Posts filed under 'TV/Radio/Media'

An interesting radio interview coming up in about an hour

I have noted on a few occasions that Coast To Coast AM tends to have roughly one interview per month which interests me; today happens to be one of those days with the second half of today’s show.

From 5pm Canberra time / 3am US Eastern / Midnight US Pacific:

With over 20 years of experience in the field of sleep medicine, Dr. Robert Rosenberg, will discuss the science of sleep, and how technology, binge TV watching, and chemicals like energy drinks are changing how our brains function. He’ll address many of the bizarre disorders people experience while they are sound asleep– not only sleepwalking but eating and driving.

A few stations to choose from if, like me, you plan on tuning in:
KMBZ, Kansas City
News/Talk 95.3 MNC, South Bend, Indiana
WCBM, Baltimore

Samuel

Add comment July 31st, 2014 at 04:02pm

Friday Funnies: Sandy Roberts goes to Commentator Heaven

Fox Footy released a promo this week for Sandy Roberts’ return to television AFL commentary later this year, and it amused me quite a bit. I really enjoy Sandy commentating and have enjoyed having him on the radio over the last few years…I’m happy that his commentary will once again reach a wider audience on television though.

The fact that heaven in this case has AFL goal posts, and Sandy even lets out an “Oh my hat!” is brilliant. The apparent implication from the promo that Kevin Bartlett has also joined Fox as a commentator is also great news (but I hope he can still call games for SEN).

Incidentally, when Sandy left Seven last year, I wrote him a letter to express my gratitude for all he has done for sport on television and radio over the years and to wish him all the best for his next career stage at Fox Footy (I also said that I hope this doesn’t prevent him from doing some radio commentary still, as I think he works really well with both Rex Hunt and Peter Donegan). In the letter, I sent Sandy the lyrics for a song…back in the 1990s, John Laws had a jingle produced which started with the lines “Life ain’t so tough when there’s Lawsie / He’s good news to me” and he still uses it to this day. Alas I don’t have the audio on me to demonstrate the concept, but I adapted the song for Sandy.

Golf isn’t golf without Sandy
He’s on-par to me!
He can take a bogey
And turn it in to a birdie
And at the Aussie Rules
He sits next to the fat lady
She can start to croon
And “oh my hat” comes out of Sandy

He’s the voice of the golf you can trust
He’ll keep you going when you’re in the rough

I’ve got Sandy commentating
(trumpets sound)
Sandy commentating
(trumpets sound)
He’s a putter
He’s a driver
He’ll keep you out of the bunker
Ooon the front nine
(trumpets sound)
Aaand the back nine
(trumpets sound)
Sandy’s commentating!

I kind of hope that Sandy quietly let out an “oh my hat” when he read that.

Samuel

(h/t David Knox, TV Tonight for bringing my attention to the promo)

February 15th, 2014 at 04:44am

My visit to TWiT; how Leo Laporte uses Tim Tams; and how to download a small portion of a Justin.tv video

I had great fun visiting the studios of TWiT.tv (known as the TWiT Brick House) yesterday. I had all the photos ready to go for this blog post yesterday afternoon, but ironically ran in to a technical hurdle when I realised that there was some video as well. I’ll get to that shortly…but first…

The TWiT Brick House as seen from the other side of Keller St, Petaluma
The TWiT Brick House as seen from the other side of Keller St, Petaluma

The studios are located at 140 Keller St, Petaluma. TWiT’s wiki provides helpful directions, but it was easier to find than I expected. The building is quite distinctive on this street and the recommended parking garage which is listed on the site is about half a minute’s walk from the studios. I took a little longer than that to walk from my car to TWiT though as I took a detour to the other side of the road to take that photo.

I got there a little earlier than I had expected, a tad before 10am.

When I got inside, staff were discussing a lighting issue with some contractors, and accidentally turned off a bunch of lights in the studio in the process. Staff were busy, so I filled out the mandatory waiver and waited a few moments until they were less busy and could take me through. The studio portion of the building takes up a tad over half of the floor space, with other rooms taking up the other side of the building in an upside-down L shape with studio entrances behind reception next to the roundtable set, and another around the back near Leo’s office/set, and a kitchen and toilets. The place actually looks bigger to me in real life than it does on screen. It is quite an impressive setup.

Tech News Today with Mike Elgan was about to start when I took a seat.

Tech News Today with Mike Elgan being filmed on February 12, 2014
Tech News Today with Mike Elgan being filmed on February 12, 2014

One thing which was impressed me was how little of this news program was scripted. Story introductions and some questions were scripted, but most of Mike’s questions were not scripted. I might just be a bit too used to Australian news formats where questions are generally scripted, so it was nice to see proof of an anchor who truly understands the subject matter.

Just off to the right of the set from the perspective of where I was seated is another set which is used for The Giz Wiz among other shows. The program feed which was going out for broadcast was visible on the main screen on this set.
Tech News Today with Mike Elgan being filmed on February 12, 2014

And if I walked a little way down the Giz Wiz set and looked across where Mike Elgan was seated, Leo’s office/set can be seen through the window, and on this side of that glass is where his weekend show’s call screener Heather Hamann sits. At the far-left of the photo a large analog clock can be seen. This is on the back wall of the studio portion of the building, and is quite an attractive feature of that wall, but is sadly obscured by other objects in the wide shot of the studio used between shows on the live stream.
Tech News Today with Mike Elgan being filmed on February 12, 2014

Throughout the filming of Tech News Today, I had wanted to get my digital SLR camera out, but alas I could not as opening the velcro pouch would make too much noise and I did not want to interrupt or interfere with the broadcast. So I waited until after the show finished, only to discover that it was a waste of time as it could not handle the large variations in light levels of different bits of the room and was either giving me good images of peripheral bits of the set with bright white people and random bright white objects, or it was giving me great images of the main focal points of the show, with almost black everywhere else. This might be fixable if I spent enough time playing with the camera’s settings, but I didn’t go to TWiT to play with my camera.

It was also interesting to note that for this show, the remote side of the conversation can be heard aloud without the need for headphones.

Shortly after this I proceeded to Leo’s office/set where he was preparing for Windows Weekly #349 with Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley. Leo’s set is awesome to be a visitor in, as the guest seating is extremely comfortable and the wireless headphones are also very comfortable (even for someone like me for whom many headphones cause the frame of my glasses to dig in to my head).
Leo Laporte, Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley prepare to film Windows Weekly #349 on February 12, 2014

I’ve never noticed the monitor on the front of Leo’s desk before (it’s never really in shot, presumably so as to avoid a visual loop effect) which makes it easy as a visitor to see how what is happening in front of you is being packaged for broadcast.

Leo Laporte, Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley prepare to film Windows Weekly #349 on February 12, 2014

Over this side of the room, behind the visitor chairs, is a monitor following the TWiT.TV IRC chat session, and the line and preview monitors of the Tricaster vision switcher which is important as Leo switches his own shows when they are being produced from his office/set, whereas other shows are switched from a central control centre in the middle of the TWiT set. Two of the cameras are visible here (one for Leo’s solo shot, and the other for the “Leo plus Skype monitor” shot. On the other side of the glass is where Heather Hamman screens calls for Leo’s weekend radio show and also is the location of the set used by Tech News Today, and then on the far wall, a collection of hats which I was very happy to see for a reason I’ll explain in just a moment.

Leo Laporte, Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley prepare to film Windows Weekly #349 on February 12, 2014

On this side of the set you can see another camera (the one which faces the window so that Heather Hamman can be on-camera) and at the top right of the bookcase is a dropcam producing a live feed on the internet at most hours.

After Windows Weekly finished, I presented Leo with some gifts. One was an Australia hat (Leo’s collection of hats pleased me as I knew then that I was giving a hat to a connoisseur of hats. I also gave Leo some Tim Tams, which led to Leo demonstrating his favourite way of eating a Tim Tam…biting off the ends and then drinking his coffee or tea through the Tim Tam as if it was a straw. I thought by this stage the live stream had switched to the next set (I had stopped paying attention to the monitors by this stage) and only later, to my pleasant surprise, realised that Leo’s Tim Tam demonstration, our little chat, and a quick photo shoot, had been broadcast.


(h/t TWiT.tv. Video distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US) licence)

We chatted about a few things including the time I had Leo on Samuel’s Persiflage, the top I was wearing (seeing as Leo has had some fun with the stories about the NSA spying on everyone and everything, I wore a hoodie with the message “The NSA: the only part of government that actually listens”…I also wore my Linux.Conf.Au 2005 t-shirt as it has a staged IRC session on the back of it which I thought Leo would enjoy, but I was having so much fun that I forgot to show him), and how interesting and mind-bending it is to get used driving on the other side of the road. The conversation was picked up to some degree at first by Leo’s studio microphone, and then later by an open mic in another part of the building. I left it all in the above video for posterity.

Now, for what is now a treasured item:
Samuel Gordon-Stewart with Leo Laporte on February 12, 2014

It was an honour and lots of fun to meet Leo and spend some time in the TWiT Brick House. As always, Leo went out of his way to make sure it was fun…while we had our photo taken he put on an Australian accent…I was too amused to remember exactly what he said but it certainly amused me.
Samuel Gordon-Stewart with Leo Laporte on February 12, 2014

One other mystery which was solved yesterday is the purpose of the symbol on Leo’s clock next to the top half of the final digit of the minutes. I’ve never watched in high definition so couldn’t identify it, but now I know it indicates the Pacific timezone, with the other US timezones not being illuminated.
The clock in Leo Laporte's office

I had a blast. A very big thank you to Leo and all of the TWiT.tv staff.

If you’re ever in the area, may I recommend Halli’s diner opposite the parking garage about half a minute’s walk away from the TWiT Brick House. Absolutely fantastic lunch and lovely staff. I will probably pop in to the diner again today as I would like to do some sightseeing around Petaluma today, and the old TWiT studio (TWiT Cottage) is a short distance from the current studio, and I would like to see it while remaining respectful of the privacy of the new occupants.

Now, that technical challenge I mentioned at the top.

How to download a particular portion of a long video from Justin.tv
One of the video streaming providers for TWiT, Justin.tv, temporarily keeps an archive of everything they stream (the archived video lasts a few days). While it is preferable to record the live video as it is a much simpler process, TWiT’s wiki also details how to download from Justin.tv’s archive.

The basic idea is that, using Firefox and an extension called Downloadhelper, you go to the Justin.tv video you want to watch and then tell Downloadhelper to download that file. The problem though is two-fold:
1) TWiT’s videos on Justin.tv run for many hours as they cover an entire day’s broadcasts and sometimes more (my clip, for example, was 52 hours in to the video).
2) This method only downloads the first half hour of the video.

The solution, until recently, was to mark a section of the video as a highlight, which gave it its own unique URL which Downloadhelper could use to download just that portion of the video. Alas the highlighting function was removed from Justin.tv about a week ago, meaning that downloading the first half hour of the video seemed to be the only option…so how do you make Downloadhelper download a half hour starting at a time of your choosing rather than the start of the video?

A clue comes in the way Justin.tv handles a request to move playout from the existing window to another separate window. It adds a string to the end of the URL to tell the new window at what point in the video to start (although the Downloadhelper plugin is not easily accessible from such a window, so simply opening a popout window at your chosen starting point is not going to work for this purpose).

Instead, open the video as normal and figure out what point you want to start downloading from. Then, work out how many seconds that is (in my case it was a little short of 186,960 seconds) and then add the following string to the end of the URL in the address bar:
/popout?playback_time=SECONDS
where “SECONDS” is replaced by the number of seconds.

So, for example, in my case the address of the video went from

http://www.justin.tv/twit/b/502307186

to

http://www.justin.tv/twit/b/502307186/popout?playback_time=186960

which allowed me to make Downloadhelper download 30 minutes of video from a starting point of my choice, and I was then able to edit the video to my required duration.

Samuel

1 comment February 14th, 2014 at 01:25am

Some recommended weekend viewing

Just after the beginning of the year, C-SPAN Book TV’s “In Depth” program spent their monthly show interviewing author, constitutional lawyer, and radio host Mark Levin. This show sits down with a non-fiction author each month to discuss their books, subjects related to their books, and a little bit of the personal life of the author.

Peter Slen interviewing Mark Levin on C-SPAN Book TV's In Depth programMark Levin has written a number of best-selling books on the current state of U.S. politics, governance, and society, and on his ideas for solutions to the problems facing America. In Mark’s most recent book “The Liberty Amendments” he proposes a few amendments to the U.S. constitution which he believes would address some problems by making government more closely resemble what the framers of the constitution envisaged, and in the process make society freer. The book goes in to some details as to how Mark’s proposals fit in with the historical writings of deliberations of the Framers. As this is his most recent book and also his most solution-filled book, Book TV made it the “book of the month” for their book club and more time is spent on this book in the interview than any of the others.

Mark has also written a more personal book titled “Rescuing Sprite” which is a story about a dog (Sprite) which Mark and his family rescued from a shelter…the book details how they dealt with some of the health issues which arose from abuse and neglect which Sprite received prior to being rescued and how they overcame some of these issues. The book also, quite candidly, deals with the difficult subject of having to put Sprite down, as well as some details about some of the other dogs in Mark’s life. I read this book a few years ago (and have read most of Mark’s other books) and found it difficult to read emotionally, but also quite comforting in helping me deal with Nattie’s death last year. I was pleased to hear Mark say during the interview that, when he retires, he would like to permanently work rescuing dogs from abuse and neglect.

The interview goes for three hours. There are no commercial breaks although the interview does stop for a break roughly each hour, in which time they run some pre-recorded packages about Mark. The first roughly 40 minutes is conducted as a straight interview, and after this the interview continues but also contains callers asking Mark questions. It is a very worthwhile three hours of viewing and I found it to be very interesting and thought-provoking.

The interview (minus about the last minute) is available on YouTube as embedded above, although it should be noted that the YouTube version was uploaded by a third-party and contains some video glitches. There is a much cleaner version available on the C-SPAN website (and the Book TV website), but it can not be embedded here as they have disabled that function. It can, however, be purchased from the website in DVD or Audio CD format…I enjoyed the interview enough to purchase it on DVD.

I hope you find it as interesting as I did. I had already planned on taking some of Mark’s books with me to read on my US trip (along with some other books) but after this interview I plan on taking another one along as well as there were a few points raised in the interview which made me want to revisit some of Mark’s earlier work…but that’s a story for another day.

Samuel

January 26th, 2014 at 12:19am

Sean Hannity would make a good US President

When I selected a few people recently who I would support if they chose to run for the presidency of the United States, I deliberately did not select radio and Fox News host Sean Hannity as I didn’t think there was any serious chance of him running, especially not in 2016. While I still think he won’t run in 2016, it does look like his interest in running for public office is increasing in the wake of his decision to (eventually) leave New York state after Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that “ultra-conservatives” are not welcome in the state.

A source who was on Hannity’s Fox News show last fall told The Hill the conservative commentator mentioned the possibility — off camera — of running in Florida.

“He wasn’t joking,” the source said. “It was definitive, but he didn’t mention a specific office in Florida.”
On his radio show, Hannity said he “can’t wait” to leave New York in the wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) remarks that extreme conservatives have “no place” in the Empire State.

Hannity, a native New Yorker, has repeatedly ripped the state’s tax rates. He said he would move to Texas or Florida, which don’t have state income taxes.
[..]
During an appearance on Greta Van Susteren’s “On the Record” Fox show Tuesday night, Hannity said his departure isn’t imminent.

Hannity noted his son is still in high school, and he has more than 100 staffers who work on his television and radio shows, suggesting it would be irresponsible to immediately move his media operation elsewhere.

He added, “As soon as I am able, some time probably when my son graduates from high school, I’m getting out of here as quick as I can.”

(h/t The Hill’s Bob Cusack)

Sean Hannity is an interesting creature in conservative circles in that he is one of the few genuinely conservative people who is both unafraid of standing by his convictions and has good friends in the more moderate “establishment wing” of the Republican Party. As such, Hannity could be one of the few people who could unify the GOP behind a truly conservative platform.

I have been critical of Sean in the past for giving some of his moderate Republican guests (especially regular guests like Karl Rove) a bit too much room to explain their point of view without challenging it, which isn’t to say that he doesn’t eventually challenge it, but I have thought he has sometimes left a few too many points unaddressed, however I have noticed that he has been much more strident in his promotion of conservative principles and solutions ever since his radio contract negotiations were finalised and he gave his Cumulus Radio affiliates the heave-ho in favour of Clear Channel affiliates. I put this down to not having to expend energy on contract negotiations, and not having to deal with pressure from Cumulus to be a bit more moderate in his views.

I think Sean would do a good job as US President and would be especially effective at “rallying the troops” in the House and Senate to support his conservative agenda. His lack of governing experience could be made up for with a good Vice President and also by his business experience. I’m not convinced that Sean would greatly enjoy the job, but I think he would be very effective.

That said, he has made no mention of a run for President and seems instead to be giving consideration to some other public office such as a congressional seat. I think Sean’s talents would be wasted in Congress or in a state government (although after two terms as President I would love to see him become a state Governor…but after, not before) as his ability to influence public policy from the media on a national scale is of much greater importance and value to the nation than his ability to be a conservative vote in the House or Senate, or to reform a state. If he is to run for office, then I think his talents dictate that the most suitable office is the top job.

But as much as I would like to see it, I doubt it will happen, and certainly not before 2024. He will be 63-years-old in 2024 so it’s not out of the question, but I rate the chances of it happening as being quite low.

Samuel

January 24th, 2014 at 05:37am

Bigger Better Bolt Report

Update 6:59pm: Andrew has since noted that his show is now delayed by a month due to Ten’s coverage of the Winter Olympics. It looks like I might not be in the country for the start of it after all. End Update

Andrew Bolt has posted some exciting news on his blog. The Bolt Report returns to Channel Ten on the 2nd of February and has been expanded from half an hour to a full hour. Andrew hinted at this at the end of last year, but it’s nice to have confirmation.

He has also dropped a hint about a new segment on his show. The segment will “balance something on the ABC” which sounds to me as if he is taking his “Media Watch” segment from his Monday evening radio appearance and putting something similar to it on his TV show. Perhaps he can get Gerard Henderson to be a contributor to this new segment.

I’m pleased to see Andrew returning in February. His show is great, and I’ll get to see two episodes before I head off overseas. Hopefully the videos of it on the News Limited website are locked down to just Australia as, if I get time, I would like to watch the show while I’m overseas.

Samuel

January 21st, 2014 at 05:27am

Uh oh…worrying US billionaire George Soros is taking an interest in Australian media

George Soros is a bit of a worry. He’s clearly a smart (albeit wrong on many subjects) man, and the timing of many of his moves have been interesting, but today’s move is one of the most interesting and worrying ones I’ve seen in a while.

George Soros is taking an interest in the Nine network, and is set to become a shareholder of the network today, along with a few others. Nine needs new investors because it has a lot of debt. George Soros can certainly help to fix that…he is a billionaire after all, but when he gets involved, things are never quite as they seem, especially when he is involved in media.

To many Australians, I would imagine George Soros is not a name they recognise. Some would, but for many he would just be recognised as yet another rich foreigner. Alas George is not just any rich foreigner.

George has “progressive” (I’d put him firmly in the socialist bracket) views and isn’t afraid to use his wealth in intriguing ways to promote his views. Now, I don’t begrudge the man his views, and I don’t begrudge him the right to advocate his views or to spend his money how he sees fit…rather, I just think it’s important that Australians are brought up to speed on who and what he is before he gets his hooks in to the Australian media, especially given the timing of his announcement.

Over in the US, George funds many “progressive” groups. He funds some non-political things too, but in the category of politically-active groups, the ones he funds seem to all do three things:
1) Defend the Obama administration and any other “progressive” politician. This includes attempting to cover up the scandals and failures, or if that isn’t possible, excuse them.
2) Viciously and mostly-falsely smear anyone who opposes “progressives”. The play book for this is very long. They’ve gone as far as paying people to pursue fake sexual harassment claims against people until such people stop actively opposing them.
3) Deny vigorously that George Soros has any influence over their activities. This might be believable if they didn’t all do it.

The timing of George’s little entrance in to the Australian media is interesting. George tends not to be overtly involved in owning bits of the media as his non-media interests seem to do a good job, and by having a less-obvious stake in some media outlets he can have them maintain the appearance of impartiality when they side with this other groups, so I’m not entirely sure why he’s being so overt about this purchase, but I have a theory which I’ll get to in a moment.

But first, Nine and Britain’s Daily Mail recently announced that they plan on jointly launching an Australian online version of The Daily Mail to compete with The Guardian’s Australian website. From a political perspective, Nine is reasonably respectable brand and, overall, has seemingly balanced reporting even if a few reporters to lean one way or the other…there is no blatantly obvious institutional bias like there is with the ABC and Fairfax. The Daily Mail has, despite being in Britain, been ahead of the pack on many stories, and broken other stories, about problems and scandals within the Obama administration. It would probably be fair to say that, with The Guardian catering for the left-wing audience, the Australian version of the Daily Mail would (when not indulging in tabloid fluff and entertainment stories) cater to a centre-right audience given their UK history and Nine’s existing brand.

George Soros’ entry in to the Australian market is worrying from the perspective that we already have two overtly left-wing television broadcasters (ABC and SBS) and more left-wing newsish websites and papers (Fairfax, Guardian, The Conversation, Mamamia) than I care to count. The he could be trying to pull Nine out of a state of relative balance or prevent the Daily Mail from being the ideological opposition to The Guardian in Australia that it is in the UK is worrying.

And while I think that is probably part of the game plan from Soros, I think it might also be a warning shot across the bow of The Daily Mail’s British operations as well. At the moment, the Obama administration is in chaos, mainly due to Obamacare being a disaster, but for other reasons as well, and there is a good (not certain by any means, but certainly a better than average) chance that the Republicans…and not just Republicans but truly conservative Republicans could take the House and the Senate in next year’s mid-term elections, potentially giving them the power if they have enough numbers, to override Presidential vetoes and undo much of Obama’s mess. This would be bad for George Soros as Obama is doing a pretty good job from a progressive point of view, especially with Obamacare…it’s a system designed to fail so that progressives can swoop in with a single-payer (aka, entirely government run and taxpayer funded) health system, and all of the associated socialist programs and policies which that can bring with it in the name of “health”. It’s a gigantic socialist government power-grab, and it’s on its way to working, unless Conservatives can stop it soon.

I suspect that part of the reason George Soros is being so visible in his purchase of part of Nine, is that he wants to scare the executives at The Daily Mail, and make sure they know that he could probably buy them out if he wanted to, and if they want him and his groups to leave them alone, then perhaps they should just stop being so good at reporting stories before much of the mainstream US media notices them.

Regardless of the motive, his entry in to the market is a concern, and one which those of us on the conservative side of the aisle should keep an eye on.

Samuel

December 5th, 2013 at 02:03pm

Funeral details for Paul Dix

It was announced this morning on 2QN that Paul Dix’s funeral will be held on Wednesday afternoon at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Deniliquin.

The service will commence at 1pm on Wednesday the 25th of September.

The funeral service is being arranged by Riverina Funerals. More details are available by contacting them on 03 5881 5111.

An announcement was also made to the effect that the family has requested that people do not bring flowers, but make a charitable donation instead. I did not catch the details of which charity will be the beneficiary of this, but there will be a collection available on the day.

Jock’s Journal have since been contacted by Paul’s wife Margaret, who has advised them that people are invited to the Deniliquin RSL following the service, and people who worked with Paul over the years are invited to join the family for Paul’s burial at 4pm, at a location which has not been specified.

Samuel

September 23rd, 2013 at 01:47pm

RIP Paul Dix (1933 – 2013)

It is with much regret and sadness that I have to pass on the news that the voice of Deniliquin, Paul Dix, passed away this morning after a short illness. He was aged 80.

Samuel with Paul Dix on the 19th of December, 2008
Samuel with Paul Dix on the 19th of December, 2008

Paul had been the breakfast host at 2QN Deniliquin for about 51-and-a-half years, and had worked for 3MA in Mildura before this. In recent years Paul had also pre-recorded an afternoon program for 3NE in Wangaratta after finishing his 2QN show.

In a statement, the General Manager of 2QN’s parent company, Frank Davidson, had the following to say:

To say Dixy will be missed is an understatement as he was and always will be an integral part of our team.

Paul’s many friends and listeners in our coverage area will miss waking up with Dixy each morning and at this sad time our thoughts and condolences are with his wife Margaret and the family.

Further details as they come to hand will be advised and once again our thoughts at this sad time are with the Dix family.

Paul will be very sorely missed in Deni and beyond. He was a very kind man who always had time for a chat and had a great sense of humour which made most things seem better. I will always fondly cherish the brief time I spent working with Paul, and will cherish his ongoing friendship even more. The memory of him appearing at the radio station’s back door in his tiny little car, as happy as could be, just before 5am each day, is an image which will stay with me forever.

Paul is a true gem of Australian history. It is a real shame that, due to the fact that he spent so long in a regional town, that he doesn’t have anywhere near as much name recognition in the wider community as people who have spent similar amounts of time in Sydney radio. To an extent though, I think Paul would have been happy about that…he was known and loved by a specific community, and he cared about that community.

My sincere condolences to Paul’s wife Margaret and family, to all of the staff at 2QN and 3NE, Paul’s friends, and the broader community of Deniliquin.

I would wish Paul and peaceful rest, but somehow I think he’ll be up at 3:30am every day to do the breakfast show on the great radio station in the sky, and heaven will be a much more interesting place because of it.

Samuel

2 comments September 20th, 2013 at 02:29pm

Wagga radio 2WG car in Dickson

This is not something I was expecting to see parked at the Dickson shops at lunch time: a car with the logo of 2WG Wagga Wagga all over it.

20130917-124209.jpg

It’s a long way to go for lunch, although I have done it before myself…still, it would be odd if somebody took a company car for a two-and-a-half hour drive just for lunch.

20130917-124427.jpg

I wonder what they’re here for?

Samuel

September 17th, 2013 at 12:45pm

Paul Dix retiring after 51-and-a-half years of breakfast at 2QN Deniliquin

I honestly never thought the day would come, but it seems that recent poor health has forced Paul’s hand and he is calling it a day on what can only be described as a truly remarkable career.

Paul Dix at the 2QN studios in 2011
Paul Dix in the 2QN studios in 2011

For a tad over 51 years (the 51st anniversary of Paul’s arrival in Deni was in March of this year, not last year as reported by The Weekly Times), Paul has been the breakfast host at radio 2QN in Deniliquin. 51 years in any job is remarkable, but even more remarkable in the radio industry where many people don’t stay for 51 weeks in the same job, let alone years.

Unfortunately Paul’s health has not been the best in recent times and he has been forced to give up the regular 3:30am alarm. Paul is currently on sick leave but I gather that he is expected back on the air before he does retire, and I personally wonder if his retirement will be a full retirement, or if he might continue to do some radio work either on a fill-in basis or perhaps continue to do his pre-recorded Sunday breakfast show.

Paul is currently the longest-serving host of a single show in Australian radio. I don’t think it’s a record which will be beaten any time soon, and it’s safe to say that Deni won’t quite be the same place in the morning without Dixie’s dulcet tones greeting the town each morning.

At this stage I don’t have a definitive date for Paul’s retirement, but I will let you know as soon as I know. I’m sure there will be a lot of people who will want to wish Paul good health and good retirement between now and then.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Paul on Samuel’s Persiflage in 2011 about his experiences in radio and his memories of Deni, among other things. More importantly I had the honour of working with Paul on a number of occasions through 2008 and 2009, and learned a lot from him. It will be very sad to see him leave radio, but if it helps with his health, then I wish him all the best.

Samuel

1 comment September 12th, 2013 at 07:30pm

Majority of confusion in minority poll

An email to 2UE’s George Moore and Paul B. Kidd

Good morning George & Paul,

I’m just a little confused this morning. According to The Canberra Times today, a poll commissioned by The Greens says I’m in the minority (ACT says ‘yes’ to gay marriage http://m.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-yes-on-gay-marriage-20130831-2sxw8.html) but pretty much every other poll in the country (NewsPoll, Roy Morgan, Nielsen, ReachTel, etc) say I’m in the majority in wanting a Coalition government.

So, if I’m in the minority and the majority, does this mean I add the minority and majority together and represent all views, or that I divide the majority by the minority, or that Canberra is a strange place when The Greens poll it?

I also intend on putting in a pre-poll vote this week so that my name isn’t available on the roll on Saturday for people to perform dodgy votes, and also so I can spend an hour voting below the line in the senate without creating a giant queue out the door.

Won’t you be glad when this is all over next week?

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

And yes, I am aware the polls are of different people and different subjects. I’m just having some fun on a Sunday morning with a subject which needs a little bit of humour added to it occasionally.

2 comments September 1st, 2013 at 08:54am

It’s always fun to be the answer in a competition

But it leaves me wondering if it would make me ineligible to enter.

This afternoon on 2CC, Drive Show host Mike Welsh ran “It’s just not normal” as The Phrase That Pays. That phrase is the tag line for this blog and my name was the answer.

After this the song “Sam Hall” by Johnny Cash was played. Mike Welsh’s show was the first place I heard that song a few years ago, so it’s nice of him to play it again in relation to me.

I hope the winner enjoys their prize.

Samuel

August 15th, 2013 at 05:39pm

The press release time warp

Today’s Fairfax Radio News national 12pm eastern bulletin had an interesting story about how dogs can help people to de-stress at the end of a busy day. It featured a vet by the name of Dr. David Neck who was talking about how going to the park with your dog can be fun for both you and the dog.

No problems so far, and I have to admit that it wasn’t the content of the story which caught my attention as, seeing as I have dogs, the fact that it can be fun to play with dogs is not news to me. What caught my attention was the name of the vet. Dr. Neck? Really? For some reason there seem to be a lot of medical professionals with body parts in their name. Dr. Andrew Foote (not spelled “foot”, but it’s pronounced “foot”) is a prominent doctor here in Canberra who pops up in the media regularly, and there are others in various news reports around the world. This always seems to catch my attention for some reason and I wanted to check if I had misheard it.

It seems that I heard correctly. Dr. David Neck is a vet in Cottesloe in Western Australia. With that out of the way, I went in search of the story which I had heard in the news…but I couldn’t find it from a Google News search. That’s not uncommon, especially for press releases which are released to the media on a weekend when fewer staff are on-hand in most places and insignificant press releases are more likely to be ignored.

A general search for the story did lead me to something rather odd. It seems to have disappeared from the website recently, but Google cached the website of the Australian Veterinary Association on the 8th of July, which is just short of three weeks ago. At that time, the website carried a press release dated Wednesday, 25 July 2012 which is very familiar.

Media release

Furry friends help humans to de-stress

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

With Lifeline’s Stress Down Day coming up on 27 July, the Australian Veterinarian Association (AVA) is reminding people how important pets are in keeping us healthy and happy.

“Research shows that people who own pets are healthier and happier as they provide a sense of well-being and allow people to feel a part of their community said Dr David Neck, President of the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, a special interest group of the AVA.

“Those who live in cities and have stressful jobs can really benefit from having a four legged friend to come home to.

“A pet staring up at you when you come home asking for that pat of recognition can help to put everything in perspective.

“I get a real kick out of being greeted by my dog Fonti at the end of a hard day.

“Her affection is boundless. She offers love, companionship and a non-judgemental ear, all for a bit of food and attention.”

For many people one of the best ways to de-stress is through regular moderate exercise, which is exactly the sort of exercise you get interacting with your devoted companion.

“Walking your pet in your neighbourhood gives you a strong appreciation of your environment and gets you out talking to others who are doing the same thing.”

Dr Neck said that like humans, animals need to interact and communicate in order to remain healthy.

“This becomes a win win. Pets need regular exercise, socialisation, a healthy diet and love and attention and they’ll give back four-fold.

“It’s important to ensure you can provide all of these things before getting a pet and choose the right pet to suit your lifestyle.”

It continues after this with various links to websites of the Australian Veterinary Association, and phone numbers for media enquiries…but doesn’t that sound very much like the story which I heard on the radio this afternoon? It is effectively the same story. Dogs are nice. Exercise is beneficial for humans and dogs. Exercising with your dog will help you to de-stress. Dr. Neck has plenty of quotes. It’s the same story!

So, my question is, was the press release re-issued this year? Or did Fairfax Radio News recycle it with a grab of Dr. Neck from last year. I find the latter scenario highly unlikely, but then I also can’t see why roughly the same press release would be issued almost exactly a year after the original press release.

It has been a bit of an odd few days for news reports of insignificant things. Among other things:

The list goes on, but I can only take so many pointless studies at a time before I start to yearn for my tax dollars to be spent on more useful things…and besides which, if we give it a year, a whole new set of studies will tell us the opposite of these studies, and tell us the same things as these studies. I wonder if we will also hear about the benefits of going for a run with the dog in a year from now?

Samuel

2 comments July 27th, 2013 at 01:15pm

Television rights for the cricket

An email to 2UE’s Jason Morrison in response to the news that Ten could get the broadcast rights to every bit of Australian domestic and international cricket.

Hi Jason,

I’m sorry but I disagree with your comments about Nine, Ten and the Cricket.

Nine do “get” the game, but I feel that they’ve become very complacent with their coverage of late, in much the same way that Seven were very complacent with their AFL coverage in 2000 before they lost the rights.

When Seven lost the rights to the AFL, the game benefited from a fresh take on covering it by Nine, Ten and Fox, and it made Seven reevaluate how they cover sport and helped lead them to the point now where they make a decent effort with AFL, V8s, Golf, Tennis, Horse Racing etc.

I believe Cricket would benefit in the same way if Nine lost the rights. Ten could on sell to Fox so you wouldn’t lose Fox’s expertise, and you would get a new style out of Ten…then in a few years Nine will have had enough time to rethink how they would cover the cricket and would be able to reclaim some or all cricket rights with a reinvigorated approach.

It also wouldn’t hurt to have something on Ten which could make them competitive again.

Have a good weekend.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

May 10th, 2013 at 04:24pm

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