Sunday, 22 August 2010

Louis Walsh has a pop at RTE

I don’t know much about Louis Walsh, other than the facts that he is responsible for Boylife or Westzone, and hosts a programme called Britain’s Got X-Factor.

But anyone – all of us, that is –compelled to pay a licence fee to keep the broadcasting apparatus of Official Ireland, RTE, in existence might well concur with the doyen of dubious light entertainment’s views on the ministry for public enlightenment that is Montrose.

Ken Sweeney, the Indo’s entertainment reporter, quoted Walsh as saying that:

“RTE need new faces and new attitude. They launched the new schedule and it was the same old faces, who I’m fed up looking at. RTE is the civil service. It’s a big building with all these people doing nothing. RTE should be sold off and the people running it sacked….

How are TV3 so successful when they have a smaller budget and only one little studio? They call RTE ‘the station of the cross’. God know’s it’s true. We have all been suffering for years. It has to end soon. Please.”

Agreed. There is something more than vaguely disconcerting, in my view, about the whole concept of a State broadcaster. Wochenschau did not have the benefit of being beamed into people’s living rooms but even then Dr Goebbels saw the mind-shaping potential of public broadcasting. OK, that is an extreme example, but you get the idea.

Be it Pravda, Der Stürmer, or RTE (yes, I’m being extreme again) you can’t expect Government-controlled media to be impartial to political influence. Never mind the fact that RTE enjoys an unfair advantage over TV3 by taking in advertising revenue and a TV licence fee, unlike the BBC.

It can’t be a good thing for the media to be controlled by the likes of Murdoch and O’Reilly either, but some kind of monopoly legislation should be capable of preventing this.

In which case, RTE should be kicked off the stage.

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Gammagoblin said...

The only reason TV3 is popular is for the same reason The Sunday World is popular: absolute trash. Whatever about RTÉ, TV3 is absolute gutter television.

Then there's the fact that ITV took Coronation Street off RTÉ and gave it to TV3. That put one hell of a dent in viewership figures.

I often tune in, just to laugh at it. Exposé? Holy shit. The only thing I'd like to see exposed is Glenda Gilson's trachea after a rottweiller attack.

The Gombeen Man said...

Can we take it you're not a fan, GG?

Gammagoblin said...

Ah no, tis grand really :-P

I actually got rid of my television at the start of the year. A drastic move perhaps, considering there are still a few things I like to watch, and need to make other arrangements to see, but ultimately having that rot box out of the house with its vile gaeliga and "bells of doom" chiming at 6pm every day has made me feel much better. I did it just for those smug fucking ad's on the radio and TV: "We've heard all the excuses" Well have you heard this one, fuckers!

The Gombeen Man said...

Fair play to you so, GG. Anything that will deprive them of a bit of revenue is a good thing in my book.

Yes, those ads are awful... but remember the ones a few years back going "get a TV licence, not a criminal record!!", and one of the characters agonising as to whether he was obliged to fork out for a separate licence for the holiday home. Cringe.

Netgeek said...

Dunno GM just about every country in Europe has a state broadcaster. Even the US has PBS/NPR. Dont get me wrong Im all for a bit of RTE baiting but theres no such thing as a (legal) broadcaster entirely free of state control. Even "independent" broadcasters are beholden to the state for their broadcasting licences.

Ireland does need a public service broadcaster. Its a pity we dont have one.

Laurence said...

Does Callely have a TV licence for his "holiday" home?
Or would the 2nd licence be for his Dublin home?

Gammagoblin said...

Wasn't so much of a choice considering the reception is complete shite where I'm living. I guess I shouldn't complain, I am after all, living all the way out in the depths of the Cork city suburbs!! I had enough of it last year. I turned the TV off for the last time after spending 20 minutes doing gymnastics with the aerial just to get a snowy picture without sound. Fired up the web stream and that was that.

Anonymous said...

RTE has it's faults but you must be blind not to see that the only reason Schlockmeister Walsh is making these comments is because X-Factor is on TV3 in a show in which he plays a character. If he was on RTE he'd be slagging TV3. Really to use the comments of Walsh as a way to get a point across is scraping the barrel of opinion.

Seriously, to consider that TV3 would be any better if they had more capital is bunkum, it would be a lot worse. TV3 are succesful because their stock in trade since inception is appeal to the lowest common denominator and RTE's ad revenue has been "capped" for years so it does not truly have that advantage over TV3.

The reason why RTE is a state assisted broadcaster is also because it is the biggest acquirer of cultural archive -radio and TV media- in the country and that is an enterprise that costs money to maintain and store. TV3 are not that in any way, all that they document is the crew of Expose's gatecrashing, Cranky Cagney's morning moods and the dietary habits of it's fat newscasters.

RTE definitely needs a shake up in terms of it's upper tier salaries and programme duties but the reason the BBC can get away with not needing ad revenue is because they exist in a country of 62 million potential license fee payers as opposed to our measly 4 million which An Post is not as stringent on enforcing since there's about 25% s never collected.

The Gombeen Man said...

I am, of course, fully aware of Walsh's motives. My tongue is firmly in cheek in that respect.

I'm also aware that RTE's licence fee income is a lot less than BBC's, but I am sure it's production, coverage, output and infrastructure costs a lot less too. Yet its mediocre - at best - "personalties" and presenters are paid very handsomely proportionately.

Then there is the issue of them pulling programmes that were actually good and critical - such as Scrap Saturday - after politicians allegedly complained.

No, they can scrap RTE for all I care. I would not miss it. But that's my opinion.

Anonymous said...

RTE just about breaks even generally each year -it made money for about 3 years during th "boom"- and living in a country where everything, especially in the business of media, is a lot more expensive than the UK, cutting salaries of the overpaid Lords of Montrose would help and maybe getting rid of TG4 which is not what many are led to believe it is. It doesn't actually produce much output itself as much of it's schedule is bought-in, the documentaries are mostly redubbed foreign jobbies and it's audience, at it's highest, is below 50,000. If you think pulling programmes like "the Clinic" are "actually good and critical" -the last time a programme was pulled- is a bad thing, well I'm not one to say. It's not a common practice really. I can't think of many programmes that have been pulled.

"Scrap Saturday - after politicians allegedly complained", I'm not sure how true that rumour is but might be and probably made with the threat of reducing the license fee. That is more a problem of "Us and the Government we elect evry 4 years" than RTE.

I don't watch telly in general but I've been to most countries in Europe and their "StateTelly" which is the best of what they have is much, much worse than ours, which in reality probably ranks a distant 2nd place to the BBC. The only good US telly is their drama, the rest is bad fiction, including the news.

The Gombeen Man said...

Don't forget "Celebrity Jigs and Reels"! Oh Jesus, stop the lights!!!!!