Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Kevin Milne'

Shit Happens! An Open Letter to John Campbell

 

Shit happens, John. I’ve been “let go”, sacked from more broadcasting jobs in New Zealand than I care to remember. And, more than once, with absolutely no warning.  To add insult to injury, the sackings generally occurred at a time when the show was enjoying both public acclaim and ratings success.

Top of the Morning (1994-1999)

In December 1999 my producer, Catherine Saunders, and I were summoned to Wellington for a meeting with Radio New Zealand CEO Sharon Crosbie, an old friend of both of us.  “Summoned”  is perhaps the wrong word. Catherine and I had made a habit of going down to Wellington just before Christmas to persuade Sharon that the success of TOTM merited yet another increase in our pay. Sharon would sigh wearily but to date had come to the party.

We were pretty sure of a warm reception. The latest radio survey had just come out. TOTM, whose previous incarnation had a cumulative audience of around 80,000 when I took over the slot in 1995, now had an audience of 340,000. It was the highest rating Saturday morning radio programme in the country, not to mention outrating almost every other programme on National Radio. We had every reason to expect a warm reception from the boss.

We were called in separately to be told the news. I’d been sacked.

To this day I have absolutely no idea why I was sacked as host of TOTM. Poor ratings? Get real! Poor listener response? Ditto! My role as media advisor to Helen Clark, the newly elected Prime Minister? Hardly, TOTM was a politics-free zone with the exception of one personality-style interview – with Jenny Shipley! Which leaves two defamation writs in 5 years, neither of which, in my reasonably informed opinion, should every have been settled.

Certainly not the second, in which Paul Holmes claimed $5,000 for allegedly having been defamed by yours truly on the show

This is what happened. A close friend of Paul had told me Paul had been highly disappointed by the low-key nature of a TV election debate he’d chaired between Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark. Paul had, according to the close friend, “been hoping for a cat fight”. I mentioned this in passing on the show. Paul issued a writ against RNZ for defamation and RNZ caved. I’m not sure which is more unbelievable – for a broadcaster of Pauls’ reputation to be so thin-skinned, or Radio New Zealand so chicken-livered as to settle this preposterous suit.

You know the rest, John. When the news got out, you interviewed me on TV3 News about the sacking. You were very supportive.

Then there was a public outcry. Thousands of people wrote to Radio New Zealand to protest. A couple of “offers they know you can’t accept” were made to me by  RNZ during all of this.

Sound familiar?

Shit happens, John.

But wait, there’s more! Read the rest of this entry »

61 Comments , , , , , , , , , ,

I write a letter of complaint to Fair Go about their former host, and my former friend, Kevin Milne

index (10)

Dear Fair Go

Complaint Re Mr Kevin Milne

Today a large parcel, addressed to Judy Callingham and Brian Edwards arrived at the Ponsonby Post Office. The sender was one Kevin Milne, whose name will not be unknown to you.  My wife explained that it was probably a present from my former colleague to celebrate my 75th birthday – which was three-and-a- half months ago. Mr Milne had another engagement on the 4th of November, probably filming a commercial for hair restorer or erectile dysfunction pills in Hawaii, and had been unable to come to my party. He had apparently phoned her to say he’d been looking for an appropriate present ever since.  I was very excited. This was clearly it.

The parcel was quite heavy and an unusual shape – 60 X 600mm. As we sat drinking our flat whites at a local cafe, I examined the gift with my fingers, trying to guess what exciting and no doubt expensive present (Kevin is loaded!) it might contain. Anticipation, as the Germans say, is the greatest pleasure. (Die Vorfreude ist die größte Freude)

Whatever it was appeared to be in a frame. Undoubtedly an artwork, quite possibly a recently discovered McCahon triptych. (Kevin is extremely generous!)

“Or at least a framed piece of carpet!” I joshed.

We sped home in the Mini Cooper, the McCahon triptych carefully stowed in the back. I tore off the outer wrapping. There indeed was a stylish birthday card.

It is too painful for me to quote the words that Mr Milne actually wrote. However, if this is essential to my complaint, I will ask my counsellor to sent the card to you. But the simple bitter truth is that the present was not for me at all, but for my wife. In three-and-a-half months Mr Milne had not been able to find anything for me. ‘So you get the gift, Judy,’ he wrote, ‘Brian won’t mind.’

Well, if a more serious case of false advertising combined with breach of promise has ever come your way, I’d be very surprised.  This is like having a wedding photographer lose your photographs or finding your Big Mac is half the size it looked in the ad. Only ten times worse!

Milne must pay for my hurt feelings and he must pay dearly.

Could it get any worse? Oh yes, Fair Go crime fighters, it could. For Milne’s gift was indeed a painting. And like the McCahon I had thought it was, it did have writing on it. And what it said, the very text my wife would display on her office wall for all to see , was grossly defamatory of her husband, the birthday boy!

I look forward to your urgent response. I am available to be filmed at any time and assume you will provide make-up and a hair stylist.

Do I get a fee?

Dr Brian Edwards

Attached: Photograph of Mr Milne’s ‘present’ to my wife.  Read the rest of this entry »

19 Comments , , , , , , , ,

Kev can’t spell!

 

Seems my old friend and former journalism student Kevin Milne is losing his spelling ability along with his hair!

39 Comments

I return reluctantly to the topic of Fair Go and reply to a friendly critic.

I hadn’t intended to return to this topic, but a response by Kevin Milne to my critique of Fair Go’s modus operandi leaves me little choice. Kevin was speaking to Herald media commentator John Drinnan. Drinnan reports him as having said:

“I don’t know if there is a word for people who attack their own babies. Brian’s comments are outrageous and criticism about the show from day one is just nuts. He started an amazing programme that has been hugely popular for 30 years and I think he knows that. My impression [of the people who commented on the Edwards blog] was that they are not the sort of people who watch Fair Go very often. It’s a major conversion on the Road to Damascus. You also need to put into focus that he makes his living – an extremely good living one would assume – advising big business how to deal with Fair Go.”

A deranged Waiheke neighbour of ours, whose ginger tom was terrorising every other cat in the district, and to whom I complained, put it about the island, when the cat mysteriously disappeared one Christmas, that I had killed it by throwing it over the cliff. I hadn’t. But for some time people would approach me and say, ‘Ah Brian, the Waiheke cat killer!’

This is, however, the first time I have been accused of attacking my own babies, whatever the word for that is – ‘child abuse’ I suppose, Kevin – but I’m going to treat the accusation  as an elderly moment and move on.  Read the rest of this entry »

30 Comments , ,

Why you should trust Brian’s Bountiful Bonds. (With Money-Back Guarantee and Free Advice for other TV personalities!)

Another 'Brian's Bountiful Bonds' winner!

Perhaps the most important precept in consumer affairs is ‘caveat emptor’ – let the buyer beware. I would have thought this applied as much to investing one’s life savings in a finance company offering above average returns as to buying a flat screen TV or washing machine from a discount store. More really, since in the first case we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars while, in the second, maybe a few hundred bucks will be at stake and the product will be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act anyway.

In the first instance, therefore, a sensible investor might be wise to get some advice from someone in the finance advisory sector, though preferably not from an advisor employed by the same bank that has a controlling stake in the finance company flogging the product. That advisor just might not be entirely objective… or honest.

On the other hand, an investor  might take the advice of Richard Long, a former television newsreader, on what to do with their retirement funds, or former sports broadcaster, Keith Quinn, on preparing for his or her own eventual demise, or former cricket captain, Stephen Fleming, on how to best warm or cool their home, or (if they prefer fencing paddocks to news-reading) former All Black, Colin Meads, on what to do with their retirement funds, or funny man Mike King on where to buy… well…  just about anything.

In every case that would be a pretty stupid thing to do, since Richard has no expertise in investing for retirement, Keith, despite appearances, is not  dead, Stephen probably couldn’t wire a fuse, Colin,  well, just  listen to the man, and Mike King tells jokes for a living, which really ought to be a warning in itself.   Read the rest of this entry »

37 Comments , , , , , , , , , ,

Old Time Music Hall from New Zealand Television News

 

Many years ago, when I was running the television modules at the AUT,  I invited Tom Parkinson, former Head of Entertainment with TVNZ and one of the driving forces behind TV3, to give a guest lecture to some of my senior students. I assumed he would talk about Light Entertainment, but his theme was the remarkable similarity in structure between network television news and the  old time  music hall.  It was mostly about placement: where in the programme you put the starring acts (major stories), second tier acts (less major stories), intermissions (commercial breaks), comedy acts (funny stories), high wire acts (dramatic stories), pre-intermission acts (teasers),  heart-warming acts (human interest stories) and so on.  ‘Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em cry, make ‘em wait.’ It was a fascinating lecture and the exactness of the analogy was remarkable.

I don’t think it was Tom’s intention to suggest that the actual content of the television news bulletin should be the same as the content of a music hall bill, but I’m starting to feel that that is where we are inexorably going. Our news-reading duos increasingly look like comedy double acts. Read the rest of this entry »

26 Comments , , ,

Kevin Milne Responds to “Unfair Fair Go” and I Issue a Challenge

Kev Writes

Photo: TVNZ

Photo: TVNZ

Feel free to stick my photo up on your site any time, Brian. Fair Go doesn’t ask permission to stick other people’s photos up on the wall and nor should you.

I think companies that deal with the public have a responsibility to front up to the public when things go wrong. That includes fronting up on television. It’s not good enough to just say, “we’ll fix it…but we refuse to talk on the telly about what happened, who was responsible, or if it’s likely to happen again.”

The Fair Go Wall is about companies not fronting up on camera when we think there are still questions to be answered. It’s not about whether they’ve decided to fix the problem or not.

Now there’s the Wall, these people know they’ll be “appearing” if they front up or not.

As for Mr Callander. He had every opportunity to front up to the camera originally but didn’t. Good on him for fronting up in the end, though.

I Reply with a Challenge

brian-edwards12Good morning, old friend. And thanks for replying to my post. Unfortunately, that isn’t good enough. As a public figure, I don’t think just providing a written response to my complaint will do. I require you to come to my premises, so that I can cross-examine you further on this infringement. If you fail to do so, I will put a large photograph of you in the window of my offices with the inscription: Kev Milne – Wanted for Questioning! I will refuse to take it down until you yield, Further, when you get here, I will take measures to loosen your tongue, by forcing you to drink large quantities of fine wine. So there!

Read the rest of this entry »

16 Comments , ,

Brian’s Law of Celebrity Endorsement

images3

images41

images6

In the early 70s, not long after I left the ground-breaking current affairs television programme Gallery, I was approached by an advertising agency who wanted me to front a multi-media campaign for a publication called New Zealand Heritage. I was on the bones of my bum at the time and the appeal of making what I imagined would be a quick killing was considerable.

New Zealand Heritage was an educational part-work, a sort of New Zealand encyclopaedia in instalments. The editorial board behind the publication was a Who’s Who of eminent New Zealand scholars. It was an entirely respectable enterprise. Read the rest of this entry »

8 Comments , , , , ,