On Wednesday 19th February, a number of us, as members of Insite, were given a thorough tour around the Public Broadcasting Service building in Gwardamangia, now known as the modern creativity hub of Maltese media. After seeing first hand the amazing high-quality technological developments that have taken place in a building, which only a couple of years ago was an eye sore inside and out, one particular question continues to resonate inside my head:
Why do we still consider local television to be mediocre, even in the midst of this state-of-the-art refurbishment?
Could it be that the viewing public has not yet given PBS the opportune chance to use its newly attained tools to provide better quality television? Perhaps the current staff lacks the necessary experience to use the latest machinery? Or is it still too early for these improvements to actually give better results?
While all these guesses may be equally true, it is also practical to consider the possibility that the Maltese population, by being exposed to worldwide programmes, has mistakingly maintained the mentality that foreign material is always better.
While roaming around the building, particularly the behind-the-scenes areas such as the control rooms, editing suites and the quality control room, and when hearing the words of the staff members themselves, it is quite clear that there aren’t enough employees to deal with the magnitude of the work.
In order to carry the burden of moving PBS forward in technologically, more people need to be present. For instance, something already being done is encouraging young people interested in media, including students still undergoing their education, to use the new hub as an opportunity to work and learn in an inviting environment. This would give them a wide introductory vista to this ever-growing industry, and an absolutely reliable platform towards making a job in media a permanent career option.
Nevertheless, when comparing it to the past few years, PBS has gone a very long way. The variety of programmes and channels ranging from television to radio, as well as the importance given to online transmissions and on-demand facilities, have contributed to getting Maltese media one step closer to reaching an international standard.
By branching out to events televised abroad, such as Eurovision, football championships and talent shows like the X Factor, PBS is continuously attempting to broaden its audience and provide it with as much of an interesting mixture as possible. While many of us prefer a Sherlock or Breaking Bad marathon, it is undeniable that TVM, Radju Malta and Magic Radio are a source of both information and entertainment for the whole island.
A mention and heartfelt thank you goes out to Rodianne Caligari who was our tour guide at the PBS premises, and also to the Insite executive for organizing this educational visit. Keep your eyes peeled for other similar events held by the Insite team in the near future.