Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Channel 6 shafts Nightshift

Lots of online fuming today about Channel 6′s decision to yank Nightshift from the schedules from January. There’s no reason given for the 86′ing of the show (are C6′s other home-produced shows going to be axed too?), though I’d imagine …

Tue, Dec 9, 2008, 11:56

   

Lots of online fuming today about Channel 6′s decision to yank Nightshift from the schedules from January. There’s no reason given for the 86′ing of the show (are C6′s other home-produced shows going to be axed too?), though I’d imagine there can’t be massive cost savings involved in culling a niche late-night show. New station owners TV3 would probably have saved more money by halving the make-up budget for Xpose. I assume the Channel 6 bean-counters are not going to come out and say the show wasn’t pulling in a monster audience because everyone knew that was never going to happen, given the nature of the show and its time slot.

The show was one of the few (only?) places on Irish TV to actively and enthusiastically showcase Irish bands all year round. You can count the remaining TV outlets for local bands on the fingers of one hand once you’ve hacked off a couple of digits – there’s Other Voices (which just runs for a couple of weeks every year) and The Last Broadcast (the music show of last resort which seems to be made by chucking loads of stuff at the screen and hoping it sticks). Both of these shows are broadcast at silly o’clock and, no matter how much the producers and commissioning editors protest that people Skybox these shows to watch at a more convenient time, such graveyard shift scheduling does hurt. Just ask the people at The View.

Of course, I know the arguments inside out and back to front which will be put forward by the men in suits and red braces about this decision. No-one watches music on TV any more! No-one wants to see Irish bands on TV! The market and audience have spoken! There are gazillions of digital channels which feature music! If Irish acts were good enough, they’d get some love there! Fight Like Apes! The Script! U2! The Corrs! Etc!

But a lot of this “lack of audience” crappola has to do with how a show is presented and pitche. The problem for the TV people is that the audience for a smart, sassy music show are not easily fooled. Yes, the audience is there and they’re gagging for a bright, sharp, smart music show. Howver, TV show makers have not yet grasped this and still persist with methods and formats which just don’t and can’t work. Just as how this potential audience’s info consumption habits about new music have changed enormously because of their online existence, their demands for a music TV show have also changed. All those expectations of old about music on TV can be thrown out with the tapes of Leave It to Mrs O’Brien.

TV making of this ilk is now about niche rather than mass-market which means you have to go to where your audience are and cut your cloth (and budget) to meet that. I’m amazed that none of the Irish broadcasters have gone for a No Disco or Nightshift model online. That’s where the audience for a show like Nightshift are and that’s where you need to be to find them.

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