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Hard issues hit regional airwaves

Hard issues hit regional airwaves

Hard issues are hitting the airwaves the length of the country with the return of in-depth current affairs show Studio 12 to regional TV.

Currently screening on Auckland's Triangle Television, Studio 12 is booked for primetime around New Zealand from Northland to Bluff.

Regional channels to screen the UNITEC Institute of Technology production include; Family Television Network (Northland); Channel 51 (Hawkes Bay); CTV (Christchurch); Channel 9 (Dunedin); Mercury TV (Invercargill); and Sky Digital's Shine TV.

The panel discussion show, which is in its third season, gathers experts for informed intelligent debate on serious issues. Executive producer Christine Hanley says the response to the previous two series of Studio 12 has been overwhelmingly positive. "I had one person call me to praise an episode about a field they specialised in because they had never seen up-to-date, in-depth discussion about the issue on television before."

Subjects examined in this year's six-part series include bullying in the workplace and New Zealand music's exposure on television. The panelists are leading experts in their fields, although not all are academics with the panel for the New Zealand music episode including the lead singer of chart-topping band Tadpole, Renee Brennan, and Channel Z radio host James Coleman.

Ms Hanley says Studio 12 examines issues of national importance that often later become headline news. "We looked at childhood obesity in the first series long before the national media started highlighting it, and our episode about renewable energy raised the fact that the Maui gas fields are running out, six months before this became a major news story."

Studio 12 is following up on a number of issues this year that were looked at in previous seasons. New Zealand Energy - Three scenarios for the future takes a second look at the energy options open to New Zealand and a panel of experts is also following up debate about international education.

"In 2001 international education was still an emerging industry and the panel discussing it felt it would develop very quickly, although they underestimated just how fast it would expand. It has grown in two years to become a $1.7billion industry, making international education New Zealand's fourth largest revenue earner. This year's discussion focuses on the implications of such rapid growth."

UNITEC screen arts students researched, filmed and edited the show and Ms Hanley says they did a professional job. "Studio 12 is the first experience of working on a television production for most of the students, so the high quality of the production values are a credit to them."

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