Here’s a good litmus test- if Sky’s sports opinion programme ‘NZ Press Box’ were a podcast, would you bother tuning in much? Because apart from Nate Rarere, Huw Beynon, the sometime appearance of Ravinder Hunia, and M Devlin being, well, himself, it’s all a bit staid. Perhaps it’s the half hour format; the discussions never seem to get beyond scratching the surface of an issue. It feels as if the whole show is one of going ahead madly like roadrunners escaping the coyote against the clock; not just for the last segment that is actually timed.
Individually, the standing of the people on it is fine enough and I’m in no way intending to be disrespectful in saying I’m bored, but the show itself already feels like somewhat of a closed clique. Be thankful for small mercies, perhaps- last night the line-up was a bit different. Resulting in an improved experience. It appeared that even the regulars appreciated having somebody different sitting opposite.
Have been waiting and hoping for a while for more substance; for those that could offer robust, free opinions and stir things up a bit more. Why the producers seem to avoid highly-knowledgable print journos such as Dylan Cleaver, Marc Hinton, Suzanne McFadden, Dana Johannsen, Cheree Kinnear, and Steve Deane, to mention a few, is a bit of a mystery. Michael Donaldson seems to be freelancing these days- he’d be a nice change.
What is the reason for this apparent general aversion to the print media? Obviously the producers of the show have come across the work of the likes of those above, so why have those people and others seemingly never been extended an invitation to fill the well-worn, embedded seats which the recycled guests perennially occupy?
It almost seems as though the ones who are doing the hiring are scared-stiff that a journo free of any allegiance whatsoever to Sky or the visual media might suddenly say something out of turn. As a result, Press Box in its present guise is as in-depth and controversial as a cheerleading press release on the All Blacks. And quite often about as interesting and thought-provoking as a speech on free-market economics. It’s almost a waste of time and, being brutally frank, a bit of light-hearted bum fluff in its current state.
Give it a forty-five minute time slot and get more polished, analytical, informed talk going. Or you’ll lose me for good. I’ve been a loyal follower since day one. Just so you know!