello-tag", ending up in hysterics. Genius.

They both eventually moved to host Breakfast. On one weekend evening, they sporadically decided to have a talkback session (although they never had any callers) about the "lady who got stuck in an elevator for an entire weekend". The question "what did she eat" sparked hysterics and broke the code of broadcasting tenfold. They apologised later after complaints arrived at the station.

Darrell Turner was once a Tears For Fears spinning afternoon host (12-3p). The ongoing joke, however, was Art Garfunkel's "Two Sleepy People". He LOVED that track. Darrell was also one of the first men behind starting George FM.

Shayron Marinovich was the "hostess with the mostess" (3-7p, originally held 10-2p I think). She was a firely one, but just lovely. She had all the dirty jokes, best "requests" and the most popular among stalkers. Often talking with Community Constable Cooper Teau about crime in the area, even interviewing a man I now work with - Ray Bishop (who was then with Counties Manukau Sport). What a star! We were in recording once, and Danny was distracted from reading his script, as he noticed Shayron taking off her top in the OnAir studio (the production room was next to the studio, and we had windows to see in). Next thing I hear: "Shayron's Tits!".. "What?" says Thane.. "Shayrons Tits.. look!". Production halts. If she reads this blog, then I hope she feels flattered, rather than the 'queezy angry' feeling she had after she realised what was going on. "Chauvinistic pigs". She can now be seen on the huggies TV ad.

Glenn Turner (not the cricketer) was our boss. He was pretty goofy, but tried his best to be a "good guy". He's like a wannabe-great sales rep at a car yard just trying to get some cred, some ground, but got tarnished by the yards bad rep - so can only do so much. A trouper who wrote my first work-related reference, and had we continued to stay on air, the promise of proper studios, with air con and proper offices was his pledge to us. He wasn't around much, but we hardly noticed.

Some of the other superstars at Q96 were Andrew White, Selwyn Brell, Hone Kingi (The Too-Early, Good Morning Show), Bill Deed (Tradio), Wendy Peatree, Claire (she always smelled great), Paul Callaghan (one of the first to i/v Cameron Brown) and Donna. Forgive me if I forget your surname.

We had some interesting promotions too. We had an awesome Valentines Promo at Valentines in Manukau City and Glenfield (or it might have been Henderson), with the "Q Crew" wandering around both restaurants, talking to diners on their dates, asking for requests back through to the studio where I ran the show. We had a twilight night at the Auckland Zoo like many stations have, but one promo in particular really stood out. We abseiled off the "highest commercial cliff in the southern hemisphere" in the Waitakeres. Thats one awesome drop. I went over the top edge and made my way down at a brisk pace. Halfway down there was a flat rock that poked out of the side of the cliff, which you could stand on, ease your rope tension and admire the view (and the birds nest up there). Its now become a waterfall (there was a dam behind the peak).

At one point, we had a station vehicle too! The Coke Cruiser (fully paid for by Coca Cola) looked after us, as well as Krispa Chips and others. We headed around to unsuspecting homes throughout South Auckland, giving out prizepacks. Some of the most enjoyable times at Q96 were when we went out and about with our station vehicle.

Production for me was a big highlight. I got to dip my fingers into making radio ads (a dream back then - ha!), and Radio Imaging (I still love it today - so all's not lost). We had some classic moments in production, and luckily I learnt the art of having a blanket recorder capturing everything - mistakes, bloopers, outtakes, swearing, phonecalls, background noise and all. Great stuff to listen to on a day like today.

So here we are, ten years to the day after Q96 was shut down by the frequency owners. We broke format on that last afternoon, playing Metallica, Ween, and god knows what else, creating mock traffic reports and news bulletins - general mayhem really. Later that night, we headed into town for a few farewell drinks, and the following day went in and moved our stuff out - not knowing where we would all end up.

March 14, 2005


re:mote is..

a one-day experimental festival, bringing together new media art practitioners and theorists from geographically diverse areas, through a combination of live and online presentations.

I call it a Digi.

March 10, 2005

I Wanna Rock Right Now

Im getting Channel Z withdrawl.

I was driving into work today, and inbetween listening for Traffic information from KaC (Hilary is still lovely isn't she?), Mario's new show sweepers on Niu, I really needed to "rock out". Traffic was flowing good at 6:35 and I just wanted something to satisfy my alter ego (the one that cusses and makes me wanna kick some motherf**kin ass!).

"The Hardest Button To Button" comes to mind, or The Music's "The People".. even Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" would fit. I needed something to wake up the sleeping Ponsonby streets as I drove through them.

There is nothing on the dial like Z in Auckland anymore (The Rock is so watered down these days) - maybe someone should start a LPFM Modern Rock station in the city. Maybe Bomber could take a hand in programming?

March 7, 2005

Cute quotes

Spotted these in a Radio Ink newsletter today:

"Her glasses are so thick, when see looks at a map she can see people waving."

"He stands out more than poop in a punchbowl."

"He is so crooked, when he dies they'll have to screw him in the ground."

"That's like trying to poke a cat out from under the porch with a rope."

"He's as lost as a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat."

"She's as anxious as a one-eyed cat watchin' two rat holes."

"We grew up so poor, we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken to lick other people's fingers."

March 4, 2005

Bits - March 4, 2005

Things collected in my bookmarks over the last 3 months:

How I found this I dont know. They sure are some nice tits.
Parents beware: Understand how your kids communicate online to help protect them, according to Microsoft.
Podcasting is not trivial - it's actually quite hard. When in doubt, use a wizard.
Blog Critic Job Description: Read, review and publish your opinion on new blogs.
Email giant files (up to 1Gb!) here.
Radio peeps - visit Todd Maffin.

March 2, 2005

2005 Pacific Music Awards Finalists

The winners will be announced at the 2005 Pasifika Festival (on the first night @ 9pm). My picks in bold.

Adeaze – Always & For Real
Ardijah – Journey (Aere’anga)
D1 Family – Koko Luv

Anna Williams – Searching
Kat Theo – Waiting
Sara-Jane Auva'a – Sara-Jane

Dei Hamo – We Gon’ Ride
Scribe – Dreaming
Tha Feelstyle – Break it to Pieces

Dei Hamo – We Gon’ Ride
Scribe – Dreaming
Tha Feelstyle – Break it to Pieces

Kas Futialo, Ian Seumanu – Su’amalie
Nainz Tupa’i, Viiz Tupa’i (Adeaze) – Getting Stronger
Ryan Monga (Ardijah) – Journey (Aere’anga)

Aniseto Falemoe – Afe O Maila Ole Alofa
Ardijah – Journey
Ephraim – Moemoea o Avaiki

One for expats

A West Auckland girl goes to Income Support to register for the single parents' benefit.
"How many children?" asks the Income Support worker.
"10" replies the Westie girl.
"10?" says the Income Support worker, "What are their names?"
"Wayne, Wayne, Wayne, Wayne, Wayne, Wayne, Wayne, Wayne, Wayne and Wayne."
"Doesn't that get confusing?"
"Naah..", says the Westie girl, "it's great because if they are out playing in the street I just have to shout "WAYNE, YER DINNER'S READY" or "WAYNE GO TO BED NOW" and they all do it."
"What if you want to speak to one individually?" says the perturbed Income Support worker.
"That's easy," says the Westie girl, "I just use their surnames"