Coolture Column

The blemished face of television

The state-owned and operated television station in Slovakia seems to have incurred a few programming difficulties as well, possibly jeopardizing the future of state television. "It's a terrible situation there at Slovak Television. Everything is in chaos," said one producer, who wished to remain anonymous. He shook his head in disappointment, "It's really a political machine."

No one will officially confirm the amount of political influence involved in the programming process. Public studies have shown that, in terms of the amount of coverage STV gives the individual political parties, the station has the coalition leading Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) as the clear front-runner, registering as much as 50 percent of air time during last year's parliamentary election campaign.

"It's an entrepreneur's dream," urged one television director, who also wished not to be named, "if only [STV executives] could see the programming and advertising potential. But that all will change next year."

Why? Because on September 1, 1996, a new network is scheduled to premiere in Slovakia. The new station, whose name won't be decided upon until early next year, is owned by the American corporation CNI, who also currently owns the Czech Republic's popular NOVA television. They promise to be more modern and risque than the current Slovak stations, and have already solicited, even contracted, many of their competitors' dissatisfied employees .

As for the future of television in Slovakia? All had the same response: "Unpredictable." Slovak Television currently broadcasts on two frequencies, hence two channels, in Slovakia. Neither of which require cable television.

Slovkoncert will sponsor Italian guitarist Marco Minás concert at the City Gallery's Mirbach palác on November 26 at 10:30 a.m. The studio is located on the first floor (that's the American second floor) and be there early if you want good seats.

Theater and opera premieres this month include two guest performances titled "Stepmother" (Macocha) and "Ruth's Little Book" (Malá kniha Rúth) at Astorka Theater. Also the three and a half hour epic "King John" (Kráľ Ján) premieres at Nová Scéna Theater. Watch the Sights & Sounds Calendar for dates and starting times.

The last Sunday of every month is free at the Slovak National Gallery. Their current program of exhibitions is to numerous to list here, but check it out for yourself daily, except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Bratislava Information Service has reminded us that they will continue to give their special guided tours throughout the holiday season. The tours, ranging from thematic-walking tours to wine tours and even horseback riding, even include catering. For information or special group bookings, phone them at (07) 334-059.

Seen a UFO lately? Join others like yourself in Košice at the Centrum voľného času located at Popradská 86. For three days, November 24-26, you can find out anything you want to know at the European UFO Congress. Call (095) 423-740 or 423-741 for more information.

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