Disposing of the building of the Casa Radio because of high maintenance costs would be among the options considered by the management of Teleradio-Moldova (TRM) regarding the reform of the institution. The general director of TRM, Vlad Turcanu, spoke to members of the Supervisory and Development Council (SDC) half a year after taking office about the problems they face and the solutions.
At the SDC meeting, Vlad Turcanu referred first of all to the problems he had found at TRM since taking over as head. One of them concerned the editorial policy of the media services, because the institution “was politically manipulated” and was “underfunded”. “First of all, we dealt from the early days with balancing the news. Why was this necessary? Because Moldova 1, first of all, and Radio Moldova, too, have been accused of being biased, of holding with certain political groups. We very quickly had to balance them from this point of view, to show the general public that this would be a first change,” said Vlad Turcanu, adding that he insisted on respecting the rule of at least two sources.
In terms of achievements, he also highlighted the changes to the Russian-language news bulletins, which previously, in his opinion, were more of a translation of Romanian-language material.
He added that the radio station had also changed its programming so that content was closer to the needs of citizens, including children’s programmes, which were broadcast at inappropriate times. “What we have tried to innovate from this point of view is that we have excluded these thematic shows and we have introduced on air the so-called magazines which are a kind of all for all. Bringing the broadcasting closer to current affairs, in a situation where for a long time, until this year, the Radio Moldova concept was focused, I would say, excessively on elements of culture, music, philosophy or others, which do not necessarily fit with current affairs”, noted Vlad Turcanu.
In terms of infrastructure, the general director pointed out that both the Mesager studios and other premises of the TV channel are in “unsuitable” conditions. “Journalists from national television in particular (we have conditions at the radio station), people from Mesager are living in conditions that are, to put it mildly, unsuitable, they are simply impossible conditions. With stripped linoleum, with windows that have not been changed for 40 years, with various other discomforts that create a level of frustration among colleagues,” described Turcanu.
PLANS CONCERNING THE CASA RADIO
In order to solve part of the problems, the Georgian public television and radio company has reportedly arranged for the free transfer to TRM of a space reorganisation project, which was prepared for the public broadcaster in Tbilisi, but which would have to be adapted to the needs of Teleradio-Moldova, as the Georgian project is designed for 1,000 people, while at TRM there are about 500 employees. “It is important to relocate people from broadcasting because this building no longer meets the current situation. In the 1980s, when it was commissioned, there was only one radio station and hundreds of people worked here. Now we have less than 300 people with the orchestra, in spaces that are 11,000 square meters. I have to tell you that a large part of the budget we receive from Parliament goes towards the maintenance of these premises. In broadcasting, in the winter months, we pay 30,000 euros a month for the maintenance of these premises. So it is a priority to leave Casa Radio, to sell it or to give it to the state to optimize the premises, which should have been done at least two decades ago,” said Vlad Turcanu.
According to him, the company could get around €15 million from the sale of the asset, money that could be allocated including for the development of the company.
The general manager also plans to change the approach to employee salaries by changing the appraisal management, and additional resources could be requested by supplementing the budget by Parliament. According to him, available statistics show that private sector media employees are paid about 50% more than TRM employees.
Other goals of the institution include digitisation of the TV archive, changing the broadcasting grid, creating a common working platform for journalists and repairing the premises.
PROFESSIONALISATION OF EMPLOYEES
CSD member Aurelian Danila also asked Vlad Turcanu about the possibility of stimulating employees to study abroad, for professionalization in various fields and subsequent application of knowledge at TRM. The general director noted that he had already discussed with some foreign editorial offices for TRM journalists to participate in such visits.
Vlad Turcanu was appointed as general director of TRM at the beginning of December 2021, after the ruling party changed the legislation in the field, so it was possible for the previous management to resign.