Why Steve Vizard?
I happen to like Steve Vizard. I think he's funny. I have to admit that some of his humour goes a little too far for me, and a lot too far for others.
Why did we ask Steve to do our show?
We take seriously the need to reach as wide an audience as possible. Many ordinary Australians will get no other message this year about the work of God in the world apart from the World Vision specials.
Many people will only know Christianity as something that happens behind church walls, out of sight to them.
Others will see witnesses to the Christian faith in events like the processions of witness in Sydney and Melbourne, and other places, at Easter. It was thrilling to see the good TV coverage the Melbourne event received. I hope it was the same elsewhere.
But few will have much opportunity to know what Christian faith means in action. Unless they are personally helped by a Christian. Or unless they see the work World Vision does.
Being an effective witness to the hands and feet of the Risen Jesus -- this is one of World Vision's responsibilities.
So why Steve?
Well, first, he is sincere about his involvement with World Vision. He thinks we do a good job, although he had plenty of good questions (as we did of him).
He knows our Christian position. Indeed, he respects our motivation and the opinion of his Christian friends.
Second, Steve's important to the Seven network. Why is that important to World Vision?
Because it means the difference between 7.30 p.m. on Friday night (prime time) and 11.30 p.m. on Saturday night (not prime time at all).
The Seven network want to show a program with their top personality Steve Vizard. They want to show it badly. It's good promotion for them.
Now, I am not suggesting the people at Seven only show World Vision programs because it's good publicity for them. Far from it. They've got big hearts too. They like to help World Vision as much as they can (as do the folks at Nine). But they've got a business (in receivership) to run too.
A little mutual benefit is a good thing.
Did Steve do it for free?
No. No-one works on the TV special for free. We pay the cameraman. We pay the sound recordist. We pay the editing studio for their time. We also pay the presenter.
But couldn't he do it for free if he wanted to? I suppose so. That's probably true of most people who work on the TV special. That's not the point.
We believe the same rules apply for TV presenters that apply for ordinary workers at World Vision. The worker deserves his wages. Luke 10:7.
As you know as well as anyone, that means World Vision pays a fair wage, but rather less than you could get in the commercial world. That's certainly true for TV presenters as well.
Even if TV presenters say they will do it for free (and sometimes they do), we still say "No." Are we crazy or what?
No. Every person who works for World Vision must agree to do so on a business-like basis. We set our standards high. We ask a lot of people we employ. And we expect them to deliver.
That's just as true of TV presenters as it is of managers or clerks.
Therefore we have a legal agreement with each person on the TV special to do a job in return for a fee. Sometimes a TV personality might get half way into our TV special and be offered a million dollar deal in Hollywood. If they were doing the World Vision work for free they might be tempted to toss it in. Since we have a contract, we can ask them to fulfil it. (Don't worry. I don't recall anyone ever trying to wriggle out after a contract has been signed. But I do know of some who have said a verbal "Yes" only to convert that to a "No" before signing on the dotted line. The dotted line makes a big difference). Most professional TV people appreciate World Vision's thorough business-like approach.
World Vision is very fortunate to have such excellent opportunities to tell our story on television. This year we shall have more opportunities than ever before. And in a wider variety of program formats. Next up is "The Valley" on ABC-TV. Quite a different program to "Cry Children", but another opportunity to speak on behalf of the poor by the grace of God.