Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation
|Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation
Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία Τηλεόραση
|Type||Broadcaster (Television, Radio & Online)|
|Headquarters||Agia Paraskevi; Athens, Greece|
23 February 1966 (TV)
|Dissolved||11 June 2013|
|EIR (National Radio Foundation) (1938–1970)
EIRT (National Radio Television Foundation) (1970–1975), ERT (Hellenic Radio Television) (1975–2013)
|Channel 52, 23|
|Channel 49, 41|
|576i 16:9 (SDTV)
1080i 16:9 (HDTV)
The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (Greek: Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία Τηλεόραση, Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi or ERT, literally "Greek Radio-Television") was Greece's state-owned public radio and television broadcasting corporation with approximately 88% of its funding coming from television licence fees. Following a government decision, the company was abolished on 11 June 2013, with its 2,656 employees protesting against the closure and continuing broadcasting via a satellite transmission using European Broadcasting Union equipment. The EBU also began providing Internet streaming of the ERT broadcast.
On 12 June 2013, the Greek government proposed a successor organization, New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (Νέα Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία, Ίντερνετ και Τηλεόραση), shortened to NERIT (ΝΕΡΙΤ), which launched in August 2013 as "Public Television" (Δημόσια Τηλεόραση). As protests against the decision of the government (Coalition of New Democracy, PASOK, DIMAR) continued, on 15 June Prime Minister Samaras proposed returning ERT to service immediately, by having an emergency committee rehire selected employees. This offer was rejected by the ERT employees and Samaras' coalition partners.
On 17 June 2013, following an appeal by ERT's employees to the Council of State (Greece's highest administrative court), the Council suspended the government's decision to interrupt broadcasting and shut down ERT's frequencies and ordered the Finance Minister and the minister responsible for media, signing the decision, to take "all necessary organisational measures for the continuation of transmission of broadcasting services and operation of internet websites by a public broadcaster for the period until the establιshment and operation of a new operator that will serve the public's interest". In his ruling, the Council's President found that the government's decision violated Law 1730/1987 which requires "the contribution by a public broadcaster to informing, educating and entertaining the Greek people and the diaspora". The Council's appellate division upheld the original Temporary Injunction three days later.
Until 24 October 2013, ERT's employers were able to offer the television programmes of NET (also simulcast in HD as 'ERT-HD') and ET3, and the radio programmes of ERA Athens, ERA Thessaloniki and Third Programme through conventional means (analogue and digital TV, FM, medium and shortwave radio broadcasts) as well as over the Internet. At approximately 18:11 EEST, ERT lost their satellite capacity on the Astra 23.5°E Astra 3B satellite after successful lobbying by the Greek Government to the capacity provider SES S.A.. That halted most conventional TV and radio broadcasts that received the feed from the satellite, but did not affect the regional ERA affiliates that produced their programming locally, nor a large part of Athens which is served by a DVB-T transmitter located within the ERT HQs in Ayia Paraskevi. Web streaming wasn't affected at all.
As of 24 March 2014, more than nine months after the decision to close down ERT, the striking workers still run 17 radio stations (15 regional, two national) and a single TV channel (ET3), from the regional radio studios, and the ET3 Television Building in Thessaloniki. FM and AM transmissions continue throughout Greece with some interruptions and shortwave transmissions continue with a weaker transmission power. All radios are also available as webstreams. The TV channel is sporadically transmitted in conventional means (analogue transmitters in Thessaloniki), and is always available as a webstream.
History prior to 11 June 2013
ERT began broadcasting in 1938, initially limited to radio services from Athens. At that time the company was known as the EIR (National Radio Foundation). In the years of World War II, broadcasting stopped during the Nazi occupation of Greece. After World War II, broadcasting resumed and the radio services were expanded to three national radio services as well as international radio services for emigrant Greeks. EIR was one of 23 founding broadcasting organisations of the European Broadcasting Union in 1950.
Test television broadcasts began in 1965 and full TV service began in 1966. In 1970, the company was renamed EIRT (National Radio and Television Foundation). At that time there were only two TV services – ERT and a second one (ΥΕΝΕΔ/YENED) that was operated and controlled by the Greek Army. It was used as a propaganda medium by the military government of Greece until its fall in 1974. The station retained its name and military orientation until the early 1980s, when it was renamed ERT2 by the then PASOK government. On 1 September 1987, a third station was added – ET3, based in Thessaloniki, with mostly regional programming focused on Macedonia and the rest of Northern Greece.
During the first 20 years of TV services in Greece, ERT broadcasting was limited, starting at around 5pm to between midnight and 2am. Since 1997 the three ERT TV channels are known as ET1, NET and ET3, and broadcast round the clock. ET1 is an entertainment channel whereas NET is focused on news services. ET3 is still focused on Northern Greece issues, although it broadcasts nationwide.
ERT was a major national sponsor and the official broadcaster of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. It has been broadcasting the Olympic Games in Greece since the Mexico City Games of 1968. It also broadcasts IAAF games while it is shown on privately owned channels mainly in the United States. Today it broadcasts documentaries, some from the private sector, and a few animated shows. With the introduction of independent privately owned channels in Greece in the late 1980s, programme quality changed to a more commercial variety, in order to survive the fierce competition for ratings. This was a major shift in the network's principles that was dominated by wider variety, alleged "higher quality" programmes including documentaries and World Cinema.
On 19 August 2011 the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation announced a planned restructuring of the company; ERT's main channels became NET and ET3, while ET1 was incorporated into the program of NET and ET3. Additionally the digital channels Cine+ and Sport+ ceased broadcasting, and their programming were again incorporated into that of the company's two major domestic channels. ERT World also saw changes in its programming to reflect the needs of the Greek diaspora as identified by a survey conducted by ERT. The Minister of State also said that the company would become public but no longer state-owned.[broken citation]
At 17:45 EEST (UTC+3) on 11 June 2013, the Greek government announced ERT would close by the end of the day. All 2,656 ERT employees would lose their jobs.
ERT was dissolved by a Common Ministerial Decision that was enacted by virtue of Article 14B of Law 3429/2005 (regarding the dissolution, merger and restructuring of public companies) as amended by an urgent government Legislative Ordinace (FΕΚ 139/11.06.2013, Issue A'). Despite running a budget surplus on income from a license fee outside the state budget, in a televised statement, Simos Kedikoglou, the minister responsible for media and the government's spokesperson, said that the ERT was a "haven of waste" that cost more and had fewer viewers than private stations.
Later in the evening, riot police forced their way into at least one of the transmitting stations, and all ERT transmitters were closed down around Greece, as was eventually the worldwide ERT World feed. Using satellite offices and other spaces that had not been closed down, ERT journalists continued to broadcast to the Internet.
On 12 June at noon local time, the AS and IP range of ERT, the official domain names "ert.gr", "ert3.gr", and "voiceofgreece.gr" were cancelled in the Greek Internet registry, meaning that live broadcasts on the Internet (ERT LIVE) have stopped, as well as the publication of all news articles. Emails sent to the broadcasters are no longer delivered. Other Internet assets registered by ERT are at risk of being closed (because their owner and contact address are no longer valid), notably the official Facebook page and Twitter account. ERT LIVE is relayed by other sites, such as the University of Greece.
The European Broadcasting Union was quick to criticise the closure, issuing a statement the same evening where they expressed "profound dismay on behalf of Europe’s entire public service media" and urged the prime minister to reverse the decision. The EBU made the ERT stream available on satellite to its members.
NERIT (New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television)
On 12 June 2013 a Greek government spokesperson, Simos Kedikoglou, announced the formation of a new public service broadcaster, New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT). The company's services are expected to launch on 29 August 2013. The service provider was supposed to employ between 1,000 to 1,200 and will continue to be funded by advertising and tax contributions. The broadcasting activities of NERIT did not take place anyway, because of the decision of the Council of State.
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|Late 1990s and early 2000s||
ERT broadcast radio programmes under the name of ERA (Elliniki Radiofonia, "Greek Radio"), since 1988. Under this name, ERT broadcasts four national radio services. The ERA 1 (Πρώτο Πρόγραμμα), primarily a news-oriented station, with some current affairs and talk programming. ERA2 (Δεύτερο Πρόγραμμα) was primarily a music station, while ERA3 (Τρίτο Πρόγραμμα) was more of a classical music/arts & culture station (with some drama thrown in). ERA Sport (ERA4) a sports-oriented station, with regular news every hour and sports news every half-hour. During the late night hours all ERA programmes aired a common night program. For regional audiences, ERT had 19 regional stations with relays. The regional station in Macedonia was the only one with two separate programme streams and a shortwave service. The interval signal for all ERA programmes were several opening bars of the folk song "Tsopanakos Imouna" (Once I Was A Shepherd Boy).
In the cities of Athens and Corinth, two additional programmes were aired. KOSMOS primarily a world music station, on FM exclusively in Athens. FILIA was a multilingual station directed mostly towards immigrants, on FM and AM in both Athens and Corinth; the AM channel also aired KOSMOS in the late night hours.
ERT broadcast the Voice of Greece (ERA 5) for an international audience, using shortwave. Under the name of the ERA International Network, Voice of Greece and some ERA domestic programmes were rebroadcast on AM and FM stations throughout the globe. In addition, the ERT regional station in Macedonia can also be heard on shortwave. In September 2004, ERA Spor & ERA 5 were added to Dish Network's lineup of Greek channels, giving viewers in North America access to two of Greece's public radio stations.
On 12 June 2013 all ERT radio stations shut down.
There were three nation-wide channels in Greece, two (ET1 & NET) from the House of Radio in Aghia Paraskevi, Athens, the main ERT headquarters. The building's size is 360,000m². There is a large television facility north-east of Athens at Mesogeion Avenue. The third channel, ET3, broadcasts from Thessaloniki and is a regional channel which caters to Northern Greece and broadcasts nation-wide.
ERT also broadcast an international channel, ERT World (formerly ERT Sat), which is only available to international audiences, outside of Greece. ERT World broadcasts as a subscription service or FTA to Europe, North America, Asia & Australia.
All but NET (also simulcast in HD) and ET3 ceased transmission 11 June 2013:
- ET1 – broadcasting from Athens
- NET – broadcasting from Athens
- ET3 – broadcasting from Thessaloniki
- ERT HD – HD channel started transmissions on 27 April 2011
- ERT World – a compendium of all ERT programming, mainly intended for the Greek diaspora via satellite
- Ciné+ – movies
- Sport+ – sports
- Prisma+ – program for hearing impaired
- Cinesport+ – movies and sports
- Studio+ – music (in association with MAD TV)
- Info+ – news and current affairs
For a list of programmes, see list of programmes broadcast by ERT.
ERT was mainly funded by license fees which represented the vast majority of the resources of the public group. The fee was 4.74 euros per month in 2013 and was paid on the electricity bill, along with other applicable taxes. This was not connected with actual ownership of a TV set.
There are modest grants from the government for contributing to educational public missions. And since 2008, some commercial resources from advertisers (even though the channels have lost significant parts of audiences) and the economical crisis in Greece has severely impacted the profitability of advertising and of commercial cooperation for the joint production of programs, as well as the collection of license fees on electricity bills.
- Common Ministerial Decision OIK.02/11.6.2013 (FEK B 1414)
- "Greek public broadcaster ERT to be shut down, reopened with fewer employees". ekathimerini.com. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- O'Carroll, Lisa (12 June 2013). "ERT shutdown: European Broadcasting Union sets up makeshift studio". The Guardian (London).
- Monitor ERT online
- "Νέα Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία, Ίντερνετ και Τηλεόραση" [New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television]. www.minpress.gr. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- Fallout in Athens and Brussels over Greek TV shutdown | euronews, world news
- Smith, Helena (15 June 2013). "Greek prime minister backtracks on decision to close public broadcaster". The Guardian (London).
- Temporary Injunction of 17.6.2013 by the President of the Council of State (in Greek)
- Decision of 20.6.2013 by the appellate division of the Council of State (in Greek)
- "Η κυβέρνηση κατέβασε το δορυφορικό σήμα της ΕΡΤ" [The Government pulled ERT's satellite signal]. http://www.ertopen.com. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- "Δημόσια και ανεξάρτητη ΕΡΤ" [A public and independent ERT]. www.ert.gr. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- Article 44 of the Greek Constitution allows the President following a Cabinet proposal "under extraordinary circumstances of an urgent and unforeseeable need" to issue legislative ordinances which have immediate effect but must be submitted to Parliament within 40 days and ratified within three months following their submission.
- "Greece shuts down state broadcaster in search for new savings". London: Guardian. 12 June 2013.
- ERT LIVE relayed by the University of Greece, on Blogspot. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- ERT LIVE relayed on the Internet by SevenArt.gr. Also ERT LIVE on ThePressProject.gr providing the feed. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "EBU urges Greek government to reverse decision on ERT". EBU. 11 June 2013.
- ERT: the day after | euronews, world news
- Ignatidou, Sophia. "Why closing Greek broadcaster is make or break moment." (Opinion) CNN. 14 June 2013.