From the New Zealand TV Weekly. May 12, 1969


Just what did the Minister of Broadcasting Mr Adams Schneider mean when he said in a local speech that the country (in the Government's view) could not afford a second Television channel? That is the sort of sweeping generality with which the Government always tends to weasel out of giving a specific answer to the curly question: Why hasn't Auckland got a second channel? Is it necessary to predicate the answer on a nation-wide viewpoint? If well over half - probably about two-thirds - of the NZBC's Telly revenue is coming from Auckland, and the population in the viewing area is equal to the total of that in the areas of the other three channels, who is to say that Auckland hasn't got a case for having a second channel even if the other areas have to wait years to catch up? It may be a somewhat selfish view, but it is entirely logical. The payers of the piper have always been entitled to call the tune. And would it really cost so much more? There would be little expenditure on premises and probably not so very much on equipment. If the second channel was to utilise repeats, even to a greater extent than the present system, there would not even be such a huge expenditure on additional programme material. It is all very well for the Minister to say that this decade will be the most exciting in the history of broadcasting locally, with the private radio stations in view - not that they haven't already been giving the NZBC a healthy competitive kick along for a year or two. What people really want to know is when we can vary our Telly diet with at least one nightly alternative, and not even from an NZBC-feared private source. Maybe it's time Aucklanders got together and put on the pressure- especially with an election in the offing . . . . Surprising how many Telly folk find the time and the enthusiasm to tie themselves down with quite long-running local stage productions. Michael Devine and Tom Finlayson have been on the boards again with the Central Theatre's hilarious The Real Inspector Hound. And you come on to other familiar names with the female lead, Pam Seebold, and the producer, Roy Hope.


After a spell of general announcing duties, following his return from New Plymouth earlier in the year, Bill Southgate made a welcome return running front man (four years almost without a break). In to replace him came Alan Lyne, previously one of the team's reporters. And Douglas Drury took over the producer's chair from Eddie Harris who is going on to higher things as producer of Compass. Peter Read, who initially seemed an unlikely choice for the key spot on Town and Around, has been one of the phenomena of the business, always popular, never seeming to suifer from the dread disease of over-exposure which all Television personalities come to fear. His easy manner of introducing the programme, pointed, but light and often humorous, made him a welcome guest in most homes in WNTV1's area. Peter Read now goes on to a new programme on science, which will cover every field of science except astronomy which will still be the subject of his Night Sky . . . . When the live national news link-up begins microwave link will be working by October this year - it could mean radical changes for Town and Around, and of course in the meantime while the changes are being studied a feeling of impermanence among staif is inevitable . . . . Alan Lyne the new front man is better known as a news reader, but he also did a stint as front man for the BBC's London Town and Around for four months. It may be that he is being groomed as continuity man for a national- style news support programme when the national hook-up begins . . . . The national link will be a big thing in news communication in New Zealand. Aswell as international and national news. prepared and transmitted from Wellington, important news from the various regions will also be included in the national bulletins . . . . Brian Edwards who is working for the NZBC on contract has been busy both on Television and sound radio. Later in the year he will be, taken off Gallery, and reserved for important interviews and single public affairs programmes. Barry Jordan from the Auckland newsroom is to be used as the key man for Gallery. Reports in Wellington suggest that David Beatson, will be joining a public relations firm. John Hart one of the NZBC's Parliamentary team has handed in his resignation, and will be going to greener pastures in public relations . . . . Nobody shed any tears when the Black and White Minstrel show ended its run, even though it touched a high note in the last appearance; but there was a shade more regret for the last of Champion House with old Joe turning on one of those performances which we had come to look forward to on Sunday evening.


April brought many changes' for Wellington's Town and Around, and it didn't seem quite the same without Peter Read, who has been its long-to the screen in mid-April as-,a regular Channel 3 newsreader . . . . Export-conscious local viewers must have derived some satisfaction from the news that among NZBC sales of programmes to overseas have been Coming Into Line, the locally produced documentary on thoroughbred horsebreeding, and the last New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway . . . . On much the same track, it was good to hear that Christchurch's singer-songwriter, Ray Columbus, is also taking a hand in the export drive as one of the key folk in the Kevan Moore-produced live show which will feature in this year's Government-backed publicity campaign to lure Australian visitors to these shores. Ray has composed a special song urging Aussies to C'mon to New Zealand that will be used in New Zealand's Australian TV advertising campaign this year, and, with Yolande Gibson, will also be in the live show at special seminars for travel agents in major Australian centres . . . . A useful newcomer on the reporting stall of the Christchurch news bureau is Jane Anderson, who brings a wealth of newspaper experience to her new job. One of her first assignments was a TV interview with Sir John Peel, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of the British Commonwealth, during his recent visit to the city, and she showed that the camera and microphone hold no terrors for her . . . . New recruit in the NZBC broadcasting ranks is former Radio Hauraki disc jockey, George Balani, who was born in Italy, educated in Christchurch and also compered at a local dance some years ago. It has been reported that George will be used widely on sound and will possibly be seen on TV after initial training.


With DNTV2's current major projects well'in hand, and all running reasonably smoothly, we thought it was time to give some attention to the little things that we take so much for granted in our day to day viewing. For example, those tunes which so often go unnoticed before and after the regular programmes. Take Town and Around-it had a brand-new introduction this year (and quite a smart idea it was, tool), but did you know its lively and attention-getting theme tune goes under the unlikely name of Soul Limbo? With Dunedin's weather switching crazily from sunshine to hail storms as it does, the selection of Bitter Sweet Samba for the introduction to the Weather Report could scarcely have been more apt. And housewives, next time the family asks What's that? when they catch you humming the On Camera theme sound really knowledgeable. Tell them it's called Pussyfoot. Perhaps the most interesting theme of all, from a musical point of view is that which accompanies the News Report. Entitled simply The News Theme, it was written by Ashley Heenan of DNTV2 and is played by the National Youth Orchestra . . . . Another point which set us wondering during the week was one concerning those glamorous tops worn by our female announcers. Do they belong to matching ball gowns or hostess skirts, or do they cover a multitude of sins to the order of capri pants and sneakers? The answer lies somewhere in between, we were told-a dressed-up blouse or top and a plain skirt out of camera range. While on the subject of clothes, we discovered an interesting fact about those whiter-than-white tops worn by our male TV personalities. The shirts worn on-screen are all off-white, or pale-blue, not because someone's mum just doesn't know, but because a pure white shirt brings about technical problems, in that it causes a glare which, when reduced, makes other details in the same picture too dull. Just to make sure that no one can cause such a problem, DNTV2's wardrobe has a row of neatly pressed pale blue shirts ready for any innocent TV guest who turns up in a shirt with the sun shining out of it.

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