Controversial radio head removed from post
Czech Radio plans to continue with station changes
February 6th, 2008 issue
(Updated Feb. 7, 2008) The head of the prestigious Radiožurnál newscast was removed from her post after just 13 weeks, due to an inability to communicate, Mladá fronta Dnes reports.
Barbora Tachecí was not dismissed because of controversial changes in programming, but following a growing "internal miscommunication," according to Václav Kasík, director-general of the publicly funded Czech Radio (Český Rozhlas). Tachecí, who is on vacation in the Caribbean, was not available for comment.
Although almost 10,000 listeners submitted a petition against the changes she had made to the public radio newscasts, which they deemed "commercial," Tachecí stood her ground. A venomous exchange with a newscaster on the Czech Television program Dobré ráno last month did not make her more popular.
Nonetheless, others at Czech Radio said they do not intend to go back to the old style of news broadcasts, but want to continue with changes.***
Radiožurnál modernizers roll out a bruiser
By: Adéla Vopěnková, 28. 01. 2008, More by this author:
The surprising appointment of Barbora Tachecí as director of Český rozhlas 1–Radiožurnál was like a red cape to a bull. Modernization changes that she is bringing in at the public service broadcaster’s news and information station have left traditionalists pawing the ground and snorting with derision.
Commercialization is clearly a dirty word as far as long-time Radiožurnál listeners are concerned. And though she’s hardly begun pushing through her changes at the station, that is exactly what they are accusing Tachecí of. The management of Český rozhlas may be standing four-square behind her but, bovine or not, her opponents seem ready for the charge.
When confirmed in her new position last fall, Tachecí declared that she wanted to deliver a quality public broadcasting station. Responding that this is exactly what they could not see her delivering and warning that her work might signify the very end of real public broadcasting in this country, dissatisfied listeners circulated two petitions charging that Tachecí was guilty of station tabloidization that was turning Radiožurnál into something resembling commercial station Frekvence 1. Some 7,000 people have so far added their names to the petitions.
Tachecí is not unduly perturbed. “I find it fantastic that we are living in a country where citizens can write petitions,” she recently concluded at the end of her Radiožurnál program, “Volejte ředitelce” (Call the director). Unfortunately for her, this bold assertion itself triggered more criticism when pundits started to compare her to former Senator and current Member of European Parliament Vladimír Železný, who while director of commercial television channel TV Nova presented a similar program also called “Volejte ředitelce,” a one-man show that his enemies claimed he used as a vehicle for manipulative speeches.
The row over the future of Radiožurnál culminated in an unforgettable clash on the public service broadcaster Česka televize (ČT) discussion program “Dobré ráno” (Good Morning) when rather than explaining the arguments behind her modernization concept, Tachecí attacked presenter Jiří Václavek as unprepared and unprofessional. The ensuing absurd debate, in which Tachecí called for “facts not opinions” but did not mention any distinct facts herself, became a sensation after it was placed on video sharing Internet site YouTube where it gained a weighty number of visitors, more than 100,000 as of Jan. 18.
Critics largely blasted Tachecí for an extremely poor performance, with some PR and media analysts agreeing that she had behaved like an elephant in a china shop. Some basic errors contained in her observations—such as her reference to the “Czech population of 8 million”—were seized on. The Official estimate is 10.2 million. “The director’s media performance was depressing,” commented Pavel Dolanský, a lecturer in marketing communication and PR at Charles University, Prague.
On the other hand, some experts surmised that the effect of the debate would actually serve Tachecí’s interests. “I think this is exactly what she wanted to achieve,” said Michal Zelenka, head of the Association of Private Broadcasters (APSV). “Thanks to Tachecí, Radiožurnál got perfect PR,” he said, saying that the station had not gained as much attention since the 1989 revolution.
Hates boredom, enjoys sarcasm
Zelenka, who has known Tachecí since she worked as a presenter on ČT 1 discussion program “21,” said that Tachecí is a person who “loves to work under pressure” and that she prefers stress to boredom and passivity. He described her as hardworking, intelligent and extremely sarcastic. “I am used to how whenever we meet up she manages to offend me six times in the first five minutes,” he said, conceding that this type of approach might be the reason why she has numerous opponents. Undoubtedly, however, Tachecí herself is well aware of her controversial image—she never misses a chance to joke about it.
Meanwhile, her sharp departure from old-fashioned, perhaps stuffy views of how public broadcasting should be conducted sees her outline how her primary aim is not to increase Radiožurnál’s listenership but to deliver higher quality content shaped by placing an accent on achieving closeness to the listener. “We want to be Now and Here,” Tachecí said in a press release sent out in mid-January.
While that kind of modern sound bite might grate with the old school, claims that it is all leading to the “commercial cesspit” can be deemed an exaggeration by analysts who point out that an unambiguous definition of public broadcasting actually does not really exist. Among the irksome element for old schoolers are the stations’ new sound packaging, jingles and the signature voice of Lucie Výborná, formerly of Frekvence 1.
Toughened up debates
During the 1990s, when she started to present debates on ČT, Tachecí—whose partner is Ivo Mathé, the ex-general manager of ČT—managed to build a reputation as a fearless, direct and arrogant journalist who did not treat her guests with kid gloves. APSV’s Zelenka said it was due to her that a new style of considerably rougher debates became favored. “Tachecí was known for her doggedness. She would not hesitate to ask problematic questions,” he added, describing her as being sharp as a razor.
Tachecí, it is said, demonstrated outstanding managerial skills when she worked as program director at Frekvence 1. Nevertheless, she chose to forsake that employment along with its better remuneration by accepting the Český rozhlas challenge. Zelenka said it was no surprise to him. “She has a public broadcasting spirit,” he said.
What was surprising to Zelenka was the fact that somebody with such a controversial reputation was chosen to upgrade the station. “Unfortunately, many people in that monolith think that public broadcasting means mainly seriousness and pure boredom. They just do not get it; these reasons are why it has been gradually losing its audience to commercial broadcasters that have ridden on its coattails,” he said.
Český rozhlas 1–Radiožurnál is known as the first station to have been created in the Český rozhlas portfolio. From April 1 to Sept. 30 last year it had more than 690,000 listeners, giving it a 7 percent share of the market. This also means that it was the fourth-most listened to station, after Rádio Impuls, Evropa 2 and Frekvence 1. In the previous period, Oct. 1, 2006 to March 3, 2007, it had 686,000 listeners and a 7.8 percent market share, according to data from RadioProjekt, a media usage research project run by polling agencies Median and STEM/Mark.
Who is Barbora Tachecí
Born: Jan. 25, 1963
Education: economics degree, University of Economics in Prague, (VŠE)
Work history: since November 2007, director of Český Rozhlas 1-Radiožurnál; 2002–07, presenter of PressClub program, later program director at Frekvence 1; 2000–02, director of Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS); 1997–2000, spokeswoman at Investiční a Poštovní banka (IPB); 1993–97, presenter of “21” program on Česká televize; 1987–93, various positions at state-run Československý rozhlas (Czechoslovak Radio).
08 febbraio 2008
Radio ceca, via la direttrice troppo "moderna"
L'angolosa Barbora Tachecí, nominata appena tre mesi fa direttrice dei notiziari del primo programma radiofonico pubblico ceco, è stata rimossa dal suo incarico dopo un'ondata di proteste per il suo tentativo di modernizzazione del radiogiornale, visto da molti come una manovra di "commercializzazione". Diecimila ascoltatori hanno firmato una petizione contro Barbora (il ch è aspirato, alla tedesca), dopo che la giornalista, con una lunga esperienza nel settore radiotelevisivo e del marketing, è apparsa al programma tv Dobré ráno e ha litigato col conduttore che la interrogava sulle polemiche relative alla sua direzione (ho trovato il clip diffuso su YouTube: i cechi non hanno idea di che cosa significa litigare in tv, dovremmo spedirgli qualcuno dei nostri, magari se li tengono anche). Il controverso personaggio è spiegato molto bene nell'analisi del giornale economico online Czech Business Weekly.