Monday, May 03, 2004

Stroking, Back-patting, and Other Industry Misdemeanours.

Well the NZ Radio Awards have been and gone with the creme de la creme of our broadcasting industry congregating in Auckland over the weekend. Having taken part in this year's event here are a few of my observations.

Firstly; damn we are a scruffy bunch. The awards coincided with a NZ music month conference at the Carlton Hotel. Some guests at the 5 star establishment could have been forgiven for thinking the management was undertaking some sort of community service initiative and had invited the homeless in off the streets for the weekend. Shabby was definitely in vogue (which was fine by me as I freely admit to having no sense of style) with disreputable radio types lurking around every corner and forming a virtual barricade at the bar. Some of the Asian and American guests appeared somewhat bemused by it all. To be fair there was a remarkable transformation around 4.30 pm. Gone were the cargo pants, Indian shirts, Megadeath T-Shirts (I spotted 2!), tank-tops, and the eponymous black dresses of lengths varied. All of a sudden ball-gowns and suits literally sprung from the woodwork as the awards deadline approached. At least we can scrub up well when we so choose (though I understand opinion is evenly split on the crushed velvet as sported by Mike Hosking).

Second; I don't know who else but Jeremy Corbett and Willy De Wit could have carried off the awards ceremony in the way that they did. Congratulations to them for making what could have been a turgid evening very entertaining. Their staged one upmanship for the category they were competing against each other was spot-on. They were only acting, but it was an accurate depiction of some of the undercurrents among the staff of the competing networks in the audience. The knives were well and truly flashing and no spine was safe. One real positive from the night was the acceptance speeches. Short, to the point, humourous, and by and large done ith the right balance of pride and humility.

I'm not going to pass judgement on who won what other than to say I had no problems with the decisions and this is from a finalist that didn't win. If you want to see that little drama I suggest you go here, I'm sure it will prove entertaining. One thing I will query though is why did the Auckland Radioworks mob up and leave the moment Classic Hits won the last award of the night? Was it a case of sour grapes, or were they just in desperate need of a cigarette?

Third; and this is a note to the organisers. Access to alcohol could have been improved. Nothing gets the goat of a broadcaster more than impeded access to booze. Having waiters running around with trays was a nice idea but 1000 or so broadcasters have a mean thirst and there was no way in hell they were ever going to meet demand. Having to band in groups to hunt down waiting staff, while sort of satisfying, cut into some serious drinking time. Mind you maybe that's what Skycity had in mind. If we couldn't get plastered we couldn't do too much damage. (though I hear there was a mahogany tabletop that ended up much the worse for wear)

Fourth; NZ Broadcasting School pay attention!! I know you guys are really proud of the achievements of your graduates and it's nice that you recognise them. I just feel you went a little far with all the posters you were putting up all over the place. Tony Simons (don't deny it, I spotted you with a great sheaf of them), was it really necessary to put one up in the men's toilet?

I have to say I'm not sure if I really enjoyed the event. It was good to catch up with some people I hadn't seen in some time and have a bit of a chinwag. But once that was done it left little to do but sitback and observe the industry in action. I'll be honest and say it wasn't such a pretty sight. Shallow, vacuous, egotistical, petty, false, back-stabbing, self-righteous. These were just some of the more base characteristics that were on display. Why is it we come across so nice on air but can be complete pricks off it? Don't get me wrong there are genuinely nice people working in radio. But is it my imagination that their numbers are rapidly thinning.

I vaguely remember getting back to the hotel somewhere around 3 or 4 am after a somewhat unusual cab ride. It was only a short walk but as it was bucketing down (I understand it was the same downpour that fucked up the Westies) and I was wearing a rental suit I chose to take the lazy option. The problem was my driver couldn't locate the hotel despite it being only 2 blocks away and located right behind one of Auckland's more prominent features, the Aotea Centre. I endeavoured to give my Hindu cabbie directions but there was a communication issue. He didn't speak a lot of English and I speak even less Hindi. Matters were not helped by my state of insobriety either. Fortunately after some discussions with his despatcher, who spoke both English and Hindi (yay!), I made it to the hotel. By the sounds of things so had a few of my industry colleagues. Either that or there was a tribe of Waikato rugby supporters on the rampage somewhere in the corridors. The last sounds I heard as lapsed into a coma was the thunder of feet and that immortal Mooloo chant "Ole ole ole ole, mooloo mooloo"

Has anyone heard the damages bill for the Carlton yet??

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