Israel's Classical Radio Station Workers Fear for Their Future

Editors at Israel Radio's Voice of Music say appointment of veteran broadcaster Arieh Yass a 'resounding slap in the face.'

Noam Ben-Zeev
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Noam Ben-Zeev

Editors at Israel Radio's Voice of Music have accused the Israel Broadcasting Authority of killing off the classical music station by appointing a person to head the station who has no musical background.

The editors posted statements on bulletin boards at its broadcast studios in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Thursday saying that the appointment of veteran broadcaster Arieh Yass was "a resounding slap in the face to each and every one of us, a debasement and trampling of professional values and integrity."

Israel Radio's Voice of Music.Credit: Alex Levac / Archive

The document, which was not signed personally by the editors for fear of legal repercussions, was also posted on the Internet over the weekend.

Yass, who was also head of drama at Channel 1, was appointed about a week ago.

The statement also says that the position of every editor who has retired recently has been canceled, reducing their number from 20 to 8, several of whom are also approaching retirement age.

The statement also says that the station's recording technicians are also set to retire soon and that shifts have been canceled for the special technicians responsible for the quality of the tone in classical music broadcasting.

The Israel Composers' League warned as far back as 2001 that the Voice of Music was going downhill, after the station was told it would no longer be recording live concerts. Attempts since then to close down the station have been met with powerful opposition, including a petition that quickly gathered 10,000 signatures.

Sources at the station say that new albums are not being purchased and its internet site and archive are neglected.

The Voice of Music is best known for its classical fare, but also broadcasts jazz, ethnic music, skits, light classical music and contests.

The Israel Broadcasting Authority responded: "We do not discuss anonymous letters distributed by people with vested interests, some of whom starred in the harshest state comptroller's report ever."

Read this article in Hebrew

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