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Voices And Languages Connect People And Values
dial it in The UNESCO World Radio Day was marked almost everywhere this past week. By celebratory coincidence it arrived on Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, in English, after which the observant commence Lenten fasting. The special theme for World Radio Day 2018 activities was radio and sport, coinciding with the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.



Digital Symbols And Feeling Important
Homer and Marge Everything about the Cannes Film Festival carries symbolic weight. Juries are made up of really important people. Films allowed for screening are obviously very important. Those nominated for top honors are super important. Palme d’Ore winners are beyond important, exalted even. Those other film awards - Oscars, BAFTAs - are, well, nice.




Real People, When It’s Warm Or Cold, Share With Their Voices
radio sand sculpture With every word and thought in every language now streamlined - and streamed - for specific audience targets it is good to appreciate the resilience of electronic media. Broad reach may not satisfy media buyers but there’s a feel to it. Digital media may well be effective and efficient but it’s undeniably cold. Sands are shifting; they always do.



Culture More Than Trip Down Memory Lane
old time fun Culture and media always intertwine; supporting yet challenging, an exhausting synergy. One moves, the other follows, roles reverse, the dance is complete. Commerce and technology also intertwine, now the most irresistible energy. Other interests intersect and, too, there is the passage of time. The dance shows us that nothing stands still.





Labels And Clichés Aside Young People Will Be Good For Media
here they come Advertisers adore young people, always have, and the media sphere follows appropriately. Conventional marketing wisdom holds fast to the twin dynamics of brand adoption and family formation. A youthful cohort is choosing products and services on their own terms, often rejecting those associated with old people, and striking out on their own - or thinking about it.


In Lingua Franca

Broadcasters Celebrated For Good Works - September 7, 2015
radio dial 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.




Digital Culture Always Online And Always in A Hurry - May 12, 2015
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.

Politician Attacks “Crazy Loopholes” - October 17, 2014
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.

Languages Carry Messages, Media Holds Its Breath - September 1, 2014
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.

Digital Detox Antidote For The Over-Connected - January 23, 2014
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.

Nobody Wants To Watch Something They Think They Might Have Seen Before - October 28, 2013
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.

From The Land Of Shakespeare Another Cucumber - September 16, 2013
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.

Trade, Culture And The Neurotic Choice - June 27, 2013
oh, my 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.




Major Media Ignores The Obvious Until It Hurts - June 3, 2013
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.

From The Right Track To Off The Rails
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.

What If They Told A Good Joke And Nobody Heard It - December 17, 2012
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.

Life Was So Much Easier When There Were Fewer Words - June 8, 2011
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.

Too Little Radio Airplay, Star Singer Complains - May 30, 2011
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.

It Brings Out That Inner Diva - May 6, 2011
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.

Risk, Reward, Media And Culture - March 21, 2011
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.

Greek Pressure and Pain - April 30, 2010
Greek Idol Mega TV 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 Groans and Adapts - January 5, 2010
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.

Story-telling Space for Dark Nights - October 9, 2009
spooky night 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.




Another Sponsor Pulls Ads From Fox News - October 5, 2009
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.

Radio Day celebrates the past, looks forward - May 11, 2009
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.

Baltic Tigers in Turmoil - January 19, 2009
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.

Diversity becomes hot media topic - November 24, 2008
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.

The Textures of African Broadcasting - November 1, 2007

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.



The Biggest Problem For Television Is Its Viewers - October 8, 2007
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.

Ukraine gets its MTV - August 30, 2007
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.

American TV Still Most Viewed Worldwide - June 17, 2007
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.

Crimea Media Tackles Languages - March 20, 2007
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.

The Real Terrible TV Launched in Russia - September 14, 2006

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.”




Dramatic License: Between Docudrama and Reality - September 11, 2006

The Path to 9/11 docudrama produced for US network ABC panders to the political. It's what we call propaganda.




Russian Digital Radio Station Opens With Classical Music and a New Business Model - September 7, 2006
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.

Communicorp Spins Twist to Slovak in Prague - July 20, 2006
Don’t be confused. Communicorp’s Andrew Dower explains…

Movies Are the Big Casino in Central Europe - April 10, 2006

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.

Secret Company Brings MTV to Ukraine - February 16, 2006
MTV Networks are joining the rush to bring new television channels to Ukraine with its’ signature channel MTV Ukraine.

Athens Station Shutdown Over “Offensive Language” - November 5, 2005
In a move rare by European standards, the Athens Television and Radio Council (ESR) ordered closed popular, alternative music station Best FM

The Fun of Being an International Radio Station in Athens - November 1, 2005
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.

Baltic Weather / Latvia - September 28, 2005
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.

Just in Case You Missed the Last 50 Eurovision Song Contests... - June 16, 2005
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.

Despite a Near Unanimous Traditional Media Urging Oui, the French Voted A Big Non to the European Constitution Proving Print and Broadcast Are Not As Powerful As They Think They Are. Or, Put Another Way – The Internet Rules the Information Age - May 30, 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.

Song For Ukraine, Ukraine For a Song - April 4, 2005
Ukraine President Viktor Yushenko drops visa requirements for Eurovision Song Contest visitors and contestants. Ukraine rap artist Greenjolly drops a few words.

Local Station has Budapest Talking - March 1, 2005
While the big national Hungarian radio networks play music local Budapest station Klubradio talks and has the city talking.

More Belarusian Music on Radio, More Belarusian Models on Billboards - January 31, 2005
The Belarussian Information Ministry warned radio broadcasters to comply with new music quota rules or their licenses would be lifted.

Film maker Van Gogh’s Murder Accents European Media Diversity - November 29, 2004
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.

Broadcasters Resist Calls for Music Quotas - October 10, 2004
German broadcasters are resisting music industry calls to impose quotes on radio stations.

Rough Start for Paris Radio in English - September 1, 2004
Two new English language radio stations are developing in Paris, both lured by the promise of new DAB licenses.

Italian News Agency Begins English Language Service - August 16, 2004
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.

ftm Knowledge

Media in Spain - Diverse and Challenged – new

Media in Spain is steeped in tradition. yet challenged by diversity. Publishers hold great influence, broadcasters competing. New media has been slow to rise and business models for all are under stress. Rich in language and culture, Spain's media is reaching into the future and finding more than expected. 123 pages, PDF. January 2018

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The Campaign Is On - Elections and Media

Elections campaigns are big media events. Candidates and issues are presented, analyzed and criticized in broadcast and print. Media is now more of a participant in elections than ever. This ftm Knowledge file reports on news coverage, advertising, endorsements and their effect on democracy at work. 84 pages. PDF (September 2017)

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Fake News, Hate Speech and Propaganda

The institutional threat of fake news, hate speech and propaganda is testing the mettle of those who toil in news media. Those three related evils are not new, by any means, but taken together have put the truth and those reporting it on the back foot. Words matter. This ftm Knowledge file explores that light. 48 pages, PDF (March 2017)

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