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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Life and Death of Canal NOU! (Canal 9)

In 1989, the autonamous government of the Community of Valencia established the broadcasting station of Radio Television de Valencia, (RTVV), popularly known as Canal Nou, (Canal 9). There were three television channels, Canal 9, Punto Dos, (.2) and Canal 24, a continuous news channel broadcasting in thirty minute loops. In addition to that there was the popular radio channel, and all broadcasted in the local language of valenciano.

It was a very popular creation and served the people well and was well received, even by the Socialist opposition as the station was created by the Party Popular, (the PP) even though that political party unashamedly used the station as its mouthpiece, hardly giving the opposition a look in.

When we first came to Valencia it was the channel of choice from which to learn this strange dialect of spanish that is sufficiently different from castillian to be a seperate language, in my opinion. Our son tuned in every saturday morning to watch Babala, with Maria Abradela, and in the process he learned a good deal of valenciano. For me, I watched the evening news and got my information particularly about events taking place closest to me, although even to today I am having to join up pictures with audio and assume I have got it right.

So, what went wrong with Canal 9? As with so many things that involve politics, simply put corruption took over and the rot set in. The broadcasting company allegedly became the dumping ground for influencial politicians to get their relatives and friends jobs, and as a result the burden on the broadcaster became ever more impossible to bear. At one point the company had very nearly two thousand people on its payroll. By comparison, the national broadcaster RTVE had only a fraction of staff. Something was terribly wrong.

Enter Alberto Fabra as presidential successor of the entire community following Francisco Camps, and President Fabra sees his mandate to turn around the state of being of the economy of Valencia and to turn over a new leaf in the way that things have been done in the past.

Consequently, his edict to the television station was that it materially reduce its staff and run itself properly, or close. All sorts of moves were undertaken in defiance but simply put the station could not be continued as it had been, and so, the order was given and voted on by the Valencia parliament, and in a midnight move, agents of the government had to push past guards put in place to stop them to pull the plug. Now, the station is silent. It has been one of the saddest things to watch, although no sadder than the closure of any business with the impact upon staff. In this case the step by step process has been so public. The news has been mostly about the doom overshadowing the station, with a lot of clips from past events to remind viewers and listeners of how important the station has been to our lives.

Ironically, just before the storm broke the news channel completely revamped its image, having dumped some popular personnel such as newsreaders and on-air sports personalities. We can only imagine how those people are feeling today.

I believe that we have not seen the last of broadcasting from Canal 9, although when it returns, and I'm sure it will as a private business that will closely watch its bottom line, it will be called something else. The former company that has debts, some say, over a billion euros can sell the premises and the rights and equipment, and even the goodwill, and from those proceeds they can pay perhaps one penny in the euro to creditors. Valencia will see the return of something, although we do not know what.

This is a classical when we say, Stay Tuned! For everybody who has been so badly hurt as a result of the corrupt interference of unnamed culprits in the past, I say that is a complete shame and is so sad. However, it is a lesson that we had all better learn and apply across the board.

 Corruption has a price that has to be paid in the end, and no-one is ever happy when the bill comes!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael