CULTURE

Present at the creation of Greek TV

Giorgos Karter is uniquely placed to recount the story of both radio and television, having worked in both media since 1949, just 11 years after Greek state radio began broadcasting. Rising from announcer to a variety of managerial positions, he was one of the pioneers of Greek TV, which started broadcasting regularly in 1966, and worked at both state channels until the 1980s. At the time of Greek TV’s inception he was one of the very few people who had trained specifically for the medium, having taken an internship with state Italian TV (RAI) in the early 1960s. His book «Greek Radio Television» (in Greek, Kastaniotis Publishers) is a compendium of personal reminiscences, history (the early radio days), interviews and articles criticizing the present state of TV. Karter is one of those people who see radio and television mainly as a medium of cultural elevation for the people rather than as pure entertainment. He is a trained actor, a published poet and a frustrated painter. Consequently, he has no time for the present offerings of TV channels, especially the privately owned ones. His position can sometimes be extreme, as when he accuses the late composer Manos Hadjidakis, a director of radio programming in the 1970s, of «cheapening» the high-brow Third Program station by expanding its offerings beyond classical music. On the other hand, he offers some amusing vignettes of people who went to the other extreme of subjugating everything to commercial imperatives. One example is the (unnamed) Socialist appointee director of the second state TV channel who thought composer Claude Debussy was some Greek musician. «Who is this Debissis? Will he bring any advertising?» was his objection. Karter’s prose is probably too dry to be engaging when he recounts his personal experiences. The reader is still offered some interesting glimpses of working conditions under the 1967-74 dictatorship, as well as the bureaucratic infighting and incompetence of state TV. One should be slightly guarded, though, because Karter does not refrain from settling scores.