Ieva Rozentāle: „I hope culture no longer will be abandoned!”
It seems that culture shows will run into changes this time. What can we expect on the new Latvian TV season?
There are two significant news related to this season: all culture information will be divided into two news blocks. There will be eight-minute culture evening news five times a week, but „100 g kultūras” („100 grams of culture”) will present more in-depth and detailed form, we will work separately on various forms for each show.
We, the show team, waited for some changes a long time ago, we required some challenges, because routine already got to us at that point. Now, time has passed, we produced one show format for eight years. Which was good, in a way, but we also wanted some fresh perspective and changes. Now, culture news will report what is going on, so we hope to show as various cultural events as possible. Of course, culture stories of „Panorāma” evening news will stay, Andrejs Volmārs still works on it.
We will try to represent larger and more various cultural processes.
We will also cover pop culture events, we did not do that very often before. We were concentrated on the audience well aware of culture, therefore, we went deeper in this direction. But now, culture news will give the opportunity to attract wider audience and, thus, to support various content.
Do you plan to do this in order to attract younger viewers?
The average age of our viewer might be 35 years+. We have to bear in mind that young people use internet rather than watch TV. Still, after TV show gees on air, we will put our stories online, as well, hopefully, attracting younger people. We plan to create stories in more dynamic mode by using different approach and rhythm. As we know, people like to watch news at 18.00, and we get our culture cover soon after. So, it’s a great chance to increase our ratings!
You said that bigger attention will be paid to popular culture this season. Will you, for example, cover „Depeche Mode” concert in Riga next year?
Yes, we could do that. I think, we were short of pop culture covers till now, because there were so many serious culture stories going on, thereby we were no able to present all this pop brightness that happened around us. I find it important that we cover it now. Besides, I have seen that in Sweden they have culture news with a strong emphasize on pop culture. Unfortunately, in Latvia we tend to think that culture includes only elitist arts, but the rest is...we see that in a government level, as well, considering even those projects supported by Culture Capital Foundation in Latvia. They don’t grant pop projects thinking that it’s commercial product. On the contrary, television requires to broaden the idea of what culture means.
In fact, we realize that culture is not just theatre or opera, it’s more complex and wider question worth to cover.
In theory, culture professionals understand and support a wider definition of culture, but the society is traditionally-minded. Let’s take an example: excuse me, the host has too low-necked dress or this T-shirt does not suit for culture programme on LTV1. (Laughing.) Who said that? Still, viewers call us and reproach about it.
That’s why you decided to change the attitude towards those things?
Yes, we’re gonna, but it needs to be done carefully while explaining it to the viewer at the same time. Younger generation is not so traditionally-driven, I think. But at the same time, we will definitely keep the idea of Latvian national identity safe while changing the show form. National identity is the most important for such small nation as Latvians, especially in those hard demographic circumstances. We have to think of it during the times when cultural values need to be saved and protected.
„100g kultūras” will represent three show forms. Can you describe what to expect from the project in the nearest future?
We had three „100g kultūras” shows three times a week, therefore, three themes we chose to cover. Starting from 17 September, the new show will go on air three times a week, but in a different form. „100g kultūras. Diskusija” („100g of culture. Discussion.”) will be broadcasted on Tuesdays. It will cover all sorts of actual culture problematics. This form will be suited for culture professionals who are interested in cultural policies and why particular problems rise in the industry. On Wednesdays, „100g kultūras. Personība” will be showed representing human portraits. It won’t be some documentary we film for two years. More likely, those will be several interviews with additional film clips. Besides, it will be a challenge for us who have not filmed our generation in actual work environment for a long time. Such form does not exist! Yes, we had portrait series until 2008, then the economic crisis came in, and only some special portraits were left dedicated to various legendary artists and anniversary years.
By creating those portraits, we want to show our generation and our time, it’s a priceless investment to our archive. We are often short of this material.
On Thursdays, we will keep the former show „100g kultūras..Nacionālie dārgumi” („100g of culture..National treasures”. It will be mainly directed towards the traditional viewers who remember their idols, legendary actors, writers. This form will be hardly focused towards the cultural heawyweights. So, we can easily say that those people are our national treasures. By the way, this show gained great ratings, even better than „100g kultūras”, so we have to keep the show.
Will you speak about the actual discussions and problems related to the general management of The Latvian National Opera and The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra?
One of the first cover will be the Opera board, it’s a „hot” issue. (Smiling.) We are keen on hearing news about the Symphony Orchestra, as well. Judging by the internet comments, it’s a real discussion.
Indeed, those are hard issues at television. The creators of culture shows are artistic personalities. They like to make their own shows as it was an art piece where they involve with all the energy and work. Nobody really wants to analyse those hard questions, because it’s complicated. It’s pure journalism.
But we will do our best, and those hard issues will be covered as discussions. (Keeping silence.) Of course, we had some discussion material till now, but it was from time to time. Sometimes it was discussion, another time – just a talk. From now on, we will have two discussion hosts. It will be presented as a dialogue, guests will be invited in order to talk over the problem.
Maybe you could invite guests at the studio, so they can express their opinions.
It would be possible in future, but for now, we are not able to do that. (Smiling.)
Can you name those hosts who will be working on air? Will it be the same team: Kristīne Želve, Arno Jundze and Dmitrijs Petrenko?
Our three important „whales” stay the same: Kristīne, Arno and Dmitrijs. In fact, they kept „100g kultūras” on their shoulders for the last five years, and it’s real value. I am also speaking about Dmitrijs who joined the team a bit later. (Smiling.) We will definitely invite more hosts, but I can’t tell who they are gonna be. It’s not confirmed. (Thinking.) I can reveal one television personality, it will be published soon. Eva Ikstena-Strapcāne agreed to lead culture news. She is the girl who got recognized from Dziesmusvētki studio when she was hosting „Lai top!” show.
She is a wonderful and smart person who is interested in this culture show thing. I think, Eva is the one who can really talk to the viewer.
Of course, the well-established form stays the same. Every second Saturday evening, we will broadcast „Kinotēka” with some changed details. Then an European film will follow. It’s closely related to the fact that European Film Academy is held in Riga next year. Apart from that, there is a whole European film basis we wish to show on LTV1, therefore keeping European identity rather than just allowing American blockbusters to take over the programme. „Americanization” goes on anyway, but European film values are our top priorities. The next Saturday after „Kinotēka”, „Teātris,zip” („Theatre.zip”) and theatre show will follow. Starting from this autumn, Saturdays will be dedicated to culture. Of course, we will also show concerts, also „Ielas garumā” („On the lenght of the road”) will stay the same. Live concert screenings and records won’t dissapear anywhere. We know that on 7 September, the concert of Latvian National Opera dedicated to its 150th anniversary will be broadcasted. The event will be held on 5 September, two days before the screening. Live broadcasts from „Spēlmaņu nakts” („Gambler’s Night”) and „Lielā Mūzikas balva” („The Great Music Award”) ceremony will be shown. Viewers like those great, one-time events such as awards ceremony where all the power joins into one broadcast. So, we definitely have to offer it.
Have you thought of next year’s European Capital of Culture cover stories?
We plan on covering a great deal of cultural events. There is an idea about new show series dedicated to the next year’s events. It might get started in this winter, though we are discussing it with „Rīga 2014” Foundation. We can’t confirm anything specific, but we have plenty of ideas.
Next year could be really great for culture editorial thanks to the fact that Riga will become The European Capital of Culture and television has a new management. Besides that, culture is defined as top priority, and I am really glad about that.
All discussions ended with the result that government definitely supports the idea of widening a cultural form. I think, we have gained a good and sound position right now. Culture news will be shown on prime time, so everyone will be able to see them. In-depth shows will be adressed to the viewer who is especially interested in it. Besides, the same shows will be available after night news edition, as well. So, those who might want to watch the show, could do so after some opera or theatre evening.
The first show will go on air on 2 September, I suppose.
Yes, we have two weeks to prepare. There is not much time left, but let’s hope for the best. (Smiling.) „100g kultūras” will be shown on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 17 September. And it goes like this every week! I find it great that culture editorial room is renewed. We have the producer’s system for a while which was good, but some negative aspects were met, as well. The renewed editorial is important: we can concentrate human resources in one place, to be able to create a serious team. Editorial system has not been used wor a long time, so people got the sense nobody takes care of them. I came here in 1990s when there was another atmosphere. So, I am happy to renew the system also gaining some impulses towards changes. You can sense it at „Radio Klasika” editorial room, it has its own unique atmosphere. We miss that here, at television rooms. We will try to make changes, and it really inspires me, to do such things! We have that opportunity, and, hopefully, culture no longer will be adandoned.