Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

Plaster casts



The other day, Percy went to Valletta. I know because from just behind me, a woman screamed his name, and then proceeded to hero-worship him in his face, flattering him to the point where he became very uncomfortable – as was obvious from his reaction when she finally stopped gabbing.

I wonder what ‘a daily TV breakfast’ tastes like
– Tanja Cilia

This was closely followed by several clips on the internet and some TV stations, showing how rude Madonna was when a fan gave her potted hydrangeas as a gift before the start of a press conference.

“I absolutely loathe hydran­geas. He obviously doesn’t know that,” she said to her assistant as she rolled her eyes.

A cardinal rule of broadcasting is to treat every microphone as live, and each microphone as taking you – even if they appear to be switched off. These days, when cameras and microphones are integral parts of many mobile phones, this bears being repeated as a mantra by everyone remotely involved in any kind of public office as well as the media.

Some celebrities lap up attention accorded to them by the public, and act, speak, and dress accordingly. Others prefer to pass unnoticed, going as far as to disguise themselves in ways it would not be fair to reveal here – so it is up to us to respect that, even if we recognise them.

• Last Wednesday, PBS launched its new season – and as usual, television was deemed much more important than radio, albeit this is now being accorded greater importance than was the norm in days gone by.

However, in the catalogue and pen drive given to guests present, there is no mention of what changes there will be on Radju Malta (93.7 FM), Magic (91.7 FM) and Maltin Biss (106.6 FM). It is worthwhile noting that 2012 is the golden anniversary of television in Malta.

With this in mind, TVM has revamped the ‘dancing quarters’ of the Maltese Cross from the past when TVM was MTV, tinted them red, and has them cavorting all over the screen. But graphics galore do not make for quality – though a uniform visual identity for announcements and promos is a good idea.

Just for the record, Malta Television Services was set up in 1962 and, after a lot of dirty water had flowed under the bridge, Public Broadcasting Services Ltd was set up in 1991, as a commercial entity.

Be that as it may, we were told that TVM is “raising the bar in programme quality” – cynics would say that this will, of course, facilitate things for those who are not lithe enough to go low in limbo dancing.

It was obvious, from the guests at the reception, that PBS had been busy with head-hunting in the run-up to the final round-up of contributors when it comes to television. Why has not the same thing been done with respect to radio, many people’s favourite medium?

Whenever anyone quotes statistics, my eyes glaze over – partly because after each media survey is published, each radio and television station makes it appear as though they have thrashed the opposition.

I am informed that PBS fully intends to base its package on quality, entertainment and information.

However, for this to occur, I would say that PBS needs a spruced-up website, rather than the current cut-and-paste job. It would be an added attraction if people could communicate publicly or privately with their favourite presenters through the company website, rather than solely on air or through e-mails, which often go unanswered anyway.

It is not for me to suggest how plans to ‘maintain pole position’ in each and every survey can come to fruition. But I would have thought that an enjoyable launch such as that of last Wednesday would have fared better on a tripod of television, radio and a state-of-the-art website (which would also garner more advertising revenue for the state broadcaster) through which one would be able to, if needs must, get television and radio feeds streamed simultaneously.

I wonder what “a daily TV breakfast”, as quaintly indicated, tastes like. This will be TVM’s wake-up call, presented by Daphne Cassar.

As an aside, I wonder who was entrusted with editing and proofreading the promotional material.

The Radju Malta breakfast show will be presented by the Ronald Briffa and Frank Zammit duo. PBS administration is trying to imbue Magic with new life, out of its juke box rut, by having station manager Carlo Borg Bonaci present a live breakfast show.

Sports aficionados will be pleased to note that PBS has obtained broadcasting rights for the entire Euro 2012 competition.

There are other changes and improvements, which I will be point out in subsequent columns.

• PBS is also gearing up for the Eurovision Song Contest, the national finals of which will take place on January 27 and 28.

I have it on good authority that this year, ‘we’ are aiming high, specifically for the finals. The hullaballoo about il-barrani has been solved by the rule indicating that composers and authors need not be Maltese – yet the lead artiste must at least have dual nationality, one of which is Maltese.

Other regulations include the organisers’ right to allow wildcard entries in the selection process (that should raise a few hackles); that artistes may compete with more than one song, with the proviso that they cannot have more than two songs in the final phases, and that Olivia Lewis, Morena, Chiara, Thea Garrett and Glen Vella may not participate as they have won the past five editions of the local heats.

There are three selection phases: (1) the submission of entries by CD to the organisers; (2) all the songs that would have made it from phase one to be performed live in front of the jury panel and (3) the 24 selected songs brought down to 16 for the national finals.


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Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

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