Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fast Times at NatRad High

There's a lot of shuffling going on in NatRad's deck right now. The new NatRad Mad Hatter, Paul Thompson, has declared that everyone change places. Once the music stops and all the bums are on the new seats and settled in, we might just be looking at a new dawn of relevance for the public broadcaster.

Morning Report is losing the two Geoffs and getting back to the original good cop/bad cop formula. It's uncertain how much social media feedback influenced the decision, but the pairing of Susie Ferguson with Guyon Espiner is inspired. Espiner's talents especially have been buried far too long by the burdens of TV, where soundbites and greasepaint rule the stage.

The same formula is being used to re-invigorate Morning Report's post meridian twin, Checkpoint. Old Himbo Jim Mora moves from Afternoons to balance out the slashing scalpel of Mary Wilson. Second Geoff Simon Mercep is moving into the Afternoons show, where he should prove capable of renovating the slot into something worthwhile that doesn't require a dose Prozac or some similar hypnotic to bear listening to.

Likewise, I'll be tempted to tune in for more than just Mediawatch on Sunday mornings once Wallace Chapman gets in Chris Laidlaw's old seat and makes his own groove.

Fortunately, no changes have been announced for the parts of NatRad's schedule that work fine currently. Nine to Noon and Saturday Mornings have the right people with Kathryn Ryan and Kim Hill respectively. The Arts segment has been reformatted but Lynn Freeman is kept on.

As well as the new youth-oriented venture The Wireless, NatRad is finally aiming more squarely at that crucial under-65 years old demographic. The baby boomer's grip on the media narrative is slowly fading.