Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sean Plunket moving on - what next for NewstalkZB?

Whale reports Sean Plunket is moving on.

He was off air the day before the TVNZ Close Up demise was announced leading me to wonder if the two were connected.

But I also noticed a lift in his mood about a week ago leading me to suggest  to my other half that,  "Plunket's got a new woman". He just had that boyish wickedness thing going on. He's very, very funny when  in that frame of mind. But maybe I mistook a new relationship for a new job. There was certainly a sense of relief about him. A devil-may-care, let down your hair (sorry for atrocious rhyme) attitude.

I've listened to him off and on, whereas when Justin du Fresne was host, ZB was the only station I tuned into. It's more likely now that I'll switch over from the fabulous Sound (97.3fm) after dropping daughter off and singing our way to work, to Michael Laws (who was happily replaced by Rodney Hide yesterday doing a sterling job with the lines filled all morning and Rodney chirping away about his new born baby Grace).

In Plunket's first year he made the mistake of treating talkback callers like hostile interviewees. He would lead them through an argument using faulty logic to disprove their position. He had none of du Fresne's congeniality. But this year he had improved. I thought he was warming to the listeners and they to him. If I switched off it was because I wasn't interested in the topic, or some of the nuttier callers were  irritating.

He could sometimes pull off an unusual idea. When Margaret Mahey died he spent a morning talking to people about their favourite books. It was quite compelling and nostalgic as caller after caller evoked universal memories of childhood fiction.

But where does NewstalkZB go now? It wouldn't bother me one iota if they switched the Welllington network over to the national network and beamed in Leighton Smith. BUT he isn't popular with a number of the Wellington audience, who are very parochial and sometimes not that bright. Ironically the programme's very weakness.

A permanent post for Rodney perhaps?


Lucia Maria said...

I used to listen to Justin a lot as well, but often just turned Sean off. For me, he just got annoying on some of his pet issues which I can't think of, off the top of my head. I only phoned him once and he did try and trip me up, but failed. :)

I'd really much rather have Leighton Smith - the few times they connect us to the Auckland network, it's far more interesting.

Mark Hubbard said...

I listen to Leighton via their online stream, which you can hear from anywhere. He does a great show.

Anonymous said...

After the demise of Perigo's "Incorrect Show" on Pacific Leighton is the nearest the NZ media holds as a freedom-lover.


Anonymous said...

Leighton Smith is an exceptional broadcaster. I have been listening on several occasions when he has sensed crisis in the caller's life. Leighton has a sense of compassion coupled with the ability to respond in exactly the right way in these situations. One such call, a couple of years ago, concerned a woman who had already overdosed herself and was sitting in her car on the roadside awaiting the inevitable fate that she had elected. Leighton talked her through her crisis, eliciting enough information from the woman that other listeners were able to join the dots and identify the woman's whereabouts and vehicle, and organise emergency services to intervene and get the woman to hospital smartly. A remrkable result, and a very fortunate outcome for the deeply distressed woman. Other less dramatic calls, but equally distressed callers, have benefitted from his calm wisdom and assurances, and by the end of the call are in a very much happier frame of mind, and have agreed to follow his suggestions of where to seek appropriate assistance. Every other day, his logic and interviewing skills make for compelling listening, although I do not share his taste for Dr John.


Manolo said...

If only Lindsay Perigo would get the job!