Connect with us

People

Aussies in Asia: The Thai island life of media man Tim Newton

The Thaiger

Published

on

Aussies in Asia: The Thai island life of media man Tim Newton | The Thaiger

by Peter Olszewski

Featured in this week’s edition of mediaweek.com.au

There’s also a tropical island buzz about the way Thaiger conducts its business

What do you do if you’re a middle-aged entrepreneurial spirit, a self-confessed media junkie who’s put in 20 years in Australian radio, then invested in a Chinese boat-building business and went bust?

If you’re Tim Newton, you pack your bags and head for a tropical island like Phuket where you can eat cheap Thai food and hang up a shingle saying you’re in media business mode again, but fully embracing the digital world.

That was Newton’s move in 2012, and now, after some savvy moves, he’s heading Thaiger, which he launched basically as just an FM radio station in October 2016 when he and a friend bought the digital assets of the once print-heavy Phuket Gazette, which had shut up shop.

“They had run a weekly newspaper for 24 years,” Newton told Mediaweek.

“They decided to pack it up, turn the lights out and go home. But they’d had nearly 20 years of website growth and had also kicked off YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

“When The Thaiger bought the digital assets of Phuket Gazette in August 2017, we also took over the ongoing ‘story swap’ relationship that The Nation [national newspaper] and the Gazette had enjoyed before.

“The Thaiger and The Nation still share stories. The Nation provides the foundation for our national story coverage.”

In February this year Thaiger also collaborated with another online news service, Thai Visa, to further the TV news briefs Newton has also been doing.

“I’d tinkered with doing a daily TV news brief – about five minutes – with a previous employer,” he said.

“There was nothing else like it in Thailand at the time. I ended up doing about 700 episodes in total, the last 100 at The Thaiger in collaboration with Thai Visa, which was wanting to streamline a lot of its content and so outsourced its daily news to The Thaiger.

“At our peak the program was getting up to an average of 20,000 views a day. Once it reached about 60,000 views but, for a boutique news company, the leverage on meager resources was just too difficult to rationalise. We now do twice-weekly TV reports about various topical issues, which fit the flow of the ‘instant’ news cycle much better and are quicker to edit.”

Now Newton’s eating more expensive Thai food and said, “We now have the fourth-largest English-speaking media company in Thailand with plans to be Numero Uno by the end of 2019.

“The entire Thaiger project has seen very swift growth in a market where it’s difficult to get your voice heard through the white noise of digital and social media.”

There’s also a tropical island buzz about the way Thaiger conducts its business – it’s a company without an office and a radio station without a studio.

“Your office is your computer and, as long as you have WiFi, the office can be open, anywhere, any time,” Newton said.

“An office is a waste of good real estate and whatever rent you’re paying is better spent on boosting posts on social media. You want to have a meeting? There are plenty of great coffee shops for all that stuff.

“The staff, all seven of us, are linked up with some sexy apps, which makes much better sense than running around an office. Be mobile, be flexible.”

With the radio station Newton said, “We work entirely in the ‘cloud’. Brilliant automation software and some deft DJs make it all work. We never see each other – the three DJs all live in separate parts of the island – we’ve got a very successful template that can work anywhere for a fraction of the running costs of centralised studios and links to transmitters, etc.

“It took us a year to get it all working properly but there is no way we’d ever go back to having a studio and running radio the ‘old’ way.”

Newton’s success as a localised news provider and island media entrepreneur is the result of an interesting media career in Australia.

“I started out writing promotional props for Melbourne radio 3AW in the early 80s with zero intention of ever actually being on the radio or in front of a camera,” he explained.

“But serendipity was to play its part and I ended up producing radio programs for 3AW and (in those days) the Macquarie Network, even doing some fill-ins for programs.

“I was involved in the setup of a few public broadcasting stations – at one I hosted the breakfast show for three years. Then it was news-reading with the FOX/MMM/Gold newsrooms in Melbourne, while owning and running roller skating rinks and restaurants.

“Somehow, again completely unplanned, I ended hosting a regular show on JOY Melbourne, a station dedicated to the GLBTI voice.

“Without a ‘format’ I was able to come up with all sorts of different programming ideas and we were the first to do a live coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – something the stations went on to perfect over the years. Real colour radio!

“We also developed a current affairs format called The Spin, which was slightly subversive and slightly controversial. I think that’s where I cut my teeth in a real love for the medium. Somehow we won the Deutche Welle Award for the best public radio talk show in Australia.

“That’s sort of 20 years in radio wrapped up. It all just ‘happened’ without any plan.”

But back to now and plans Newton may have for the future.

“In the next 12 months you will see a basic consolidation of all the changes in the past year. We will introduce another radio station, either in Phuket or Bangkok, purely for branding.

“We will monetise and improve our Classifieds and Jobs pages. I might try to take a few days off sometime as well. I’m 60 next year and I’m just loving immersing myself in all this new media, making lots of mistakes and finding new ways to reach out, report the news and tell stories.”

Aussies in Asia: The Thai island life of media man Tim Newton | News by The Thaiger



Have something to say? Scroll down to leave a comment, or visit our Thaiger Thailand Q&A Forum to discuss people, events, to-do and more with the local community.

Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

People

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal

The Thaiger

Published

on

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket

A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.

8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.

He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.

A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.

The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.

The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.

Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Continue Reading

Bangkok

Surachate Hakparn: Sidelined and sent back to the operation centre of the RTP

The Thaiger

Published

on

Surachate Hakparn: Sidelined and sent back to the operation centre of the RTP | The Thaiger

Thailand’s headline policeman, former Immigration Chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, aka. Big Joke, has been transferred to the Operation Centre of the Royal Thai Police. The order was signed by the Thai Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda.

The order was signed and executed last night. As of today, his social media account – Facebook and Twitter – plus the Immigration Bureau Facebook page, are offline.

Rarely out of the headlines, and traversing the country seemingly breaking cases faster than the media could report them, the high-profile poster boy of Thai police seems to have come to an undisclosed impasse. At this stage no reasons have been provided for his sudden side-lining back to head office.

One of his notable pet projects was pursuing foreigners, illegally overstaying their visas, as well as central African ‘scammers’ who he rooted out in his “Good guys in, bad guys out” campaign. The media parades for these almost weekly raids were usually rolled out after midnight and included photos with him smuggly glaring down one of his captive perpetrators.

He’s also come into the international spotlight over a number of recent high-profile immigration cases including when he reversed a deportation order against Rahaf al-Qunun, a young Saudi woman who arived in Thailand fleeing alledged abuse by her family. And also the case of the Bahraini-born Australian Hakeem al-Araibi who had been detained by Thai police in an international tug of war between Australia and Bahrain.

Surachate is the son of a career policeman and was born in Songkhla in 1970. After joining the force, he quickly rose through the ranks to command a local station and later moved to Bangkok to head the 191 task force. He spent a time with the tourist police co-inciding with his rise to fame, before landing the top job at the Immigration Bureau last year.

He has also been closely linked to Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon.

Surachate Hakparn: Sidelined and sent back to the operation centre of the RTP | News by The Thaiger Surachate Hakparn: Sidelined and sent back to the operation centre of the RTP | News by The Thaiger

Continue Reading

Opinion

Wai Khru – setting a bad example for the future. Thailand’s demand for respect from its young

The Thaiger

Published

on

Wai Khru – setting a bad example for the future. Thailand’s demand for respect from its young | The Thaiger

Hazing (US English), initiation ceremonies (British English), bastardisation (Australian English), ragging (South Asia), or deposition, refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new fraternity, sorority, team or club.

In Thailand, hazing is not only rife, it’s seen as a rite of passage for young Thais as part of their cultural inculcation into the subservience they’re expected to display elders or people with more money or higher positions than them. What’s mistaken for ‘respect’ is actually a cultural party trick where children and young adults are ‘trained’ to be deferential from an early age.

In recent years there have a been a few high-profile deaths of army trainees, in the care of their Academy leaders, but allegedly subjected to initiations and bastardisation that is just ‘par for the course’ for the education of young Thais.

In a response to the recent death of Phakhapong Tanyakan at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School on October 17 last year, the Thai Deputy PM and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan claimed that he “was not beaten to death, but just too weak to withstand tough training.”

He went further saying “I was once beaten more than I could take and I fainted too. I didn’t die. For this, before the school accepts kids for entry, they must give them a proper physical check-up.”

When you get you get such official, public, responses from the top you can see how this hazing culture continues to thrive in the, otherwise, Land of Smiles.

We spoke to three foreign teachers in Thailand, all speaking on condition of anonymity, about the culture of hazing in their schools and the benign version of that in primary schools, ‘wai khru’.

“Hazing is seen in many different types of social groups, including gangs, sports teams, schools, military units, fraternities and sororities. The initiation rites can range from relatively benign pranks and was khru, to protracted patterns of behavior that rise to the level of abuse or criminal misconduct.”

For the families of hazing victims these ceremonies can be catastrophic, as in the tragic case of Phakhapong Tanyakan.

A 19 year old armed forces cadet, previously subjected to harsh physical discipline, suddenly died a day after returning to school from a break. His parents were told he suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest but became suspicious of possible foul play after a detailed autopsy report never came. – Khaosod English

But he’s not the only one. Hazing and cruel or unusual initiations are conducted every day around the Kingdom but with a growing concern about the practices, both from the young students themselves and concerned older Thais, who realise the dangers of ‘persuading’ youngsters to respect elders needs examination in a modern 21st century Thailand.

We spoke to a respected senior Thai businessperson, again on the condition of anonymity, who said he had seen too much hazing going on during his time at school and then whilst training in the military.

“I was a victim of this type of bullying. I was told to ‘be a man’ and that all Thai men have to go through this. I think it is degrading and breaks human spirits. It teaches fear of those we are meant to respect. It has to change.”

It all starts when young Thais are subjected to the Wai Khru or ‘Teacher Wai’ where students are expected to prostrate themselves in front of their teachers in a show of respect. But a broad spectrum of foreign teachers not only feel uncomfortable with this faux-deference, some of them go out of their way to be away for that day or, sometimes, even speak out about their concern with this tradition.

“I made the mistake of speaking out about the Wai Khru in our school. I just found it demeaning for the poor students who had to rehearse all week for this totally meaningless show of respect. I didn’t feel respected, I felt sick. I ended up being ostracised and had to leave that school.”

Whilst many Thais continue to wonder why westerners might find all this kowtowing and prostrating could cause concern, you just need to examine the deaths in the Army preparatory schools as the end result of ‘demanding’ obedience and deference to elders. In western culture, I have learned, respect is something that is earned, not demanded.

“Hazing is undignified, humiliating and cruel… not my words, but the words of students who are made go through this horrible experience. It’s meant to be a sign of showing respect to your seniors but it’s nothing more than a shameful indulgence at the expense of the students,” said a long-term foreign teacher.

“Making students crawl around on the ground acting like animals in front of their peers, does nothing for either senior or freshie students. I have stopped attending Wai Khru day as I find it terribly uncomfortable for myself and for the students. You can see the look in their eyes as they approach you and are ordered to bow before the teacher. Teachers, like everyone else, should learn how to earn the respect of their students.”

A young female foreign teacher first thought that the Wai Khru was ‘cute’ but has changed her tune over the years.

“Wai khru was the highlight of my first year teaching in Thailand. I was, and still am, extremely humbled and deeply touched by this beautiful tradition intended to recognise a teachers’ role in children’s life and to give said children the opportunity to express their gratitude to their teachers.

“But throughout the years I have started to look at this event with a more critical eye and I wish it weren’t as rehearsed and staged as it unfortunately is. At our school, rehearsals for Wai Kru start a week prior to the event. During this week, children are drilled incessantly until they have mastered the walk, the bow and the wai leading up to the offering of the flowers that they are eager to free their sweaty little palms of.”

Wai Khru continues to be practiced in all Thai schools as a long standing tradition and show of respect for teachers.

“Although I understand and commend the wonderful intentions behind such practices, I feel that much like other sorts of drilling that these students endure, this sadly takes away from the true purpose of it all. For want of a picture perfect event, meaning is lost and a demonstration of gratitude is transformed into a dreaded labour,” she said.

An investigation into the death of Army cadet Phakhapong Tanyakan, by military investigators, found no wrongdoing by the Preparatory School. The parents have consistently called for a probe into their son’s death and are still pursuing legal action.

Wai Khru - setting a bad example for the future. Thailand's demand for respect from its young | News by The ThaigerPHOTO: Army cadet Phakhapong Tanyakan, who died at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School on October 17 last year.

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
หนุ่มนิติปี 1 โพสต์เฟซบุ๊กลาโลก ก่อนผู้คอดับในหอพัก ม.ดัง | The Thaiger
ข่าวไทย23 hours ago

หนุ่มนิติปี 1 โพสต์เฟซบุ๊กลาโลก ก่อนผู้คอดับในหอพัก ม.ดัง

สาวลำปางกรี๊ด โรคจิตคุกเข่าช่วยตัวเองข้างเก๋งแดง นี่ไม่ใช่ครั้งแรก | The Thaiger
ภาคเหนือ23 hours ago

สาวลำปางกรี๊ด โรคจิตคุกเข่าช่วยตัวเองข้างเก๋งแดง นี่ไม่ใช่ครั้งแรก

คลิปวินาที “บิ๊กป้อม” ปรี๊ดแตก หลังนักข่าวถามเรื่องทรัพย์สินในต่างประเทศ | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง1 day ago

คลิปวินาที “บิ๊กป้อม” ปรี๊ดแตก หลังนักข่าวถามเรื่องทรัพย์สินในต่างประเทศ

อัปเดต: สรุปเหตุการณ์ “เค ร้อยล้าน” คลั่งเทงู-สับหัวตัวเองกลางแยกราชประสงค์ [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ข่าว1 day ago

อัปเดต: สรุปเหตุการณ์ “เค ร้อยล้าน” คลั่งเทงู-สับหัวตัวเองกลางแยกราชประสงค์ [คลิป]

อัปเดตแผ่นดินไหวฟิลิปปินส์ เขย่าตึกถล่ม ตายแล้ว 8 ศพ | The Thaiger
ต่างประเทศ3 days ago

อัปเดตแผ่นดินไหวฟิลิปปินส์ เขย่าตึกถล่ม ตายแล้ว 8 ศพ

เขย่าเกาะฟิลิปปินส์ แผ่นดินไหวขนาด 6.3 ตึกไหวสะเทือน ตายแล้ว 5 ราย | The Thaiger
ต่างประเทศ4 days ago

เขย่าเกาะฟิลิปปินส์ แผ่นดินไหวขนาด 6.3 ตึกไหวสะเทือน ตายแล้ว 5 ราย

K-POP : BTS พาอัลบั้มใหม่ฉายแสงทั่วโลก พร้อมทุบสถิติใหม่รัว ๆ | The Thaiger
BTS5 days ago

K-POP : BTS พาอัลบั้มใหม่ฉายแสงทั่วโลก พร้อมทุบสถิติใหม่รัว ๆ

ตรวจหวย ตรวจสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล งวด วันที่ 16 เมษายน 2562 | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย5 days ago

ตรวจหวย ตรวจสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล งวด วันที่ 16 เมษายน 2562

[Live] มิ่งขวัญ แสงสุวรรณ์ แถลงข้อเท็จจริง กรณี ส.ส. พรรคเศรษฐกิจใหม่ยื่นยุบพรรคตัวเอง : เลือกตั้ง 2562 | The Thaiger
เลือกตั้ง 627 days ago

[Live] มิ่งขวัญ แสงสุวรรณ์ แถลงข้อเท็จจริง กรณี ส.ส. พรรคเศรษฐกิจใหม่ยื่นยุบพรรคตัวเอง : เลือกตั้ง 2562

คดีพลิก! คลิปแดดลำปางร้อนทอดไข่ดาวสุก หนุ่มถ่ายคลิปรับใส่น้ำมันตั้งเตาก่อน | The Thaiger
ข่าว7 days ago

คดีพลิก! คลิปแดดลำปางร้อนทอดไข่ดาวสุก หนุ่มถ่ายคลิปรับใส่น้ำมันตั้งเตาก่อน

ตัวอย่าง Game of Thrones Season 8  ตอนที่ 2 | The Thaiger
ตัวอย่าง1 week ago

ตัวอย่าง Game of Thrones Season 8 ตอนที่ 2

แก๊งวัยรุ่นตีกันงานสงกรานต์ พาพวกตะลุมบอนต่อหน้าห้องฉุกเฉินโรงพยาบาล | The Thaiger
ข่าว1 week ago

แก๊งวัยรุ่นตีกันงานสงกรานต์ พาพวกตะลุมบอนต่อหน้าห้องฉุกเฉินโรงพยาบาล

สงกรานต์หรือสงคราม ถือพร้าคว้ามีดจะอาบเลือดแทนน้ำ [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ข่าว1 week ago

สงกรานต์หรือสงคราม ถือพร้าคว้ามีดจะอาบเลือดแทนน้ำ [คลิป]

ไฟไหม้ “วิหารนอเทรอดาม” อายุ 850 ยอดหักพังถล่ม กรุงปารีส ฝรั่งเศส | The Thaiger
ต่างประเทศ1 week ago

ไฟไหม้ “วิหารนอเทรอดาม” อายุ 850 ยอดหักพังถล่ม กรุงปารีส ฝรั่งเศส

ฉายแล้ววันนี้ Game of Thrones ซีซั่น 8 ep.01 | The Thaiger
ฉายแล้ว2 weeks ago

ฉายแล้ววันนี้ Game of Thrones ซีซั่น 8 ep.01

Trending