The New Bulgarian National Television's CEO Goes After "The Day Starts With Culture"

The Bulgarian National Television has a new program manager - Emil Koshlukov - a famous Bulgarian politician and talk show host. Koshlukov's biography is quite interesting - after the fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria he founded the Independent Students' Union and was part of the mass students' demonstrations. He studied at University of California, Santa Barbara from 1991 until 1996 and returned to Bulgaria in 1997 where he began his political career. 

Koshlukov has threatened to change the status of the beloved show about culture "The Day Starts with Culture" if it doesn't double its ratings within two weeks. Koshlukov has said that the show is far too elitist and the language used in the program is not appropriate for the wide public. He has also accused the show's team of laziness and not working hard enough. Today people went out to protest in front of BNT's office in Sofia in order to show their support for the only show in Bulgaria that engages in elitist culture and cultural commentary. 

Commentary

So, let's address Koshlukov's criticism of the show:

The elitist nature of the show and low ratings: Indeed, a show that focuses on culture and elitism is sure to have low ratings. Mass culture a.k.a pop culture does not need commentary or advertising. However, high-end culture is a niche market and is not meant for everyone. The belief that changing the tone of the show will increase its ratings is absolutely justified but it would also change the purpose of the show and its target audience. The Bulgarian National Television is the only state-funded network in Bulgaria and that's the only reason it can afford airing such a show. Private networks know that such shows will always have low ratings. That does not make them useless.

The "lazy" team: This is just a nonsensical claim. The show does a 2-hour-long live studio every day, backs it up with reports and interesting guests. Judging by the quality of the content, it is evident that the show's team (which consists of only 9 people) works weekends as well in order to prepare a good weekly programme. 

Koshlukov's comments are not only suggestive of a great lack of understanding as to how such formats work, but are also a threat to intellectual diversity and diversity of interests. A national television network should not bother about ratings but should try and satisfy the diverse intellectual needs of its "boss" - the nation. The Bulgarian National Television indeed lacks high-end pop culture shows such as the X Factor or Got Talent but is still somewhat consistent in being able to offer something to people of all ages and interests. 

(Picture: Kanal 3)

Vasil Manev

Vasil Manev is a student in Computer Science and an aspiring columnist, studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

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