Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

Child’s play



‘Find me on Facebook’, the phrase that used to be said by television and radio personalities, is now defunct. Instead, they now tell us to find the page for their programmes instead.

Will RTK turn into a juke-box interspersed with programmes?
– Tanja Cilia

But it turns out that, just like politicians, they use the word “find”, rather than “contact me” because they have no intention of replying to potentially embarrassing questions, for their pages are there simply to boast about their programme; how many hits the page has had; and to indicate the times the programme and its repeats will show.

This could be because presenters do not want anyone to get too familiar with them – thus maintaining the aura that people who are ‘on television’ or ‘on radio’ breathe a rarefied atmosphere and are somehow enhanced versions of hoi-polloi.

When you ask them something, they are always at a meeting, or filming, or busy, or abroad – and they never reply later either, thus indicating that anything else is more important than you are.

They balance the handful of really uncouth personalities who go all out to ‘prove’ that they are common mortals. Here I include people on the judging panels of talent shows – one of whom last week taunted a contestant by telling him that “at least he was dressed properly today”.

I also sense that sometimes, certain judges’ antipathy towards a particular contestant is made so obvious both through body language and attitude. Arrogance and hubris do not even begin to explain this. I am reminded of Mike Buongiorno.

Then there is the man who throws his arm around those he is interviewing; this is fairly easy because his guests are sitting down, whereas he is strutting around the set.

There are the magazine programmes where the hosts might as well not invite guests, because they are always interrupting them and correcting them, and the disc-jockeys who do not even know which records they are playing.

Another thing that irritates listeners and viewers – besides the tasteless infomercials and the repetitive attempts at the selling of tat – is the fact that some presenters appear to take priority over others when it comes to the number of promos for their programmes.

Just for the record, there are presenters who themselves advertise the programmes of their peers – and this is a good thing, because as regular readers of this column know, I’m all for esprit de corps.

Unfortunately, however, one of the latest innovations in remote control technology would not work on this.

Basically, the insertion of a couple of Arduino microcontroller circuit boards inside a remote control, combined with the infrared LED light at the front of your TV remote control, enables you to mute your television set as and when you pre-programme it to do so.

The idea is to insert keywords (such as names of people you find particularly annoying) and the sound will disappear for 30 seconds, when these are picked up in the broadcast’s closed captioning transcription.

This contraption will be available commercially – yet detailed instructions for making it ‘just for fun’ are available online. It will set you back the equivalent of $70 (€51).

Meanwhile, it is interesting that whereas PBS is trying to imbue life into Magic by cutting into the endless loop of music, RTK is heading the other way by cutting the number of disc-jockeys. Will this station turn into a juke-box interspersed with programmes and news bulletins?

• This year, Iż-Żona, the omnibus programme for children on TVM, will be getting a new look. The overhaul will include new clips, new characters, and new situations that will hopefully move children away from their game consoles.

Familiar, well-loved faces will lead the programme in character – allowing storylines to be developed that would not have been possible had they been presenting in persona. This transformation had been referred to in the final programmes of the previous edition of Iż-Żona.

This essentially combines the best of both worlds – the cachet and the following of the team, and the talents of producer Giuliana Peresso and the head of the scriptwriting team, versatile actor Clive Piscopo.

The ‘older’ team will be Gwen (Kim Dalli of Deċeduti), Isaac (Ryan Galea of Evanġelisti) and Willow (Alba Florian Vitton). We have teens finding an abandoned space they turn into their den – which is not to say that perfect harmony reigns between them from the word go. There is also a group of ’tweens with whom Maltese viewers can identify.

• Unfortunately, I saw One Television’s call for applications for full-time and part-time journalists too late for me to include it in this column before my deadline (Thurs-day). I wrote to ask whether they would consider late applications, but I am assume they were too busy with the interviews to read my mail.

The advert called for “suitable academic qualifications”, which, however, were not specified. It goes without saying that candidates were expected to have “an excellent command of both written and spoken Maltese and English”.

• On September 30, at 9.15 p.m. TVM will air the finals of the third edition of the Malta Short Film Festival. Maltese directors who have been awarded are as follows: Ray Mizzi (who also won Viewers’ Award) for The Medic; Kenneth Scicluna (who also won the Best Local Director Award) for Daqqet ix-Xita; and Chris Scicluna for Animat.

• Which advert is the worse: the one for Tal-Lira which has a buck-toothed parent playing the fool; or the one for Mayor products which rings a bell to draw our attention to the special offer ? Both treat the audience so much like fools one is tempted not to buy their products.



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Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

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