Geoff Robinson has announced his retirement from Radio New Zealand National’s Morning Report show. Robinson’s calm demeanour and ability to do one of radio’s toughest jobs, while somehow managing to retain the respect and admiration of just about everyone, and even more remarkably staying out of the gossip pages and women’s magazines, are all marks of a true professional.
So it’s just as well he’s leaving. How can we ever hope to convince voters that public broadcasting is a waste of money, when people like Robinson continue to impress and inform?
Robinson will be hard to replace, but his departure should be seen as an opportunity to reform and modernise the Morning Report show. I’ve never understood why it has to be so news-heavy. Surely the punters want something a bit lighter to go with their breakfast cereal. How about a bit of music for a change? There’s probably a time and a place for the occasional interview or news report, but wouldn’t most people prefer the sound of One Direction or Miley Cyrus to David Cunliffe, Hekia Parata and Russel Norman?
But if they have to do interviews with leading figures because of that whole public broadcasting thing, couldn’t they at least find some interesting people for once? What about Sally Ridge? When was the last time she was on the show? Or the couple who won that house do-up show the other day.
And would it kill them to run the occasional phone-in competition?
The presenters also need to get out of the studio a bit more. They should be at every gym opening, film premiere, and big music event. Radio NZ also needs to invest in a few Humvees, park them up at popular beach spots, and start giving away promotional items.
Now let’s look at who should replace Geoff Robinson. I don’t think Willie and JT are the right fit for this particular slot (but see my next post: Fixing Nine to Noon), but what about Mark Ellis or Tony Veitch? Simon Mercep is also going to have to shape up if he wants to keep his job after 1 April, so if he’s going to continue with those politician interviews he’d better find a way to make them less boring. How about asking Paula Bennett what her dream date is, just for a change? Or whether she’s ever attended Parliament wearing no knickers? Or maybe he could ask Bill English which of his colleagues is the loudest farter during cabinet meetings, or which pop star he would shag.
Who am I kidding? No, they won’t do any of these things. Instead they’ll hire someone respectable, sensible, and competent. Probably a journalist. Someone who doesn’t live in a Herne Bay mansion, wear designer clothes or drive a Maserati. Someone who has never hosted a reality TV show. They may even hire a woman (God help us all).
No, Morning Report will probably remain the most informative and important radio show in New Zealand, without any serious rival, even after Geoff Robinson has left. What a wasted opportunity.