After Wednesday’s lunchtime English-language news on CyBC, listeners were encouraged to visit the station’s website, giving the firm impression it would be well worth the trip. Well, if one’s looking to sum up the abysmal state of the public broadcaster’s English-language service, then they were right.
“It’s a Boy! Royal Baby born”, declares the site’s latest news referring to the UK event which occurred on July 22. And there were plenty of other week-old items too. Click on ‘Latest English News Video” and the lead story on the recorded TV bulletin refers to the upcoming Easter Tuesday! Move around a bit, and you can find a bulletin that is only seven days old but even that’s stretching the meaning of the word ‘news’.
Sadly, it is all typical of a service which should be axed and the money deducted from CyBC’s budget — unless someone can be found to take an interest in the task.
Those lunchtime bulletins are usually appalling. There is no sound balance between the musical introductions, which friends say have been the same for donkey’s years, and the newsreader’s voice level, meaning manual volume control is essential. One reader, in particular, mumbles his way incoherently through the scripts at such a speed, one assumes he has a bus to catch. Those of you with English as their native tongue must cringe at the amateur performances.
The choice of stories is simply bizarre. An earth tremor in some barren piece of South American countryside which causes no injuries is given ridiculous prominence, while local stories lack any real detail. Is that because a news agency supplies one story while there is no reporter at CyBC able to make a phone call? As for the duration, it varies between three and eight items, with the content or length providing no logical explanation for the difference. It’s as though the writer either gets tired very quickly or is just lazy.
Incidentally, these bulletins are edited by one person and read by another, according to the credits. But the same people seem to take it in turns to do these two jobs. Can’t the same person edit and read? Or would that be making one of them unnecessary?
Finally, there is the usual ending to all the weekday broadcasts, the reader explaining that English-language programmes will resume at 6pm. What about that lovely lady who appears a few minutes later with the English-language PM Classics? Maybe her programme began after the statement was written all those years ago, and has yet to be updated. That lady suffers more too, because occasionally she has to read the news when the usual persons are unavailable, presumably out to lunch.
As for the television bulletin, it is clearly regarded as so unimportant (along with the Turkish language one), that it can be moved without warning to whatever time happens to be convenient. No advance notice is given (that I’ve heard in my seven months here), no banner across the screen to give the new time. The only consolation is that the content is usually identical to the radio bulletin and since updating the news doesn’t seem to matter, and having television pictures to match the words something yet to be invented, missing it is no problem.
Judging by the number of names that get mentioned, the English-language service is much too big for its output. But given the current offering is pathetic and unworthy of a state broadcaster, is there some way of persuading the CyBC bosses to listen? Oh, don’t tell me they do!
Name and address withheld