Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Broadcasters are the ones you love to hate

Hot on the heels of Brexit comes a Get Rid of Hosking petition.

So there's a petition to get Mike Hosking off TVNZ. Tens of thousands of Kiwis signing online in an attempt to remove the man from their living rooms. Sure they could turn their TVs off. Most people don't watch TV anymore anyway. But that's not enough.

They want him fired from the national broadcaster, not just for themselves but for the good of the nation. Some people are concerned his right-wing opinions are leading the country in the wrong direction. That kids could be indoctrinated. But mainly people seem to be complaining about his hair, the way he lounges around behind the desk, the way he laughs, the way he wobbles his head, his smug smile, his eyebrows. Some think his repartee with Streety is condescending. Others hate the name "Streety". Most resent the fact he drives flash cars.

I don't catch much Mike broadcasting myself. I don't listen to his radio show because I do one at the same time and don't watch his TV show because it's not on Netflix.

It's hard to find time for Seven Sharp when there's so many episodes of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, The Tunnel, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, Bloodline, American Horror Story and Brooklyn Nine Nine to get through. We really are in a golden age of TV.

Most of what I know of Mike Hosking I get from a muppet operated by Jeremy Wells at WatchMe.co.nz. I like the muppet Hosking. I like the way he wobbles his head. Some of his opinions annoy me. But I understand it's all an act.

I may be a Hosking novice but I do know that any broadcaster worth their salt would love to have thousands of people signing a petition against them. There is nothing better as a broadcaster than getting people riled up.

To be truly loved as a broadcaster you have to be truly hated. There are a lot of competent, entertaining broadcasters out there that no one hates. They do a great job of introducing and informing.

But those people generally don't have hardcore fans. It's the broadcasters that get under people's skins and illicit passionate reactions that count. All really successful broadcasters are polarising. If you can make 30 per cent happy and 70 per cent hate you, you are doing well.

Even 95 per cent hate to 5 per cent love is good. Jeez I'd take 99 per cent hate to 1 per cent love. Because that 1 per cent really get you. They like you because everyone else hates you.

Five years ago I was the breakfast host on a student radio station in Auckland. Someone started a Facebook page calling for me to be fired. They said I was too commercial and a bit of a bogan. Sadly only two people supported the hate page.

As the polarising show-off Oscar Wilde once said, 'There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about'.

I was massively disappointed. I tried to join it myself but was blocked.

That poor turnout on my hate page hit me hard. The lack of anger meant I wasn't making a difference. No one cared. I wasn't irritating enough people. I needed to become more commercial, more bogany, more annoying. So I moved to Hauraki. Hopefully a similar hate page, if started today, would get more support.

Broadcasters like me have a long way to go before we reach Hosking levels of loathing and love. But if we try every day to annoy a few people we could get there in, say, 10 years.

My column on why Auckland is better than the rest of the country last week was a good start. I enjoyed some great kickback on that. This Hosking apologist article should help too. I could throw these random comments in here like "the South Island sucks, cats are revolting, the bubble will never burst and Max Key for PM". That might help.

In the end broadcasters just want a reaction. They want ratings. That leads to bucks. You can't make 100 per cent love you so why would you try?

Luckily for most broadcasters all we need to do is be ourselves and people will naturally hate us. As the polarising show-off Oscar Wilde once said, "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about". There are a hell of a lot of people talking about Hosking in the petition. I am pretty sure the man is enjoying it.

Meanwhile the Game of Thrones season 6 finale is out today. Episode 9 was so, so good. Very excited.

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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