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Not the whole story

Posted August 29th, 2010 by debritz

In journalism, it's variously called a "write-off" (or "woff"), a "blurb", a "gofirst" or a "standfirst" - a short, snappy line that summarises or teases a story and, hopefully, encourages people to keep reading. Some sub-editors are very good at writing them, to the point where the standfirsts oversell the story and reading on only sets up the reader for disappointment. Some blurbs, rather like the one I've cut from and pasted here, miss the point. Surely the big news about Matthew Newton is not how he worked so hard for months and will now miss the chance to host The X-Factor, it's the fact that he had a spectacular metldown (not his first) and allegedly beat up his (now ex) girlfriend Rachel Taylor, who has taken out an AVO and vowed to press charges, and was consequently dumped by the show and by his own management. I don't think anybody is, as the blurb seems to imply, standing around the barbecue today discussing how unlucky Newton is. (Apart from the one X-Factor wannabe quoted in the story.) In fact, I suspect many people will, like News Ltd writer Paul Kent, vigorously take another tack. My opinion? Newton probably is ill, in which case he needs treatment, but that shouldn't be allowed to overshadow what he's (allegedly) done. We should all take a reality check on who the victim really is.
PS: Yes, the blurb is supposed to summarise the story at hand, but it doesn't even really do that. Maybe "X-Factor contestant defends hard-working Matthew Newton"?

Four for thought

Posted August 27th, 2010 by debritz

In a week that has already seen Australian networks Seven and Ten announce new digital channels (7-mate and Channel Eleven), Britain's Channel 4 has unveiled its autumn season with at least one idea we'll undoubtedly be seeing in the antipodes soon. Channel 4, which is screening its final series of Big Brother, is to launch a "docu-soap" called Seven Days in Notting Hill. According to the Guardian, "viewers will see events that have only just taken place [and] will also be able to give online advice to the people in the show". I imagine Ten or one of the other Australian networks is already eyeing "Seven Days in Bondi Beach". Channel 4's schedule will also feature comedy series from Morgana Robinson (described as "Kenny Everett without the beard"), Frankie Boyle (a Scottish comedian who was the standout performer in the panel show Mock the Week, which hasn't screened here) and Robert Webb (solo, without his higher-profile partner David Mitchell). I'd like to think Australian audiences will be seeing all of that somewhere sooner rather than later.

Here Today, gone tomorrow

Posted August 25th, 2010 by debritz

Reports that Hamish Blake and Andy Lee (pictured) are quitting their drivetime show, which blitzes the ratings every weekday in every major metropolitan market across the nation, is bad news for the Austereo's Today radio network. It's hard to imagine another act, local or networked, that could garner such consistently high ratings. Of course, it also presents an opportunity for other stations to even the playing field in the afternoons, and that's got to be a good thing for the medium. I'd like to think we'll get some strong local shows, but I fear networking is inevitable. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if 2011 is the year that one commercial network attempts a national breakfast show. I know they've failed in the past, but the times they are a'changing. The shame for Austereo is that, if anybody could do it, it would have been Hamish and Andy.
P.S. One last thing about H&A: they proved that you don't have to be obnoxious to score big listener numbers. They'll be missed.
P.P.S. The duo will still be heard on Austereo one day a week.

Style counsel

Posted August 21st, 2010 by debritz

A brief beef: I am sick of seeing and hearing news items where local governments are referred to simply as "council" without an article. Would we write or say something like: "Mr Bloggs said bank would put up interest rates"? No. Yet we often read or hear in the media the likes of: "Cr Nerk said council would approve the project." I know public servants and politiicans speak this way but that's no reason for media professionals to follow suit mindlessly.

This time it's not personal

Posted August 16th, 2010 by debritz

We journalists are a sensitive breed. We take it personally when people say bad things about our profession or our particular medium. In fact, we often get so emotional in defending ourselves that we don't do what we're trained to do -- and that's look clearly and objectively at the facts. For years now, many newspaper journos have had their heads in the sand about the implications of declining circulation. If they are not in denial about it -- and how could you be when you look at the figures -- they are full of wacky ideas about how they can reverse the trend. The sad fact is that the decline of newspapers is terminal, it's just a matter of when the plug will be pulled. Specialist publicaions may have a little longer, but it's likley that print will be dead within a decade or two. This doesn't mean newspaper journalists are necessarily doing a bad job, it means the demand is for online delivery. All very good -- except that too many online consumers expect their news for free, and it's near-on impossible to deliver a quality product for nothing. In the UK, the Daily Mail may have found a formula that works -- but it's too early yet to say whether advertising alone can support the major mastheads as we know them. Even if it does, further staff cuts are inevitable -- and, of course, that will impact on quality. It's hard to know what to make of Rupert Murdoch's plan to introduce a national "newspaper" for delivery on iPads, but some commentators have already written it off. At least Murdoch is putting his money where his mouth is and giving it a go. And, by doing so -- and by constructing paywalls around some of his existing online products -- he's acknowledging the thing many of his own employees can't accept: that newspapers are living on borrowed time.

Whither online video?

Posted August 15th, 2010 by debritz

I was complaining on Twitter recently about the trouble I've been having with video on the websites of Australia's two biggest newspaper publishers. On the Fairfax sites (including and, videos auto-load after a short delay in which, if I can find the right place to click, I can switch them off. Videos on the News Ltd sites ( and its subsidiaires) give me the option to watch or not but they take an age to load (and I'm not a patient person, so I often abandon my attempts). Neither situation, I ventured in a Tweet, is ideal. One of my tweeps said video has no place on newspaper sites. I disagree. I think they should offer video -- and, inevitably, they will have to do so just to be able to compete -- but they should invest more not just on the content (which can be amateurish) but on getting the technology right. Then I remembered one provincial newspaper where I worked as a younger man, where the IT guy (as he would be called today) was a slacker who deliberately made maintaining the very basic computer system seem more difficult than it really was. Because nobody else on staff knew much about computers, he'd created a nice little earner for himself and his secret knowledge. Of course, nowadays there are many different technologies at play and different delivery platforms to consider, so the job is genuinely difficult. But the fact is, they've got to do it. If the product doesn't work to the expectations of the potential readers, they will go somewhere else. A technological failure could sink a masthead just as easily as an editorial error.

Who's hot in radio

Posted August 10th, 2010 by debritz

In the official radio ratings survey 5 for Brisbane released today, B105 remains no. 1 overall, with 612ABC's Spencer Howson still king of breakfast. Overall, the top four were B105, 97.3FM, Nova 106.9, 612ABC and Triple M. It was a solid result for 97.3, whose Robin, Terry and Bob also came fourth in breakfast after Howson, B105's Labby, Camilla and Stav, and Nova's Meshel, Tim and Marty. 612ABC also had a good survey, adding points across the day, with Steve Austin being particularly strong in the evenings. After recent gains, 4BC has slipped back marginally overall and in the breakfast shift, where Jamie Dunn is now in sixth place ahead of 4BH and 4KQ. Stablemates BC and BH had the biggest losses overall. In the Sydney results, covering the periods May 9 to June 12 and June 27 to Ju1y 31, the top three were 2GB, ABC702 and 2Day. The two leaders both had falls, but not enough to topple them. Biggest gainer overall and in breakfast was 2UE, while WSFM also added audience in breakfast. Nova held steady in breakfast, with a slight rise overall, and Classic Rock and Triple M slipped slightly. In Melbourne, 3AW held its big league, followed by ABC774 and Fox FM. Triple M, home of Eddie Maguire, slipped marginally overall and in breakfast. Newcomer MTR ranked at the tailend, but it wasn't on air for the full survey. The networked Hamish and Andy show continued to blitz allcomers in the drive shift.
Disclosure: Until today, Brett Debritz was a regular on the 612ABC breakfast show with Spencer Howson. He will be watching future surveys with great interest.

One final fame game

Posted August 10th, 2010 by debritz

It was my last regular 612ABC spot this morning (before I head overseas again) and, to celebrate, Spencer Howson and I went to the streets to ask people if they could provide surnames to match 10 "famous" Brisbane first names. The results are here. Interestingly, the three people everybody knew were Anna Bligh, Kevin Rudd and Wally Lewis. In a bonus segment, not put to air, we showed people some photos of famous faces and sought names. Results here.

Jamie Dunn ready to re-sign?

Posted August 8th, 2010 by debritz

He may have threatened to pull the pin back in March, but the word around the Brisbane media traps is that Jamie Dunn is signing on the dotted line again as breakfast host at 4BC. While Dunn and co-host Ian Calder's audience share has grown a little lately, they are yet to reach the ratings heights of commercial talk stations in other state capitals. The next bunch of figures, to be released on Tuesday, will be interesting.

Paper chase

Posted August 8th, 2010 by debritz

As Peter Preston notes here, video didn't kill the radio star, and UK radio listenership is at record highs. That doesn't surprise me at all, and I'm sure listening figures are still buoyant in Australia too (although last time I looked, the radio audience wasn't keeping pace with population growth). But I must take issue with some folks on Twitter who think this is a good sign for all "old media" --specifically that newspapers will continue to thrive the way radio has. The simple fact is that radio, whether it's delivered on the AM and FM bands, on the free digital spectrum or over the internet, is basically the same beast as it ever was -- spoken word plus music designed to inform and/or entertain various targetted markets. And so long as we humans have to do things -- like drive cars or iron or watch the children play -- that require the separate employment of our eyes, radio has no need to change. Newspapers face a different challenge, because the method of delivery is changing more radically and the audience is splintering. While the printed word will survive as long as people can read, the medium of words on newsprint will decline and almost disappear. There will undoubtedly be, even in the distant future, some people who keep books and old papers, and maybe even some who publish them. But as far as the business side of things goes, putting words and pictures on paper, and delivering the product by truck, simply will not be viable. And, as we've already seen, once you start to publish newspapers electronically, they cease to be newspapers as we know them. They can have audio and video and interactive elements -- and, crucially, they can be accessed from anywhere in the world. So far, newspaper publishers haven't excelled in delivering quality sound and vision, except when it is lifted from their professional colleagues at radio and TV stations. Meanwhile, over at Twitter and other social media sites, the really breaking news is being delivered in 144 characters or fewer and in "real time". So when it comes to news "hot off the press", the whole dynamic is changing. Many newspapers are already evolving into magazines that combine longform feature articles and endless opinion pieces at the expense of actual news. Publishers are investing in a small number of highly paid columnists and other specialists rather than in large numbers of flexible foot soldiers who can dig out news at the local level. Looming large over these changes is the big question: who's going to pay for it? Rupert Murdoch is already betting some of his considerable farm on the fact that readers of The Times will pay for online content, while Peter Preston notes that the UK Daily Mail's website is doing fine by creating its own online niche. He says the online edition could be profitable by advertising support only, without a paywall. Australian publishers are already weighing which way to go. The current thinking is that The Australian will embrace a paywall but its News Ltd stablemates (The Daily Telegraph, Courier-Mail, Herald Sun etc.) will not. Not yet, anyway. Farifax already has internet-only titles in Perth and Brisbane and a recent Macquare Bank report suggests taking the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age wholly online would be a profitable move. What the publishers all know is that print is declining and they must invest in quality online products. And they know there are two groups of readers out there: those who will pay, and those who never will. Readers who decide to pay will demand extremely high standards of journalism that reflect their own world view; those who don't pay will still want a product that engages them and tells them what they want to know. Even the online "freesheets" must have unique, targetted content. There is so much choice out there that readers have no reason to bookmark and regularly visit any one product unless it really stands out in a crowded market. My hope is that publishers will see the wisdom of investing in journalism -- not just big-name, big-buck columnists but old-school journos who know their patch and can consistently unearth good yarns that might otherwise go unreported. After all, if we want to know the latest on Lady Gaga or Lindsay Lohan, we merely have to type their name into Google and select one of thousands of choices. But where do we go if we want to know what's happening in our own backyard? The way things are going, there will soon be no news at all from the parish pump -- and we'll all be the poorer for it.

Counting the telecomms cost

Posted July 31st, 2010 by debritz

Anybody who's been following my Twitter stream closely will know I've been haing a running battle with Telstra (without going into details, the latest is they stuffed up in March and owe me more than $100 but I won't get it for another four or five weeks). Now I'm sad to report that they Telstra isn't the only telecomms company making a fortune for offering a minimal service. Here's some "highlights" from the global roaming section of my lates 3 Mobile bill:

Yes, that's right, it cost me $1 when somebody called me and hung up immediately. For a two-second call from Egypt (I realised I'd dialled the wrong number), the cost was $2.60. The mark-up on the actual cost of providing this "service" must be enormous. In the UK, new providers have sprung up offering discount global roaming -- is anybody in Australia doing it?

It's all about the shows, stupid

Posted July 30th, 2010 by debritz

Like about 1.5million Australians, I sat down on Wednesday night and watched the winning ABC trifecta of Spicks and Specks, Gruen Nation and Yes We Canberra. The shows gave Aunty, which regulalry comes fourth in the ratings, the top three spots on the night's ratings chart, and helped push Channel 10 -- which had been riding high until very recently on the success of MasterChef -- to the overall No.4 position. (There's more on the numbers here.) What it all proves is that the days where viewers would stick to the same station hour after hour, night after night have long gone. Now, more than ever, we pick and choose the programs we like, wherever we can find them. With the internet offering a whole new range of ways to access programming, this presents a big challenge to the broadcasters -- unless, of course, they are also in the business of making the shows that people want to see.

Deja-vu all over again

Posted July 30th, 2010 by debritz

The quickened pace of the news cycle continues to confuse traditional media. For newspapers, one of the big questions these days is: should we publish something in print after it's already appeared online, especially on our own websites? In the case of the Courier-Mail today, the answer was yes (in regards to a picture on page 14 which was all over its webpage yesterday). Today, the printed C-M finally caught up with the death of the world's oldest Twitterer, Ivy Bean, who passed away on July 28. A two-day lag for news from Britain used to be commonplace, but it's not now. Meanwhile, mX surely set some kind of record yesterday with an item about this controversial new website, Sorry to burst the bubble, but it's been around since June, 2006 (do a search on the Wayback Machine if you doubt me)! A hip'n'groovy, youth-oriented paper like mX oughta know stuff like that.
PS: This intro from the C-M could have been written by the copywriter for a washing powder commercial:

NEW tests have smashed Queensland's first case of DNA innocence testing after analysis found a convicted killer was 45 billion times more likely to be linked to blood from the scene.

More likely than who or what?

The next big thing after MasterChef

Posted July 27th, 2010 by debritz

With MasterChef having sailed off into the sunset for 2011 [correction: 2010], what will be the next big gastronomical reality show on television? Well, if I have my way, it will be Australia's Best Cook, a competition to find somebody among us who excels in making real Aussie tucker rather than 3-hat restaurant fare. Ideal contestants would include bachelors and bachelorettes who specialise in domestic meals for one and busy mums to cooks from country pubs and suburban clubs who keep the masses fed with tasty but simple fare like lamb chops and veg, steak sandwiches, works burgers, seafood baskets, pavlovas and lamingtons. Bringing the best qualities of both Matt Preston and George Calombaris (i.e. fat and bald), I'd be one of the judges. Sounds like fun? I really think so -- now I just need Shine Australia, Fremantle Media and/or one of the networks to get behind it. You can hear me speaking about the proposed format towards the end of today's spot with 612ABC's Spencer Howson, where I also talk about an online newspaper integrity index and reveal some Doctor Who gossip.
Update:The edited audio describing Australia's Best (Basic) Cook is here.
PS: If you're in the TV business and want to know more about the format -- and trust me, there is more -- contact me here.

Moderation, please

Posted July 26th, 2010 by debritz

This comment slipped through the net at The Australian online today. The blacked-out words have been censored by me; they appeared in full on the Oz's site:

The comment, which probably isn't from the well-known journalist it's attributed to, has since been removed from the Matthew Franklin article.

Not the one any more

Posted July 26th, 2010 by debritz

In an ever changing world, some things stay the same. One of those things used to be the fact that Channel 9 broadcast the highest-rating commercial television news service in Brisbane and, indeed, in Australia. That success was built on solid news judgment, selective hirings from other networks (particularly the ABC) and a reputation for trustworthiness. Somewhere in the past few years, though, the banner has been passed to Channel 7. Sure Nine is still the home of Laurie Oakes, the journalists' journalist, and a few other heavy hitters, but people aren't buying it like they used to. In Brisbane, Seven is now the viewers' station of choice. Today, Seven claimed the ratings year for news and current affairs. In a media release, the network said its News, Today Tonight and Sunrise had an "unassailable lead in the 40 week ratings year in south east Queensland". The statement continued:

7 News and Sunrise have both won 22 from 22 weeks while Today Tonight has won 21 from 22 weeks in the 40 week ratings year. Max Walters, Managing Director of Seven Brisbane said,“ This is the fourth year running that our flagship news and public affairs programs have won the ratings year in south east Queensland, a wonderful achievement in such a competitive market . SEQ audiences continue to turn to 7 News, Today Tonight and Sunrise to keep them informed on local, national and international events.”

PS: In its media release, Nine claims overall SEQ victory last week (by a whisker), bringing its total this year to 17 out of 22 surveys.

Search for a star

Posted July 24th, 2010 by debritz

We live in an age of celebrity. You can't pick up a newspaper or magazine, or switch on the TV, radio or internet, without seeing something about Brad and Ange, Tom and Katie, Lindsay or Britney. Like it or not, they've become the subject of many a watercooler conversation and, dare I say it, are genuine "household names". On the national front, there are the big names of TV (Bert, Kerri-Anne, Eddie and Ray among them), plus a smattering of musicians and, largely now-expat, movie makers (Hugh, Russell and Nicole). Recently, the finalists of MasterChef, Callum and Adam, have joined that hallowed society -- but for how long is anyone's guess. You'll note here that I've mentioned only first names but I reckon almost everybody reading this would know exactly who I'm referring to. Which brings me to the big question for Queensland readers only: Who are Brisbane's household names? Which homegrown talents, in whatever field, are instantly recognisable to a large portion of the population (not just the media junkies who read this blog) by their first name or nickname? I've got a few ideas of my own, but I won't be writing them down just yet. Suggestions by email or by Tweet, please. When I've assembled a list, I'd like to test the theory with members of the GP. Maybe we'll all get a surprise as to who's really on the A-list and who isn't.

And the nominees are ...

Posted July 21st, 2010 by debritz

Congratulations to all the nominees for the Australian Commercial Radio Awards (the full list is here), but what a shame that Brisbane is underrepresented in the major categories. No Queensland-based announcers appear on the list of nominees for the big metro awards, although B105's Mitch Braund and Nova 106.9's Ryan Rathbone are up for the best program director award, and Nova's Kate Casey and B105's Ryan Tothill have been nominated for the best music director gong. Peter Verhoeven, of 4KQ and 97.3FM, is up for the most popular station manager award; Brett 'Nozz' Nossiter from Nova 106.9 has a nod in the best new digital format category (for Novanation and Koffee); and Stav Davidson from B105 and 4BC's Jamie Dunn and Ian Calder have been nominated in the best station-produced comedy segment category, the latter for their serial The Rudds, which is broadcast across the Fairfax radio network. Ben Ryan from Nova 106.9 is up for best achievement in production. Brisbane nominees also appear in sales and promotion categories. In the non-metropolitan awards, Katrina Davidson has been nominated for best show producer for her work with 92.5 Gold FM on the Gold Coast, which presumably means she and her husband Stav will both be attending the presentation ceremony the Crown in Melbourne on October 16.

Hey Hey not here to stay

Posted July 18th, 2010 by debritz

I speculated in a tweet a few days ago that Hey Hey It's Saturday might not come back after its mid-season break, and I got some interesting responses. A lot of what is said about Hey Hey comes from sentiment, a deep affection for the original show that was part of so many Australians' childhood and youth. But the cold, hard fact is that, despite the success of last year's reunion specials, it just isn't cutting it in 2010. Spencer Howson points out that Hey Hey Red Faces judge Red Symons told him on 612ABC that the show will be back later this year, possibly on a Saturday. Hey Hey currently faces tough competition on a Wednesday night from the all-conquering MasterChef, but there's not much evidence to suggest it would do significantly better in another timeslot. And, when you factor-in the enormous costs of "live" television -- Daryl Somers' undoubtedly large salary, the band, the touring acts etc. -- Hey Hey is expensive television, and TV networks don't like to spend big money unless they get big returns. According to last week's figures, Hey Hey had an average national audience of 849,000 against MasterChef's 2.1 million and, in its second hour, Lie to Me's 950,000. Of course, MasterChef is a formidable opponent and, as I said in my tweet, Hey Hey probably deserves a run when it isn't competing against the single most popular show on TV. It may come back after the Commonwealth Games but I doubt we'll be seeing it again next year. Surely Nine can't afford to throw good money after bad. While there are examples -- like Neighbours and Seinfeld -- of programs that built momentum after very slow debuts, you must remember that Hey Hey isn't a new show, it's a revival of a show that hit its peak in the 1980s. The Nine network desperately needs to plough what original production money it does have into a show that has MasterChef potential -- the realistic chance it will pull in big ratings numbers, and thus advertisers' dollars, regardless of what's scheduled against it. Hey Hey isn't that show.

Farewell, Dicko and Dave

Posted July 15th, 2010 by debritz

Ian "Dicko" Dickson and Dave O'Neil have been axed from Classic Rock 95.1, the Melbourne station that used to be known as Vega. 95.1 now falls in line with its Sydey sister station in eschewing "name" teams in favour of a solo announcer and more music. Of course, the move will save the station some money and may just improve the ratings (as it has, marginally, in Sydney). If the latter proves to be the case, should low-rating on-air teams at other stations be worried? I'd say yes.

Leave Kyle alone

Posted July 15th, 2010 by debritz

Kyle Sandilands is right: the gritty details of his split with Tamara Jaber are nobody's business but theirs (unless a crime was committed, which seems unlikely). But I do hope he pauses for thought next time he's about to bully somebody else, set them up for a fall or press them for information that's none of his business. It cuts both ways, Kyle.

How the gossip cycle works

Posted July 13th, 2010 by debritz

Report about Rove McManus signing to fill-in for US talk-show host Craig Ferguson:

... and, later, a tweet from Rove himself:

Ferguson himself was all over it, tweeting several times, including these gems:

And here's what Adam Hills tweeted in the wash-up:
Update: The amazing thing is that, 13 hours after Ferguson denied the report, and six hours after Rove denied it, the story is still online. (Although I note it includes a line from Rove's spokesman saying he's not aware of the deal.)
July 16 update: The story is still there, with no correction. Surely one thing that ought to separate the mainstream media from the online pack is a commitment to correct or, at least, remove inaccurate stories.

Appsolutely fabulous?

Posted July 12th, 2010 by debritz

There's much excitement in journalismland about apps for iPads and other devices. If we believe all we read, they will be the saviours of newspapers. This Sydney Morning Herald article trumpets the fact that readers can now access the SMH and other papers in multiple digital formats for varying amounts of money. That's all very well, but it's based on the possibly erroneous assumptions that Australians a) still want to pay for news and b) still want to pay for news as it's packaged by News Ltd and Farifax. Will more people buy the SMH just because it's accessible via an iPad app, or will the dwindling number of loyal readers simply swap their print subscriptions for digital ones, meaning no significant net gain in paid circulation? While the publishers may save on printing costs in this event, they really won't be rescuing their businesses in the long term if they don't do something to grow the pie.
P.S. Another big question: will advertisers see the same value in an advertisement on an A5 screen as they do in one on A3 newsprint?

Credibility crisis for the Cage

Posted June 23rd, 2010 by debritz

At the time of writing, Kevin Rudd has just held a press conference saying there'll be a leadership ballot tomorrow morning. While Rudd is likely to get rolled by Julia Gillard, he's still PM tonight. That doesn't seem to have sunk in properly for whoever updates Facebook for Brisbane radio station Triple M's the Cage breakfast show, though:

I was not alone in commenting that it ain't quite over yet for KRudd. It's a sage lesson for people who rely on Facebook (or commercial FM radio) for their news.
PS: Times shown in screen grabs are UK. Add nine hours for AEST.
Update: To be fair, here's what Channel 7 tweeted in the heat of the moment:

Almost live from Edinburgh

Posted June 8th, 2010 by debritz

I spoke to Spencer Howson from the BBC studios in Edinburgh and the audio, and a picture of me at the mic, is here. We talked about how Blackpool respects and protects its past but Brisbane doesn't, how Birmingham is pretty boring but the chocolate factory is sweet, and why the Scots will be supporting anybody but England in the World Cup.

As Des says ...

Posted May 31st, 2010 by debritz

Des Partridge, the longtime cinema critic for The Courier-Mail, supports the cause to Save the Regent. Here's some audio of him telling 4KQ's breakfast team of Laurel, Gary and Mark how this last-of-a-kind venue will be lost barring a last-minute change of heart by the State Government.
Update: I had my say on the Regent in this segment with Spencer Howson. It's towards the end after the usual (hopefully) entertaining fluff.

Hear is the newts

Posted May 23rd, 2010 by debritz

I was having lunch in a pub in Horley yesterday, watching the BBC News with the sound turned down and the subtitles on. And the captions were woeful to the point that it was almost impossible to follow what was going on. In a story about technology that allows medical students to practise injections on a virtua "arm", the subtitles typed that it helped them "find out where the famous". Or, presumably, where the vein is.

Marty joins the Nova party

Posted May 20th, 2010 by debritz

Nova picture of Marty SheargoldAfter an on-air trial, Marty Sheargold is now officially part of Nova 106.9's breakfast team, joining Tim Blackwell and Meshel Laurie, and replacing Ash Bradnam. His bio is on Nova's website here. It's interesting, given the reasons for Bradnam's departure, that Sheargold is described as a "beer drinker". And is Sheargold's obsessive interest in sport a sign that Nova is chasing more male listeners?

King of the deals

Posted May 18th, 2010 by debritz

Gee, Kyle Sandilands really does have a good deal with Channel 7. Not only has he been confirmed as a judge for the revamped X-Factor, his wife Tamara Jaber (described by Seven as a pop star, despite her lacking the series of hits one would expect to accompany such a description) is on the next season of Dancing with the Stars. A Seven media release confirms the full line-up as:
Alex Fevola, celebrity photographer
Tamara Jaber, pop star
George Houvardas, Packed to the Rafters actor
Jo Beth Taylor, performer
David Wirrpanda, AFL legend
Rachael Finch, Miss Universe Australia 2009
Esther Anderson, Home and Away actress
Jason Stevens, former rugby league star
Rob Palmer, Better Homes & Gardens DIY guy
Blair McDonough, actor
Melinda Schneider, country music star

Giving the youngsters a Go!

Posted May 17th, 2010 by debritz

Channel Nine's Go! Network is introducing short news bulletins called Newsbursts. A Nine media release says they will play four times each weekday at 3.30pm, 5.00pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm. The release says: "Devina Smith be the first host for the news service. Each week Go! will rotate the hosting duties among the younger journalists from the Nine newsroom."

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