President Lefty Kongalides: Welcome speech to CR members

In the past two years while I had been addressing this audience in the annual CIRCOM Regional conference I repeatedly underlined the fact that this union is a part of a great family - a family that is getting bigger and bigger. And of course I was referring to the European Union, which just last month grew to 25 member nations. I cannot avoid speaking about this family - again, as CR is an offspring of the European Union - working within the EU, benefiting from generous funds for projects materializing through our chain of 380 stations in 38 countries of Europe and offering precious services informing / among other important issues / the citizens of Europe as a whole, what is the Enlargement, the real dimensions and advantages of being a member nation.
We are only 13 countries short before all the member countries of CR become some day in the future accepted in the European Union as equal partners. And I would like to remind to everyone here that CIRCOM Regional was a pioneer organization in accepting as members all the public stations in countries of the former Iron Curtain, even before the European Union did so.
So CR was looking into the future and predicting the future. This happened through the insight of great people who before us were Presidents, General Secretaries, Ex. Committee and European Board members of CIRCOM Regional. And I believe this is the right time and the right place to pay tribute to all these wonderful people, whose task we are now carrying on. Please join me and give them a big hand.
Now what is CR? CR is the voice of the regions and the regions of Europe is real Europe, the heart of the continent, where time has not erased customs, values, traditions, centuries old habits. And we feel forced to define this picture of CR because on the contrary with the capitals of the nations we represent the small, medium and bigger stations of CR which have always been and are the source, the tank of fresh, new talent and ideas. This is because, perhaps, the easier, stress-less way of living, that allows people in the regions to let their inspiration explode and talents are poached under ideal conditions.
I have repeatedly used in my speeches around Europe the great task of CR which is working together. As the family is getting bigger it is more and more important to find the codes, to find the ways of working together, understanding each other, communicating, sharing the experiences. Working together means that friendship, peace, and solidarity are enhanced in the region. Working together means exchanging programs at absolutely no cost. Working together means coproducing which you can also interpret as cutting in half or more pieces, the cost of producing.
And this is only the beginning. CR is here in between to help, to promote, to create the ambience for working together. All you have to do is take advantage. What’s the future for Television? What’s the future for CIRCOM Regional?
One can predict that we are in touch with the era when we will have 1000 channels in our disposition, specialization will be the key word and the satellite transmission will prove the cheaper, easier, better way of broadcasting than the terrestrial.
So the high cost for a TV station on a daily basis will be programming. This is where CIRCOM Regional has been a pioneer and is giving the good and, prudently, the right example.
­ First by exchanging programs
­ Second by coproducting
CR will go on promoting these two key issues in the European TV world while in the same time never cease offering training programs either for young journalists and producers, and for senior editors as well, or for technicians to get all the information they need for new technology. CR will also never cease play the role of carrying, through its vast number of TV stations, the messages needed by the community in which we live, that is the European Union, so that almost half a billion people are well informed about perspectives, achievements, and new balances in this continent. If we - at least most of the countries of Europe share the euro, we also have every right to share information and especially information for our present and the future. And CR member stations are here to help as a media force of unique vitality and strength and able to reach people and communities in the most remote corners of the European Continent.
Prix Circom
The Prix Circom jury members met this year in Sinaia, Romania, under the guidance of David Lowen. The event was hosted by TVR and Elena Spanily.
The 2004 jury meeting will be held in Ireland - according to the confirmation we had by TG4 Ireland and RTE. It is vital for our members that every year there are prizes for the best programs produced by our member stations. And we always had pleasant surprises with the results, especially with excellent programs produced with a very low budget.
This year for the very first time CIRCOM Regional is completing the CR Database containing detailed up-to-date information about regional broadcasting across Europe. With the help of our national coordinators this was made possible.
­ Last March we had the Technical Training conducted by Karol Cioma in London’s Pinewood Studios.
­ Also last March the TV Middle Management Course was held in Zagreb with HRT Croatia and the Thomson Foundation as hosts. The lead trainer was J. Philip Daves
­ The Ethnic Minorities Course took place in Budapest, earlier this month, with funding from the Council of Europe and organized locally by Judit Klein. The lead trainer was Arwel Ellis Owen
­ May 12-23 is the Annual Conference Journalism Training held this year here in Grado. The Council of Europe supports the activities this year again
­ Next November the Strasbourg News Management Workship, initiated by our former Deputy Secretary General Marie-Paule Urban, will again take place with local host France 3-Alsace
Two coproductions
Two major coprodutions are underway "The last straight line" Executive Producer is Peter Sauer of Bayerischer Rundfunk in Germany and "Teenage Europe". Executive Producer is Tim Johnson of TV Syd- Denmark
Before closing this speech, on behalf of all CIRCOM Regional members I would like to: Express our gratitude
to the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions and Europe by Satellite, and, of course, Avid for supporting CIRCOM Regional through the years.
I would also like to Congratulate and thank RAI for organizing so successfully this conference in a site which we will never forget. Isola di Grado will probably see many of us return for summer vacations. I would especially like to thank Pier Luigi Malesani and his hard working team who did everything possible to turn this con Bienvenuti a Grado And let me paraphrase a 1961 Italian hit song for the finale of this speech: 24.000 grazie