Macedonian Affairs Vol. VII, No. 1 - December 2008
By Marko Ilkoski editor in Macedonian Radio – Radio Macedonia Satellite program “Voice from the fatherland”
These three words are not just related to a pure identification of a radio station. They are history and truth and realization of fantasies that, finally, the foundations of the future state, whose creation had started with many resurrections and rebellions, are consolidating. These words are listened to and uttered with joy and tears and faith in the future of the Macedonian people: And in it a free life, and for the first time freedom to expression in one’s own, mother, Macedonian language. The dream of the dukes, the komitadji (guerrillas against the Ottoman Empire), the partisans, the revolutionaries – heroes from Ilinden (Macedonian resurrection day on St. Elias’ Day in 1903), via the National Liberation War and ASNOM (Anti Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia), became the reality. The oath was fulfilled – the Republic was born. The first session of ASNOM, in the presence of the then representatives of the new, national authority, decided, among the rest, that the Macedonian language is official of the then Republic of Macedonia as an equal member of the Yugoslav Federation. On 28 December 1944, in the ether over the Macedonian free sky, at about 10 a.m., for the first time, from the big hall of the Assembly the Macedonian, words swam over the air waves and the following words were heard: Speaking Radio Skopje! This meant that the Macedonian language, mercilessly persecuted as traitor, renegade, language-renegade – officially started to be applied in the everyday life in Macedonia. The words were uttered for the first time by the then Director of Radio Skopje – Vlado Maleski, who was appointed to this office in October 1944 upon the decision of ASNOM’s Presidium. In reference to these exciting moments, Maleski said the following in his memoirs: “I can’t remember a single word that I sent to the microphone, but I am sure that what was said, which was normally naïve, clumsy, uneducated, was rooted out from the heart. I was thrilled throughout the time of the broadcasting, and my nerves grew with horns not because of the famous fear from the microphone or because of the responsible task to present truly the atmosphere in the Assembly. The thrill was probably coming from the awareness about the historical moment in which Radio Skopje was born”.
Technical conditions were needed to give birth to Radio Skopje, to transmit the Second ASNOM Assembly, and put the Macedonian language in practice. And they were practically none. Technical materials and spare parts were missing because in Skopje, together with the other facilities in the city, the Radio Station was also destroyed, which had been built just before the war, the technical broadcasting facilities were destroyed, the discotheque fund of the former Radio Station was destroyed, and the building was operationally disabled. In the immediate vicinity of Skopje, in Madzari, the pole, the building, and the transmitting technique were fully destroyed. Then the fighters, radio amateurs, and technicians came onto the scene, led by Vasko Petkovski, officer in charge of technique of the Headquarters of the National liberation Army of Macedonia. The experiments started with a French military radio station in short waves. The radio technicians Krsto Ristevski, Aleksandar Grkov, Eftim Mitovski, Marko Plavevski, Todor Dzartov, and Stojan Kjosevski somehow managed to enable a radio transmitter of American origin, “SCR” of 20 watts. Regarding this daring exploit, engineer Krsto Ristevski in the series “Fonoplov” dedicated to the 60th Jubilee of the Macedonian Radio, said as follows: From the ruined building of Radio Skopje we took a relatively well kept mixer that we put in operation. We posted condensation microphones for tone control in the Hall of the Assembly, we placed an appropriate apparatus on the roof, and instead of earphones we used a loud-hailer and this is how we followed the occurrences among the delegates. For mutual communication we used a military field telephone. In order to avoid noises in the transmission, we established a cable link from the mixer on the roof to the Radio station. During the two days of the Assembly the connections and the tone operated excellently. We protected the technique installed on the roof of the building with canvas covers and blankets. We were all sorry for not having technical possibilities to tape and make documents of the three and a half hours’ work of the Assembly. Only the European super powers had these possibilities in those warring days”.
In his memoirs, engineer Ristovski also adds that before the transmission big checks had been made concerning the audibility of the tone. “The range reached about ten kilometers before Tetovo. In Skopje, we informed the owners of the houses in which we knew there had been radio receivers that they should follow the Radio Skopje program on short, and not like before on medium waves. The shopkeepers in the Old Market were placing their radio devices on the windows or in front of the doors in order to let the citizens, passers-by listen. In those preparatory days, only Russian music was broadcast from the studio of record players and from time to time there was the information about drifting the frequency. The audibility in the city was excellent.” The introduction of the Macedonian language in the ether, through the successful transmission of the Second ASNOM Session on 28 December 1944 and the phoenix like rising of Radio Skopje from the ruins, announced the soon regular operation of the first Macedonian Radio – Radio Skopje. This happened on 28 January the next year, 1945, with a daily program that lasted for three and a half hours, broadcast in the Macedonian language for the first time.
Due to the historical dimension and the importance of 28 December 1944, at the celebration of its 10th Jubilee, the then Director of Radio Skopje Veselinka Malinska accepted the suggestion of the employed to mark 28 December as the Day of Radio Skopje each year. This was going on until the official beginning of the Skopje Television operation on 14 December 1964, after which this day is celebrated as the Day of the Macedonian Radio and Television.
The chroniclers of Macedonian historiography register the use of the Macedonian language through the ether on two occasions in the period 1941-1944. In spring 1944, Radio Station “Free Yugoslavia” broadcast the information that a speaker in Macedonian is needed. Immediately after the information the then young artist Ilija Dzuvalekovski was sent to Moscow by plane. He translated, edited, and read news in the Macedonian language through the ether every day, until the end of the Second World War. Dzuvalekovski is the first promoter of the Macedonian language through the ether in world’s frameworks. The same year, on the liberated territory in the village Gorno Vranovci near Veles, between 20 and 25 October, the partisan radio station “Free Macedonia” was heard in the ether. Radio technician Boro Dimitrovski spoke with the words “Speaking Radio Free Macedonia” with the help of a captured French radio station “SARAM” of 200 watts and a small range of several kilometers.
According to personal testimonies about the Macedonian Radio presented by the commander of the General Headquarters Mihajlo Apostolski and his co-fighters Veselinka Malinska, Vasko Petkovski, and Boro Dimitrovski, this radio station was operating on medium waves, the program went on for thirty minutes each day, and mainly news taken from “Free Yugoslavia” were broadcast, as well as the decisions made by ASNOM, information from the Headquarters to the units and to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Macedonia. In the thirty-minute program satirical supplements called “little sparrows” were present, some poetical works with patriotic contents and live music produced by talented fighters. The signal of the “Free Macedonia” Radio Station stopped radiating after 20 days of operation because the people from the technical department had been ordered to transfer to Skopje and start the preparations for the transmission of the Second ASNOM Session. The Macedonian history and the memories of the Macedonian people know that the Macedonian Radio space used to be abused for political-propaganda and assimilation goals long time ago. First of all in the period from 1930 to 1941 by the then authorities from Belgrade, in service of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians, and later from May 1941 to 13 November 1944 and the liberation of Skopje. In the then Vardar Regional Unit, Radio Skopje is operating as a relay of Radio Belgrade, broadcasting programs only in the Serbian language, until 6 April 1941 when Skopje was bombed and when German military units and their Bulgarian allies entered the city. They also used the building of that Radio Station for their own purposes. However, even under such abnormal, military conditions, the Macedonian language was heard in the ether. During those days of general panic and fear, the citizens of Skopje gathered in front of the Radio with messages written on simple sheets of paper, trying to inform their relatives, friends, and neighbors that they were alive and sound and where their whereabouts were after the bombing. According to the testimony of engineer Todor Dzartov, many-a-year Director of the technique and performance of the Macedonian Radio program, on 6 April 1944, he was held at work as the only Macedonian and young radio technician, because all the Serbs that had been working until then had been fired. A German officer allowed him to transmit by Radio, in the ether, in the Macedonian language, the contents of the messages in handwriting. He did this for several hours, a little clumsily, unskillfully, but usefully and at the pleasure of the citizens of Skopje. According to his testimony, the people rejoiced, addressed words of gratitude, and people from various parts of the city were coming in front of the building at 17 Marksova St. to make sure whether the messages that they had been listening to were really transmitted from that studio.
For Europe and the world the year 1945 was the end of the war and victory over fascism. The territory of Macedonia was nearly entirely liberated in January of the same year. At the very beginning, on 28 January, after a one-month break due to personnel problems, technical consolidation, and definition of the program substances, the first Macedonian Radio – Radio Skopje started its regular broadcast from the studio at 17 Marksova St., in the center of Skopje. For the reporters and technicians the conditions were difficult, the responsibility enormous, and the trust of the audience was at test. It was the time of victory and duty to transmit the so much longed for victory and freedom via the media, but with what words, with what journalist and technical experience? Everything was “partisania” – as Macedonian writer Kole Casule says, the editor-in-chief at that time and one of the cornerstones of the Macedonian Radio. “There was fear and ignorance in taking the microphone, the technical conditions did not allow corrections via editing, everything was live – the texts and the music”. However, the witnesses of these developments when the Macedonian ether was in preparation for sustained verbal substances in the Macedonian language for the first time say that their desire to succeed was enormous. They were overcoming the errors and failures through the work, they were gaining experience day after day, and the staff was trained quickly. It was an interesting and burdening time for the then young and inexperienced Macedonian intellectuals. And on 28 January they made a successful start. The small in number team of radio technicians enabled the first professional transmitter of 200 watts on Skopje Airport and Vlado Maleski the director was the first to announce the regular broadcast of the program in the Macedonian language, after which various newspapers were read, announcements and proclamations of the new people’s authorities, as well as information from the front. The selection of the signal of the new Radio Station was then a big problem. Director Vlado Maleski and the head of the musical department composer Todor Skalovski were unanimous – let it be the militant melody “A, bre, Makedonce” (“Hey, You, Macedonian”, trans.). A metal ride cymbal was constructed for broadcasting the signal with 6 wires and nibs that were transmitting the signal while moving the cymbal. This unusual device of the technicians and musicians was also used for registering pauses in the program. The most touching was its permanent transmission in the days of the disastrous earthquake in Skopje on 26 July 1963 when the names of the killed and wounded citizens were informed. The journalists from the then generation, most of whom are today unfortunately deceased, assess the first year of the operation of the Macedonian Radio and the most important task of spreading the Macedonian language as a year in which not everything was glory, beauty, and joy, but also pathetic in celebration, sometimes greater than really necessary, with errors in using the words, troubles with the diction while reading the texts, and so on. The feeling that “they were making a miracle soon contributed for Radio Skopje to become the mass, open school for the Macedonian language among the people and the listeners. The number of the radio sets in Macedonia in 1945 was very small. The journalists were repeating the anecdote “we are working for the Radio, but we do not have a radio”. In order to listen to the program, several families would gather in one place, at the neighbors’ or relatives’, and they were monitoring with delight the information broadcast by the then Radio, filled with the exalted patriotic feeling because they were listening to it in their mother, Macedonian language, for the first time in their long history. However, only 6 years later, the number of radio sets grew to 300,000, as did its popularity and national pride.
The Macedonian Radio, being of the same age as the Republic, played an extremely big and extremely important role in the first years after the war, first of all for spreading, enriching, and applying the Macedonian language, and thus for its popularization and affirmation, particularly among the pupils, the students, the professors, and the popular teachers. The people who became literate through the National Front, by visiting courses for the illiterate, by listening to the program and upon the appeal from the studio for cooperation, applied for participation in the speeches or the musical broadcasts in letters written by them, which was until the first half of the 50s made only in live.
The first team that formed the Macedonian Radio had a modest experience while making the first program and organization scheme and there was the need for new personnel, for more departments. Regarding their selection Kole Casule says as follows: “Their selection was mostly related to their ability to manage the speech, people with no speaking defects were selected, those who were not slaves to their dialects and who were capable of managing in different situations. In this recruitment of reporters, speakers, and lecturers, talented and with love for the radio, the newly created University was of great help because a large number of students came from there, especially from the Faculty of Philology, who were learning the Macedonian language and who later became the cornerstones of the Macedonian Radio.”
In the post-war years, known as the years of the overall revival of the Republic, meaning in the culture, too, the use of the Macedonian language had a high national priority in all these processes because the language was and it still is the identification of the Macedonian nation. This high national awareness among the employed in the Macedonian Radio – Radio Skopje imposed the seriousness in the approach to the use and the development of the Macedonian language through the Radio program. And the possibilities for doing this were enormous. There came many broadcasts for children, housewives, dealing with economic problems, music, sports radio report was developing, as well as broadcasts from the area of the history of the Macedonian people and so on. However, in these post-war turbulent years, on the internal and on the international plan (the years of the Inform Bureau and the First Five-Year Plan) the greatest attention was turned to the News. All these program substances imposed the need for proof readers, speakers, and translators. During those years the information was received from Tanjug, which was in the Serbian language. The translation in the Macedonian literary language needed to be checked. The rich history of the Macedonian Radio writes that in 1950 the first lector-translation department was formed, led by the just graduated student from the Faculty of the Macedonian Language Trajko Stamatovski, who had been working as proof reader and translator with the Radio since 1947 and today, the oldest linguist, Macedonianist and Slavist in the Republic of Macedonia, lived to read the Opening Report at the 14th World Congress of Slavists in Ohrid. In his memoirs about the care for the rules in using the Macedonian language in the programs of the Macedonian Radio, in the series “Fonoplov”, Stamatov says: “We worked in 24 hours shifts. In a way, we were a kind of a language workshop, discussing every new word or expression. We used to read everything that was written in the Macedonian language, especially the texts by Blaze Koneski, from which we gained experience. We reacted to neologisms or to newly coined words because the language is a living matter. This confirmed our care for the specific features of the Macedonian language. It was the period of living with the language, a mass, shared joy for every newly discovered, nice Macedonian word, especially when it was heard through the ether, appropriately, clearly, soundly uttered in the radio broadcasts.
From 1950 to 1962 we introduced the 15-minute broadcast ‘The Macedonian Language through History and Practice’ in which a part of the historical review was dedicated to the Cyril-Methodius period until modern times, and another part was used for practical solutions to the incorrectly used words and expressions. At the beginning of the 60s (1961), with the aim of making popular the Macedonian orthography with practical advices, we formed a “Radio Skopje” magazine dominated by the column entitled ‘Not Like That, Like This’, which was distributed by all the employed in the Radio, from the Director to the doorman.”
The memoirs of Ph.D. Trajko Stamatovski are precious as regards the purity of the Macedonian language and its correct speech. “The purity of the Macedonian language was a duty then, but it is not any less important now. If at the beginning of the 50s of the 20th century the Macedonian linguists were fighting against the use of Turkish words, now, at the beginning of the 21st century, this struggle should be directed against the influx from the Anglo-Saxon region. As regards the correct speech through the ether, I must point out the excellent cooperation of the speakers in the Macedonian Radio who respected all our advices in relation to the diction, intonation, and accentuation. The intonation is one of the most characteristic features of the Macedonian language, which makes it different from many of the languages spoken in the neighborhood. In reviewing the past, I can fully responsibly evaluate that the importance of Radio Skopje in the language education of the Macedonian people is extremely great not only in the Republic of Macedonia, but also among the Macedonians in Pirin and Aegean Macedonia and Albania. The letters arriving from our co-patriots living in these countries are the best illustration for this.”
The proof reading is another very important segment in the development, the fostering, and the correct use of the Macedonian language in the printed and electronic media. A good proof reader is equal to a pure language. This comes to special expression when texts are heard via the ether, because the attention of the listener is oriented to the voice and the uttered word or sentence, no matter whether it is a drama text, a poem, a radio narration or news or information. The good journalists and speakers have learned the Macedonian language, its orthography, and correct speech from the lectured texts with corrections in the punctuations or foreign language “isms”. In everyday work, the Macedonian proof readers and journalists in all electronic and printed media are still using the three-volume dictionary published between 1961 and1966. The dictionary is a living matter, as is the language, new words appear and that is the reason why the Institute for Macedonian Language “Krste Misirkov” is now preparing a new, expanded, voluminous edition, which will encompass all the interpretations of the words in the Macedonian language.
The program was expanding, the program substances as well. The most important segment from the program was and it still is the daily information, as the core of the basic activity of the Radio – to keep you informed. In the first years the employed were making really daring exploits. The news used to arrive from Belgrade via the Morse device and the texts were decoded via an earphone. The work became easier with the so-called HEL device because the news could be received via the air and be printed on a tape. With the purchase of telex-printers, the security was greater because then the news arrived via the telephone line. In this race for fast information, the translators, the proof readers, the speakers, the journalists, and the cameramen worked as one team, one organism for the news to begin on time and for clearing the text from language errors and illogical meanings, so that the news could be short and clear. This is why they say today that the one who has not passed through this department cannot be a good reporter, and the confidence of the listeners is still expressed in their words like “the radio said”, “the radio informed”, or “they said it on the radio”.
The first expanded contents came from the area of culture as a yearning need of the young Macedonian state for the affirmation of its national identity. The Macedonian Radio became the gathering place of the most outstanding names among the writers, the artists, the reporters, and the musicians who, faced with this historical responsibility, tried to foster a new, modern radio expression in their writing and interpretation. What was offered in the ether - was actually the mirror of the achievements in the development and the application of the Macedonian literary language.
In the sector of culture, the reporters, poets, and prose writers were competing in a greater and better incorporation of the new words, new coined words and expressions, which also meant evaluation of their efforts in following-up the modern language trends. The good interpreters gave their verses a new spirit and sense, which was new for the listeners, something that had not been experienced before, a spiritual pleasure, thanks to the softness and melodiousness of the Macedonian language and the richness of words that were used to present the desired idea or message.
From today’s distance, we can freely say that the crown of all these efforts is the Festival of Struga Poetry Evenings that was born upon the initiative of the top Macedonian writers who had spent a part of their lives as reporters, editors, and directors in Radio Skopje, where they achieved their affirmation as authors and became extraordinary good connoisseurs of the Macedonian literary language. Many of them contributed to the translation of the Macedonian poetry in all the international languages, while thanks to them the radio dramas for children and adults and musical broadcasts with specific radiophone expressions got high European prizes in prestigious radio festivals.
By fostering the Macedonian literary language via the ether, the radio artists made close the Macedonian language to the ordinary listener with their excellent interpretations in dramas, radio narrations, poetical verses, and folk creations, while many citizens corrected their former incorrect speech either in the intonation or the diction, eliminating at the same time the influences of the languages spoken in the neighboring countries. One of the most important elements of the radio expression was and it still is the education, equally for students and adults, via educational and historical-documentary broadcasts.
The broadcast dedicated to the young population from the beginning to the middle of the 80s had a recognizable brand in the Macedonian Radio programs. Its authors and executors were young reporters, enthusiasts, who used their youth and vanguard views towards modern life to bring freshness, new ideas, and a competitive spirit with the other. YU Radio centers. The “Waves of the Youth” Program was the nursery of talents who were the first to launch live broadcasts, which were later practiced in morning, evening, and afternoon program belts. This was the new, the modern, and contemporary radio that reached its culmination in the rich program contents, new radio speaking expression, and technical innovations in the first years of the independence of the Republic of Macedonia. Following-up the transformation of the socio-political and economic establishment of the country, the reporters from the Macedonian Radio did not omit the opportunity to raise their professionalism to the highest level so that all such ideas could find a place and be elaborated in the programs. In this period, the three programs of the Macedonian Radio experienced a complete transformation and openness to the listeners via the 24-hour open contacts. According to the research of the Institute for Sociological and Political Legal Researches and the Galup Institute, the Macedonian Radio enjoyed the full confidence of the listeners with 68%. For the author of this text this rise implied that his professional and life motto “every telephone - microphone, every listener - interlocutor and collaborator” came true. It is important to emphasize that with the permanent presence of the open, contact programs, the listeners went through an experienced transformation in accepting the responsibility for the uttered word, and the everyday use of the popular speech was gradually, but successfully, replaced with the use of the modern Macedonian literary language. This program and educational achievement is still in process and superstructure.
With the mid-wave transmitter of 1,200 kilowatts in Ovce Pole broadcasting in Macedonian, the long-planned concept for permanent contacts with our co-patriots living in European countries came to be fulfilled. So, on 29 November 1970 the broadcast “Voice from the Fatherland” began its broadcast, which is still on the program of the Macedonian Radio 38 years later, now as a special Satellite Service Program- Radio Macedonia heard in every corner of the globe. The idea is not changing, which is as follows: to foster the mother Macedonian language in new milieus and to preserve and renew the language that the third and the fourth generation of young Macedonians have started to forget. Furthermore, the attention is focused on fast transmission and information about the life and events in the country, with a special emphasis on the direct communication in Macedonian with contents available to all the ages of migrants and cooperation with about 40 radio stations broadcasting in the Macedonian language throughout the world. The educational function for preserving and fostering the Macedonian language is fulfilled via direct involvement of our co-patriots in the program, too. “The Voice from the Fatherland” has now a new, modern contact approach in its realization via the internet and satellite connection. In the second half of the 60s, with the development of the speaking and musical program, the international cooperation started to be developed, first with short addendums in Macedonian, then with information broadcasts, radio drama, and musical shows. The first break-through with regular broadcasts in Macedonian was made with the Swedish National Radio, then with the Australian Radio in Melbourne and Sydney. We have the longest and the most fruitful cooperation with Deutsche Welle – Voice of Germany from Cologne. The first ten-minute broadcast was realized on 11 May 1969, the Agreement for permanent cooperation with the Macedonian Radio was signed in October of the same year, and this cooperation is still continuing. The Deutsche Welle broadcasts in Macedonian are transmitted every day on the Macedonian Radio program, which is then distributed by several private local radio stations in Macedonia.
The Macedonian language had its world’s promotion and affirmation with the introduction of the daily information service of the BBC, which is broadcast on the Second Program of the Macedonian Radio. During the war crisis in SFRY, the Radio Station “Free Europe” from Prague, the Czech Republic, showed interest to broadcast in the Macedonian language. All these information broadcasts have a large number of regular listeners throughout the world, equally among the Macedonians and the people who understand or speak the Macedonian language, which they have learned either in seminars or during their longer stay in the Republic of Macedonia.
The Macedonian language was the motif and inspiration for musical authors, too. From the beginning of 1945 to 1954 the musical part of the program was going live. Musical orchestras and performers of Macedonian folk songs and dances were changing places in the studio. The improvement of the technical possibilities led to the taping of the first works in folk, pop, and classic music, and today the sound archive of the Macedonian Radio has over 250,000 musical units. The authors started writing their creations in the Macedonian language. It was not easy to find the real expression, verse, rhyme, and short text with few words because of the cadence and the tonality. The first tapes of foreign songs translated in Macedonian were made in 1954. Those were the melodies “Kazi zosto me ostavi” (“Tell Me Why You Left Me”, trans.) performed by Nikola-Bobi Avtovski and “Ljubov, ti nezen son” (“Love, You Tender Dream”, trans.) performed by Ljupka Apostolova and Nikola-Bobi Avtovski. In 1955 the first taped Macedonian melodies made by Macedonian authors are “Indiana” by Dragan Gjakonovski and “Ohrid sin” (“Ohrid Blue”, trans.) by Slobodan Nikolovski-Bode. New orchestras were created, and new authors-scriptwriters appeared in the folk and pop music, prizes were received in festivals in former Yugoslavia, but festivals were also organized in the Republic of Macedonia, like in: Skopje, Stip, Ohrid, Bitola, Valandovo, as a continuity of a rich historical tradition in fostering the musical tradition among the Macedonian people. Top performers from former Yugoslavia were taking part in all these musical festivals, singing songs by Macedonian authors and in the Macedonian language. All this contributed to the musical and cassette production of original musical works then, as well as today, on the selective Balkan market. Via the musical broadcasts, a new, expressive style in the use of the Macedonian language was profiled at the general satisfaction of the young population. With the arrival of new professionals, on 15 September 1962 the Second Program was introduced, which was specialized in the life of the Capital of the Republic of Macedonia – Skopje. On 18 December 1978 the Third Program was launched with the aim of turning to modern events, new originals, knowledge and ideas through a scientific and cultural approach that were offering explanations for the current phenomena and tendencies by indicating to their consequences.
There is always a first time, and this goes for the Radio programs as well. Let us mention just two curiosities: on 12 June 1946 the first Radio transmission took place from the City Stadium in Skopje from the football match between the teams of “Makedonija” and “Pobeda”. The reporter was the editor-in-chief Kole Casule. This event is marked as the day of sport radio-operating in Macedonia. As a specific expression, the radio reporting since that year, 1946, until today has been accepted by numerous young reporters who, after adequate training, developed their specific, recognizable style of speaking and using the Macedonian language. The severe critics are merciless when they are dealing with the intonation and the dynamic of the speech, the purity of the word, and the meaning of the sentence. According to the color of the voice, the eloquent and professional manners in the commentaries, every listener could recognize and make a selection among the Macedonian sport radio operators. The many-a-year experience showed that they covered very successfully all the events from world’s European, Balkan, and Mediterranean championships with their professional approach, including Winter and Summer Olympic Games.
In the history of the Macedonian Radio the transmission has been stopped only twice. The first time it was connected with the flood in Skopje in November 1962 when the Studio was dislocated from 17 Marksova St. near the transmitter in Madzari and after a period of 50 minutes Radio Skopje was again in program from the improvised studio. The second time the reason for a five-hour break in the program was the disastrous earthquake on 26 July 1963 at 5.30 a.m. that ruined Skopje to the grounds. With the super efforts of the technicians, engineers, reporters, and speakers, the signal of Radio Skopje sounded loudly again from the transmitter in Madzari and news was constantly disseminated to the world about the consequences of the earthquake, but also about the assistance and solidarity from all over the world, after which Skopje became the city of world’s solidarity that the citizens will never forget.
At the end of the 50s in the last century plans were being made in the facilities of Radio Skopje about conquering the new world information challenge – the Television, although the world was already obsessed with the phenomenon of the century – moving picture receiving. In 1958 preparations were made for receiving the TV picture and on 22 October of the same year the Council of Radio Skopje brought the decision to form a team that would examine the possibilities for receiving the TV signal, for technical equipment, and normally, for program substances. Only a year later the first experimental transmission of the Italian Television started in Bitola and Prilep. At that time there were only 10 TV sets in these towns, and the program was most watched in Bitola Hotel “Central”. The work for the construction of repertoires continued, as well as the installation of the equipment that was also financed by the state, and in September 1961 the first core of people working on Television was formed. Dimce Bozinovski was the leader. Cameramen, reporters, directors, and so on were employed with the task to shoot and prepare substances and broadcasts that would be transmitted via Television Belgrade, normally in the Macedonian language. The reporters were sometimes in live shows in TV Belgrade News with their own commentaries. Reporters, cameramen, and technicians were constantly sent for trainings in Yugoslav TV enters, and later in Rome and Paris. The great enthusiasm of the employed was crowned with a full program on 13 May 1963. Due to absence of its own studio and technique, the caravan was hosted in the Belgrade Studio with its complete team and it performed in live the “ballet Concert” with the solo performers from the Macedonian National Theater Elpida Pakovska and Jovan Pasti. On 8 September 1962 Skopje Radio Television was constituted, and its first elected director was Liljana Maneva. The continual efforts of the technical teams for the construction of their own transmitter came to realization on 8 April 1964 with the transmitter on Crn Vrv with 5 kilowatts power. On 5 June there followed the first live transmission. There was great joy and delight after the success. After the difficult beginnings, super efforts, initial experiences, and important achievements, the cornerstone date in the history of the Macedonian Television was laid. The counting officially started on 14 December 1964 with the first TV News from its own studio. Years of growth and maturation followed, including personnel, technical, and program improvement. The goal was only one: to create a national Television in Macedonian and with the clear stance that all programs, with the exception of children’s, entertainment, and sport broadcasts to be titled in the Macedonian language. TV Skopje was slowly entering competition with the powerful TV centers in Belgrade, Zagreb, and Ljubljana, and in the meantime it was also developing cooperation with Eurovision and Intervision. The personnel profile of the reporters contributed to the realization of broadcasts from all genres, terms were conquered, one’s own TV program was created as the fruit of the creative forces and collective work. The first acknowledgement started to arrive from TV festivals in SFRY for documentaries, reportages, children’s and musical broadcasts, TV series, dramas, and compound broadcasts in live from the field. All these accomplishments were professionally assessed by the European cultural public. Roads for program exchange were opened. On 2 August 1975 the casting of TV Skopje appeared from the world’s white-water kayaking championship on the river of Radika in Macedonia. In May 1978 TV Skopje got the highest prize that YU centers have ever won – Silver Rose, in the international festival of entertaining broadcasts in Montré (Switzerland) with Darko Markovik, a caricaturist, as the author. The only goal was never abandoned in all these developments – to improve the Macedonian language and its affirmation via various expressive forms and programs, first of all among the young generations of school and pre-school age. In this direction it is worthwhile mentioning the TV series “Busavata azbuka” (“Shaggy Alphabet”, trans.) that played an extraordinary educational role in function of fast learning of the letters from the Macedonian alphabet, similar and yet different from those in the neighboring countries, with the aim of correct pronunciation and easier writing of the letters, followed by a correct sentence construction and its loud interpretation. Another TV series deserves attention: it is “Macedonian folk stories” that reminds the adults of the different dialects in various regions in Macedonia, as well as of the rich national traditions, customs, and original folk music and folklore, which is for the children the first meeting and intimate, spiritual experience with this many-a-century long cultural wealth and heritage of the Macedonian people. In the history of Skopje TV, 6 March 1968 is a special day. The Second Program started operating on that day, and on 7 January 1991 the third channel began work – “Kanal-3”. In brief, Skopje TV became the mirror of the Macedonian time: it was equally the church and the school, an alphabet and a passport with visa for the world, and a gratis ticket for cultural and sport manifestations. Skopje TV gave meaning to the life of the spectator and it became an irreplaceable segment of his everyday life, in one word – it brought the world closer. In the era of computing technology, the Macedonian Radio and Television are now accomplishing the national strategy for links with the Macedonian citizens living in the Diaspora and their information about the current events in the country via the open Satellite Channel and broadcasts “Migrants’ Juke-box” and “Connected”. On the other hand, the reporters still have the duty to send the spectators a short but clear message by using the correct Macedonian language and speaking in the style of “narrow to the words – large to the thoughts” showing in their direct addresses a strong concentration and top memory.
After the independence of the Republic of Macedonia, as in the other countries from South-East Europe, there came an information revolution, supported by an appropriate legislation, normally. With the increased number of all means for public and mass communication, many goals for democratization of the society were achieved. Until 1997, before the adoption of the Law on Radio Diffusion, a real influx of registered private radio and TV stations and TV studios occurred, most of them without the necessary space, program, technical, and first of all professional conditions for radio diffusion activities. There was an absence of state control and thus most of the radio and television diffusers were operating without professionally sustained program schemes for a week, without 70% of proper, original program, without sufficiently trained technicians, in improvised studios without the necessary acoustic, without sufficient number of reporters, speakers, presenters, and so on. With the Law on Radio Diffusion activity and the beginning of the operation of the Council for Radio Diffusion the conditions were changed in the positive direction. At the beginning, there operated 140 radio and TV studios, and with the changes to the Law on Radio Diffusion in 2005, over half of them had their licenses taken away. At the moment, according to the latest data of the Council for Radio Diffusion, there are 61 radio stations and 50 commercial TV channels. Three radio stations and 5 TV channels have received national concessions, in which the Republic of Macedonia is unique in the Balkans. In such a competition, the public service of the Macedonian Television, first of all due to the transition period that has been going on for a long time, faced with financial difficulties and transfer of capable reporters and technicians, untimely collection of public taxes as the only source for existence, lost its breadth and is in the situation of being incapacitated for the technical and technological development in the program production. Moreover, the new rehabilitation program has not yet started to give the expected results. The employed, with discipline and incredible enthusiasm, are making their best to keep in pace with the challenges in the newly created situation hoping that with the help of the Government, the Parliament, and the other state institutions, the public service of the Macedonian Radio and Television will soon return to its feet and be completely at the service of the interests of the citizens and the Republic of Macedonia.
On the other hand, the use of the Macedonian language has normally been faced with some difficulties and problems, first of all in the public address of the speakers in Macedonian. The lack of educated professionals has decreased the quality, the level of the use of the Macedonian problem, which is a problem that was not there in the past because language and style processed texts used to be transmitted.
The democratization of the Macedonian ether implied increase and development of all the possible styles of the Macedonian language: the speaking language, the language of the young, the language in the street, and the language of official communication. All this has contributed to positive and negative occurrences in nearly all the electronic media. The negative ones refer to breaking-up the system of the standard language, that is to say the cultural idiom, because there were also material obstacles because of which proof-readers were laid off and this hole in the protection and correct use of the language remained unresolved.
With the purpose of obtaining a clear picture about the use of the Macedonian literary language and its presentation in the Macedonian ether by the electronic media in Macedonia, the Council for Radio Diffusion formed a commission composed of professors from the department for Macedonian Language at the “Blaze Koneski” Faculty and from the “Krste Misirkov” Institute for Macedonian Language. The commission is headed by Prof. Ljudmil Spasov, who is giving the following assessment: “These were the initial sicknesses in the process of the democratization of the Macedonian ether in the country that are slowly overcome with the development of the language communication, with awareness building for the use of the cultural idiom, not only of the strictly regulated standard, literary language, but also of the cultural level of speaking, with its own rules as a characteristic of the educated class of the society. The development of the awareness for the language is, among the rest, owed to the numerous campaigns conducted from different places and levels. In order to succeed in this, we need a more systematic approach to the affirmation of the care of the society, but also a developed awareness of those using the Macedonian language, especially in the educational segment of the society. On the other hand, we are aware that the slang and the over-dialect language, or the language composed of a mixture of several dialects, have their place in the drama facilities, parties, and happenings. However, we must never lose the awareness that we are speaking Macedonian, that it is our native language and that we cannot replace it with any other, for instance the English.
This is the period in which the awareness for the use of the Macedonian language should consolidate, including the one for the rules of the normative language, its orthography, its alphabet, its letters, its Cyrillic. It is necessary to learn foreign languages more because this is the ticket to the European Union, but we must also be aware that the Macedonian language is spoken here.”
The so-far partial expert analyses on the use of the Macedonian language in the ether via the programs of all the radio and TV stations indicate that it is indispensable for the reporters who have been educated in Europe or the United States to avoid the English reporting intonation in their everyday communication with the listeners and viewers and thus evade the de-concentration among the consumers of the news, and most importantly, not to let the news lose its primary intention: to inform. These are the reasons why the entire ether must be cleansed from the influx of influences from the Anglo-Saxon region and it is the time for the Macedonian electronic media to reaffirm their past, extremely important and useful speaking courses and correct speaking, which were once, for which we already spoke at the beginning of the text, a regular practice in the Macedonian Radio and Television.
Today, the Macedonian literature is keeping pace with the world’s literature in all genres: poetry, prose, dramas, while the best works, processed in poetical mosaics, drama narrations, and radio dramas, are presented via the ether as a world’s cultural wealth and heritage because with the successful many-a-year long exchange they have become accessible to all the listeners in the world via the national and public radio services, of course. This simply confirms the Macedonian national identity and deep roots of the Macedonian language as special, original, and authentic. The foundation of the modern Macedonian language lies in the folk literature, in the rich poetry, stories, proverbs, fables, and riddles, which means that the tradition is as long as the life of the Macedonian people is. This is the only way in which one can explain the development of the Macedonian literature. In the past 65 years, since the establishment of the Macedonian free and independent Macedonian ether, all the Radio and Television houses in the Republic of Macedonia have given and they are still giving an enormous contribution to the world’s cultural and scientific public with this wealth, which best supports the truth that Macedonia is not a language province. The numerous Radio, Television, and Film awards and acknowledgements received by Macedonian authors in international festivals are another confirmation for this. The audience that is monitoring these events, listening to and watching the creations offered by Macedonian authors is closer to the mellifluous Macedonian language as one of the oldest world’s languages.
Blaze Koneski, the most outstanding Macedonian figure of the post-war period and of a scientific and cultural view, stated the following on one occasion: “I do not consider myself to be provincial, not in science, less in literature. I had strong predecessors in these activities. What a figure was Krste Misirkov! Nothing happens by chance in life. Everything has its mainstream, but the question is how objective a person wants to be and how objectively he will see the facts. And even Gods keep quiet in front of facts.”
Henceforth, it is not difficult to deduce that only the uninformed and the bad-intentioned people in the world can dispute today a factual situation. Ph. D. Trajko Stamatovski adds to this thesis and comments: “Since 60 years back, until up-to-date, top Slavists from all over the world have spoken affirmatively about the existence of the Macedonian language, literature, and culture via the programs of the Macedonian Radio and they still do. Nobody in the Republic of Macedonia ever asked them to recognize the Macedonian language. On the contrary: It was enough for them to come, to see Macedonia, and to make their own conclusion as to whether here lives a separate people, whether they have a separate language, culture, and traditions. Experience says that upon their first visit in the 50s none of them ever hesitated as regards the autonomy of the Macedonian people and its language. The greatest among the Slavists Roman Jacobson, the French Slavists André Rouillant and André Mason wrote between the First and the Second World Wars about the particularities of the Macedonian language. This question was once and for all closed down at the Fourth Congress of Slavists in Moscow in 1958, when Slavists from Macedonia participated in all the Congress commissions and when Academicians Blaze Koneski and Haralampie Polenakovik presented their reports. Since then, the number of Macedonian Slavists has been rising at every following congress, and at the latest one, the 14th in row, held in Ohrid from 10 to 16 September 2008, 30 Slavists- Macedonianists presented their papers.
As an illustration for the penetration of the Macedonian language in the ether today I will indicate Stamatovski’s statement given for the “Voice from the Fatherland” program intended to our compatriots in the Diaspora after his latest visit to Poland: “I had Macedonia in Poland: In the evening via the radio, during the day via the satellite signal, and with the press via the internet connections – in the morning. The communication technology gives us this pleasure, but it is the duty and responsibility of our journalists what substances will be presented via the ether, with what language and correct speech.” (End)