November 27, 2007

Why the Jackson 5 tour will happen

What timing.

I've just finished reading J. Randy Taraborrelli's best selling "The Magic & The Madness" - updated edition, as you may have seen on my Facebook profile. The telling in this book, is repeated how Joseph Jackson masterminds these reunion tours, and uses Katherine to con Michael into agreeing to do them. Then I hear that the Jackson 5 are touring one more time - with Michael!

Michael's involvement with The Jackson 5 has never been productive for Michael himself beyond the motown years, and now that Michael has been widely reported to release his long awaited new album next year - it seems odd that he would agree to do this kind of tour, again.

After the 1984 Victory tour, Joseph Jackson tried to get Michael appear for another reunion tour in the late 80s (in Korea I think). Michael was adamant that those days were over. He hated the involvement with Don King on the '84 tour, and was bewildered by his fathers persistence to 'do it again'. It was yet another cash cow to generate money for the rest of the Jackson family, and Michael hated being 'used' like this.

Get this - his father Joseph had made promises and signed a deal with billionaire investors for another Jackson 5 tour in the late 80s. These billionaires to start with, were in conflict with the Jehovah's Witness religion (the core of the Jackson family). The tour also promised the inclusion of Michael Jackson - without that very confirmation from Michael.

Michael proved a point to his meddling father - by agreeing - then donating all of his earnings from this small tour, to charity. Michael then said - NEVER AGAIN. A Jackson 5 tour will never happen again with Michael Jackson.

Only recently, Michael and Joseph have worked hard to reconcile and move on from this. This has been documented.

So - the news of another Jackson 5 tour?!?!?
  • Are we seeing a desperate Michael Jackson face his own debt issues, by signing up to do this and help generate his cut of 500 million dollars from the Jackson 5 tour?
  • Is it because Simon Fuller is managing Michael Jackson these days?, and would Frank Dileo (Michaels manager in the 80s) have done the same?
The previous Jackson 5 "reunion tours" were to generate money for the family. Michael never had any problem with money at the time, and I guess, wanted to support his mother financially, and his brothers and father, to a lesser degree. This time - it's Michael who needs the cash.

The smartest move Michael ever made was investing. Specifically, buying the publishing rights to the Beatles catalogue, coz it's kept him afloat despite everything. This passive income has helped him to oust MJJ Productions and form the new Michael Jackson company - thanks to the help of a certain Sony music executive and using his own musical works and copyrights as collateral to the sum of about $270 million.

His debt is widely estimated to be around 300 million.

A cut of the 500 million tour with the Jackson 5 would generate enough to clear this debt, and perhaps this is why he may have signed the dotted line to tour with his brothers one more time.

Lets also hope that Michael tidies up his astounding spending habits, and gets back into making razor sharp investments again.

The New York times calls him a "reclusive caricature locked inside a financial and emotional fantasyland of his own making", which is very true.

Think carefully about that if you have the chance to buy a ticket - although you probably will.

Jackson 5 - I Want You Back (Rogerseventytwo and the Walk Remix) [ogg]

Vehicle Entertainment Systems

Forget iPod docks, forget in-car AM/FM stereo systems, police scanners, heated seating, dashboard internet, WiFi, or gaming consoles in the back seat!

I want the simplest in-car entertainment system that is both easy to learn, easy to use, and most of all - is interesting and keeps me entertained. What is it?

A megaphone.

Recently, I was in traffic and, for lack of a better word, a MORON performed a very elaborate swerving routine between not only myself, but at least a dozen other vehicles in peak hour traffic. It was a really stupid thing to do in front of all of us. Sitting there shaking my head, I could read the lips of every other driver.. something along like lines of "you f-wit", or "I have a child in this car" or "i'm calling the cops".

Can you see where I'm going with this?

My megaphone would become so very useful as a public shaming device, in events like this. I hope to cheer up my fellow drivers by alerting clowns, bozos, morons and f-wits of their behaviour, by simply reading out their number plate at full volume.

Other great worthy mentionables may be:
Santa - I want a megaphone.

October 7, 2007

Bluetooth streams Internet Radio to your car

Radio comes to Bluetooth, but not just any radio - internet radio!

So - if you work for a radio station, own an internet radio station, or even produce a podcast - you will soon have another way of getting your product to consumers.

As Bluetooth technology has been developed, so finally comes the availability of streaming live radio on your phone. Better still, users will be able to wirelessly transmit this to their car radios via the bluetooth channel.

While this might seem a bit complicated to do right now, and the technology is a little way off, its good to know that it's coming, so the online radio industry can prepare for it. Watch this demo:

So the inevidable question is, "whats it gonna cost the user?". Well, it entirely depends on the next 12 months of developments. One major factor will be how much bandwidth it will take to pull your stream down to your bluetooth device.


Whatever that cost will be, we, as broadcasters must provide the smallest amount of data possible, whilt retaining audio quality. Do you hear "it" calling?

AAC+ is the winner.

It's already out there inside iTunes - the worlds most popular online music shop, and Apple's format - AAC/mp4 is the default downloading format. We are seeing the mp3 format plateau. A newer, better codec has arrived - and guess what? - it loves streaming audio. In fact, thats it's best feature. Right down to 22kbps, in stereo, its near FM Quality - and thats what we've come to expect while listening to 'radio' in your car.

I've been experimenting with m4a - simply with Winamp. I tried it with John Mayers "Tracing".

mp3: at 192kbps (stereo) comes to a file size of 4.652Mb.
m4a: at 64kbps (stereo) comes to a file size of 1.571Mb.
ogg: at 64kbps (stereo) comes to a file size of 1.379Mb.

The test concludes that OGG should be the winner, however that's a face value result. I want to make sure that these 'compressed' formats still stand up and sound great, even in high end environments.. where quality matters. So I listened to all three through a 5.1 surround system.

At these bitrates, the mp3 sounded fine through all speakers. Very little 'washing' of the sound, m4a had no discernable 'washing' at all, while the ogg sounded completely underwater. This is not a good result for ogg.

Quality thresholds of these three formats are so much more apparent now - if you want QUALITY - and this is especially important if you are planning on digitising your library (which I am underway with - finally...)

mp3 - at least 192kbps
ogg - at least 128kbps
m4a - at least 32kbps - note this is HALF the bitrate of what I tested above, yet even this low it still sounded fine in 5.1 surround. Wow. And if you were wondering what the filesize would be for this song at 32kbps? 796kb!

AAC holds the best quality at low bitrates - uses less bandwidth, and is fast becoming the new 'default' music format - and thats GOT to be good for streaming your radio station, not only to Bluetooth devices - but streaming in general. Winamp already has it as a native format, and there's a plugin which even allows your old Windows Media Player to jump on board.

Now is the time to upgrade your stream to AAC+, cos your consumers are gonna want you on their phones. It would be a dark day for you both if you aren't available when they want you.

October 5, 2007

Non music radio - any future?

In the UK, a great "non music" idea is in its trial stage right now on DAB Digital. Traffic Radio:

It's set up by the Highways Agency and Transport for London. A very useful and now seemingly obvious "non music" brand.

As for Chris' comments at Hear2.0, here in New Zealand, one brand is mixing lifestyle news and 'banter' (see John Tesh), on a brand called Easy Mix. I could see this kind of lifestyle essence becoming more of a feature inside genre/niche radio.. it's one reason why Howard Stern is such a huge name. The audience identifies with him, but more importantly, he LIVES the lifestyle himself and the content of his show is a direct reflection of that lifestyle. That's great rock/alternative radio. The same can be said for another station here in NZ - we have George FM and UpFM - both lifestyle focussed brands that are aligned with their psychographic audience.

I think "non-music" may be an irrelevant point, even if CHR/mainstream music brands start taking bigger steps toward incorporating and better reflecting the relevant lifestyle choices their focus audience holds dear.

A music station can still be a 1st port of call if it tries hard enough. Perhaps the idea of rigidly attracting a more focussed target audience will assist and benefit a change in sales strategies, and offset an otherwise uncomfortable truth that music radio will likely dissolve into 'audio'.

Radio, more specifically, music radio still "owns" this unique dimension. Lets not forget the power of street promotion and endorsement, by music radio.

September 18, 2007

Owning a Dog

I have a neat little theory. Flaw it you shall, but neat I think it is.

The older you are, the smaller your dog should be.

It's asthetically correct, convenient and appropriate. How many times do you see a picture of Britney, Paris or any new Hollywood socialite with a tiny dog - and how disproportionate it really is.

Would anyone's 83 year old Grandmother suit a Rottweiler or German Shepard?

The build of your dog should suit the owner, surely. Hmmm, then perhaps Paris is spot-on with her little pet. Damn, I flawed my theory.

August 22, 2007


This band blew my head clean off!

Hailing from Melbourne, these guys at first hear, sound like AC/DC and Motorhead mashed, but as I listened to the rest of their 2nd album "Runnin Wild" last night, it was clear to me that this album is essentially something of a failsafe rock album for any piss-up, BBQ or morning kickstart. I listened to it again this morning on the drive to work.

Guitar solo's are back - Airbourne make this abundantly clear. Every song on the album is a killer, all of them extremely well produced and upbeat, with easy to remember 'one-focus' lyrics. Simple kick your foot in the air Rock-n-Roll! I like it. Try some:
They're playing at the Kings Arms this Friday night [tickets]. I expect everyone there to be sloshed and laughing their asses off to the soundtrack of some fucking good rock.

July 24, 2007

Radio is your friend

I couldn't put it any better. Radio has always been the music promotion machine, and has a future to continue to do so, alongside the internet and online music services. Radio is as collaborative as online community portals. Radio is clever. Radio gives you free stuff, it's live and topical. Radio starts and follows trends. Radio is a culture tracker and developer.

I've always thought that radio will take a smaller slice of our 'media pie', and perhaps a more accurate way to decipher how, is to consider content. We have more content than we are able to work with. We need the internet to manage this. New media like the internet has become another 'staple', alongside old media like radio, television and newsprint. The content is forever growing - we just have more pages to pick from.

That's why we have 'mediums' like radio, to deliver the best and worst of it all.

Now a separate argument, is the music industry, and how radio has been presented (quite ridiculously I might add) as a medium that has hurt the music industry!??

This is far from true. Radio has been instrumental for the last 60 or so years, in developing a record industry. Radio has been the ultimate promotional tool. How we "digest the music" beyond radio, should be the music industry's concern, not that of radio. Radio needs to be separated from any equations relating to sales. Radio is PROMO! Listeners/Consumers are SALES!

Steven Van Zandt wrote a great piece about this recently. He reacts to the US economical slide, and how all forms of logic have started to slide with it:

The latest evidence of this sad loss of logic, pride and integrity comes in the form of a feverish obsession by virtually everyone to make all those greedy, evil radio stations pay for the privilege of playing our precious records.

How dare they!

The free dance is over, buddy, it's time to pay the piper!

It's perfectly obvious that this has been the problem with the record industry all along.

[ read more ]

July 10, 2007

MPFM & the Radio Shuffle

VHF-FM licenses are up for renewal in 2011. If you're a regular reader of this blog, chances are you know about this already.

I've seen the FM License offers paper, put together by MED in May. It looks like some people will be shuffling a little bit on the dial, while others will need to packing their marketing team up and move them to a completely different end of the dial. Further down the page I have detailed a few interesting moves...

I've also read the proposed draft for the allocation of new MPFM frequencies and their dependency on the kind of two way interference between aeonautical radio band just above 108FM - just next door to music and talk stations. There looks to be a crunching of available LPFM frequencies in the the upper band - likely to be reduced to 107.4 - 108.0FM.

The MPFM community frequencies will sit just below the LPFM crowd from 106.6 - 107.4FM. Everything below that is good to go for high powered stations (FMBC).

Points of note include:
7.5 The location of new medium and high power FMBC services in the 100 to 108 MHz band anywhere in the Auckland area will require careful coordination to optimise use of the band and the maintenance of airport landing safety margins.

11.6 There are particular coordination issues with the establishment of new FMBC stations above 100 MHz at Auckland and Wellington, and their establishment in other areas of New Zealand will also require care.
I also found this interesting:
2.6 In regard to low power and GURL FMBC stations, experience has indicated that occasionally operators have raised transmit power levels above the licensed limit. Where such cases have been discovered, appropriate compliance action has been taken. However, such illegal action in or near ILS/VOR Designated Operational Coverage (DOC) areas can lead to a reduction in the safety margins of the ILS/VOR services before regulatory action can be taken and may allow possibly dangerous situations develop. Other actions are therefore needed to ensure that operators in those low power bands clearly understand their responsibilities and associated consequences.
It's been known for a while that the frequencies around the 96FM mark are usually smaller area ones that are designed for "in-between" markets, or secondary frequencies that are sheltered by NZ's famous geography. Recently these 96FM frequencies have been slyly re-engineered as de-facto high power broadcasts over time, and as a result, has affected market frequency rastering. These have turned into "frequencies that shouldn't exist but do".

It's become apparent that this small slice of spectrum needs a clean out. As a result, the re-rastering of the 96FM frequencies (96.0 - 96.9) are all getting 'reset'. Some broadcasters will be able to continue to use their frequency, while others will need to move to the left, to the left. Others will need to move up a bit, or a LOT. Some are getting moved way up the dial to the new 106FM zone.

Here are a few highlights I found from the paper:

96.1 - Currently TRN's "Flava". This license will be moved to 95.8 (Skytower).
95.8 - Currently World TV's "Real Good Life FM". They will vacate 95.8 and move to 104.2 (Pukekohe Hill)
96.8 - Currently Waatea's "George FM". No word yet on this.
My guess is they will move to 96.6fm (Skytower)
96.5 - Currently Tainui FM's Pukekohe frequency. This will move to 105.8fm (Pukekohe Hill)
96.6 - Currently Canwest's "Times FM". This will move to 97.8fm (Lochamber)
95.4 - Currently an unused Mai Media frequency. This will move to 100.2fm (Shakespeare Regional Park)
96.3 - Currently registered as a TRN frequency for Albany.
This might get disbanded, as it already is a very low powered license.

others of interest nearby:
- Currently Canwest's "Coromandel FM". This will move to 97.2 (Lower Rataroa)
96.6 - Raglan Community Radio. This will move to 98.1fm (Raglan)

- Currently TRN's "Radio Hauraki" Waikato. This will move to 96.2 (Ruru).
This one is interesting, as there will need to be a co-ordinated effort between TRN and Canwest for this one. Those Coromandel FM listeners currently enjoying the program on 96.2 will suddenly be hearing the opposition's Radio Hauraki!

92.0 - Currently Canwest's "92 More FM" Waikato. This will shuffle up to 92.2 (Ruru)
This is also interesting for listeners in the Hauraki Plains and the Coromandel, as Nga Iwi FM's listeners currently enjoy their iwi station locally on 92.2 - then on April 1, 2011, 92 More FM will suddenly appear, and their iwi station will have moved to an as-yet undefined frequency.

92.5 - Currently an unused TRN frequency in the South Waikato, will move to 105.2 (Te Kawa). Maybe they'll put Radio Sport onto this FM frequency? They are on 792AM in the Waikato.

All of these are the offers from MED. You can read everything here. [pdf]

July 5, 2007

MPFM - Local Commercial Radio in NZ

Is this feasible?

Okay, I'm not sure about the whole concept of local commercial radio to be honest. I'd like to offer a point of view which may reflect the view of the big corporates. Consider these points:

TRN decided to keep local breakfast shows (like Classic Hits) in every region, because there must be some value in that for them - commercially and for local presence. A well funded company like themselves managed to quantify paying a small team of staff to sell and promote the station locally - albeit only in breakfast. Would you think that they are delivering a good case to say that 'local' radio already exists?

Before you answer - what if TRN's Classic Hits, decided to invest more money into really improving their local radio services by say, opening up more airtime like Drivetime - and putting more resources into local news services and community connection - especially ethnically in cities like Auckland and Wellington or rurally in Gore, Christchurch or the Waikato. More FM already is live and local everywhere - they'd just invest in more community coordinators and promotional content. Their parent has already shown interest in local events and making money from it. The two big networks would likely outperform a MPFM operator, because they are better resourced, and have a stronger financial base. What if the monster known as Newstalk ZB launched local breakfasts in every market as well to counter MPFM?

It's a chess game where it is becoming more apparent the big guys already have the upper hand.

Be honest with your thoughts about this, because if you want to try and take them on in this "local radio market", it could be a crippling reality check for you, and ultimately a dream-shattering waste of energy, money, stress and time.

I'm not saying give up - nor am I offering incentive for you to "take them on" - I'm just saying, if the big monopolies decided to step-up their local presence against you - would you stand a chance? They know what they're doing. They already have the advantage of consistency in local breakfast, and it wouldn't take much for them to develop their local presence in every market across the country. Their big network brands already make a fortune outside of local advertising - so they have the funds. This wouldn't hurt them much at all.

LPFM has been successful so far because it's livelihood DEPENDS on the large shadows that the giants create. LPFM excels in servicing the small niche pockets that are not feasible for bigtime operators to invest in. They're more interested in making big money. If MPFM spells enough cash-reward for them, they will invest.

July 4, 2007

Happy July 4 - America!

The whitehouse is celebrating today!

Bruce Springsteen - This Hard Land [ download ]

July 2, 2007

The almighty cassette

Call me a backward prat, but I still prefer putting together mixtapes (to my partners delight!)

Technology is great, but when you try and fit. it. with. old. ways... the ways you like to do things, it falls short.

Take a mixtape for example. Hands up if you know how to send a friend your mixtape, to their ipod? Oh, but Phelps, haven't you heard of Yes, but not really. Here in NZ, we just got iTunes, and digital downloading is just starting to filter through to our subconscious. The marketing of which ain't even splashing me.

It's been painfully slow thanks to Telecom's draconian approach to REAL broadband, and the joys it can bring (at an afforable speed & price). So really ain't on the map here.

After reading the iPod vs Cassette tests by No Name No Slogan, and a test of the iTrip undertaken 3 years ago by gadgetophile - it's still clear that the cassette tape still has it's charms.

I have a poster on the wall here at work, that explains such charms, an iPod could perhaps never garner. Click the picture or go make your own!

June 19, 2007

K-Rock, KROQ & HD2 formats

I just listened to the audio file where 92.3 Free FM returned to New York it's beloved K-ROCK (minus Howard Stern). A rare radio moment toward the end where the General Manager jumps on air and apologises for taking K-Rock off the air. It's like the "good guys won" [comment]. If only the same could be done to bring back Channel Z here in NZ, even as an internet-only radio station. These guys managed to to do it with K-ROCK 2.

Speaking of which, the Los Angeles long standing KROQ, after implementing HD2 their broadcast, also launched a 'version' of KROQ, or simply, time delaying KROQ from the 80's. It's called ROQ of the 80s [listen live]. Choice!

A good virus

User generated content is most certainly the future. I jumped in fairly early into the blog world, but of late I've been focussed on other things. Now to take focus again, it's clear that the web is shying away from corporate flyer websites (we send you receive), into it's very appropriate new name "web 2.0", where the users generate and the users receive.

iGoogle rocks my world. Everything I want to see at a glance is on my iGoogle homepage. Yahoo was clunky when they did this 'cutom homepage' idea around 1997, today they've fallen behind the fresh thinking of Google, who's superior "Reader" product is inmeasurably invaluable. I have an inbox for all the RSS fed news I'm particuarly interested in, grouped and sourced the way I like it. Saves me oddles of time trapsing the net!

I very much like finding these news tools by Google by what could be a calculated accident, then deciding to 'opt in' and participate. Helps too that I only need 1 Google account to have all this at my disposal.

Spamming/emailing me the latest 'innovation' may serve only to piss me off. Block sender? Yep.

I'm now keen on contributing more to and Scoopit, Delicious and others I'm sure. As I say, it's a good virus - all this interesting news going around :)

Oh lookie! Blogger is introducing video!

June 12, 2007

Television is extinct

What the hell is Freeview? What the hell is TVNZ on demand? Why does Teletext still exist?

C'mon Freeview Group, you can surely co-operate a bit better than this. You seem to be only interested in keeping your existing viewers inside their analogue tomb, instead of trying to promote and open the doors to change. Where are the incentives?. It's promotion is so pathetic, minimal, and ineffective. Well, that's the impression I get by what I see - and let me say, I don't see much to begin with.

I hardly watch any television anymore anyway, and it's not a boycott or deliberate. Have you ever sat down and watched other people watch TV? Do it tonight if your household is slave to the telly, and just for fun, say something random when they're really engrossed - like "I hear a whistle".

Does NZ TV really stink as much as I still think it does? Are programmers still hooked on reality TV? I ask genuinely, as I've been away from the TV guide listings for a while now. If I want TV, really, I can get it online from overseas sources. I can't understand why "MySky" is a good thing, nor the tech underground using their modded TiVo boxes. Getting it online doesn't mean I get it from TVNZ on demand, either. Installing a Satellite to get Greek, Romanian or Indian FTA channels is just darn stupid.

I enjoy a good comedy show if I happen to align myself with the network's schedule, but this usually never happens until later at night when I'm relaxing before bed.

I caught glimpses of Shortland Street last night in a rare "in-between things" moment. I saw Angela Bloomfield and Craig Parker back on the soap. Oh dear. Is manic desperation setting in?
I don't have an opinion of Angela's four years as Director for the soap, but when I see her on screen, it's a cringe to see. I don't expect great acting anyway from a show that is on the same level as Home & Away. I happily use those 2.5 hours a weeks in better ways.

Let me get this right. You are looking for something decent to watch, right? You sit on your bum on the couch, scan the channels, and watch the screen of a box in the corner when you see something you like. Now, you either watch by free analogue broadcasts via the coathanger on the roof, or pay Sky for more or less 5 channels of news, or music, or kids, or lifestyle, or porn, or documentary, or weather, or whatever. Around 100 channels to delight you.

Television is a platform for broadcasting content. The content is delivered to you from a Television station. Let's simplify.

Content is your favourite show, or documentary, or music video. Why stay dependent on 60s colour TV, when you can try moving into the 70s and getting it on Betamax, or on VHS if you prefer the 80s. Hold on, why not move into the 90s and get a DVD - or perhaps this decade, you might just download it to your computer, or can I mutter, your iPod?

Television is an extinct platform that for so long, has tried to keep propping itself up. An advertising and copyright industry evolved from this. Truthfully, today's world is going through a technological revolution, where supply of content, wether it's music, or video, books or pictures are available - NOW. No waiting for a TV schedule. No need for an advertising or copyright industry. The industry-created rulebook is not relevant anymore.

So, Freeview will try and keep us in front of Television sets, by offering a clearer picture, which really, in the long run, doesn't matter. You and I, (the taxpayer) funded around 30% of the setup costs, yet you still have to wait for your show, watch ads, and turn the volume down in the breaks. But the quality is "so damned good" in widescreen. ugh.

Watch this website carefully, and remember - while you're watching a TV, it is watching you.

June 11, 2007

Radioscope finally returns

The news is back. Radioscope returns with a mambo-built website, and it's now free!

Originally an industry magazine, funded by subscriptions - it was a staple for the industry throughout the 90s. It went online around 2000, providing support, news and teasers of job movements within the NZ radio industry. Charts and survey fiagures were soon added and Media Sauce grew.

In 2005, they stopped publishing the glossy magazine, and went online as a subscription news business, covering the radio and music industry headlines. Perhaps this industry is just too small or whatever, but even as a subscriber to it, I found that Medianstrip/Radioscope waned as a source for radio related news. I will excuse the fact that the industry is changing, and no longer exclusively radio. Either there's not enough news, or too much of it - I got the impression by the lack of updates that a major restructuring was underway. Web 2.0 also made it far too easy for me to get the stories long before they're published at Radioscope. There are industry bloggers, and somehow word of mouth has become a quicker means of getting information. That, I find interesting. Radioscope couldn't hold the exclusive.

I like the new website, simple (and free) as it is. I'm hoping for the articles and interviews that were such a huge attraction to the original published magazine. While the costs of taking it back to press will likely prevent this from happening, I trust that Paul and the Radioscope crew will continue to truck on. Thanks for providing RSS, I look forward to the forum and profiles, and more additions to the LPFM list as well.

Welcome back Radioscope!


May 28, 2007

Hawkeye hits again

Hi Blog world...

So where the bloody hell are ya?

Sydney mate!

I got an email about this new website - Linka - which is now another industry double entendre (see Linker). Anyway, you post your favourite weblink, and then you tell your friends, who vote for the link, so more people can read the link, and you'll be popular for a nanosecond.

Hawkeye spotted the ghastly logo fluff-up (below). On the positive side, I got a response (AND it was fixed) within 4 minutes - at 11:30 on a Sunday night?!?!? Hmmmm.

Enjoy the music - see the imeem player on the right. Come back soon, coz I will be putting a swag of stuff on there for you to listen to, should you be that way pleasured ;)

Linka - launch logo

Linka - they just fixed it, ahem yes.

May 8, 2007

Virgin Radio coming to NZ?

HT Media are set to buy up Canwest's interests in NZ. [ link ]

From the HT Media website:
As part of its expansion into electronic media, HT Media, through its subsidiary HT Music and Entertainment Company Ltd., has entered the FM radio market in key Indian cities through a consulting partnership with Virgin Radio.
Virgin Radio!?

  • Could this deal pave the way for the Virgin brands to enter NZ? Richard Branson digs NZ remember...
  • Will HT Media become interested in purchasing Apna AM and/or Tarana, perhaps re-branding it Fever?
  • Will this finally lead to a shakeup of the current radio formats, opening the door for more commercial enthnic radio?
  • Could HT Media help play a part in finally waking up the radio sector, to it's extremely underserved multicultural audiences - especially in Auckland?
When Canwest acquired Radioworks in 2001, the running gag was that a Canadian music quota might be implemented as policy.... More Alanis Morrissette, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion etc...
I wonder if the Mediaworks offices today are stocking up on Bollywood DVDs and their soundtracks... probably not....

May 3, 2007

Peter Andre is not dead

In certain circles, people have been claiming that Peter Andre had died. His website spammed with condolences, Australian muscle men in tears...

He's alive. He's recovering from viral meningitis.

What's not correct is that he and his wife are filming a reality series for ITV. This cannot be true, as "filming has been halted while Andre recovers from his illness". This therefore is not a reality show.

Thanks for coming.

April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Ever wanted to know well in advance, when Friday 13th falls?

Use this calendar

That way you can minimize any appointments to the dentist, move expected surgery, and avoid Bunning's Warehouse on these days. Use a calm sink of water to see yourself today, instead of mirrors.

Today, you also might like to avoid Catteries, Olsen Twins movies (born Fri 13) or music by Tupac Shakur (died Fri 13), skip the salt on your fish n chips, use powdered milk today to prevent spills, and if you're planning on pre-ordering the next Harry Potter book (which is due out on Friday July 13), maybe pick it up on the Saturday.

Best of luck to you all :)

April 11, 2007

Ozzies love the beach

After taking a look at the weather forecast for Sydney yesterday, and comparing it with Auckland, you gotta realise that the weather plays a massive part in HOW we respectively live.

Our dress attire is reflected:
Kiwi's in April are donning skivvies and turtlenecks, while Australians are still skipping to the beach in a skirt.

Our lunches differ:
If it's sunny in Auckland, for example, it might be too windy to eat on the deck at a cafe, so we tend to stay indoors (or at work). Sydneysiders might catch the bus to Bondi, and perhaps taking a 20 minute dip in the water before changing and organising a business meeting on the bus trip back.

Our after hours social activities differ:
In Auckland, in April, on a "good day" like today, at best we might head to a neighbours place, or friends or family for a spring BBQ with wine, in a last ditch effort to claim something of the tailwinds of summer. In Sydney, in April, every day is a good day. You'll visit every relative over the month, eat fabulous food and drink a plentiful amount of good wines. You could easily visit Manly a few times by ferry as well, even scoring a tan!!

One good thing has happened here in Auckland this month - we are now partly even with Australian holiday-pay entitlement. 4 weeks a year - FINALLY! Yessss! *clenches fist to air*

<-- oh yeah, this sign was put up to warn Australians of a possible Tsunami affecting the area... whoops!

April 4, 2007

Anti-Smacking Bill

Here in NZ, this bloody issue just won't go away. It continues to unite the nation, and divide the people from our government. There is a website now taking a snap poll, which upon reaching 100,000 votes, will be submitted to parliament.

Do you believe in smacking your children?

A bill has been put to parliament that effectively will see any form of physical hitting toward children - become an offence. It is speculated this bill will not affect parents who currently 'bash' their kids (as its likely this will be largely ignored by those anyway), and has a high chance of prosecuting good people who dicipline their children with well-judged parenting, and smacking being a part of that.

When you get to a moment where a loud pronouced, authoritative voice is needed, what do you do...

a) If your child is determined to play with electrical cords, do you smack? "No! - that's naughty... do not touch!"

b) If your child doesn't eat their (healthy) prepared lunch, and you repeatedly find junk food wrappers in their school bag, do you smack? "I've told you to eat the lunch I give you, and not to eat junk food!"

Thank you for voting on Sue Bradford's bill at Day 1 has produced a fantastic response.

Please tell your friends and colleagues to go and vote - if 100,000 Kiwis vote on this crucial issue, the government cannot ignore the results.

If everyone who has already voted tells 20 friends and colleagues about, then we will achieve those voting numbers - and the result will influence the success or failure of the bill.

Thank you for helping to make a difference.

Opinion Polls NZ

March 30, 2007

Better see a doctor

I'm gonna be consuming a lot of sick music later this year....

The Beastie Boys has just announced a new album this year - which has got me foaming!

I've already started mashing up some of their acapellas with some crazy ass electro/rock beats, just to get back into the mood! Wow - some great news today, and I feel real good about it. Methinks it's time to load all their albums into my iCar*.

*an iCar is my 10-CD shuttle in the car. I press this neat button called 'random' so I'll not know what the next song is, until.. oh nevermind.

See! I'm sick.

March 26, 2007

The Monofuck

Receive a stereo mp3 file, but the audio is in mono?
Or it sounds weird, like some vocals or instrumentation is either missing, diminished or muddy?

It's the monofuck.

The "monofuck" is somewhat nasty. It's a stereo file with both channels fed by either a doubling of the left or right source.

L + L (or R + R) feeding L + R

There's also the "stereofuck" when one of your cables is earthing or our of phase, and the whole recording sounds 'underwater', sounding whack.

-L + L (or -R + R) feeding L + R

Both are ghastly in a song with panning production elements!

(above) Normal stereo file

(above) Monofuck L+L

(above) Monofuck R+R

Try this Beatles "Revolution" Pack I put together to hear what I'm talking about. I clipped it to the first 40 seconds. The download is about 5Mb, and loaded to a temporary online storage website (zShare). Click here to download it.

You'll find 6 files:
1 the original track
2 monofuck left
3 monofuck right
4 stereofuck
5 stereofuck (left inverted)
6 stereofuck (right inverted)

Note the properties of the original track, like where the vocals are placed, where the guitars are placed, drums etc. See if you can spot what what happens with each file.

If you're an mp3 blogger - perhaps posting mp3s in actual mono, or "monofuck", may help to serve as a 'technicality', if you get into a wrangle with your local record company agents.

March 21, 2007


As discussed in my upgrades post, here are a few pictures I wanted to share :)

If it's been a while since you climbed Mt Maunganui - this from Jan 2007
click for a bigger image

Back in Feb, I got the heads up over in Sydney, of these two fine shows that were on their way to NZ

The Strand in Sydney was just beautifully presented for Valentines Day this year!

No, U2 did not "peak" in the 80's, they peaked in 2006.


What is it about us, that makes us want to make things better?
Is it a matter of keeping up with 'the joneses', or necessity?

We have Windows and all the security programs on our computer telling us to "stay updated" with its security and version updates. New version this, free upgrade that.

I was thinking about posting some pictures here, of some recent trips around NZ and Oz. I was thinking that I haven't spent much time at his blog, and it's be nice to let you know whats up in my life.. after all, Google Analytics (the upgrade of Urchin) is my new stats software. I upgraded. It tells me that I still have a lot of visitors, so yes, it would be a worthwhile thing to put up some pictures, and tell a few yarns.

From there, I thought, we'll I'd better offer you something fresh - just to let you know that I AM still functioning as a person and transparent in receiving information and pouring my painted opinion of it here on the blog. So, methinks trying to figure out how to integrate a picture viewer using Flash, would somehow impress upon your good self.

Where to start? Well, I'm already with Google, and I know they have Picasa. I've previously not favoured this product (too unnecessarily difficult basket), but should I try it again?

The other day, a friend sent me a link to a 'picasa web album', with pictures from her wedding. I was there. It was a lovely day, and I got to see some funny photos by some of the new faces I met there. Picasa worked. It gave me ease of use, so I was focussing on the event, rather than the interface. When you're able to forget the catalyst, it's a sure sign the product works well.

Should I upgrade and sign up for a Picasa album? If I already shared a lot of photos with you fine readers, then yes. Truth is, I don't do that very often - or at all... so I won't. To be honest, the process is easy enough already to display a single image here. I could say, upload 5 pictures, pop in my captions and be happy with my contribution. You'd also be happy that I haven't swamped you with stuff you don't want to see, nor wait on it downloading, or surf off to web-links that may subject you to more hassle than it's worth.

There's an upside to upgrades, but I think it's also important to know what's necessary and what works. Perhaps that's the attitude of those using a Linux OS?

Are we improving our life, evolving, or just upgrading for the sake of tomorrow?

oh - by the way, the new Playstation 3 is out.. are you getting two of 'em?

March 14, 2007

Save Easter!

There are currently two bills before Parliament that would extend shop trading to all or some locations on Good Friday and/or Easter Sunday.

Both bills are going to be debated in Parliament today (March 14).

Both bills come before Parliament just as a UNICEF report has shown up our poor record in encouraging family time and at a time when we are suffering from crippling levels of consumer debt.

Helping us stop this bill is easy.

Just visit the NDU retail campaign website where you can email your local MP.

My letter:
Dear Judith,

Numbers are growing fast around support for the preservation of Easter observances, as they are for Anzac Day. These days are becoming more important than ever. We cannot lose sight that people have a right to their history and culture in NZ, and we have been very good in continuing to preserve, and embrace these events.

Please oppose the two bills before Parliament that would extend shop trading to all or some locations on Good Friday and/or Easter Sunday.

With so many people employed in retail and related jobs we need to keep shops closed a few days a year so that religious observance, family, cultural, recreational and community events can be enjoyed by almost all workers and their families.

At a time when UNICEF has shown up our poor record in encouraging family time and when we are suffering from crippling levels of consumer debt we hope you will vote against shop trading at Easter.

Do me proud Judith,

Richard Phelps

February 23, 2007

The Radio Vault

Archive rooms are usually dusty places - but I've found a place on the net that smells like that cute girl back in school, that you secretly fancied - you even sat next to her in science...

You'll see the link on the right - it's The Radio Vault, a project by Duane Rafferty. He collects radio station memorabilia (stickers, logos, cards, press clippings etc), and has undergone a painstaking exercise of digitising these for us all to see, and reflect upon.

Looking at some of these radio station stickers, takes me back to my childhood and the music I used to hear on these various stations. I even took notice of promotional trailers at the time, and remember some of the corporate voices - how they used to say their catchphrases.. "nobody plays more music than 91FM" etc... reminds me of the imagery, stories, station promotions and the countless hours of recording songs off the radio onto Maxell cassettes :)

It also takes me back - seeing logos of radio stations I used to work for at various stages (even others that don't exist now), and how long ago it was. Very apparent.

The Radio Vault is growing too. If you have anything in your collection (I have a briefcase with lots of radio stickers on it), old promo t-shirts, jerseys etc - take a photo and email him. He would be very grateful :)

One other thing I found interesting, is that it clearly illustrates how - as the bigger networks acquired the smaller stations, the less LOCAL they appear to become!! Sometimes I wonder about the day Doug Gold put pen to paper about the More FM idea, and how he might be feeling now.

Even thinking back - about the govt regulations changes, with the 1989 FM frequencies release, I wonder if radio would be able to survive today if Govt, say, kept it regulated, but continued to release frequencies. How much more diverse and fiercly local would our airwaves be today?

Would we need National Radio, for example?

February 18, 2007

2007 and Michael Jackson returns...

It's getting crazy... Michael Jackson's new "album" is set to drop this year, and already the rumour mill is hotter than ever. Can I just say that Michael Jackson's PR team now includes the Myspace, Bebo and blogger communities! It's gonna be tough determining where the facts and where the fiction lies of course, but as the year unfolds, you can imagine how much hype there will be toward the release of his new recordings. Already there are interviews about it on YouTube [watch].

Over the last few years, the focus has been on his child molestation allegations, but others have been keeping track of whats going on in the 'underground' - bootleg remixes, and re-hashes of dumped tracks from 2001's Invincible have been floating around... somehow.

For example, since the end of 2006, Tempamental has been getting record hits for his track that features MJ and Pras on "No Friend Of Mine" - which is legit - although the harmonies sound like a slightly recycled "Liberian Girl" to me [watch].

Then there's the story about how Australian Radio illegally hammered another scrapped MJ song called "Xscape" around 2003 [watch].

Michael Jackon's 2007 album, may not even become a thing you can physically hold. It's been stated that it may be only released as a digital download... but thinking for a moment, if it were an "album", it might build so much hype that - it could make Michael Jackson the comeback artist of the decade. Take a look at the possible tracklisting:
* "Xscape"
Written by Michael Jackson
* "I Have This Dream (From The Bottom Of My Heart)"
Written by Michael Jackson
* "Be Me 4 a Day"
Written and composed by Michael Jackson, Claxis Days Grey
* "Benjamin"
Written by Michael Jackson
* "Go Easy"
Written by Michael Jackson, Produced by
* "He Who Makes The Sky Grey"
Written and composed by Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Sheik Abdullah Backing vocals by Kim Chandler
* "Heaven Sent"
Written by Michael Jackson
* "I'm Dreamin'"
Written and composed by Michael Jackson and
* "No Friend of Mine" feat. Tempamental and Pras
Produced by
Written and composed by John Legend
* "What's It Gonna Be?"
Written and composed by Michael Jackson
* "You Are So Beautiful"
Written and composed by Michael Jackson + The song is a dedication to his fan's support through-out the 2005 child molestation trial. And was written during his trial and is said to be very powerful and emotional.
2006 was the year of the Visionary Box Singles, and 2007 might just be the comeback year for Michael Jackson, if you take this track as an appetizer:

Tempamental, Will.I.Am & Michael Jackson - No Friend Of Mine (Gangsta)
web quality (3:14 / ogg / 1.14Mb)

February 9, 2007

Transformers 2007

Well, it looks like this movie will officially 'out' me as an 80s nut. The Transformers movie will be a must see for me.

Somethings gotta be said about an original idea, and how the concept could perhaps best be materialized 20 years later thanks to a mix of Spielberg and his digital technologies, compared with Nelson Shin's lame, but geek-must-see 1986 movie about the evil Unicron (roams the galaxy, transforms from a metallic planet into a colossal robot) who offers what turns to be a sour deal to the recently defeated and battered Megatron/Galvatron to destroy the Autobots (the good guys) and his battle with Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime [plot here].

In the 2007 film, we find Sam Witwicky, the descendant of Captain Archibald Witwicky, who learns he is in possession of the map leading to the "Allspark" (the spark or 'souls' of every transformer who has ever lived, or ever will live). This map was burned into a pair of glasses through an encounter with Megatron and Captain Archibald back in the 1800's.

Somehow Bernie Mac is involved and sells a car to Sam - which turns out to be an Autobot (Bumblebee), and Sam comes under the protection of the Autobots as the Decepticons come down to Earth looking for the map.

Great news! Peter Cullen is still the voice of Optimus Prime (and perhaps two more sequels!).

Watch the trailer or click the logo below to visit the official website.

Click here to visit the official website

January 23, 2007

Ask me what I want

You know when something comes out of leftfield? A hard decision, pregnancy, a car accident, restructuring announcements at work etc - mostly come as a shock to the unwitting. In radio, things like programming changes are part and parcel of the deal. You have performance reviews, listener feedback and most of the time, ratings.

Over in the states, a lot of marketers, musicians and creative houses are involving their target audiences to participate in the very campaigns, that are addressed to them. It's Consumer Generated Marketing (CGM). Jacob hits 'the dark side' of the issue, with many links across the structure of his point (an interesting read), which below I have pulled across:

There's a price to be paid for inviting everyone to participate in the station's programming and marketing.

1: Stations have to live up to the promise. If you ask the audience for input or to take your survey, be prepared to show them the results, followed up by our action plan.

2: You have to stay true to your plan to deal listeners in. Too often, stations start an "Ask The PD" or help-us-create-something process, but then the entire campaign runs out of gas. If you ask for input and ideas, there needs to be a logical follow-up and payoff.

3: Your product has to be in place before you start asking for input. If the morning show is fledgling - or just plain mediocre - save the time, money, and aggravation. Preston & Steve or Mark & Brian can ask for creative ideas. But not all morning shows and personalities should be playing the CGM game.

4: Don't be afraid to air some laundry, even the dirty stuff. Not all comments are going to be positive, and your CGM campaign will have more credibility if listeners hear kudos and complaints. Address the addressables and let your audience know that you'll fix things that are broken. Chevy learned this the hard way during a recent campaign for their Tahoes. The anti-SUV crowd came out in force.

Finally, be careful what you wish for. If you're asking for ideas and help, there's a certain entertainment value in "Gong Show" type amateur entries. That's what the early "American Idol" shows are about - exposing some of the worst submissions and auditioners. But you also have to have a conclusion, and it's even more credible when the winner is something that listeners actually choose.

Woah! Not too close!

Are there billboards up for this Walrus where you drive?
What!??! Do TV1 want to cause accidents?!?!

January 19, 2007

2-4 Grooves

2-4 Grooves are from Ostwestfalen, Germany.

With a growing back library of stuff, its exciting to find they've redone a lot of my favourite retro cuts, including "Easy Lover", "Son Of A Preacher Man" and "Like The Way I Do" (their current release). Although the singing is by Kate Cameron, she sounds pretty damn close to Melissa Etheridge - in fact I'd expect many clubbers not to even notice!

Take a listen, and enjoy.

2-4 Grooves [Myspace][Official German]

2-4 Grooves - The Way I Do