The role of the media

Hello-is-this-the-media-I-have-a-story-for-you...Interesting times are upon us. Wars are raging in different hotspots around the world, Displaced refugees are trying to find a peaceful place to live, go about their lives, put a roof over their heads and raise their families, after the disintegration of their home countries. Governments and politicians around the world are still corruptly running their countries in self interest, instead of in the interests of the people.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the role that the media plays in reporting world and local events seems to have changed.

The media has always taken a news reporting role, with an opinion to go with it, but in recent times, it appears that the opinion has overtaken the actual news, as the main topic in news articles. The opinion seems to be the more important topic than the news itself. By the simple nature of what they do, the media has quite a large soapbox to extol their views on any given topic. More often than not, the original news topic seems to be buried in their own victim mentality, and their theory that they are the news, not the unfolding disaster, war, refugee crisis, plane crash or whatever. It is interesting to see their responses when these criticism’s are directed towards them. The resulting flock of swarming vultures go for the jugular to tear down any criticism, rather than simply reporting and dissecting the news item itself. If you want to publish items like the tacky women’s magazines, go ahead, but don’t claim that you are a legitimate news outlet. I will hastily add here, that there are some great news media outlets out there, but they are getting to be few and far between.

You know guys…..you can admit you are wrong sometimes….it might gain you some respect. R-E-S-P-E-C-T……you know….. that term you tend to use, when you demand people listen to your views.

The punters all have a voice now, via social media. How about you just REPORT THE NEWS FACTUALLY and keep your opinions to yourself.

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The joys of the consumer

mad-as-hell

I find it intriguing that I’ve become such a valued person to business’s, retailers etc  out there in the world of sales and marketing, all vying to have me spend my hard earned dollars with them. They spend enough money to run a country, in advertising and promotion, and on attracting me to make a purchase, buy a plan, bank with them etc and then……….. promptly treat me like shit when I have an issue over the service they have rendered.

But I, and many others have finally woken up and decided to take action. Or maybe that is the wrong way to describe it.

The old method of attempting to correct a bad transaction was to call or visit the organisation and try and sort out the issue. They often didn’t want to know you, or would throw the shutters down and totally ignore you, taking the perspective that they had your money, and pretty much couldn’t care less about your repeat business, and were prepared to move on to the next sucker, unfortunate enough to deal with them. Promises of good service and product guarantees were  totally hollow. And then to rub salt into the wound, you’d never stop hearing from them via spam emails, Facebook ads etc, telling you all about their latest deals and services, plus they’d want you to “help” them improve their service by getting you to respond to on line questionnaires.

I think at some stage, we’ve all thought that there was some guy deep inside the head offices of these places taking a genuine interest in our comments and reporting back to the PR and marketing people about how to make our shopping experience more wonderful and trouble free. These days, it’s a bit more technical. The complaints department no longer exists, and probably hasn’t done so, for some time. Thanks to Facebook and other forms of social media, retailers and marketers know more about our political leanings, our buying habits and attitudes, our education levels, our religious beliefs (if any) and our likes and dislikes on any topic you can think of.

Well, it’s time to fight back…. I’ve had enough. For some time now, I have taken back my consumer value, by telling them nothing. Yes….absolutely nothing. A considerable part of the problem falls at the feet of social media. Social media, in all its forms, started out as it’s name suggests. If you can believe what Mark Zuckerberg has been telling us, he never intended Facebook to be out of control as it has become, in recent times. I wonder if he could turn back time, he would change the pathway that Facebook had taken in its sellout of its initial core value of being a social platform for friends, instead of the avalanching, monolithic disaster, that it is today. However, I digress.

I have my own shit list of recalcitrant companies, products and individuals that I have dealt with for goods and services. But!!!! Don’t tell them they are on it, especially on any social media platform. Pass on your poor service experiences to friends, family and acquaintances verbally. I think that the advertising industry has either ignored this method or they are in a total state of denial. Probably the latter as it conflicts with any form of promotion that they peddle towards us. I have learned that “word of mouth” is a far, far better recommendation than any other form of good or bad promotion.

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Happy Australia Day

It’s January 26th! Australia Day!0fcc44066c8007063bbb8d4be219fc6d

If you believe what you read in the recent news, Australians are becoming blase about our official national day, celebrating the arrival of the first fleet. Without heading down the well worn path of bashing the media, I think they have it completely wrong, in making some of these claims.

In a short history lesson, for those of you who aren’t aware, the 26th January 1788, was the birth of our nation and the date of arrival in Australia of the first fleet of convicts, soldiers and the appointed governor of the new colony, Capt Arthur Phillip. They had sailed across the world from England to settle the country discovered by Capt James Cook in 1770. The new colony was initially being set up as a jail and the convicts were the slave labor, to build the early infrastructure to get the settlement up and running. It was being run by the representatives of the British government, to operate under the jurisdiction and laws of the British colonial system. The world was a different place back then. Laws and respect for human life and other cultures were vastly different from what they are today (although, that’s up for debate too). The indigenous population was run over roughshod, and treated as expendable to expand the colony from its early days. WP_Roebourne_Jail[1].jpg itok=3GD2ieVL

But, somewhere along the line of history, and all of its terrible past atrocities, we have to break clear and move on. That’s probably an easy statement to make if you grew up in white Australia. But how long do we, as a country have to bear the guilt, or does it hang over our heads for ever? It is perhaps an easy statement to make…….but lets move on Australia. Get over it!! Now…. I am sure that if I had any indigenous ancestry, I would probably hold a certain amount of bitterness about the treatment of my forefathers, however it’s time to let it go. As a country, we’ve altered laws, educated, thrown money at it. We can’t change history! We cannot do much more! Unfortunately, there will always be ignorant bigotry.

I’m a proud Aussie! I’m proud of our nation! I’m proud of the way we have built it! I’m proud of the way we have defended it! I’m proud of our achievements on the sporting field, in science, medical research and education. I’m proud of our lifestyle! I’m proud to accept new Aussie’s here to live in this brilliant country!

But, I am not proud of this continuous division, that appears to be media driven every year, leading up to our national day. We aren’t proud of the genocidal acts that took place hundreds of years ago, here in Australia and in many other parts of the world by colonial powers, but we can’t change history either.

I honestly believe that most of our indigenous population are over it too! As usual, there doesn’t seem to be anything to report on, so lets dig up the same old chestnuts to stir up anti-Australian sentiment leading up to Australia Day.

So….To the media, B grade celebs, low rating morning TV breakfast shows, the arty farty types with plenty of spare time & who rely on the public purse to survive…….Crawl back in your holes and leave Australia and Aussies to get on with our annual peaceful celebration of our fantastic country and its achievements.

And to our political leaders……Go ahead, listen to a small minority….Have a costly & unwanted referendum for changing the date of Australia Day and watch it get voted down spectacularly, and keep in mind, it won’t win you any votes at the next election.

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Ah…..the internet

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I recently got involved in a discussion with a person on an internet forum. What generally starts out as a respectful debate, can very quickly escalate into an exercise of futility. The subject was a matter of policy regarding broadcasting and was initially made by the national manager of the organisation in a media outlet interview. The bloke I was involved in the forum discussion with, was their PR hack.

It struck me about halfway through this discord, that it doesn’t matter how much factual, proof based, information that you bring to the exchange, some people are unable to accept the truth. Now…I realize that some peoples version of facts are also up for debate. I’ve long held the belief that……”I read it on the internet” is about as reliable as “I heard it in a pub”. I try to stick to actual press releases, recorded interviews and real time live coverage to get as close to the facts as possible. Admittedly, even then, “the facts” can be distorted or photo-shopped to modify the the truth.

So….at what point in time, are people expected to put up the white flag and admit that they are wrong or is that premise just past some people’s ability?  When, the indisputable facts are presented to them and they still blindly and stubbornly stick to their guns to defend the indefensible.   When, they argue and attempt to modify the words that are on the public record.

I think we’ve all been in the position of seeing dickheads on forums, Facebook, twitter etc, go at it, like it was their life cause to tear down reality, all while hiding under their internet handles of anonymity.  It could be argued that our elected leaders get away with this behavior and get paid by us, to do it in our houses of parliament on a daily basis.

The internet is an interesting place! It gives us access to live news, medical and financial information and connects people. We can watch sport, catch a movie, do our shopping and banking, book flights and accommodation, run a business, get an education, catch up with friends etc. It’s given everyone a place to stand on their soapbox, vent their feelings, share their beautiful stories, their news, their joys and their sadness but it’s also given us the nut-bags of this world, the pedantic political types, the advertising pains in the arse, the PR hacks, the religious zealots, and the haters, a place to vent their BS.

So…..where do we go from here in our quest for the truth and logical discussion? Well, I’ve learned one thing….You walk away at the point where you realize that the debate is going nowhere. Everyone is entitled to their opinions……even if they are factually incorrect.

….and that is one advantage that the internet has over the pub…….one click and they’re gone.

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Where to, for motorsport in Australia?

Here’s a question that some motorsport fans in Australia, may think doesn’t need to be asked. However, from my perspective….. Where to, for motor racing in this country ?

VASC’s, as Australia’s main motorsport category, is supposedly cruising along quite comfortably….. if you choose to believe their propaganda. They say they are getting record crowds at events and producing increased TV ratings. However, when you get to see their races, which in itself, is not that easy to do, due to their blackout on free to air TV, the crowds appear to be ever decreasing. In fact, there seems to be an effort by the TV producers, to not show the spectator areas, with poor crowds sometimes being hard to hide from the camera’s. The TV ratings system being used by all the fta TV stations and the PayTV network are run by the TV networks themselves, and as such, are understandably pretty general in their results. The major TV networks can use the very ambiguous information to attract advertisers by a variety of shady demographics, which can just about give them an argument to prove a point from even a losing, actual viewer numbers position. Henceforth, this is how ridiculously low viewing numbers can somehow be projected as winning figures. Keep in mind that advertising hacks, PR spin doctors and TV executives are all behind these dodgy ratings numbers, so it’s in their own best interest to cloud the figures as much as possible. If you’re in any doubt, try watching the ABC TV Gruen series about the advertising industry, to see how we are played as fools. However, I digress!

Image result for suncorp stadium brisbaneBut, back to the question of where motorsport is going in this country. The football codes, T20 cricket, and an ever increasing number of sports, have an advantage over circuit racing, with a couple of key issues. Footy and cricket have their main stadiums centrally located in the big cities and suburbs. Transport, which is usually free, gets you into the event quickly, and importantly, when it’s all over, you can get out efficiently and on your way home. Due to the issue of motorsport generally being conducted at locations a fair way out of town, it’s a major effort for fans just get get to the venue. In saying this, most diehard motorsport fans will happily make that effort to watch the sport they love. However, it’s the casual or new fans, who are going to see this as all too hard, just to get there in the first place. In the past,  up here in Queensland it hasn’t been too big an issue, due to a smaller population, and the ability of the roads to handle the traffic requirements of a day out at the races. However, nowadays, it’s a major trek to a circuit, via the overworked road network, to Lakeside on the north-side of the city, or Queensland Raceway at Ipswich, on the western outskirts of Brisbane. If you are coming from the opposing side of town, it is a good 2 hours plus, traveling time each way. In the more populated cities of Sydney and Melbourne, motorsport fans could be facing considerably more traveling time to get to their motor racing venue.

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So, even before the racing goes green, on the first race of the day, motor racing has a handicap around its neck to compete with the major sporting codes, to win over the casual fan, and to give them a very good reason to get out to a circuit to see live racing in action. Motorsport, in Australia and Supercars in particular, have got a couple of big names, but to the vast majority of general sports fans, I think it would be very hard for them to reel off the top dozen or so drivers without having to put a lot of thought into it. Personality wise, motorsport struggles to get any major household names in Australia, other than Craig Lowndes, and he probably only has another season or two left in him as a full season driver. Jamie Whincup, who has accrued the most race wins in V8 Supercar/Australian Touring Car history could walk down the main street of any of our capital cities and although being recognized, would certainly not get anywhere near the attention of many of the big name players in the AFL, NRL or our national Cricket team. The same could be said for the current VASC champion, Shane van Gisbergen.

Promotion….. or lack of it, seems to be the core of the problem!                           PROMOTION, PROMOTION, PROMOTION. Motorsport and VASC’s have to get their drivers and champions out there. Get them out there as guest celebrities on TV game shows, lifestyle shows, cooking shows, renovation shows, ANYTHING….anything that gives them coverage!! Make these guys role models. Have them out in schools and in the community promoting road safety. Give the viewing public some good guys, with the wife and kids on display, and a couple of bad guys, who the public can hate. That’s where the other big sports leave motor racing behind when it comes to getting people to follow their sport. I think we’ve all seen how the sport has become so sanitized, since Brock and Johnson used to tell like it was, back in the day.

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Merchandising is another area that should be looked at. Costs should be reduced to be able to get every kid into a VASC team shirt. Flood the market with them. Remember ….if the kids and Mum are happy with the clean image, they’ll be demanding that Dad takes them to the races. All these are things that Motorsport are late coming to the party on, and are in catch up mode to keep up with other forms of sport, that have gotten the jump on them in recent years. Fly in a different guest driver from F1, NASCAR, Sports car racing or wherever, for one off drives in each race. The public loves to see the overseas hotshots turn up to race against the locals.

Broadcasting.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, payTV just ain’t working. The reality of present day motor racing in Australia, is that it’s major fan base is currently an older demographic. Look around, next time you go to a race meeting and see how old most of the crowd are! Free to air TV, is really the only TV outlet which is going to give them realistic TV viewer numbers. PayTV may work overseas, where there is a much bigger population base. 30% of Australia’s population ain’t gonna match 30% of the U.S. or Europe, in payTV viewer numbers. Consequently, we pay more for less, with payTV in Australia.

20170730_164501Motorsport in Australia hasn’t yet grasped or embraced the concept of live streaming. The streaming services that are offered are a very hit and miss affair. Australian motorsport administrators….Take a look at some of the overseas series, namely BlancpainGT, GT masters, Super GT and many more, to see how its done. Live racing, live timing, immediate replays straight after the race is over. Sure…. it can be argued that the live racing and replays can turn off potential attendances at circuits, but it certainly increases the popularity of the sport to modern audiences and generates an incentive for new fans to want to go to a circuit and experience the real thing in person. I’m now at the crossroads, where I follow practically all my motorsport, from overseas racing these days. I still see myself as an Aussie motorsport fan, but it has become all too hard to not only watch live local motor racing, but to have any ongoing interest in the sport when there is no major effort by the sports administrators, to give me any incentive to attend a race meeting. I still follow local motorsport, but at an enforced (by the promoters) arms length. I live and breathe motor racing! I follow it closely via any outlet I can find. However, if you make it impossible to follow, I now find myself following other more fan friendly, local, sports. Some fans may be lost, altogether.  Potential fans aren’t going to be treated in this way, and be enthusiastic in coming back again. The ridiculously high admission costs are another thing that bugs me about our local motorsport. Again, if the sport is to compete against the bat and ball codes, this issue has to be addressed.

Supercars, have what I consider to be a reasonably good product. It’s good, close, hard racing, albeit in cars that are neanderthals in design terms. They have the cream of the local racing talent in the front half of the grid, but they also have some guys that really shouldn’t be there. There’s quite a few young blokes in their second tier series, that should be racing against the big boys in the main game and that is a view that a lot of the general sporting public see as well. In my opinion, they also have an issue with racing a category of cars that are no longer relevant to the Australian motoring consumer any more. However, in racing these motor sport dinosaurs, I have to admit that the teams have them engineered to within an inch of their lives, so it is very competitive racing by a  few teams that have much superior equipment to the majority of the competition.

So… what’s the answer? I think the calendar for VASC’s should be more condensed. Like it or not, they aren’t going to compete with the footy codes in TV viewer numbers, no matter how much they fudge the figures. Turn it into a summer sport, for TV. I’d start the season off with the Sandown 500 in September, after the football codes are finished. Follow it up with the Bathurst 1000. This is the most popular motor sport event in Australia, so get their season under way with their showcase event early! Have a two week break and follow it up with a weekly, street circuit, sprint race, in each of the major capital cities, and maybe a few of the larger provincial towns, around the country. Realizing that we are talking about summer here in Australia, run as many twilight and night races as possible, on a Saturday twilight time. Run the season through to around March. I’d finish off the season with a top ten drivers, sprint series on street circuits in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Dump the tacky support races and go with a some F5000 and maybe one other support category. Sure….it’s what traditionally conservative motor sport administrators would initially see as impossible to pull off, but motorsport has to get out of the backwards direction it is heading, if it wants to see itself as a major player in the Australian sporting landscape.

So….Let’s see what the future of motorsport gives us……and please, let’s not go down the Formula E path. I don’t think I could stomach that.

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Hey, Australian GT -Here’s how to alienate your diminishing fans

I haven’t said a lot about  the Australian GT race series in recent times, due to my reluctant disposition towards it. In saying that I understand that Tony Quinn (the owner of Australian GT) can do with it whatever he pleases, as he and he alone, owns it. However, as an avid GT3 race fan, it disappoints me that Aussie fans of the GT3 category are unable to follow the local racing. I’m sure that the stock answer to that point would be to get access to Foxtel. For me, that ain’t gonna happen! As with many others, I consider that Foxtel is a poorly operated, disjointed product that is 95% rubbish, for the 5% content that I would be interested in. AustralianGT have taken the Murdoch/Foxtel pathway and hopped  into bed with VASC’s and this is where any potential viewers, are suffering from zero coverage.  I suppose that the question of fan access could be put to Matt Coch (PR hack for AusGT), for his thoughts, but that is probably a bit unfair expecting him to candidly answer that.

It seems to me that AusGT is at a crossroads. Do they go down a fan friendly pathway and try to gain more fans, as the Blancpain/Stephane Ratel organisation has done so well. I was initially hopeful of that taking place when Quinn and Ratel looked like becoming besties, a while back. Alas, it didn’t pan out that way. Australian GT3 race fans who choose not to take the PayTV Foxtel option are left with nothing (except the annual B12H).  Lets analyse the Fox option- Last figures I heard, was that approx. 30% of Australian homes have access to Fox. Out of that figure of 30%, how many tune in to motorsport? I don’t know the definitive answer to that! But, if VASC’s are struggling to maintain viewership, how does a poor cousin in a support category,  measure on the ratings radar? Keep in mind, that the whole methodology of TV ratings has come into question in recent times, as too how actually factual they are, with the TV broadcasters themselves, being in charge of producing these questionable, ratings figures.

Again, in my humble opinion, if AusGT is a closed shop, how is a fan base expected to grow. If their intent is to solely look after their drivers and teams and not give a toss about race fans,  those same fans will go elsewhere to get their fix of sports car racing and watch what comes out of the many overseas events that take place every weekend. Just don’t expect us to come back to an inferior race series when you change your minds and come begging for fans again. In fact, there’s probably an overload of GT3 racing, so much so, that there are sometimes multiple races, on any given weekend. Last nights great coverage of the VLN 6 hour from the Nurburgring is a great case in point, with a Blancpain sprint race on next weekend.

So, as I didn’t get to see yesterdays race, I can only go on the crowd figures turning up at Eastern Creek (sorry, Sydney Motorsport Park) that appeared on the delayed FTA channel broadcast, and reported figures from those who went to the event. Now, I’m not going to sit here behind a keyboard and tell Tony Quinn how to run his business. But strictly from a race fans perspective, get on the blower to Mr Ratel and get his advice. For my 2 bobs worth, ditch Murdoch, VASC’s and go it on your own with the broadcasting. Go with a YouTube live stream, with immediate replays available straight after the race. If you believe the crowd and ratings figures VASC’s are quoting you, you’re kidding yourself and your stakeholders.

The AUSGT racing yesterday actually sounded pretty good, but who’d know-

…if a tree falls in a forest…….

 

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unFair Work Commission

Today’s news from the Australian Fair Work Commission, that retail and hospitality workers are going to lose some of their weekend penalty rates beggars belief. Most of these people are already on low hourly rates, and depend on penalty rates to survive.

For years we have been fed stories from employers about how tough it is to operate and survive and how they can’t run their business profitably when they have to pay workers penalty rates of pay, at nights and weekends. If that is the case, why bother opening?

Will the weekend and public holiday surcharges that some establishments make customers pay, now be removed?

I know that many people are employed by the retail and hospitality sectors, however I am going to make an effort to steer clear of as many of these greedy establishments as possible who are now going to be paying their already low paid staff even less.

These same selfish operators who are already screwing their staff have now been given the green light to go at it even harder.

To be honest, I couldn’t care less if they all went broke. It seems to me that due to their lousy service they couldn’t keep their business’s operating properly without having to resort to these tactics.

Where the hell is the Fair Work Commission in organizing to have our ridiculously highly paid politicians wages brought back to a realistic level? One thing these leeches seem to all agree on, is their greed to continue to bleed taxpayers for their high salaries, over the top superannuation schemes and lifelong travel perks.

I am also having a tough time balancing up how we can pay the CEO’s of our large companies huge multi-million dollar salaries when these same people are taking away the wages and conditions of lower paid workers who are literally living on the bones of their arse already.

Of course, we’ll hear from the various retail association groups, that retail outlets are doing it tough and that we should be all looking at spending our money in shops, rather than on-line. Good luck with that!!                                                                                                              I, along with a huge and ever growing amount of shoppers, will more than ever, do our shopping via the internet, rather than do business with these dishonest employers who treat their own staff with such disrespect. They will, of course attempt to play the guilt trip card on us, by suggesting that we are only hurting the employees, by shopping on-line.

Well…… along with our political leaders who now feel the blowtorch from various forms of social media, I think that these organizations and traders who are screwing their staff need to be named and shamed. They have been hiding behind their wall of anonymity for way to long.

Name the CEO, the business owner, the restaurant owner, the retail outlet owner, when they have been found and proven to be ripping their staff off. The recent accounts of the 7-Elevan group in their terrible treatment of their staff should have brought criminal charges, but didn’t. Organizations pay their political party donations and get away with their corporate crime, at the expense of their hard working employees. Lets make these bastards hurt a bit! Make them worry about their business going down the tubes! Let them feel some pain about their home, family and lifestyle taking a hit, much like what they are doing to the thousands of their current employees around Australia at the moment!

It used to be said that employees were the backbone of a company. Is this the way that modern day Australian companies look after the people that work at the coalface, making the profits that keep organizations in the black? I think that the result will be, that a lot more employees will just be adopting a “turn up and go through the motions” approach. Why go the extra mile for a boss that treats you with such contempt?

Most of these same corporate crooks are still registering large profits each year. When is enough, enough?

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