Monday, April 02, 2007

Radio Sport throws a bone?

September 22, 2006


Years ago I used to listen to live NPC, Super 12 and All Black test matches on Radio New Zealand International, the international shortwave radio service of Radio New Zealand. That station broadcast to the Pacific region, but the signal was/is generally strong enough to receive even in eastern North America. The main attraction for me was their broadcasting of first class rugby games.

Now, as with all international shortwave radio services, RNZI had a paltry budget and an axe hanging over their head. The rights to the games broadcast by RNZI were actually owned by the private radio station Radio Sport. About 7-8 years ago Radio Sport played hardball. They demanded re-broadcast rights at prices RNZI could not afford, and then pulled their games. Many listeners in the Pacific islands -- where rugby is huge -- did not have cable TV or internet connections and were as frustrated as I was, so I wrote a polite letter to the Radio Sport station manager requesting some leniency and a re-consideration. RNZI, after all, is a non-profit venture of goodwill that spreads New Zealand culture to the far corners of the globe.

I must admit I was somewhat taken aback by the rude tone of the reply from the station manager telling me to get stuffed, and hectoring me in no uncertain terms that his station pays big dollars for the rights to those games and would not give them away for peanuts. Fair enough, I thought, but geeze, take some etiquette lessons and chill out.

RNZI still doesn't have the rights to re-broadcast Radio Sport's live rugby coverage. But if a thread this morning at The Silver Fern is accurate, it looks like Radio Sport will now be broadcasting NZ's NPC rugby matches live online. (Perhaps more rugby to follow...?) I'm not sure if the games are available to overseas internet users, but shall check and report back.

Link: Radio Sport.


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