Poor RTÉ Sports Coverage?

I posted recently that Naoise Ó’Muirí, a Fine Gael councillor, reads this blog Fine Gael Councillor asks for Athletics Coverage, and read today in The Northside People, a local newspaper, that due to the poor scheduling from RTÉ he wants €20 back from the TV licence he paid.

RTÉ’s response was interesting. A spokeswoman claimed that the company did provide suitable sports coverage on television, including athletics such as the European Championships, Indoor Championships and Irish Championships. The World Championships were adequately covered in the News so as to not warrant its own programme. That is a poor excuse.

I think I could do with €20 so I could do Euromillions tomorrow.

Letter to The Irish Times

I wrote a letter to the Irish Times about my favourite topic (Scott Gant takes on Google, More Google Rants and Is copyright under threat) recently, obviously as I’m posting it here, it wasn’t printed in the IT:

Dear Madam,

I am pleased to see that Scott E. Gant, the copyright lawyer as referred to in Plot thickens in Google’s vast book scan (Irish Times, 20th August 2009), is taking on the might of Google. The Authors Guild of America (AGA) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) despicably kowtowed to Google’s millions without consideration to the individual author. As Colm Toibín re-iterated Oscar Wilde’s dictum recently about An Bord Snip, a critic knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

Allan Adler of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) believes the deal is good for authors and publishers. Has he forgotten bookshops? If this clause is permitted, the AGA and AAP engage in a suicide pact killing the bookshop as part of collateral damage.

As anything online is at its core duplicable, digitisation will allow ‘enterprising’ individuals copy books, simultaneously destroying the careers of authors, publishers and bookshops. This deal will effectively kill the book industry as the Napsters did in the 1990’s to music. Music is still suffering as Eircom recently enforced a three strikes and out policy blocking access to file-sharing websites.

If digitisation of books is permitted, Google must be forced to negotiate with each author individually, as publishers do, not copy books en masse and wait to be sued. Therefore, if there is to be a clause it should be opt-in, not opt out.

Yours etc.,

More large prominent companies, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Amazon, have voiced their displeasure in Google’s antics. It would be interesting to see where this goes next. Best of luck to Scott Gant and company.

Scott Gant takes on Google

I’ve voiced my opinion a few times about this settlement, Is Copyright Under Threat and More Google Rants so I am glad that someone has redressed the issue and by a lawyer, author, and partner at the law firm Boies, Schiller, & Flexner, Scott E. Gant adding a further twist in the tale of the Google Book Settlement.

He is voicing an objection to the settlement urging the court to reject it stating that Google and its partners are trying to ‘ram this settlement through so that millions of copyright holders will have no idea that this is happening’.

The court has set a deadline for briefs of the settlement on the 4th September and a scheduled hearing for early October. Hopefully sense will prevail and Gant’s objection is upheld.

Fine Gael councillor asks for Athletics Coverage

It seems Naoise Ó Múirí, Fine Gael councillor, reads my blog (ahem) as he demanded that RTÉ’s failure to ‘provide television coverage of the World Championships in Berlin was a major mistake.’

Ó Múirí went further and suggested that RTÉ reduce his licence fee by €20 because of the substandard TV schedule. Hmm… I wonder if he was referring to the new RTÉ autumn schedule.

RTÉ’s Autumn Schedule

RTÉ’s autumn schedule has been launched last week and there are a few interesting programmes on the list, Killers Profiles, John Connolly: Of Blood and Lost Things and The Eclipse.

There are several other new programmes to be shown during the autumn schedule which could make up for some interesting viewing. I was interested to see the replacement for the Fianna Fáil-centric Questions and Answers, which seems to be re-hashed under The Frontline hosted by Pat Kenny. This seems to be the same programme under a different name. Pity. I hope it doesn’t become another Fianna Fáil Party Political Broadcast.

RTÉ has also brought back some favourites which seems conservative, as Pure Mule makes another Rolling Stones type return in a ‘once off’ episode. It is disappointing that The Eclipse is the only new Irish drama shown by the state broadcaster, as Irish TV does need new blood.

John Clarke steps down

I see that DJ John Clarke is stepping down as boss of 2FM leaving Dave Fanning to take over the mantle.

It would be interesting to see if Dave Fanning will ring in any changes to the schedule as John Clarke states that ‘the station is being overhauled next year and they’re no longer aiming to attract kids’. I would have thought that on some level that 2FM attracted children to their schedule, and that changing their remit would damage their listenership as the station has been losing some of its audience according to the last JNLR surveys.

2FM’s apparent re-focus comes as regional stations are aggressively marketing for younger audiences such as i-radio, Beat FM and Spin South West. We’ll have to wait to see what the Dave Fanning tenure will bring.

Irish Coverage of Athletics

Congratulations to Olive Loughnane who got a silver medal in the 20KM walk in the Berlin World Championships.

Thankfully, I was able to see some of the coverage on BBC2 and Eurosport, but there was no coverage on RTÉ or TV3. Since the likes of John Treacy, Eamon Coughlan and Marcus O’Sullivan were flying the flag for Ireland in the Olympics and World Athletics Championships, RTÉ had the grace to show the events. But since, there has been a dearth in Irish participation in Athletics meets partially due to the lack of interest from RTÉ and to a lesser extent TV3.

It is a shame that the World Championships weren’t included in the Irish schedules this year or for the past few years. If the Irish are to retain some interest in athletics, it is imperative that they be shown on Irish terrestrial television. Otherwise, Ireland will not have athletes in the future. Irish sport needs to be promoted in order to receive the participation and the plaudits it deserves.

Thankfully, BBC interviewed Olive after her impressive result.

The Value of Culture Ireland

In The Irish Times today, two articles appeared voicing their concern of An Bord Snip’s proposal to abolish Culture Ireland. Rónán McGreevy wrote about Colm Tóibín’s appearance on Myles Dungan’s radio show on RTÉ Radio 1, as he espoused Wtilde’s maxim of cynics.

The other article, ‘Putting a price on Culture’ emphasized Culture Ireland’s importance to Ireland as a nation as culture is America’s greatest export, as it is ours. Without it, Ireland would be devoid of museums, concerts by local and internationally renowned artists, theatres, festivals, would result in the loss of 6,000.

McCarthy seemed to opt for the soft targets, or as Tóibín suggested, ‘knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.’

RTÉ .v. Afri Advert

RTÉ denies censorship of the Afri advert due to a ‘Rossport reference.’ Afri have accused RTÉ of censorship as an attempt to publicise the event. 98FM aired the ad. Midwest Radio declined to air the ad as it had to consult the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) on a reference to the Rossport Five.

A spokesperson for RTÉ stated that it had asked Afri to clear the ad with the BCI under the 1988 Radio and Television Act, as RTÉ had referred previous ads under this ruling.

I have to say I haven’t heard the ad, but, some are sensitive these days.

(PS I had a sinister smile when I blackled ‘Midwest Radio’ the first result was http://www.midwestradio.ie/MWR/index.php?page=death-notices).