21 May 2000

The Cinderella Service: The story of the news

From the collecton Resounding Radio

The ugly sisters of government control, newspaper interests and public apathy hold back an independent news service until 1962. But within a few years the 'Cinderella Service' becomes the belle of the ball.

Programme contents

The contents are listed by running time, detail of material and name of the person speaking, where applicable.
'Actuality' means that the material is drawn from a 'live' or recorded programme or event.

0' 00" Montage of news presentation.

0' 45" No independent news service before 1962.

0' 55" 'Radio should keep people happy and ignorant' – quote from newspaper 1932.

1' 35" 1903 and 1923 legislation establishes radio as entertainment rather than informational.

1' 50" 'Radio should radiate happiness' – quote from 1920s.

2' 00" 1925 the Radio Broadcasting Company emphasises information.

2' 15" Quote from Radio Broadcasting Company's policy.

2' 50" Radio cannot broadcast controversy but government policies are broadcast because they are defined as non-controversial. This is how 'government hand-outs’ come to dominate information programmes. Bob Gregory

3' 40" Quote praising election coverage of 1928. But first election coverage was 1922.

4' 10" First regular information programme was News Hour, 7pm to 8pm, 1927.

4' 45" Description of Arch Curry reading news and how news was gathered for News Hour. Gerard Curran

7' 15" Quote from New Year's eve 1934 broadcast – 'no news because no newspapers'.

7' 20" After 1935, newly-elected Labour government takes over radio and uses as mouthpiece to balance unfavourable coverage in press.

7' 50" Actuality: Deputy Prime Minister Peter Fraser's Parliamentary speech defending Labour's radio policy.

9' 55" Compiling news in later 1930s. Derek Bayle

11' 00" Actuality: Ernest Le Grove reading his last bulletin after news reading career spanning from 1930s to 1960s. Ernest Le Grove

12' 20" Actuality: Theme of Radio News Reel from London.

12' 30" Actuality: Churchill war speech 'fight on beaches'...

12' 45" War news has BBC emphasis. 9pm summary each day and News in Maori.

13' 20" Post war news still mouthpiece of government. Bad for broadcasters and listeners. Jim Sullivan

13' 55" Efforts in 1950s to form better news service. Bert Hall

15' 30" Actuality: Prime Minister Sydney Holland's 'law and order' speech during 1951 waterfront dispute. Sydney Holland

16' 15" Actuality: Montage of excerpts from government 'mouthpiece' radio news bulletins on waterfront dispute.

17' 25" Actuality: Propaganda interview with 'housewife' during waterfront dispute.

19' 15" Actuality: News of the World, 1950s lab Auckland international news summary.

20' 10" Quote from book Broadcasting Grave and Gay by Ian Mackay – 'New Zealand news on YA stations worst in Commonwealth'.

20' 45" NZBC's first Director General describes lead-up and establishment of independent news service in 1962 and resistance by newspaper and political interests. Gilbert Stringer

24' 05" First independent news director describes staffing and cautious editorial approach of news service. Ben Cory

25' 35" Actuality: First independent radio news service bulletin.

26' 15" Description of lack of trust shown for each other by journalists and NZBC administration. Bob Gregory

29' 40" Political pressure by Robert Muldoon on Chairman of NZBC Walter McKinnon over coverage of new aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point. Ray Lilley

31' 00" Majority of NZBC Board were sympathetic to, or members of, National Party. This gives bad perception of impartiality. Bob Gregory

32' 05" First 'news follow up', News Review begins in evening. But resistance by programmers to equivalent in mornings because it would cause drop in music content. Bruce Broadhead

33' 10" Experienced journalists mostly drawn from newspapers. Network of newsrooms established around country. Peter Fabian

34' 20" Strongman mine disaster 1967 covered by Greymouth newsroom, a personal account by journalist. Jim Breeze

36' 20" Talks Department begins Radio Dispatch, forerunner of Checkpoint. Start of Current Affairs generally. Beverley Wakem

37' 05" Report programmes begin in 1975 in spite of opposition to curtailing breakfast session music. BBC's experience used to start radio equivalent of a morning national newspaper. Geoffrey Whitehead

38' 10" Actuality: Mid 1970s Morning Report.

38' 45" 1975 sees birth of stand-alone RNZ with expanded news and other services.

39' 00" Now have morning, midday, evening and weekend 'Reports'. Parliamentary radio press gallery formed. But cut-backs soon begin. Trevor Henry

40' 10" Demands on journalists during 1981 Springbok tour. Buzz Hart

40' 40" Actuality: Police and demonstrators conflict, Molesworth Street Wellington.

41' 10" Radio's Director General during tour, Geoffrey Whitehead, wonders if radio's comprehensive coverage is right thing to do. Radio has more 'live' coverage than TV. Some radio staff attacked on street. Ray Lilley

43' 25" Actuality: 'More FM' news introduction.

43' 35" Development of private news services and IRN (Independent Radio News). Difficulties and eventual networking and satellite feeds. Ray Lilley

46' 10" Growth of IRN which now serves 90% of stations, i.e. 170 stations in deregulated market. Barry Soper

47' 00" Growth of Maori news through Mana News. Far sharper Maori focus. Example of breaking 'fiscal envelope' story. Chris Wikaira

49' 35" Changing styles of news reading from 1960s onwards. Peter Fry

50' 30" Resistance to female newsreaders in early 1970s. Lee Hatherly

52' 05" News in 1990s faces politics of purse string rather than fears about direct political interference.

52' 40" In election year, politicians will put warning shots across bows of radio news. Ray Lilley

54' 00" Montage of news introductions and summary of radio news' strengths. Geoffrey Whitehead