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Show some respect, please

Posted February 21st, 2007 by debritz

I'm not a fan of "special" broadcaster SBS's new policy on placing commercials during programs. At least with commercial stations, the programs are mostly designed to accommodate advertising - but much of the material shown on SBS clearly is not. The other night it was obvious from the inflexion in the voiceover of a documentary I was watching that there was more to say where a commercial break was inserted. Like other works of art, TV shows have a rhythm that ought to be respected.

Fame game

Posted February 20th, 2007 by debritz

"I came home from the whirlwind to a house where tumbleweed literally blows across the street, and I felt a sense of - almost - withdrawal. It passed, but the irony was not lost on me." So says Jake Halpern, the author of the book Fame Junkies who got to experience a little fame himself - because he'd written a book about people who get hooked on being famous. There's a lesson there for all of us.

Humphrey be bare

Posted February 13th, 2007 by debritz

Over at ShowBritz, I'm running a campaign to help save children's television character Humphrey B. Bear from the axe. (Click here if you want to have your say.) One of the side issues that has arisen in the comments is that Humphrey doesn't wear pants. Isn't it odd that we comment on characters like Humphrey and Donald Duck who don't wear pants, but not on, for example, Bugs Bunny, who is naked?
PS: A friend noted that Donald Duck doesn't wear pants because ducks need to swim. I don't think I ever saw Donald swim - or fly, for that matter.

Change of address

Posted February 12th, 2007 by debritz

Newspapers have been running the email addresses of their journalists for quite a while, now Channel 9 News has caught up with the trend. Tonight's Brisbane bulletin displayed email addresses for a number of reporters, including veteran political editor Laurie Oakes. The interesting thing, though, is that some of the addresses don't quite match the address book entries of people who know the journos in question. Have their email addresses changed? Have the reporters taken on additional addresses just to deal with public inquiries? Or are the emails going somewhere else - to a producer, for example?

24: a matter of timing

Posted February 7th, 2007 by debritz

Of all the 24 hours in the day, it seems Channel 7 has chosen the hour starting at 10am to screen 24. As a reader of this blog points out, the viewers are not happy.

Dream on

Posted February 6th, 2007 by debritz

Spencer Howson tells me he brought my comments about replacing Grandstand with an arts program to the attention of ABC sports reporter Quentin Hull. His reaction? "What does he want? Live coverage of A Midsummer Night's Dream being performed at QPAC?" Well, that would be a start ...

Encore, encore

Posted February 5th, 2007 by debritz

I received an email today with a Channel 7 logo announcing:

If you missed them and want to know what everyone is talking about…Channel Seven will screen the premiere episodes of HEROES and PRISON BREAK: ON THE RUN in a special encore tomorrow night.

Apparently the word "repeat" doesn't exist in their dictionary.

Urban legend

Posted February 5th, 2007 by debritz

It's funny how the media has been full of stories over the past 24 hours about Keith Urban's May tour of Australia beginning in Brisbane. I broke the story a week ago.

And now for the arts ...

Posted February 5th, 2007 by debritz

After some reflection on the weekend, I've decided I was too conciliatory in my discussion with Spencer Howson on 612ABC last Friday about how the coverage of the arts in the media does not reflect the overwhelming public interest in the subject. It occurred to me yesterday, not for the first time, that way too much radio airtime is taken up with sporting events that, as the Australian Bureau of Statistics has proven, are of interest only to a minority in this country. I'm therefore demanding that Grandstand be replaced with, or at the very least alternate with, a day-long showbiz program with running commentary on cultural events, expert opinion and arts talkback. It should be a huge hit.

Don't panic, Cate

Posted January 30th, 2007 by debritz

I sincerely hope that, for her sanity's sake, Cate Blanchett isn't as distraught at not winning the Screen Actors Guild award as many of the media commentators seem to be on her behalf. It's simply not Blanchett's year to pick up gongs; it doesn't mean she's never going to get a movie gig again or be cast out on to the street. It's just showbiz.

The return of Jono

Posted January 22nd, 2007 by debritz

It's a little known fact that I once applied for Jonathan Colman's job. That's way back in the early 1980s when I was a fresh-faced kid and they were looking for somebody to fill his big shoes on Simon Townsend's Wonder World and he was headingoff to fame and fortune in the UK. I didn't get the gig and it would be more than a decade before my face appeared on television (the medium's loss, not mine). Anyway, that's just a ham-fisted way of saying the man who likes to be known as Jono is back in Australia and will be heard nationally in the daily Jonathan Coleman Experience show on the Classic Hits network, which includes 4KQ in Brisbane. It's being launched in Sydney next week.

Weight to go

Posted January 20th, 2007 by debritz

Because of my recent trip to LA, I missed seeing myself on television. Channel 9's Extra did a story on Tuesday about my weight-loss program and the Target 25 website.

Farewell, Art Buchwald

Posted January 19th, 2007 by debritz

American newspaper columnist Art Buchwald was able to laugh about his own death before he died. He noted that dying was easier than finding a parking place in Washington DC, and advised people against dying on the same day as a Nobel Prize winner if they wanted a big obit in a newspaper. There's more at my Celebrity Deaths Archive.

A stunt too far

Posted January 18th, 2007 by debritz

Brisbane's radio stations aren't as big on stunts as they used to be, but I hope the local execs and producers have paid attention to the tragedy in California where a woman died after she drank too much water during a stunt in which she stood to win a Wii for her kids. In a recording of the show, some of the DJs joke about people dying from water intoxication, citing a case from two years ago. A caller to the station also warned that drinking too much water can be deadly. Ten people have been sacked from the station, but that's not going to bring back mother-of-three Jennifer Strange, 28.

Playing the fame game

Posted January 13th, 2007 by debritz

Everybody wants to be rich and famous - and even more so here in LA. Everywhere you go, there's somebody flogging you a product, a seminar or some other thing that promises to make you wealthy, make you look better (via plastic surgery) or, at the very least, score you some marijuana (for medicinal purposes only, you understand). One thing that did amuse me in a town that strives on success is the notice of eviction posted in the window of one of the many psychic's storefronts. I know it's an old joke, but surely they must have seen it coming.

Playboy's place

Posted January 12th, 2007 by debritz

As I mentioned at my other blog, I visited Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion today. Now, whatever you think of Hef's lifestyle - specifically the bit about him living with three women young enough to be his granddaughters - he's certain a unique, urbane and intelligent individual. His three girlfriends, Holly, Bridget and Kendra, seem to be quite intelligent too. They're certainly all strong personalities who are well aware of the situation they are in and the way others view it. The mansion itself is something else. I'll be writing more about the place soon.

Famous over LA

Posted January 12th, 2007 by debritz

It's just gone 10am here in Hollywood and I'm getting ready for a big day out on the town, courtesy of E! Entertainment. I can't say too much about my plans, but I'm going to be kept on the go and - I hope - have a good time. Meanwhile, here's something that happened on the plane: I was chatting to two of the very friendly Qantas air crew as we were landing in LA (I was sitting opposite them), and one of them said he thought he recognised me. Had I flown this route before, he asked. Yes, I said, but it was a long time ago. Then he said: "Are you on television?" I am a journalist, I replied, I do some radio and I hade been on TV once or twice but I didn't have a regular gig. He then told me that Channel 9's Richard Wilkins was also on the plane, up in business class. "On well," i replied, "that's the difference between him and me."

Garrison on radio

Posted January 8th, 2007 by debritz

It's not secret that I love the broadcast medium. The late Robert Altman's movie about a long-running radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, is just opening in the UK, and the show's creator Garrison Keillor spoke to the BBC. Here's part of what what he had to say:

"Radio gives you your language. It's a perfect medium for it: poetry, comedy, narrative, or just everyday yammering and gnashing of teeth. You tend to remember what you hear whereas TV distracts you by flashing pictures at you and doing camera acrobatics. People sometimes tell me stories I told them on the radio years ago. Quite astonishing. TV has attention deficit disorder built into it, unfortunately."

Climate of change

Posted January 7th, 2007 by debritz

I think it's a wise move by Brisbane's Channel 7 to bring back "boned" Channel 9 weatherman John Schluter. At 53, he's got a heap of experience and a lot more to give. There's more on my other blog.

Nic in pharmacy shock

Posted January 5th, 2007 by debritz

Nicole Kidman went to the chemists, and both she and husband Keith Urban were spotted at Woolworths, where he asked where to find the salsa. The charmingly parochial details of the star couple's Bateman Bay holiday are here on the local paper's website.

Getting Aunty back on the air

Posted January 1st, 2007 by debritz

The ABC's Brisbane studios, which have been closed due to the unusually high incidence of breast cancer among workers, may not be relocated in time for 6122 ABC to return to local programming at the end of January as is normally the case after the Christmas-New Year break. My suggestion: lots of outside broadcasts, where the 612 team could get out among the listeners. They are welcome at my place every Friday so I can do my spot with Spencer Howson from the back deck!
PS: As I suggested on my other blog, it may be possible to watch the old ABC studios being demolished on webcam.

It's how you say it

Posted January 1st, 2007 by debritz

I was a concerned yesteray to hear a radio announcer refer to this year as "Twenty-oh-seven". That sounds more like a time (said in military fashion) than a year to me.


Posted December 28th, 2006 by debritz

The American Film Institute says (among other things) that the VHS cassette is dead. That must explain why those combined VHS-DVD machines that used to cost almost $1000 are now under $200. Now, who's taken bets on how long it is before DVDs are declared deceased?

Stan Zemanek signs off

Posted December 23rd, 2006 by debritz

It's the end of a radio era in Sydney, with Stan Zemanek hanging up his headphones to concentrate on his health battle against a brain tumour. Zemanek has always been a controversial figure, but my experience of him was a pleasant one. When I interviewed him for my radio column in The Courier-Mail about eight years ago, he was polite, unassuming and thoughtful. Quite the opposite to his on-air persona, in fact.

The lost content

Posted December 19th, 2006 by debritz

I think I've finally found all the posts I lost during my webpage meltdown. Here they are:


Sun, 2006-12-24 Minute="51" Hour="12">12:51

If you think this site looks wrong, you're right. I tried to be too clever
by updating my content management system and something has gone terribly wrong.
Hopefully I'll be able to restore it to what it was, if not make it better,
soon. Fingers crossed ...

Cold, hard logic

Sun, 2006-12-24 Minute="1" Hour="10">10:01

There are many things in this world I know nothing about. Or, perhaps, about
which I know nothing. One of them is exactly what "cold logistics"
means. That, according to the words painted on the on the sides of the
company's shipping containers, is what P&O does. I think it may have
something to do with transporting refrigerated goods, but it could also be that
they're simply prepared to do dispassionately something that makes perfect

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