Blesok no. 28, September-October, 2002
Sound Reviews

Radio: Channel 103

Ljupčo Jolevski

     Quite recent, we’ve almost lost one of the cult radio stations in the state – Channel 103. Namely, the General Manager of the Macedonian (National) Radio informed the contract-employees of this radio channel that they should “move” at other frequency (at the frequency of Radio Skopje or Second program of the National Radio), with nationwide broadcast programs – in the from 02:00 to 06:00 AM – in order to widen their audience (?!). By his opinion, that would solve the undefined status of this Radio, because “the radio isn’t in any of the MRTV’s legal documents, the issue on which, the Council for Radiodiffusion (allegedly) insists on solving. Like some virtual Radio is in question – and everybody knows (very well) that this program is one of the greatest projects of the MRTV from the very beginning of the transition processes and implementing of the free democratic society in Macedonia, until now, and the Radio program with great contribution within those processes. The Channel 103, as the pioneer in those processes, has its own wide auditorium (a few generations within it) that fanatically supports all that’s shaped by this Radio’s audio offer. And even more, because of the various and different “concepts” about this Radio’s future, the General Manager adjourned the intensive dispute with the contract-employees from the Channel 103 with his decision to stop this Channel broadcasting from that moment on. But, the employees went further on with the complaint at the MRTV’s General Manager’s Office, and the General Manager of the National Radio ad Television Broadcast allegedly amazed and misinformed on this matter (?!), “cut the knot”, and the Channel 103, in whole – the program, selected choice of music, employees, etc. – continues its “air Odyssey”. As until now, as hey know and can.
     Like nothing happened. Well, but it isn’t quite so.
     As first, this attempt by the National Radio Manager is quite amazing, especially that it was enterprised just before the National Parliamentary Elections. The main question that pops up is: who actually needs that particular frequency? And, where was the mentioned Manager in the past four years of his “ruling” with the National Radio, to enterprise the solutions for this Channel status sooner? Much more sense would make his open support to this Channel “credits” from the past, because the huge success of the Channel 103 in the past years is his success (as its supreme Manager), too. Or maybe he’s also among the ones who think that the Channel 103 is “the ‘appendix’ of MRTV“, or the „program invented from someone to ‘warmly place’ their own children”, or that “the Channel 103 is the ‘junkies’ dwelling”, etc… And so on – in indefinite time.
     Let’s make the things clear: the Ljupcho Jakimovski’s (the General Manager of the MRTV) decision that Channel 103 should continue with its program broadcast at the old frequency, seems only to prolong this Channel’s quiet/hidden dying within the National Broadcaster’s frames. Because, it’s obvious that the problem exists, and that there must be much sense for the contemporary flows within the youth population to comprehend, understand and support the general concept of this Radio, since its beginnings until now. Simply, it would be an unforgivable sin if this Radio’s brave history to throw it at the trash pile of the past. That mustn’t happen, not only because there would be no Radio like this in the air above Macedonia (Skopje) in the future, but also from the reasons that this kind of a radio even couldn’t exist out of the public (State-supported) service/medium, left on its own, because it’s well known that its concept doesn’t make a possibility (here in Macedonia) for this Channel to exist by its auditorium support. Any other way but the existing one would mean killing of this Channel’s independence in its work. And that concept and program independence is the greatest achievement of this Radio, an issue that makes its creators and participants to be proud of, as the essence of its (sub)cultural work.
     Let’s make clear, there are a whole “bunch” of young people who would claim that “the edge” of the Channel 103 got a little blunt, and that sometimes it looks like its own caricature, etc… And they would claim that not from malice, but with hope to gain their “old’n’good” Channel 103 back, as it suits to its legendary image: the avant-garde, modern, strong and uncompromising. With its own two legs in the reality, and not in the past. With some new voices and new selected music offer that doesn’t provoke any negativity and misguided actions… As in the “old” times of this Radio. There lays the great truth.
     This doesn’t fit in the correlation with the situation of the non-paid fees for months (and more) for the contract-employees – the known fault of MRTV, the old technique equipment (there should be a computer in the studio a long time ago, for instance). With the existing technique, the real, modern audio-program image, which will suit the contemporary times we live in, couldn’t be shaped in any case…
     Finally and all together, that isn’t a reason at all to ghettoize the program at the worse and the “most deaf” broadcast terms or even its “killing”, but in contrary. The one who would make such decision, definitely has no sense for this profession, not even to mention the lack of sense for the radio as a medium. And if we don’t delude ourselves: if the National concessionaire doesn’t have the ability, means, knowledge or determination to solve the “problem” called Channel 103 (which problem – we emphasize – can exist in reality only within the frames of the program and crew “refreshing”), then the situation is more than serious.
     And sad… at the same time.

Translated by: Petar Volnarovski

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