An interview with Dr Julio Montero, the editor of the volume “Television with Two Channels. Programs in Spain in 1956 – 1990” (“Una Television con Dos Cadenas. La Programacion en España 1956 – 1990”), was published in the recent issue of “El Adelantado” newspaper .
He emphasized that the book had gathered works from the best specialists in History of Television in Spain. Dr Montero further highlighted the importance of the title and its’ double meaning, as both the ‘channels’ and the ‘chains’ in Spanish. However, he specifically mentioned that differences must be made: the channels from 1956 to 1976 were not like the later ones. An authoritarian state never “plays the same league” as a democratic one. “‘Chains’ yes, but very different during and after the Franco regime”, – said Dr Montero. He also stopped at the role TVE (Television Española, the Government TV station in Spain) played during these years.
Regarding self-censorship on TV during the period mentioned, Dr Montero explained, that although “self-censorship was common, there were mechanisms to avoid it. In the broadcast of films, for example, the directors of the programs knew which censors would pass something political and which would not. In short, the usual struggle between those who pretend to make certain forms of culture and the maintainers of order, who were sometimes tolerant”. He has also talked about the successes and failures of TV for children in Spain. While there were a lot of attempts to do a specifically targeted children’s TV, only a few of them have succeed, such as, for instance, programs by Antonio Mercero.
Dr Montero has also explained that much of what the television is constructed on came from the North American tradition, since in the US the TV started to develop earlier and the production of movies and programs was done on a large scale, thus it was cheaper to buy American movies and adapt their formats for the television in general: “ The Francoist TV, like any state media that opened the country to other worlds and realities (the North American series played a soft and prominent role in my opinion), prepared people for the democratic opening that was inapplicable until the death of Franco.”
Regarding the future of television, and the public television in Spain in particular, Dr Montero thinks that “Public television should compete for the audience. If the alternative is for Spaniards to pay with our taxes so that some sectors of TVE get a privileged position, there will never be the production and selection of materials that allow the viewer to know that a better quality television is possible”.
The governance of TVE, its independence from governments (which does not mean going against them, nor in favor of it) is not its biggest problem, nor the most important, if TVE professionals maintained their political connections outside of their professional activity (as the majority of citizens).
The other challenge is for TVE to position itself on the web. I do not know what television will be like in 20 years, but it will hardly have to do with the current one. TVE should lead that innovation”. The full text of the interview can be found at “El Adelantado” website.