Greece’s oldest TV channel may become a victim of cutbacks

Greece?s first ever television station, now known as ET1, is likely to be one of the victims of the streamlining of state broadcasting services due to be announced on Friday by Minister of State Ilias Mossialos.

The minister?s plans, which form part of the government?s public spending cuts, were approved on Thursday by the Cabinet.

According to sources, they include the closure of ET1 and state broadcaster ERT?s digital channels Cine Plus and Sport Plus, which had recently merged into one. ERT will retain the digital frequencies for future use. Its other channel on the digital platform, Prisma, will remain but will be aimed at disabled people. Satellite channel ERT World will continue in its current format. ET3, the TV channel that is based in northern Greece, will be made a regional channel covering cultural, entertainment and sports-related issues.

The possible closure of ET1 will be a landmark moment for Greek broadcasting as it was the country?s first TV channel, beginning broadcasts in 1966 and then known as EYRT.

Public radio ERA will also be affected by the cutbacks. Five of its 20 medium-wave transmitters will be shut down and 19 regional stations will be merged into nine. The Radiotileorasi weekly magazine, which contains TV and radio listings, will also be closed. The National Audiovisual Archive will suffer the same fate.

An ERT building in Thessaloniki and one in Athens will be used to house government departments, thereby saving more public money. A process to evaluate the employees at ERT is also set to begin but Mossialos is not expected to announce the sacking of any long-term members of staff.

It was not clear on Thursday how much money the government hopes to save from the cuts.