Dom Harvey, music radio and the occasions they’re a-changin’

Dom Harvey.

2021-07-30 11:09:49

By Tim Murphy for Newsroom

Remark – Dom Harvey and his repertoire of pranks, jokes, private feedback and controversies depart the airwaves Friday morning after 20 years because the host of hosts on The Edge radio station’s nationwide breakfast present.

Dom Harvey.

Dom Harvey.
Photograph: Screenshot from The Edge web site

His sudden announcement this week that he is strolling away from one of many nation’s highest profile radio jobs shall be a wrench for the present’s loyal morning listeners. His verbal capability to jog blindly via broadcasting requirements minefields, his offhand feedback about others, his over-sharing from his private life (particulars of 1 delicate biopsy can’t be unheard) and his capability to make listeners smile, wince and gasp concurrently have been legend.

Harvey’s unlikely to have a radio award named after him just like the business’s late, nice joker and prankster Kevin Black, however his stint on The Edge’s flagship spans a complete era and the on-air achievement is indeniable.

The Edge had been an viewers powerhouse, recurrently essentially the most listened to station within the nation throughout a mean week – till 2019, and briefly once more in the beginning of this yr. It at the moment ranks third of the business stations throughout New Zealand, with 631,000 listeners throughout the week, behind sister station The Breeze (671,000) and NZME’s Newstalk ZB (651,000).

However within the breakfast slot, its attract has ebbed and its rankings share has fallen away each nationally and in Auckland over the previous 5 years. Harvey’s co-host and spouse Jay Jay Feeney left in 2017, the opposition has most likely acquired higher, and The Edge general has misplaced a few of its edge.

As Harvey steps out of the studio, The Edge breakfast is positioned eighth nationwide and ninth within the essential business market of Auckland. Its share in Auckland has gone from 6.2 to three.4 over the previous 5 years within the GfK rankings survey, whereas rival station ZM has steadily moved up from 4.5 in 2016 to six.9, and into fourth place amongst Metropolis of Sails listeners, from eighth. (See graphic beneath).

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Photograph: Newsroom

ZM’s breakfast staff – Fletch, Vaughan and Megan, who sensationally left The Edge’s drive time present to go head-to-head with their earlier breakfast colleagues, Jay Jay Feeney, Mike Puru and Dom in 2014 – are actually the nation’s primary morning music station, measured by cumulative weekly viewers. (The information and discuss on Hosking’s ZB present and RNZ’s Morning Report traditionally file larger listenership than the music stations.) In Auckland, Mai FM’s breakfast with Nickson, Tegan and Jordan nonetheless has a snug lead over ZM in music.

So, whereas it has been an extended battle for ZM to breakfast success, the decline at The Edge could have been exercising radio chiefs at MediaWorks for the previous few rankings surveys.

Harvey goes out on his phrases, citing a necessity for sleep, train and improved psychological well being and leaving open the potential of a return to radio in another slot sooner or later. The Edge is a youngster’s sport, younger particular person’s music and younger particular person’s station and you’ll solely be King of the Youngsters for therefore lengthy. Over the last present, enjoying that sentiment up, Harvey mock-complained on the in-studio dancing and loud music. “I am too outdated for this shit.”

The departure additionally sees him depart a business radio business which is battling public calls for for extra accountability from employees and programmes that trigger offence or behave in methods thought to be inappropriate or unacceptable in 2021.

The sector is at the moment beset by controversies over hosts’ behaviour and attitudes.

MediaWorks is believed to be about to launch early subsequent week its unbiased inquiry by lawyer Maria Dew QC into the enterprise’ tradition. Dew’s report has been trying into allegations since 2018 of sexual or racial harassment, discrimination, bullying and misuse of medication and alcohol.

Certainly one of MediaWorks’ different stations, The Rock, was the topic of on-line and media experiences of a tradition of dangerous behaviour, which the corporate stated after an inquiry didn’t relate to present employees. MediaWorks additionally banned former Auckland Mayor John Banks after his on-air help for racist views from a caller.

Individually, it confronted criticism over feedback by morning host Peter Williams on MagicTalk and, for unspecified causes, ended the afternoon host Sean Plunket’s present.

At competitor NZME, inner and unbiased inquiries into claims over Newstalk ZB’s sport host Martin Devlin’s conduct have concluded with allegations towards him not being substantiated.

Harvey has, through the years, had greater than his share of complaints about his on-air feedback and behavior. He has stated issues about people who went past the pale and for which he has needed to apologise. Sort his identify and ‘controversy’ into Google and the headlines require an honest scroll down. Here is a screenshot:

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Photograph: Screenshot

Among the low factors in a profession of broadcasting highs.

In some methods, Dom Harvey was a creature of his early time in broadcasting, when males have been males and all the pieces was a suitable goal for humour or provocation. A time when folks would simply get with the programme fairly than trigger a fuss. However when folks aren’t, actually, getting with the programme within the numbers of outdated, and the tides of public stress demand totally different approaches and responses from broadcasters, the business crucial of business radio has its say.

On his remaining present on Friday morning, Harvey acknowledged these he might need damage. “To anybody I’ve pissed off through the years… I apologise. It was by no means performed with malice.”

Jay Jay Feeney appeared within the studio and in an emotional few moments talked of a delicate soul utilizing his radio persona to masks that sensitivity by mocking, taking the Mickey and joking to divert any reward or sentiment that got here his method. She stated Dom deserved and wanted this break, including ‘You may come again a greater broadcaster.”

Harvey, diverting, with out lacking a beat, had one phrase: “Not possible.”

He has been a part of a radio success story, made lots of people smile and quite a lot of others attain for the dial – for what looks as if an impossibly very long time. We could not see his like once more.

This story was initially printed on Newsroom and is republished with permission.

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