I SAT through the 20-minute RTM programme called BLOG and concluded that it didn't do justice to the three items aired - the anchor person, the guest and the topic itself. Shown just after the 8pm news slot tonight, the programme failed to live up to the expectation hyped by the TV station itself.
Host Hasshim Abu Hanifah interviewed blogger A Kadir Jasin (the Scribe) over 14 minutes in what was RTM's maiden show intended to educate and inform viewers what blogging is all about.
Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek must be credited with attempting to shed some light on blogging, but the exercise fell flat and I found it most wanting.
Ahmad Shabery's position on blogs was a complete and fresh turnaround from his predecessor, Datuk Zainudin Maidin, who had a negative view of the new media and its impact and widespread popularity. In fact, the new minister's views on blogs surprised many, which led to a rather heightened expectation of tonight's show.
I get the feeling that both Hasshim and Kadir came out of the studio feeling 'unfulfilled.' I may be wrong, but I thought Hasshim wanted a fast-paced talk show; and that Kadir wanted to spend enough time to talk about the subject.
A viewer who knows nothing about blogs wouldn't get any enlightenment about blogging, which is increasingly viewed as more credible than mainstream media. As a blogger, the slot was nothing more than RTM's window dressing - that it has begun to engage bloggers; that it's more open; that it's as relevant as ever.
Even though 20 minutes were allotted to the show, the actual 'engagement' was only 14 minutes. The six minutes were given to questions from viewers via phone-ins and pre-recorded interviews with people in the street on their perception of blogs.
It is interesting to note that 94 per cent of those who responded to RTMs survey during the programme like blogs and found them to be potentially effective as a the new media's approach to information dissemination. The finding was shown at the end of the programme.
While I won't agree with some friends and observers who described the talk show as "pathetic, unprofessional and lacking in depth and dimension," there is merit in their argument that the show lacked sufficient knowledge by the host and TV station.
It showed, rather clearly I must add, that RTM appeared to be clueless about blogs. There are many well-informed people at RTM and they do know and appreciate what blogs are all about. But somehow, this didn't come through tonight.
Which leads to the question - why only 20 minutes? Was it because there was some apprehension about having Kadir, a vocal critic of the establishment, on the show? A live show at that!
I believe the inaugural programme would get better in due time. It's impossible to think otherwise because the station have much resources at its disposal. After all, this is the station's 62nd year in existence! I'm optimistic that the show will get better and stronger. But on tonight's show, I doubt if RTM will get a decent rating at all.
I hope the new minister will not be discouraged by what was shown. There's much room for improvement, and he deserve a pat on the back for trying. Heck, I'd give him C plus for effort!
My next question - will RTM be calling ex-MB of Selangor Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam the CM of Malacca, MP Jeff Ooi, YB Shahril A Samad, Raja Petra, Sheih 'Kickdefella,' Ahirudin 'Rocky;s Bru' Attan, Anwar Ibrahim, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib, Lim Kit Siang and a host of other high profile bloggers to appear on the show?
If this happens, I can bet you that the show's rating will hit the ceiling in no time! But let's not put our hopes too high. In any case, it's still early days. One advice though - if you don't put your expectation too high, then you can manage your disappointment better.