The pair was spotted leaving Radio New Zealand’s Auckland office yesterday, but neither Tamihere nor Jackson would confirm the rumours of a new show.
However, Radio New Zealand’s new CEO, Paul Thompson, today confirmed that Tamihere and Jackson were in line to host a new afternoon weekday show.
While Radio New Zealand National continues to rate highly, bosses have been concerned for some time that racists, anti-Semites, homophobes and misogynists are ill-served by the network’s current programme schedule.
“Like it or not, we are a public broadcaster,” said Mr Thompson. “We owe it to our listeners to provide programming that caters for a diverse group of perspectives. Even if we find some of those perspectives challenging.”
The new show would replace Jim Mora’s Afternoons, which currently broadcasts every weekday afternoon.
“It’s going to be difficult to let Jim Mora go. Jim’s understandably shocked and devastated, but he’s also realistic about the need for change,” said Thompson.
“We were faced with the choice of continuing with a popular magazine-style radio show that covers diverse topics such as the arts, food and wine, science, travel, news, and politics, or just going with two dickheads shooting their mouths off.
“In the end we had to remind ourselves what our core values were. Radio New Zealand exists for all New Zealanders. Even dickheads.”
Radio New Zealand’s commercial-free format would suit Tamihere and Jackson, said media expert Brian Bannister.
“There won’t be an advertiser backlash the next time one of them says something utterly offensive,” said Mr Bannister. “It’s a brilliant career move by the pair.”
Meanwhile. Radio Live bosses say they have no plans to replace Tamihere and Jackson with another person.
The duo were taken off air even before news of the Radio New Zealand deal broke, after they failed for once to get away with saying awful things about people.
Their comments about the Roastbusters victims proved deeply offensive to Radio Live’s accountants, after an advertiser walkout threatened the company’s financial prospects.
In place of Tamihere and Jackson Radio Live has been playing a sound recording of two yapping dogs, rewinding and replaying it several times during the show’s three-hour slot.
Listener feedback on the changes has so far been positive.
“It’s great to hear Michael Laws back on the radio, even if he sounds a bit shriller than before,” said one listener. “I agree with pretty much everything he has to say.
“I’m not sure who that other bloke is, though. I hope he’s not one of them queers.”