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In Lingua Franca
Speaking out is what broadcasters do. Seizing the moment is at the heart of their work. These are important times, arguably a defining moment for a generation. Doing what’s right is cause for celebration.
Changes that have come to the media sphere this century are always attributed to technologies. The Web and the genius inventions using it have been transformative. New, of course, begets newer, last week’s favorites forced to adjust or left to fade. Ultimately technologies are bound to physics; digital culture not at all.
Quotas legally requiring radio broadcasters to broadcast music locally produced or performed in a national language periodically rise to broad debate. The music industry generally loves the idea and radio broadcasters generally hate it. Supporters and critics often cite French and Canadian music content broadcasting laws as proving their respective points.
Language holds people together and tears them apart. In this post-modern media environment language crosses boundaries easily, conveying aspiration, nostalgia and every image in between. People are drawn to television, radio, newspapers and websites in the languages with which they feel most comfortable. This pluralism is widely admired, a freedom to sustain. Diversity, linguistic and cultural, can also be exploited.
Watching lots of television is the chore of the quintessentially effusive or the terminally bored. Analysts and critics, respectively, then ply their talents to draw together the threads of understanding. It’s all very interesting, sometimes useful, often wishful.
The great masters of television are tuning their antenna far and wide for the special chemistry appealing to viewers with shortened attention. Dark themes, quirky characters and lots of anticipation are hit combinations. It’s a great time for creative energy and no time to waste.
It’s called the silly season and everybody understands. Those last weeks of summer with newsmakers still on retreat and journalists stumbling back to their desks are a challenge for editors. It’s the time sea monsters rise, UFOs fly and even the least consequential events warrant special coverage.
Commerce and culture are frequently at odds. The media sector resides in both, often uncomfortably. With the rise of a true digital dividend media consumers have greater choice than imaginable only a few short years ago. Popular choices, though, don’t please everybody.
Where sharp divides on cultural issues exist passions are easily ignited by the smallest acts. Sometimes it's the air of springtime. Sometimes it's the fear of another Spring. Whatever is in the air, people hear about it. It's a fact that can't be controlled.
Media diversity can be a lonely concept, particularly for minority cultures and languages. Using the law of the land to encourage a diverse media landscape is only effective to a point. Other concepts can intrude: money and power. The risk is a cultural deflation.
Nothing compares to a good joke. Even at the ragged edge of show business the needle moves when the audience laughs. And low-brow humor plays well, better still with a bit of social or geographic distance. Celebrities line up for this kind of attention, then moan about it. It’s their job. It’s so dreadful to be forgotten.
Words and phrases enter common usage in the natural evolution of languages. Media plays a large role in this, simplifying, repeating and popularizing everyday expression. Popular culture is an irresistible force, climbing the most formidable barricades.
Radio broadcasters and the music industry enjoy a special relationship. Once it was quite symbiotic, mutually beneficial, and both were content. In time it became co-dependent, almost pathological. The relationship has never been true love.
We love the Eurovision Song Contest. The production is big and it consistently draws more than one hundred million viewers. And every year there’s something a little different.
Austerity minded policy makers are waving the sword at financial supports for cultural programs and creative industries. At the same time, breaks for banks have never been bigger. And what local politician won’t vote to build that bridge to nowhere? Filmmakers, symphony orchestras and public broadcasters, though, are formidable advocates.
Pressure brings out the best and worst, often all at once. Long brewing economic issues have pushed the Greek government and its people to the edge. Greek media is both feeling that pressure and showing it.
Local media gets short changed in almost every way. Advertisers and other funders ignore them. Politicians and measurement services can’t find them. Odd, though, audiences get excited about them.
Great story-telling is and always will be media’s most important trait. While headlines just pass through, stories and their tellers endure. Like the languages that transmit them, good story-telling will always have that special warm spot.
Media buyers place their clients advertising where cost and audience delivery make the most sense. It’s cold accounting, quite efficient. Sponsors, however, must consider the programs where their spots are placed.
In most every country a Radio Day is organized. Most are a mix of professional discussions, networking and social events. Very few are nationally recognized, complete with parades.
Little more than a decade since joining the European Union and a rising tide of commercial growth Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – once referred to as the Baltic Tigers – are groaning. Media companies that launched or snapped up key radio and television channels to ride that tiger may have been ahead of the curve but a sharp drop in growth is causing a rethink. Shrinking economics threatens broader stability, old wounds kept open, clouding a once-bright present.
All things financial have permeated airwaves and headlines for weeks, usually in funeral tones. Pirates, from bankers bungling to Somalis hijacking boats, have grabbed lots of attention. Bubbling to the surface, perhaps as relief from the nastiness, is a topic a bit more tangible. Diversity in society and media, societies mirror, is getting attention.
Looking at Africa is a study in contrasts, a mosaic of cultures and colors, riches and pain. Broadcasting in Africa reflects all of this, including the extremes. Audiences – estimated at 700 million - are active, broadcasters robust, challenges are many and opportunities gleaming.
Those who toil in television broadcasting, the producers, actors, technicians, do a magnificent job. We can tell because people watch, still watch, after being told over and over that television is rubbish. Television isn’t more or less terrible than it’s been since the blue glow invaded the worlds’ living rooms. Television is just – always – there.
Legendary music TV channel MTV has so many localized variants it’s difficult to keep up with them all. MTV Ukraine finally arrived on satellite and cable networks full-time this week…more than two years after the original launch announcement. The new official launch date is Monday, September 3rd.
With thousands of television programs illuminating home screens around the world and more local production than ever, the American shows still pull those big audiences. Even critics gathered at the 47th Monte-Carlo TV Festival gave top awards to mostly Anglo-American productions.
English Language Radio Comes to Georgia - April 18, 2007
Georgia holds a rich and distinctive culture quite unique in the world. The geography is breath-taking. The people are warm, friendly and instinctively wise. The language is incomprehensible.
When the Soviet Union collapsed nations finding new independence found themselves with significant Russian-speaking minorities. Newfound pride in nationhood brought calls to elevate national languages and suppress Russian. From Estonia, Latvia and Estonia in the north to Ukraine to Georgia in the south native Russian speakers became marginalized.
October 1st a new entertainment channel – The Real Terrible TV – will launch in Russia. Its founders say it's “an original format, nothing is similar in Russia or the world.”
The Path to 9/11 docudrama produced for US network ABC panders to the political. It's what we call propaganda.
Given Russian music tradition one would think classical music would be all over the radio dials…even the new ones. Radio Classic Radio opened to the public September 1st , multi-platform, commercial-free.
The MGM Channel will be rolled out this year in local languages for cable and direct-to-home satellite viewers in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, CEO Harry Sloan announced at MIP TV. On offer will be the extensive MGM library that includes the James Bond, Pink Panther and Rocky films. Liberty Global’s cellomedia division is MGM’s partner in the venture that will extend the MGM Channel brand to Romania and Slovenia in 2007.
Don’t be confused. Communicorp’s Andrew Dower explains…
MTV Networks are joining the rush to bring new television channels to Ukraine with its’ signature channel MTV Ukraine.
In a move rare by European standards, the Athens Television and Radio Council (ESR) ordered closed popular, alternative music station Best FM
Olympic Games host cities always hope the huge investment will have lasting benefits. The 2004 Athens Olympic Games spawned a radio investment that continues to pay off.
Radio Skonto/Riga to Reprise "Phrase That Pays" - September 29, 2005
Riga, Latvia A/C radio station Radio Skonto launches a major audience promotion based on the reliable "phrase that pays" concept. Beginning October 3 station DJs will place phone calls to randomly selected telephone numbers ten times each day. When a phone call is answered with the phrase promoted on the air, the winner will receive a new automobile.
Russian influence in both Latvia and Estonia should not be underestimated. Both countries have substantial Russian speaking communities that maintain strong attachment to the Russian language and centricity to Russia. Broadcasters in both countries, public and private, radio and TV, offer Russian language channels. And Russian cable TV channels are numerous.
A total of 14 songs have been selected to take part in Congratulations, the special ESC 50th anniversary TV show organized on behalf of the EBU by Danmarks Radio (DR) in Copenhagen on Saturday 22 October 2005.
The traditional French media should hang its head in shame for its coverage these past few weeks of the European Union Constitution referendum. What we saw in France was a one-sided media blitz in favor of the Constitution that one would have expected from a third world country run by a tyrant trying to show elections are fair and free. It was not what one expects from one of the world’s great democracies.
Ukraine President Viktor Yushenko drops visa requirements for Eurovision Song Contest visitors and contestants. Ukraine rap artist Greenjolly drops a few words.
While the big national Hungarian radio networks play music local Budapest station Klubradio talks and has the city talking.
The Belarussian Information Ministry warned radio broadcasters to comply with new music quota rules or their licenses would be lifted.
The EU and its member States regularly congratulate themselves for promoting ethnic and cultural diversity in media. Theo Van Gogh’s murder in an Amsterdam street sets a stark backdrop for a tableau vivant in which nobody waits in the wings.
German broadcasters are resisting music industry calls to impose quotes on radio stations.
Two new English language radio stations are developing in Paris, both lured by the promise of new DAB licenses.
Recognizing that for an international audience to be able to read news about Italy that it had to be in English, ANSA, the Italian national news agency, has started to produce two English language services.