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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

An Analysis of the Music That Is Being Played on Radio Slovenia Reveals That Far Too Little Time Is Devoted to Nurturing the Musical Tradition of Slovenia

By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv

Nurturing the musical tradition is of the utmost importance for any nation. But if you were to expect that at least the national radio station in Slovenia would contribute to this, you would be mistaken. Despite the fact that, in the monthly report of the Ombudsman for Viewers and Listeners for May 2021, the music editor Simona Moličnik claims that the music on the First Programme (Radio Prvi) of Radio Slovenia is chosen by music editors – musicologists who know music history of all genres and all periods from antiquity onwards, it is clear that in practice, far too little time is devoted to nurturing the musical tradition of our country.

Those who regularly listen to the national radio programmes are increasingly saying that the first and second radio programmes of Radio Slovenia are becoming more and more like a Balkan-English “jukebox” and that Slovenian folk music has almost completely been banished from the programmes, while Slovenian religious music has already completely disappeared.

It seems as if religious music has been banished and/or banned
As a representative of the civil initiative for plural radio, Drago Vogrinčič has repeatedly criticised the music that is being broadcast on Radio Slovenia. Among other things, he also criticised the statement of the editor of the music editorial office, Simona Moličnik, in which she tried to explain the musical image of the First Programme of Radio Slovenia. “Keeping this in mind, we choose the appropriate music for every single Christian holiday (with very thoughtful and subtle musical choices), all national holidays, and on special days, or if there is something distinctive going on, we also present music history,” she said. Regarding the above, Vogrinčič emphasised that judging by what was broadcast and said, it is perfectly clear that Močnik does not understand the basic postulates of Christianity.

Based on a detailed analysis of the content and composition of music on the First Programme of the radio, based on the obtained data on the music that was played between the 14th of March and the 14th of April last year, it is possible to conclude that on two of the Sundays in that time period; namely, on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, they played two songs each, which we consider to be religious and sacral. “The circle dance song (Kolo) from Bela krajina is not a religious song by any means,” he commented critically. According to the data, 60 songs of sacred music were played in the selected 31 days. Of these, 12 songs were played in the show Prvi poje (The First to Sing), 15 in the show Duhovna misel (Spiritual Thought of the Day), 18 in the show Slovenska zemlja v pesmi in besedi (Slovenian land in songs and words), and 15 in othe rest of the morning, day and night holiday programmes. “Many of the songs that you put in this group are not religious or sacral songs at all,” Vogrinčič pointed out, so it makes no sense to make claims about how much time has been devoted to this type of music.

All public radio stations around the world broadcast religious shows with appropriate sacral music every morning, and especially on Sundays; however, that is not the case in Slovenia. Accordingly, many people get the impression that religious music has been banished and/or banned from the First Programme of the national radio. According to Vogrinčič, this situation represents cultural and religious discrimination, a violation of media legislation and the programme standards of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which cites the obligation of the public media to prepare and broadcast religious broadcasts.

If we focus on the share of the played folk music in the aforementioned period, we can see that in the analysed 31 days (outside the regular shows for this type of music, which are Četrtkov večer (Thursday evening) and Pozdravi in čestitke (Greetings and congratulations), on average, exactly one folk song per day was played. If we convert this into minutes and percentages (the average length of a song is three minutes by default), this means that outside of the regular two shows, the First Programme allocates a disgraceful 0.2 percent of its time to folk music. When we take into account the songs from the two aforementioned shows, we get a total of 271 played songs of folk music. On average, this amounts to 8.7 songs per day. On a monthly basis, that means that, on average, only 1.8 percent of the daily programme is dedicated to this type of music.

In 31 days, a total of 70 compositions of Slovenian choral music were played, namely 40 in the show Prvi poje (The First to Sing), and the rest were part of the regular morning, day and night programme. In the analysed 31 days (outside the regular show Prvi poje), on average, a little less than one song per day was played. This means that 0.2 percent of the daily time is dedicated to this type of music. Of all Slovenian choral music played in the analysed month – a total of 70 songs (the average length of a song is 3 minutes by default), on average, 2.3 songs per day were played. On a monthly basis, this represents an average of only 0.5 percent of the daily programme dedicated to this type of music.

And, of course, we cannot forget about Slovenian folk music. In 31 days, a total of 175 songs were played, namely; 75 in the show Slovenska zemlja v pesmi in besedi (Slovenian land in songs and words), and the other 100 were played outside of this show, in the morning, day, and night programme of Radio Slovenia. Outside the aforementioned show, an average of 3.2 songs were played per day. This means that a little less than 0.7 percent of the daily time on the radio was dedicated to this type of music. If we take into account Slovenian folk music in the show Slovenska zemlja v pesmi in besedi, too – meaning, we have a total of 175 songs the average length of a song is 3 minutes by default), on average, 5.6 songs per day were played in the analysed month. On a monthly basis, this represents an average of only 1.2 percent of the daily programme being dedicated to this type of music.

On the 25th of May, a song praising the character and work of the dictator of Yugoslavia was played
“However, you really outdid yourself today at 16:15, when the music editor decided to play the song by Zdravko Čolič, “Druže Tito, mi se ti kunemo” (Comrade Tito, we swear to you), on the occasion of the former Yugoslavian holiday – Day of Youth. And by “outdid yourself,” I actually mean that you have crossed the line of good taste. On the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence, when we finally broke free of the one-party regime, you decide to play a song that directly “praises” the character and work of the dictator of Yugoslavia,” said one of the listeners of the First Programme of Radio Slovenia. From the response of the editor-in-chief of the music editorial board, Moličnik, it was clear that this was not a provocation of the audience.

According to Poslek, this song was only part of the programme in terms of its connection to this date. “By no means were we trying to praise anyone’s work or character.” And Moličnik explained to the upset viewer that all music history, near and far, is treated exclusively from the musical-historical or musicological aspect. “So, our aspect of focusing on music as such is built from musical elements that have no political connotation. Keeping this in mind, we choose the appropriate music for every single Christian holiday (with very thoughtful and subtle musical choices), all national holidays, and on special days, or if there is something distinctive going on, we also present music history.”

While the ARS radio programme has a clear programme design, the same cannot be said for First Programme or Val 202 anymore, Vogrinčič warns, and adds that they are becoming more and more similar when it comes to choosing music outside the individual shows, which is not acceptable, as he pointed out. To sum it all up, we can say that the music which contributes to the nurturing of the musical tradition is decidedly not played nearly enough, which is sad. Especially in light of the fact that the First Programme represents the radio programme of Radio Slovenia, which represents the national public radio service in the Republic of Slovenia.

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