Posts filed under 'TV/Radio/Media'

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.

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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.

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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

John Kerr is back on the radio

It’s almost three months since John Kerr retired from a long and successful career in commercial radio, and I’m pleased to be able to say that John is back on the radio in a less formal setting.

John has joined a community station up on his home turf of the Gold Coast, presenting a country music show. Gold Coast’s radio 94.1 FM lists John as being on-air on Friday nights from 7pm to 10pm, doing something he really loves…playing country music!

The show, titled Kerr’s Country was slated to start on the Friday just gone, after John returned from a cruise (as he says in an advertisement from a cruise on his old station 2UE, he plans on spending every available moment pursuing his love of travel). Alas, as I wasn’t aware of John’s new show at the time so I didn’t hear it, but the station has confirmed to me that John was on the air, and will continue to be on the air every Friday night from now on (holidays and cruises excluded, one would assume).

Incidentally, under John’s photo on the website is a short description of a “Cruise & Travel” show which airs on Saturday mornings. I would be surprised greatly if John doesn’t try to make an appearance on that show from time to time.

So there we have it…John is back on the radio, like he said he would be, on a community station on the Gold Coast. I have to admit that I have missed hearing John on the weekends…there was a certain level of comfort in knowing that John’s voice would be there on the weekend, so I look forward to hearing his new show on Friday. I always did enjoy his country music news segments on 2UE, so I’m sure his three hours of country music will be great.

The details again: John Kerr hosts Kerr’s Country. Friday night 7pm-10pm on the Gold Coast’s 94.1 FM.

(h/t Irene who found John’s show on the station’s website and alerted me to it)

Samuel

April 22nd, 2013 at 02:58pm

What would the FBI computer say?

I’m in the middle of planning a trip (OK, closer to the start than the middle) to the US at the moment, and it occurs to me that my profile, plus my writings from earlier today, could just mean that a computer somewhere in the FBI or the CIA wants an agent to dig a little deeper.

From the perspective of a computer which has been programmed to look out for key words and phrases, this extract from my blog post about the postal system earlier today might seem a tad suspicious.

I would [..] embed some [..] devices in items I post

Yes, the statement was about tracking devices, and one would hope that an FBI agent would see that and dismiss the computer’s concerns, but I still think the computer would be worried about talk of posting devices and embedding things. The blog post also mentioned ricin, a poisonous substance which was mailed to the US President and a senator today, and so chatter about it would probably be high on the priority list for intelligence-gathering computers.

If I was putting together an automated system which looks out for suspicious activity of the terrorist kind, and was mainly basing it on key words and phrases, I would probably set it up so that after identifying something as potentially suspicious, it would then take another look over it for other, less immediately obvious, suspicious phrases which might indicate a plot or some sort of code. Looking back over that blog post, I listed my postal address in an unusual format:

a post office box at the Dickson post office (1272

And talked about the inside of government buildings:

They finally found it somewhere in the PO

and

parcels which are [..] stored in the post office’s back rooms

and

wandering back out to the back rooms

A drug inference could even be drawn from

Nattie did give the letter a good sniff

or possibly an explosives inference if the computer works out that Nattie is a dog.

Further examination of my blog brings up photos of phone towers, electricity substations, and a map of a powerline which feeds a government building.

Yes, an FBI computer would have good reason to think I’m suspicious. And a profiler might be concerned when they learn that my trip to the US is so that I can visit people, most of whom are conservatives (Terrorism center at West Point warns against danger of American limited-government activists and ‘far right’ – The Blaze, January 18), many are Christian, of which some are Catholic (Army training manual labeled Evangelicals and Catholics as religious extremists – Todd Starnes, Fox News Radio, April 5), and I intend on visiting many places in rapid succession, including some important building in Washington D.C. I have also made my disdain for President Obama clear on many occasions (although I think I’ve made it clear, and if I haven’t then I will now, that I do not want him to come to any harm…instead I wanted him to be voted out, and now want him to finish his term and be remembered for being a President with policies which ultimately failed and sparked a need for a serious return to conservative governing principles).

Obviously, this doesn’t add up to anything suspicious, but I can see how, at a time when security services are on edge, the combination of my profile and writings could be enough to make a computer suspicious, and perhaps make security services want to take a closer look at me. Dare I say it, I won’t be surprised if I get pulled aside at Customs in the US next year for a little chat…in fact, I’ll be a little disappointed if it doesn’t happen.

All of this reminds me of a story from the start of this year about the FBI scanning emails for certain words and phrases which apparently are common in messages about fraudulent activity. The words and phrases were “gray area”, “coverup”, “nobody will find out”, “do not volunteer information”, “write‑off”, “failed investment”, “off the books”, “they owe it to me”, “not ethical”, and “illegal”.

Glenn Beck had some fun with this on his radio show and jokingly suggested that they (Glenn or one of his co-hosts) should send an email containing all of those words just to confuse an FBI computer. Sure enough, co-host Pat Gray sent the message, and went to some lengths to make some of the phrases fit.

Dear Ahmed,
I’m sitting here gazing up at a cloudy grey area of the sky wondering how to cover up this blemish that I have on my nose. As a dermatologist, I thought you might have an idea of what I could use so nobody will find out that I’ve broken out again like a teenager. If you do not volunteer the information, I’ll probably have to see a specialist.

Up until yesterday, I’ve been using Clearasil on it but I realized that I can write off that failed investment of $4.99 because it didn’t work.

I wasn’t able to use the cream you prescribed for me last week because I put the jar on top of some books at my parents’ house and wouldn’t you know it, I bumped into the table that those books were sitting on and a jar fell off the books and onto the floor and broke.

My parents said that since I loaned them $20 last month, they would be happy to pay for a new prescription because they owe it to me. But I told them I wasn’t sure if it was not ethical to provide the medication again so soon.

Anyway, if you can call me on that, please call in the Walgreens at Fourth and Main as I have found that to get the one on 29th and Main, you have to make an illegal U‑turn at the light, and I don’t want to do that.

Thanks again. Whatever you can do, Dr. Ahmed.

I found it much more amusing when I heard it go to air. The video of it is embedded in the page of the above link, but it’s not working for me. Thankfully I have my own recording of it.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download MP3
(Audio credit: Glenn Beck, Mercury Radio Arts, Premiere Radio Network)

Samuel

April 18th, 2013 at 01:38pm

Yes, Heidi Harris has gone back to Vegas

I’m seeing a bit of traffic landing on this site due to various searches relating to radio host Heidi Harris, and in particular questions about whether she is still with radio station “The Answer” in Los Angeles.

To briefly answer the question, Heidi left The Answer in March and went back to Las Vegas. As far as I know, she isn’t on-air in Vegas again yet, but she is still podcasting. Apparently Heidi never stopped living in Vegas and was commuting between Vegas and L.A. every week. For the Australians reading this who are wondering how far that is, it would be comparable to living in southern Canberra and driving to northern Sydney for work if your Sydney commute occurred during peak hour.

Samuel

April 12th, 2013 at 09:25am

NRL radio rights for 2013

The NRL folk still haven’t made an official announcement about this, but 2GB and Triple M have made their match lists for round one public information, and it can be deducted from this what the general arrangements are for the year.

Please note that I am not including the ABC here. ABC coverage remains virtually unchanged from previous years.

2GB and Triple M have retained the commercial radio rights, with an expansion in the number of games being covered by Triple M. 2GB have retained the games to which they had rights last year: Nine’s NSW Friday night match, the 5:30pm Saturday match, the 7:30pm Saturday match and one Sunday afternoon match (which appears to be the 2pm match, although it’s unclear what they will do about this when that match occurs at midday Sydney time due to it being played in New Zealand).

Triple M, have picked up rights to almost every non-2GB match except Saturdays. Triple M have exclusive access to Thursday night and Monday night matches. Triple M will also call the 3pm Sunday match as well as the Sunday night match. At this stage it is unclear what will happen when there is no Thursday night match and the NRL returns to having two Friday night matches. For as long as Thursday night matches exist, Triple M have exclusive access to Thursday night, however it is unclear whether, when there are two Friday night matches, 2GB and Triple M will call the same match or different matches, or if 2GB have exclusivity (in Sydney at least) to Friday nights. 2GB appear to have exclusive rights in Sydney to Friday night as long as Thursday night matches exist. There is also a little bit of confusion surrounding what happens when there are two 7:30pm Saturday games at the expense of a Sunday game. Logic would say that Triple M will call the non-2GB match, but given that logic seems to have very little to do with broadcast agreements, I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

Precise details of what can be expected will, at this stage, probably remain known on a week-by-week basis, at least until the NRL decides to make a proper announcement about the radio rights.

For regional markets, there are a few other changes. Stations owned by Southern Cross Austereo will no longer take 2GB’s coverage, instead taking Triple M’s coverage. Also, not that it’s regional, but it seems that 4BC Brisbane have opted out of covering NRL this year. Triple M Brisbane will be covering matches though, with every Broncos game and the majority of the matches called by Triple M Sydney. This means that Triple M Brisbane will be covering the Friday night match which 2GB are also calling. 4BC Brisbane will be taking 2UE Sydney’s Saturday and Sunday afternoon sport-based talk show with John Gibbs and Paul Vautin.

Other regional changes will depend entirely on the stations in the area and with whom they are affiliating themselves.

2GB’s commentary team remains unchanged with the possible exception of 4BC’s Peter Psaltis not returning due to 4BC’s decision to drop NRL coverage. They have also shuffled their commentator lineup a tad by the looks of things.

Triple M will be sharing primary calling duties between Dan Ginnane, who has been their chief Monday night commentator for the last few years, and Anthony Maroon who filled-in for Dan last year during the Olympics. Triple M have retained the services of Peter Sterling, Andrew and Matty Johns, Steve Mascord, and Mark Geyer (I’m 99% certain that MG was part of Triple M’s team last year…I’m running off memory here so I could be mistaken), and have added a bunch of people to their coverage including Ryan Girdler, Wendell Sailor, Gordon Tallis, Nathan Hindmarsh (something in the back of my mind remembers hearing him on Triple M last year…again, I could be mistaken on that one), Bill Harrigan, Paul Gallen, Robbie Farrah, Willie Mason, Brett Finch, Tony Squires, Ben Dobbin, Andrew Webster, and Brent Read.

The bottom line on all of this is that almost every game, every week, will be available on commercial radio, which is fantastic news for those of us who do not have Foxtel and are not overly enamoured with ABC Radio’s NRL coverage.

It all starts on Thursday night. How wonderful it is to have NRL back!

Samuel

March 4th, 2013 at 06:03pm

As we bid farewell to radio legend John Kerr

Tonight (or to be more precise, tomorrow morning) John Kerr will take to the airwaves for the last time, in a professional capacity at least.

After 55 (or 56 if you listen to half the 2UE press releases) in radio and 18 on 2UE’s overnight show, John Kerr is retiring at 6am. Interestingly, John will sign off from 2UE at 5:30am and his final half hour of radio will only be heard on network stations.

John will retire to the Gold Coast where he has lived for the last year or so with his wife Rhonda. Since John moved to the Gold Coast, 2UE have been nice enough to fly him down to Sydney each weekend for his show, however John noted this morning that he has grown tired of dealing with the airport queues each weekend and this contributed to his decision to retire. He also expressed his thanks to 2UE management for extending his radio career by providing the flights.

John has been a good friend to me and many others over the years and, as an expression of my gratitude and that of a few other people (Irene in Sydney and my parents here in Canberra) I had a special present put together for John and sent to him a few weeks ago. It was a trophy of a golden microphone.

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Unfortunately I’m working tonight so I won’t be able to hear all of John’s final show, but if I can find a quiet moment then I’ll try to give John a quick call.

I’m sure John will have a great retirement, and there’s a chance that John will grace the airwaves again on a Gold Coast community radio station, which would be lovely if it does happen. I certainly wish him all the best for his retirement regardless of what he chooses to do with his time.

He will be greatly missed from my radio, as I’m sure he will be from many radios across the country.

All the best John.

Samuel

January 26th, 2013 at 06:03pm

Record heat? What record heat?

Last week, it was hot. No doubt about it. And on the back of that heat there were a number of stories in the media about “record heat” and how it’s never been hotter, and it’s just going to keep getting hotter. It was the usual collection of summer news stories presented in a handful of new ways.

The first story to catch my attention was a story about it being so hot that the Bureau of Meteorology had to add a new colour to their temperature maps for all of these newly reached temperatures. I immediately realised that these colours were really just re-classifying temperatures which have previously been classified under a different colour, but I didn’t recognise the full extent of the trickery involved in the colour-fiddle. I’ll explain that in a moment.

As the days went by and more stories popped up along the “record heat” lines, I started to see a few discrepancies which were disproving earlier stories. This was bugging me all weekend, but I didn’t have time to investigate the stories properly…this afternoon however, I do have time, and I’m glad because my suspicions have been vindicated.

As I said at the top, it has been hot, although after a mild and wet summer last year, this year’s summer probably feels warmer than it really is. That’s anecdotal though. The facts are in the numbers.

On that note, back to that map from the Bureau Of Meteorology.
Temperature forecast map -- BOM 2013
(Temperature map for the 8th of January)

This map was plastered across much of the media, with the general line from most of the media being along the lines that “it’s so hot that the weather bureau have been forced to add two new colours to the temperature map to display these hot temperatures”.

The ABC, not surprisingly, had one of the least accurate and most alarming statements on the matter:

Heat drives bureau back to the drawing board
The Bureau of Meteorology has been forced to introduce new colours to some of its charts because of recent extreme heat in Central Australia.

England’s International Business Times took it a step further:

The raging bushfires in Australia have added a new colour to the charts of the meteorological department as the temperature soars to record highs.

Reuters was no better:

Australia’s record-breaking heat wave has sent temperatures soaring, melting road tar and setting off hundreds of wildfires – as well as searing new colours onto weather maps.

Record highs? Recent extreme heat? Hmmmm, perhaps we should look a bit further down the ABC article:

Shades of deep purple and magenta have been added to the forecast map for temperatures up to 54 degrees Celsius.

The temperature range was previously capped at 50C.

Yes, that’s right, it’s a forecast map, not an historical map. While the ABC article does state this, it’s not the impression given by their opening remark. The same can be said for most of the other media outlets that ran this story.

The map doesn’t report temperatures, it predicts temperatures. It was not changed because the temperatures had gone above the existing scale (which, incidentally, topped out at 50+, not a flat 50) but because one of the Bureau’s computers had predicted a hot day.

So, that map, which was used by much of the media to convince everyone that new records had been reached in a large section of South Australia, actually said no such thing…not that the Bureau were in any hurry to correct the record.

Hot on the heels of that, the Bureau had some more climate confusion for everyone: A measure called an “area-average high temperature”. Basically what that means is that they take the hottest temperature of the day at every weather station in the country and then, with a bit of mathematical work to assign temperatures from weather stations to the areas around them, they work out what the average temperature across the country was. They reached a conclusion that we had the hottest day ever, with an average maximum of 40.33 degrees.

Assistant Director of Climate Information Services, Neil Plummer, said the heatwave had broken national records. This is consistent with the trend of an increase in extreme heat events associated with climate change.

“On Monday the average maximum daily temperature record for Australia was broken at 40.33°C. The previous record, 40.17°C on 21 December 1972, was held for 40 years. The daily average maximum temperature yesterday (8 January 2013) is a close third at 40.11°C.”

It’s an interesting statistic, but when you consider how it’s calculated, it’s not a particularly useful metric as, due to the increasing population over the years, more and more inland temperature gauges have popped up (even in places like Western Sydney which is always significantly hotter than Coastal Sydney), and as technology has improved, more of them are now full-time gauges, whereas there was a time when a lot of temperature gauges, especially inland ones, would only work at certain times of the day and could therefore miss the actual hottest point of the day and report on a slightly cooler point of the day instead.

Naturally, with more inland gauges, more hot temperatures are reported, which skews the measurement towards higher temperatures. It may only be slight increases in the calculated measurement, but when you’re talking about averages of large amounts of data, small changes make quite a difference.

This measurement broke some records from the 1970s, which is interesting because it doesn’t quite tally with records for actual temperatures:
Canberra: 42.2 (1 Feb 1968). The highest so far this year was 40.1 on the 5th of January.
Sydney (coastal): 45.3 (14 Jan 1939). The highest so far this year was 42.3 on the 8th of January.
Penrith, in Sydney’s west: 46.0 (15 Jan 2001). The highest so far this year was 42.0 on the 8th of January.
Melbourne: 46.4 (7 Feb 2009). The highest so far this year was 41.1 on the 4th of January.
Adelaide: 45.7 (28 Jan 2009). The highest so far this year was 45.0 on the 4th of January.
Alice Springs: 45.2 (3 Jan 1960). The highest so far this year was 44.4 on the 12th of January.
Cairns: 40.5 (20 Dec 1995). The highest so far this year was 33.8 on the 3rd of January.
Dubbo: 45.0 on the 12th of January, exceeding the previous record of 44.5 (15 Feb 2004).
Bendigo: 45.4 (7 Feb 2009). The highest so far this year was 41.0 on the 7th of January.
Mildura: 46.9 (3 Jan 1990). The highest so far this year was 44.2 on the 4th of January.
Coober Pedy (in the Bureau’s purple hot spot): 47.1 (25 Jan 2011). The highest so far thus year was 46.3 on the 7th of January.
Hobart: 41.8 on the 4th of January, exceeding the previous record of 40.8 (4 Jan 1976).

The interesting thing about those temperatures is that none of the records were set in 1972 when the former area-average record was set, and only two of the twelve towns in that fairly representative selection of places which were apparently very hot over the last couple weeks actually set a record this year, and even they didn’t set a record on the day which the Bureau claims is our hottest on record, based on their calculation. Two of those towns had their hottest day of the year-to-date on the 7th of January this year, but that is hardly significant given that we’ve only had two weeks of this year, and it’s definitely not a record.

In order for not even one of those places to have set a record at the time the area-average maximum calculation set a record, either an absolutely outstanding number of places set a record on those days or the calculation has to be giving too much emphasis to some places which are significantly hotter than other places.

So, did a large number of places set records on the 7th of January, the day on which we apparently broke that area-average maximum temperature record? No. Only one place set a record on that day: Leonora in Western Australia which recorded 47.8 degrees, and even that is not a new record as it previously reached the same temperature on the 1st of January 1957.
(The document which the Bureau published which contains this information is being updated daily. At the time of writing, the version which I used was on the Bureau’s website at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs43c.pdf however, as this document will be changed in short-order by the Bureau to add data from today and future days, I have archived this document here so that my reference material is available for perusal in the form which I saw it).

In that case, mathematically speaking, the Bureau’s area-average maximum temperature calculation has to be giving too much emphasis to places which are regularly hotter than others in order for it to have set a new record. In other words, it’s bunkum, it’s bogus data, and it’s junk science.

There is a little bit more evidence of the fact that this summer is not hotter than ever before, and I touched on it very briefly near the start of this post. That temperature graph which supposedly topped out at 50 degrees, did in fact not top out at 50 degrees. I noted earlier that the top colour was for “50+” and that temperatures in excess of 50 degrees have been seen in Australia before.

In a somewhat peculiar (due to its emphasis on recent heat despite noting multiple older and hotter temperatures), but accurate, story which was also picked up by the media, WeatherZone advised that we saw our hottest temperature in 15 years. This story published on the 13th of January, added to the cavalcade of stories about “record heat” and gave the media some more information with which to continue to advise that global warming was running rampant.

Yesterday (Saturday) Moomba in the far northeast of South Australia recorded a maximum temperature of 49.6 degrees, which makes it the highest temperature recorded in Australia in 15 years.

True enough, although it should be noted that this record is missing from the Bureau’s list of records set over the last week or so, which I noted a short time ago, as this is one of those weather stations which have been added in recent years, having been commissioned in 1995. The Bureau’s document only notes stations which have existed for at least 30 years.

This is the hottest recorded day in 15 years, which means that every day between:

February 1998, in the Western Australian Pilbara, where Nyang reached 49.8 degrees.

and Saturday the 12th of January 2013 when the Moomba Airport record was set, has been colder. Not exactly compatible with the theory of warming temperatures, but entirely compatible with the truth that global temperatures have barely moved in the last decade or so.

Anyway, I’m drifting away from the Bureau’s hot spot graph which I was talking about. The WeatherZone article by meteorologist Brett Dutschke also notes that:

Moomba’s 49.6 degrees is also the highest temperature recorded in SA since Oodnadatta reached 50.3 degrees 53 years ago, in January 1960.

Australia’s record is held by Oodnadatta, 50.7 degrees, also in January 1960.

On more than one occasion temperatures in Australia have exceeded 50 degrees, and on every one of those occasions a black “50+” colour has sufficed. Of course, this map from the Bureau was predicting temperatures in the 52 to 54 degree range on the 8th of January, and if such temperatures had come to pass, then the new colours might have been useful, but we didn’t even come close to breaking an existing record which managed to fit on the old colour scale, let alone see a temperature in the new colour range.

Yet again, the Bureau’s predictions of warming doom have failed to come to pass. Yet again, the data shows us that, far from seeing an alarming rate of warming, we are seeing a continuation of the usual cycle of cold, medium and hot years and that, this year, we happen to be experiencing a peak which is to be expected after the recent mild years. Not to mention that on the global front, places like China are more than compensating for our alleged warming with a bit of a cold snap where they’ve seen temperatures as low as -40.

As usual it seems that the spinning of the numbers by the Bureau and the cherry-picking of that spun data by various sections of the media, bares little if any relation to the facts:

  • The planet is not warming at an alarming pace
  • Global temperatures have been virtually stagnant for over a decade
  • Australia is not experiencing an abnormally hot summer

The facts speak for themselves. It’s just a shame that many people will never hear them from most of the media or the government agencies who have been put in charge of monitoring the climate.

Samuel

January 14th, 2013 at 07:36pm

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