Kiwi TV when it was full of promise…

It will seem mean to those who think the demise of TV3 is a shame, but I’m glad it’s gone and gladder still to see the beginning of the end of all television as we have come to know it. The dying distorted remnants of what was once an entertaining, informative and artistic public service has had its day after far too many years in expelling noisy, lingering death throes.

We are told the public is losing choice, but of what – eye-blink news presented by two or three actors wasting space in opulent studios by mouthing cursory news snippets that distort truth rather than inform. Programmes reduced at best to the banal, and at worst stupid to the point of insult, all inserted between loud, grabbing advertisements.

The so-called newsroom standards that embraced tear-jerker items then fell further to a demand for actual tears and trauma? There was a time when I thought the only place you could go from such depths was up. I’ve been proved wrong.

Television’s one-dollar shop cannot compete with the likes of Aljazeera and BBC for international news, and local news comes from radio, newspapers and other sources I’m not even aware of.

Television, alas, missed the opportunity to become a regional news and content provider and now it is too late.

Sport, films, television series and documentaries are now provided by various outlets from YouTube to Netflix. Unfortunately we have to pay for them. The irony is that we once had to pay for a television licence before it was decided the commercial model was the answer.

But sadly, as with most public good sucked into the madness of the private-good-public-bad mantra, television became, like the hundreds of thousands of leaky buildings, rotten, its future nothing but dust.

It is a shame. We can all say, if only… If only we had not been so stupid to imagine public services could be used as cash cows. I am sad and bitter about the demise of television. For I experienced television when it was full of promise, one person behind a desk in a small studio reading the news. Programmes like The Night Sky on evening television. I loved the quirky show that examined the week’s news and tested its accuracy.

I saw Pukemanu’s hopeful emergence as one of our home-grown dramas groping for maturity. I saw the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games on local television and was proud. Television was full of hope, something to be proud of and I am bitter that such a national treasure has been squandered.

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Chris Horan

Chris is a former social worker, probation officer and Family Court counsellor, living in Hawea in the South Island.