KOŠICE - TV producers who gathered in Košice in early November for the first annual Festival of Local Television Broadcasters might love to have the financial security enjoyed by state-owned TV stations, but don't want to copy their programming in order to gain it.
As with most anything else, success is directly tied to money, said Eva Dekanovská, who along with her husband Marcel, owns and manages MAC TV in Košice. But she said that local TV companies simply don't have the funds to keep pace with the giant, state TV stations.
"Local television in Slovakia and Bohemia is largely funded by cultural centers administered by town councils," Dekanovská said. "Without this support, broadcasting is very expensive in the Czech and Slovak Republics."
That's why, Dekanovská said, more than 160 participants from countries including Denmark, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia decided they need to create an international association of local television broadcasters, so that smaller TV stations can pool their programming resources.
"We are considering cooperative programming and trading programming and staff as a way to offset the financial disadvantages we face," Dekanovská said. "We could also trade finished programs among association members."
While local TV stations band together to put together programs, former Czechoslovak Culture Minister Ladislav Snopko emphasized that the best recipe for good shows is local ingredients. "The problems and interests of Košice are not the same as those in Bratislava," Snopko said. "The major challenge of local television is to concentrate on issues [that are] important to local viewers."
And not to imitate others, said Vladimír Petržilka of Kabelova Televize Praha. "I'm afraid we [central European nations] are accepting the German model of programming, and this is a mistake," Petržilka said. "Local television in this region is still in an embryonic form, and it should not be concerned with what commercial television is doing."