The evolution of the mass media is very interesting subject of study thatpresents variations according to different circumstances. One of these is theplace where this evolution takes place. Because media as institutions are partof society, are influenced from any particular characteristic that each societyhas. In the case of Greece, it's really interesting to see how the evolution ofa medium like radio, has been affected by the particular characteristics ofGreek society and more specifically by Greek politics.
The particularity of theGreek case, as Papathanassopoulos points up, is that the Greek state is hypercentralized because of the dictatorial periods that Greece has passed through.Greek broadcasting has been developed under dictatorships. Both radio andtelevision were subject of military violation, thus formulating a peculiarcharacter a State broadcasting. What I will attempt to show in this project isthat this peculiar character of state broadcasting influenced the overallevolution of radio, which lead it to be a medium with different types ofprogramming formats. Through the unplanned liberalization of the medium from thepublic monopoly medium we lead to privately owned format radio.
I will attemptto show, describe and analyze this evolution; how from a situation of publicbroadcasting has developed towards a commercial medium with different types ofprogramming. The interesting thing for the case of Greece is that is showing ushow politics in the long run influence particular characteristics of a mediumsuch as its programming. It is really interesting to see how most of the socialsectors of the society are in favor of the decentralization of the media. Thisproves the reason why the liberalization of the Greek radio was so favored fromthe Greek society and actually happened so fast in a very short time. Becausethe Greek society is so hyper centralized, when people realized that radio wasto be decentralized, radio became very popular.
As Ed Hollander explains;decentralization of the media is always welcomed by the majority of the peoplebecause many of their interests can be satisfied. For cultural and socialorganizations, decentralization is a method to promote citizen participation inthe mass media. For media personnel is a means of achieving more democraticcontrol of the media. For the political parties, decentralization is a way togain an instrument to oppose government policy. Finally, decentralization is away for those in favor of commercial broadcasting to achieve profit. That is, asI will try to show, what happened with the case of the Greek radio.
All thepeople who were in favor of decentralized radio broadcasting show theliberalization of the medium as a chance to satisfy their interests and in thatway the conflict of different interests during the evolution of radio influencethe overall process of the medium up to its specialization. Keeping in mind thatin the last 50 years the only legal broadcast enterprises belonged to (or werecontrolled directly by) the state of Greece, I will attempt to refer tomilestone events which affected the developments so far and which will mostcertainly determine developments in the years to come. I will attempt to presentthe circumstances that took place, in order for radio to become private. I willshow how Radio changed from a medium of general interest (belonging to thepublic sector) to a privately owned medium with specific formats of programmingand I will draw some conclusions. Although somebody could argue that this ismost a descriptive study, the separate reference to aspects of this evolutionthat are made give us the possibility to understand deeper the relation betweenthe cause and the final conclusion that prove my hypothesis; that the Greekpolitics was in the long run the cause for Greek radio to become a medium withdifferent formats.
The sources I use, although they cover many areas of radiobroadcasting, justify the importance of specific parts of the evolution of theGreek radio that I refer to. The reference to other countries help us see from amore critical aspect the evolution of the Greek radio. 2. The transition frompublic to private radio The article 15 of the Greek constitution and the law 230of 1975 are an example of the direct control that the state of Greece had uponradio and television; there was a state monopoly. This state monopoly was alsojustified by the terms of the limited radio spectrum and the centralizedcharacter of the state (Papathanassopoulos 1989). Another term of justificationwas that the Greek market would not be able to support private and state media.
The article 15 was very ambivalent, leaving room for arbitrary interpretation byeach government, as it talked of State direct control over Radio and Televisionwhich -depending on the occasion- could be translated either in State'sexclusive right to broadcast, or State's obligation to regulate Broadcasting. AsP. Daltoglou points up, the state by using the term "direct statecontrol" can define whether or not, and under what circumstances, privateconcerns could be allowed to be broadcast. Compared to the old legislation, theNew Law (1730 of 1987) was just a repetition of the permanent and obsoletearticles which governed Radio and TV up to that date, concerning administrativeorganization. The new law also introduced some interesting regulations whichcould secure the functioning of the public broadcast media in order to operateindependently of the government and secure the objectivity of their programs.The final and more interesting point of this law introduced some innovations inthe area of local radio and satellite TV.
The law guarantees legal entity to thepirate radio stations and promotes their development. Before that law only thelocal authorities were acknowledged with the right of operation local radiostations through a decision of the Ministry of Presidency and Communications. Atthe beginning this privilege was given without any authorization from theConstitution but afterwards was confirmed by the article 213 of the New Law.With this law there is the possibility of the foundation of local municipalradio stations. But even if the operation of the municipal stations was legallysecured, the establishment of the private local radio didn't yet have anylegislative coverage.
As E. Venizelos notes, the most amateur illegal (untilthen) efforts expressed pure hobbyist interests without any obvious politicalstands. In that way the legislator had to consider the current tendencies ofradio broadcasting and legislate accordingly. The New Law presents entailedstandardization of the local radio.
The monopoly of the public media can bebroken within certain limits that the legislation defines and in accordance withthe Constitution, provided that the legal and technical standards will be keptbased on the new law. "Local radio" refers to the whole of the localradio stations which are established and operate aligned with the license of theMinister of Presidency of the Government. All the stations broadcast from 87,5to 107,7 MHz in FM band. The basic principle of "Locality" in theLocal Radio Station, states that it is its local character which determines thecontent of its program. In France for example, the local radio holds itsidentity as it is related strongly to the local community. The constant andsystematic striving for true local communication, the integration of radio as atool in the area serviced and the adaptation of the program to local life in allits aspects represent the main dimensions of the character of the Local Radio (Hamelin1989).
Another principle of the "Locality" of a radio station is alsothe local transmission (limited coverage). Every station has its own geographicrange of transmission and its own specific district. According to the law thereis not a specific number of frequencies available for every district. Accordingto the article 2§4 of the new law the licenses are given after a proposal of anewly formed "Commission of Local Radio" to Greek citizens. However nomore than one license is granted to the same person.
According to theconstitution there are two types of licenses, the first one is only forprofessional (profit seeking enterprise) use and the second one is amateur(non-profit). The stations which have the second type of licenses can transmitonly recreational and educational programs and not advertisements.Bibliography15. Rao, G. (1991).
Italy: In the throes of change. Intermedia. London:International Institute of Communications. March/April 1991. Volume 19.
No. 2.The reasons that lead to the broadcasting Act of 1990 in Italy. The politicalbackground that create this reform in the Italian media affairs. The effects ofthis broadcasting Act on the current (1991) situation of broadcasting in Italyand particularly the effects that had on RAI.