Sunday, February 28, 2010

There MUST be a public broadcasting authority in Israel

It seems to be worldwide - government stations in Britain, South Africa and New Zealand to mention just a few are making drastic cutbacks to their programmes or their websites.

Here in Israel we have the Israel Broadcasting Authority. I won't go into the argument of all the salaries that are/were being paid, and the license fee etc, but what I do want to ask is, is their a need for such an authority? My answer is absolutely YES! Maybe not the IBA of today, but some sort of body that can run public radio and TV stations.

As this blog is about radio, I will keep off the subject of the IBA's Channel 1 TV station. As important as it is - and it is VERY important, I will concentrate on radio.

Today there are eight government run radio stations:- Networks A,B,C,D, a religious station, a station for immigrants, a classical music station, and 88FM. Most, not all, have commercials to support themselves, but not all of the stations have the listenership to actually pull the advertisers in in the first place.
Every station has its place amongst the Israeli public, whether it be Reshet Bet (Network B) which is a current affairs station, and probably the most popular nationwide station in Israel to the Immigrant station, the classical music station, the Arabic station, and last but not least, the cult music station 88FM. All have their own loyal listeners, but probably not enough to maintain themselves financially. It would be fair to say that if the above stations were local commercial radio stations, most, if not all would have closed by now.
But they are not, and because of this they are still broadcasting today. It is not just the financial aspect that keeps them on air, but the idea of broadcasting to the public without looking over their shoulder all the time. There have been many efforts to close down the classical music station, 88FM, and merge others. But those efforts failed.
Public broadcasting HAS to continue, whether it is to be under the umbrella of the Israel Broadcasting Authority or some other body is not important now. There has to be an alternative to the local - sorry - REGIONAL radio stations. I remember the first day of broadcasting of the regional radio stations back in 1995, and they all promised programmes with local content, local news, local talent etc etc - I even have it on tape! Where are those promises today? Not many of the regional stations are living up to them.
Quality public broadcasting is a must - also on TV. A lot of people complain about Israel TV's Channel one, but what is the alternative - Big Brother? The Beauty and the Geek, A Star is Born (Israels American Idol), Making a joke from work ( צחוק מעבודה) . The Weeks End (שבוע סוף)
I rest my case

Saturday, December 19, 2009

No alcohol advertising between 06.00-22.00 on regional radio?

The "Walla Branja" site
reports that the Second Radio and TV Authority is thinking of restricting the advertising of alcoholic drinks between 06.00-22.00 on the regional radio stations here in Israel -this in order to stop encouraging Israeli youth to drink alcoholic beverages.

The head of the radio branch of the Authority has sent a letter to all of the regional stations asking their opinion in writing in the matter until the end of the month. It is also under consideration to require the regional stations to broadcast messages of how dangerous alcohol consumption can be, during the programs that actually advertise commercials for alcoholic drinks.

The Second Radio and TV Authority have, in the same letter, reserved the right to ban altogether commercials for alcoholic beverages, but this option is not being looked at at the moment.
Taken from "Walla Branja"

There is a serious drinking problem amongst Israeli youth, with alcoholic beverages easily obtainable from kiosks. Many lame laws are in the process of being introduced to try and stop the sale to minors, and the limitation of advertising on radio won't stop it either - but it certainly can't harm.

Commercials for smoking have been banned for years on Israeli radio and TV - could alcohol be next?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eco 99FM

A new station hit the airwaves this week - Eco99FM - an "enviromental" radio station. Whilst reading the various Israeli radio forums and the critical revues it has received, I must admit, the little I have heard, I like.

I was listening this afternoon, and there was veteran broadcaster Ronit Kfir. Ronit was one of my favorite lecturers when I was doing a brush up course at Radio Tel Aviv in 1999. She was interviewing people of how to build houses that are friendly to the enviroment and that save money in electricity. Nothing really earth shattering here, but was better than Didi Locali that was being syndicated on nearly every other station (see a previous post).

As I am 50+ I like the music as well, although there are some that yearn for BU99, the station for "youngsters". I must say, hearing dance and trance music throughout the day is certainly not my cup of tea!

But what Eco99FM plans to do in the future beats me. How long can you talk about the enviroment in each day, and if you don't (they have sports programmes as well), well that doesn't justify winning the tender on the enviromental ticket.

As I said, I for one like what I hear at the moment, it's like a pool of sanity in a world of either phone in programmes, agony aunts, or current affairs and news programmes - oh and did I say I liked the music?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Radio All for Peace splits its transmissions

The Israeli - Palestinian radio station " Radio All For Peace" coming out of Jerusalem, but with transmitters and a license from the Palestinian Authority have split its broadcasts into two different frequencies.

Radio All For Peace continues on 107.2FM in Hebrew throughout the day, and in the evening has programmes from the Voice of Russia in Russian, the Voice of Poland in Hebrew, and from 22.00-24.00 Radio Netherlands and the Voice of Japan in Arabic.

On 89.3FM there are programmes in Arabic throughout the day under the name ZAIN FM.

AFP's 107.2 programmes are a mixture of current affairs and magazine programmes, and a lot of good music.

For those of you who like "Mizrachi" music, the former offshore DJ Benny Shimoni has a programme everyday between 12.00-13.00.

The station can also be heard through the Internet at:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Voice of Peace returns, but must not live in the past.

This is a copy of a post that I left on the new VOP forum:

If there is any criticism that I have heard, it is that the station is living in the past - the same jingles, same presenters, same music!If you/we want this station to take off, you will have to get presenters that are in tune with what the listeners want, up to date music, and maybe new jingles - yes - new jingles. We all love the old jingles, it takes us back 20-30 years, but we aren't there anymore.We cannot live in the past.

The original VOP was the best thing that happened to Israeli radio, but that ended in 1993. We are in 2009, and the station must adjust itself.As one who worked on an English language radio station here not too long ago (RAM FM), I have the experience and knowledge of what it takes to make it work. RAM FM played a mixture of oldies and newies - an A/C format, and it was a huge success. We were often compared to the VOP.

I am prepared to share my experience with you all.In my opinion, this is the way the VOP should go. It has to revamp itself, get rid of the cobwebs, and get itself up to date. There are some great new songs out there, perfect for the A/C format.Of course the listeners will decide in the end, because if the VOP pulls in the more "mature" audience, then that is the way the station will go. You will have to decide on who your target audience is, otherwise the station will sound like a salad - all mixed up.

And please, less of the Shalom/Salam that I heard last night, it sounds corny. Who is the station aiming at? Israelis? Arabs? The world? If all of these, then instead of saying Shalom/Salam, start playing Arabic pop music, have an Arabic presenter - be real!!! I cringed last night when I heard the Shalom/Salam thing, it sounded so out of place.Yaniv, you can tell us how many listeners the station has in the Arab world - and if it does, and you want to build on it, then start catering to them as well. Then, and only then, will the station be a VOICE OF PEACE.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Voice of Peace returns - through the Internet

From somewhere on the Internet, an online version of the Voice of Peace is to start broadcasting this saturday at 2pm local Israel time.

Comprising of ex VOP personnel and other ex offshore radio presenters, the station is not to be live at the beginning, but a series of recorded links made by the presenters.

Presenter include:

Graham day

and the mastermind behind it all, Doug wood.

Many people have asked me why I am not on the above list. My main reason is that I am so busy these days, I have no time to breath, never mind make links for the station. I WAS asked by Doug to make links, but for reasons I wish to keep to myself, I declined.
I wish the new VOP the best of luck, and lets hope we will be able to hear them on a FM frequency soon....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shake up at Radio Tel Aviv - 99FM's gain

According to the Israeli newspaper Maariv, the popular breakfast programme duo of Tal Berman and Aviad Kisos are leaving Radio Tel Aviv 102FM, and will be joining the Sharon area station 99FM. They are due to start there at the beginning of next year.

Berman and Kisos have been presenting their programme on Radio Tel Aviv for the last seven years, taking over from the equally popular duo Shai and Dror, who now present their show on the rival "Non-Stop Radio" station 103FM. The owners of Non-Stop Radio recently purchased 99FM, and have just won the license to broadcast for the next 12 years. 99FM is due to undergo an overhaul of their programme schedule, and Berman and kisos seem to be part of the plan.

A footnote to this story: The Station Manager of Radio Tel Aviv Shai Ben Maor has also recently tendered his resignation, and Radio Tel Aviv's Programme Manager Liron Te'eni left at the beginning of October.