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 “I was the most hated man in town”

Long before social media, audience trolling of TV personalities was a thing. Something a music video compilation show host found out to his cost very quickly…

Phil O’Brien at Radio Windy in 1980, at the time of his Radio With Pictures hosting.

Listeners to RNZ now know them best as radio-without-pictures hosts. But back in the 1970s and 80s, Phil O’Brien (Saturday Night Requests and Matinee Idle on RNZ), Simon Morris (Arts on Sunday, At the Movies, Matinee Idle) and Karyn Hay (Lately) were all intimately involved with groundbreaking television music video show Radio With Pictures.

The second part of an enthralling oral history by Lee Borrie of this late-night hit programme was posted last week to Audioculture, the “noisy library of New Zealand music”.

It tells the story of what happened when TVNZ decided to dispense with the services of much-loved founding host Barry “Dr Rock” Jenkin, and relocate production to its studios at Avalon in Lower Hutt.

His replacement, Phil O’Brien, endured a year of hell; hated by the established audience and fronting a playlist that was beyond his control.

Then came Karyn Hay, the first host on local television to speak in an undiluted “New Zild” accent. She also attracted detractors.

Karyn Hay (right) with Victoria Oliver in 1980

You can read their words in the illustrated history at Audioculture, which also includes contributions from producers Peter Blake, Brent Hansen and others.

Part 2 is here:

But read Part 1 first:

It’s all good.