After yesterday's whinge-fest here I am again. I have decided to conquer the entire blogosphere! (Yep, a definite swing towards the plus scale on the y-axis... hopefully not too far towards +5 excessive grandiosity?) The reality is, of course more prosaic. I have made a comment on the Age-online comments section with respect to the lack of female voices on Talk Radio in Melbourne. For those of you who have known me in my previous incarnation as a trainee broadcaster and theatre reviewer, you will know the spiel. (Same old I hear you say and too right!). It is another of my personal political campaigns.
As my beloved Producer Clive DeHesselle was known to say, it's all about aural balance and timbre of voice. This is not an accent thing... it's about performance and pitch. The ability to use part of the vocal spectrum that allows for maximum light and shade of inflection without the sound engineers having to constantly twiddle knobs. Who in commercial radio (or more correctly which station) has such specialist people in the control booth as the ABC sound engineers and producers. Isn't it more like an air trafic control tower, fielding phone callers, popping in CDs and promos or is that also done by the on-air "Talent"? A sheer matter of numbers and dollars of course or in business speak cost-efficiency. Lack of qulaity control is symptomatic of cost-cutting and results in a disrespect for the customer/listener/viewer).
The commercials do not pay attention to the professionalism of the craft, just the ratings generated by the ranting (a totally different focus on the term professionalism!) [Shakespearan side: Golly I love exclamation points with text as they pick up where pitch and inflection are neglected.
And yep, middle aged white males do it well, rant that is, think the UK's Grumpy Old Men, how much funnier Clarkson and Co were to [I hate to say it... my beloved] Germaine and Company. Its Clarkson and co that bring the female viewers to Top Gear also (or is that just me... I do lust after sports cars?)
The secret I feel to successful on air broadcasting on talk radio is that the presenters are first and foremost journalists (not celebrities).Journalists are professional opinion seekers and makers. They are intelligent and reflect on the effects their words produce. On radio, this of course involves the best and most effective manner in which to communicate, and I include vocal presentation in this category.
Too few of our radio presenters worry about technique. They are just being 'Mr or Ms Identifiable' with the Aussie 'Mr & Mrs Averages'. Watch out for polished speech and pronunciation it smacks of elitism! Watch out for informed discussion and debate it smacks of intellectuliam and education! (Yet this in a culture where so many families send their children to Priavte Schools).
Whilst I have finally gotten over my total alienation by Tracey Bartram's broad Aussie accent (I still cannnot forgive constant incorrect time calls), I still pine for the acerbic wit of Red Symons when he is on leave. I am longing for the return of Virginia Triolli and journalists of her skill to mainstream broadcasting ,not just the specialist frequencies and programs.
It seems that whenever Melbourne has a strong, opinionated female broadcaster who can hold the pollies to account, in the same way Jon Faine does (and can irritate as many in the same manner) we lose her to the National market (Sydney-centric of course). So it can't be as Tracey suggests in her response in The Age, that 'we' audiences and managements hate/fear strong women. Look at the popularity of Jana Wendt so many years after leaving the box.
I am sounding like the older boomers when I say... is this reverse cultural cringe?
Is this the same effect (only in reverse) that sent us all scurrying across the oceans towards the "Old Country" in the 60s and 70s?
This time around, anything that smacks of imperialism (British particularly) needs to be avoided at all costs! Valuing the English language, went out of vogue in my education history (and I rue the day I never learned grammar!) Liberal arts, philosophy, debate and rational-thinking are definitely not marketable commodities in todays 'fast-byte' consumer culture.,, or at least the global corporations are out to ensure these traits are not marketed or valued. Ideology at work here with total political imperatives tied to the almighty dollar.
Whilst I will be the first to stand up and scream for gender equity in all walks of life, I think the media presenters/broadcasters/journalist issue is symptomatic of a broader malaise; backlash politics combining with class war-fare.
I am the very person to want the blogosphere to contribute to and enhance the democratisation of the WWW, in order to avoid commercial and political bias and to counter the saturationthe global media empire dominance brings with media convergence. What pains me most is this very democratisation seems to co-incide with a 'dumbing down' the cultural discourse. This is surely playing right into the hands of the media magnates?
How many times do you want to know some of your FB friend are playing Mafia Wars? Are my 'causes'on FB any better? Is this a class thing also? Do I use FB as an extension of my public persona? Don't we all? Are we careful about what we allow to be published and disseminated via Social Media? Is it as much a fashion and image statement as anything else? And how do I reconcile my love of idiotic quizzes, my Tarot readings, daily horoscopes with my political activism on the web? Is it just that they are shells that I like to project to the outside world whilst sitting on my backside on a computer instead of out volunteering for these organisations? Is this my own buy-in to class warfare; and I am not brave enough to admit it?
Or is it this very minutiae that preoccupies us so we feel we have some degree of control over our world and world view? I guess I hate the fact that my opinions are that, mine... and I am seeking some sort of public validation that I am not alone in these views and attitudes. Funny thing to choose an open access WWW, isn't it? Fear to stand up and be held accontable in public CAC? Watch out Jon Faine, I'm hot on your heels!
Ah, I am just full of..... contradictions! So you see I'm not after total global dominance, or even National, just Melbourne. So I can't be at fully +5 (yet).