Time for Ben Ikin and Paul Kent to zip it

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Ben Ikin and Paul Kent co-host NRL360 on Fox three times a week. It is potentially the very best sporting show on national television.

    But it will never reach that exalted status until they ask the questions and listen to the answer without interruption.

    Their guests are all top quality, with either Phil Rothfield, Andrew Webster, Paul Crawley, or Dean Ritchie, all vastly experienced and recognised sportswriters, especially on rugby league, along with the two Origin coaches Laurie Daley and Kevin Walters, both very impressive guests.

    On night two, current captain of Wests Aaron Woods, and his Bulldog counterpart James Graham, and the third night legends Billy Moore, and either Benny Elias, or Danny Buderus. All five are superb guests.

    The concept is brilliant, but never properly projected because of the host’s chirp.

    Ikin and Kent should take a leaf out of Yvonne Sampson and Peter Sterling’s panel-hosting book. They never chirp, they pay their panels the respect they deserve.

    Matty Johns and ‘Crash’ Craddock aren’t far behind, but infinitely better than Ikin and Kent.

    Sampson and Sterling have taken a leaf out of the Michael Parkinson book, the greatest television interviewer of all time.

    And to be fair to Ikin and Kent, they will never be as bad as the worst interviewer of all time – David Frost.

    Parkinson interviewed in excess of 2000 of the world’s most famous and interesting people with Muhammad Ali rated the best, and Dame Edna Everage the most hilarious.

    Fred Astaire, Orson Welles, Madonna, John Cleese, Clint Eastwood, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Alec Guinness, Mel Gibson, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Robert Redford, Oliva Newton-John, Joan Rivers and George Michael were some of the most famous interviews. Parkinson’s biggest disappointments he never interviewed the Queen, Sir Donald Bradman, and Frank Sinatra.

    Parkinson’s greatest assets were knowing what made his guests tick, and listening to their answers. The sure way to have a flowing interview is by listening, as invariably the next question would surface from the current answer.

    That was Frost’s undoing, he never listened.

    He had the exclusive rights to two of the most riveting guests in Richard Nixon who resigned as US President before he was impeached, and the Shah of Persia just before he died, a man of great substance in the middle east.

    Frost blew both interviews badly.

    He had a clip-board on his lap with about a dozen questions. He asked the first and cut off until his brain decided his guest had enough time to answer and would butt in with a second question that totally disrupted the flow.

    And he did it time after time to bomb both interviews.

    I was his guest live on British breakfast television and he did the same to me, giving the impression he knew more about the concept than I did.

    The interruptions really pissed me off, and about the fourth or fifth question Frost gave me was a two and a half to three minute diatribe that included three parts.

    I had to smile when I asked Frost to repeat the question – Frost didn’t smile, he was fuming, but never chirped again.

    It’s a damn shame Richard Nixon and the Shah of Persia didn’t do the same and we as viewers would have learned more.

    Ben Ikin and Paul Kent were at it again last night, interrupting firstly Dean Ritchie, then Kevin Walters and Laurie Daley.

    Zip it fellas. If you listen instead, you’ll have the best sporting show on national television. You have the widest range of the most qualified guests who have plenty of interesting answers to well-prepared questions.

    Give them a chance to prove it.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (61)

    • April 18th 2017 @ 4:31am
      Griffo said | April 18th 2017 @ 4:31am | ! Report

      I think there is a difference between a show of interviews, like Parkinson or Andrew Denton’s “Enough Rope”, and panel shows where debate between the different people on the pabep is encouraged. Having said that, maybe Ben Ikin butts in too much. I think his role is supposed to be more passive and Paul Kent is supposed to be more argumentative as he isn’t the host. I’ll start paying attention to this more now. I suppose comparing to their counterparts on AFL360, Gerard Whately tends to ask the question and shut up until it’s his turn to give an opinion.

      • Columnist

        April 18th 2017 @ 5:47am
        David Lord said | April 18th 2017 @ 5:47am | ! Report

        Griffo, call NRL360 an interview with guests, a chat, a discussion, or a tete-a tete, the description is six of one, and half a dozen of the other.

        The format is the same, Ben Ikin and Paul Kent pose the questions, and the guests answer, when they are not interrupted.

        • April 18th 2017 @ 1:39pm
          Griffo said | April 18th 2017 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

          I disagree, David. The format is clearly different from an interview. On the couch with Sterlo has an interview in the second half of the show and it’s about asking someone about their recollection of their career/life/etc. There is no room for debate. This is contrast to NRL360 where we get different people’s opinions and opinions need to stand up to debate. I’m not saying they couldn’t be more polite, just that I thinks it’s apples and oranges.

        • April 20th 2017 @ 8:59pm
          Paul said | April 20th 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

          Ikin is the only one that talk any sense except for the other ex players cause all the journos are coming from a self absorbed point of view or more to the point a point of view that helps them sell papers that no one reads anymore

      • April 18th 2017 @ 10:38pm
        Swanny said | April 18th 2017 @ 10:38pm | ! Report

        Gerard whatley on afl 360 is terrific
        All sports media should learn from the master
        Interviewer

        • April 25th 2017 @ 5:26pm
          David C said | April 25th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

          Agree wholeheartedly.

    • April 18th 2017 @ 4:51am
      Matt Jones said | April 18th 2017 @ 4:51am | ! Report

      Ikin and Kent are the permanent members, it is a discussion not an interview. As for Rothfield, he is a lot better on TV than his terrible writing

      • April 18th 2017 @ 7:03pm
        Jacko said | April 18th 2017 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

        Kent is certainly a member…I dont mind ikin

    • April 18th 2017 @ 6:12am
      MPC said | April 18th 2017 @ 6:12am | ! Report

      The Shah of Iran was an evil man. He replaced a democratically elected leader in 1953 who was modernising the country.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 7:56am
        Oingo Boingo said | April 18th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        Don’t let the facts get in the way …..that would be real journalism.

      • Roar Guru

        April 18th 2017 @ 4:16pm
        Kaks said | April 18th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

        Say what you want, Iran under the Shah was a happy and relatively free place. Look at Iran now compared to the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s where it was quite ‘westernised’. Chalk and Cheese.

        No wonder the youth of Iran today want another revolution.

        • April 18th 2017 @ 10:45pm
          Oingo Boingo said | April 18th 2017 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

          Mate I’m happy to admit I had my wires crossed and was referring to the maniac that replaced him in the late seventies.
          You are correct it has become just another islumic hell hole as a result , with a bit of help from foreign oil companies etc Etc .

    • April 18th 2017 @ 7:01am
      concerned supporter said | April 18th 2017 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      Very interesting article, David.

    • April 18th 2017 @ 7:09am
      mushi said | April 18th 2017 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      Isn’t the Frost / Nixon interview considered one of the great interviews of the 20th century getting an apology out of Nixon and an almost tacit admission of guilt?

      Letting Nixon direct the narrative would have been a mundane waste of time.

      • Roar Guru

        April 18th 2017 @ 11:40am
        Paul D said | April 18th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

        Good evening ignorant pigs. Put down your crack pipes and your beer bongs and pay attention!

        Computers may be twice as fast as they were in 1973, but your average voter is as drunk and stupid as ever. The only thing that’s different is me; I’ve become bitter, and let’s face it, crazy over the years. And once I’m swept into office, I’ll sell our children’s organs to zoos for meat, and I’ll go into people’s houses at night and wreck up the place. Mwahahaha!

        • April 19th 2017 @ 1:20pm
          Eden said | April 19th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          Futurama?

    • Roar Guru

      April 18th 2017 @ 7:33am
      The Barry said | April 18th 2017 @ 7:33am | ! Report

      I agree with Griffo and Matt Jones. 360 is a panel discussion show where there’s four people simultaneously discussing the issues of the day.

      It’s not a one on one interview where the interviewer is trying to eke out the guests life story and needs to work out what makes them tick.

      Different format, different approach.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 10:07am
        andrew said | April 18th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        I think this kind of highlights where {some} old school journo’s are struggling to understand that there are different ways to entertain an audience. Interviews and panel shows both have a place in media/entertainment and both have the capacity to extract interesting thoughts and information.

        But thank you David for pointing out the importance of listening in communication. However you don’t have to have been interviewed by David Frost to know that. Any one with a Certificate III in Business Studies from Sunshine TAFE has probably been told that at some point.

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