Paul Henry's new multi-platform breakfast show promises to cater to all audiences, on all platforms. So Paul Casserly tuned in to review it from a radio-only perspective.

The PR puff has been thorough. Yes, yes, Paul Henry will be everywhere, it's a revolution, a new bold thingymajiggery, it's the internet, it's social media, Tinder, Grinder, Twitter, Trade & Exchange, etc. Whatever.

In reality Henry's doing a TV show that is also being simulcast on the radio, just like 3 News does every night, or like most BBC news items. It is not Orson Welles and The War of The Worlds. Still, you can't blame them for talking it up.

Some think TV re-broadcast on the radio is a bit sucky, and there are some drawbacks, visual information such as interviewee names and locations don't translate so sometimes you hear a voice in a news clip and have to guess who they actually are.

Still I like 3 News on the radio, prefer it to the telly, in that I can do other stuff, like drive a car or play with Lego while it's on. The occasional "look at this" during a news item is a small price to pay.


As a fan of Marcus Lush, who was elbowed for the return of Henry, this new show is a bit of a bitter suite, but new furniture has a habit of winning me over, so I'll give it a go.

I do actually like morning radio, the TV only comes on for sport or Nickelodeon at that hour, I don't understand people who watch breakfast TV, and only seem to do so when away and sitting on my own in a motel somewhere.

My morning radio selection tends to jump around, from RNZ National, to Radio Live, and sometimes off to Hauraki or 95bFM. For the real news RNZ is hard to beat but all that seriousness can easily slip into a drone after a while, there's always more energy and fun on Live, along with the dreaded ad breaks.

With Lush, there was the added bonus of his strange obsessions and that encyclopedic brain that has mapped out every square foot of this country. Mark Sainsbury has been a great stop-gap in the months between. The bon vivant has made an easy transition to radio, something that TV first personalities often struggle with. Sainso has a good time wherever he is and it's infectious.

That's something that Henry shares, but the magic ingredient, and one that ties him back to Lush is one Hilary Barry. Her interactions with Lush were my favourite thing on radio and her inclusion in the new regime is a great omen. She is more than equal to any self-saucing male host she deals with, and Henry needs that. You can imagine Hilary reaching over and grabbing on to his ear if he makes too much of an arse of himself.

Some notes about the PR campaign that launched all this: it's the cackle, that branded Paul Henry giggle, that ruins the promos. Sure he is known to crack himself up, he excels at it, could even take tutorials, but now as a pre-packaged marketing expectation, that's the fun sucked right out of it, surely? Yes, he probably will laugh uncontrollably at something but he's just laughing at the prospect that he will laugh at something. He's pre-laughing! When the laughs do come, they will be greatly added by Barry's famous uncontrollable guffaw.

I'm not normally up at 6am, and not at my best, but as the radio clicked on Henry was up and running, and the show moved at pace from the get go. Much was familiar, though a new station voice thundered those threats that Henry will be everywhere, on the radio, on the TV, on the end of that endoscope, etc.

I fell back to sleep and half dreamed. Henry appeared in the haze atop some sort of throne, smirking, a cat jumped up on him but he was lying down now, then I lost my phone. Sorry to make you read about my stupid dream, the ones infused with whatever is on the radio are always the oddest. Kim Hill made me pancakes in a hot tub once.

Members of the new Paul Henry Show: Jim Kayes, Hilary Barry, Paul Henry and Perlina Lau.
Members of the new Paul Henry Show: Jim Kayes, Hilary Barry, Paul Henry and Perlina Lau.

I awoke properly as John Key arrived to be raked over the coals about the TPPA and shamed about National's failure in the northern by-election. As if. He did however give a chummy interview about the passport finally moving back to 10 years. After some entertaining badgering from Henry the PM suggested that the new passports will cost "more than $135 and less than $270".

New sport guy Jim Kayes, who replaces Hamish McKay, is a likeable presence, and made me laugh with his call that he suffers "sledging every day as I leave the house."

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Perlina Lau, the show's 'social media' expert was good too, but I'd rather look at Twitter than have someone read bits of it on the radio. Her choice of a viral video that came with radio friendly audio was way better, and she gave Henry some good stick about his "self-diagnosed" gluten intolerance.

I look forward to a pincer movement with her and Hilary giving Henry some trouble over one of his dumb redneck brain-farts. He was playing mostly nice today, with only one Leighton Smith moment that I noted, as he considered the fate of the two Australians in Bali who failed in a bid to have their death penalties quashed on appeal.

"These swine will be put to death", he declared, chuckling to himself, happy with their fate, and as always, extremely happy with himself.