Turkish music scene wants TRT3 radio back

Turkish music scene wants TRT3 radio back

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish music scene wants TRT3 radio back

Yeşim Gürer Oymak

Prominent names from the Turkish classical and jazz music scenes request TRT management to revise its decision to reduce the broadcast area of its classical and jazz music radio station TRT 3. 

TRT has a duty toward the citizens of Turkey in supporting these music genres even though the public demand for them comes from a very limited minority because TRT is a public institution, leading figures in arts and culture told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“We cannot expect a cultural program to be adopted by the whole society. What a broadcaster should do is to be able to present global cultural accumulation to its audience in its variety and let the audience have a choice,” Borusan Center for Culture and Arts General Manager Ahmet Erenli said, adding that TRT Radio 3 had a significant role in expanding the reach of classical music in Turkey. “A public institution like TRT should sustain its most prestigious station, its public mission.”

Erenli would like to see the institution sustain its mission, he said, adding that the public demand for İKSV’s Istanbul Jazz Festival, Efes Pilsen Blues Festival and Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts proved solid demand in Turkey for jazz and classical music. 

Late last month, TRT General Manager İbrahim Şahin announced the institution made changes in its network organization according to the results of a public poll conducted by the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) in 2009, which showed 96.2 percent of Turkey does not listen to jazz music, while 92.3 percent does not listen to classical music and 82.2 percent does not listen to foreign rock music. 

Şahin said according to regional tendencies showed by the poll, in the last three years 80 TRT 3 transmitters have been converted to broadcast TRT Türkü, which broadcasts Türkish folk music, TRT Nağme, which broadcasts classical Turkish music and TRT 6, which broadcasts in Kurdish. 
“TRT 3 continues to broadcast in regions where classical and jazz music receive public demand,” he said. 

Istanbul Jazz Festival Director Pelin Opcin said if it really were the case that 96.2 percent of Turkey does not listen to jazz music, then Turkey still had 2.6 million jazz lovers, which, she said, is a far more promising number compared to many countries. 

“TRT Radio 3 would open new horizons for the Turkish audience. It was also a means to raise very important producers and musicians,” she said. “TRT is a public institution. It is not a commercial establishment; therefore it should not be making decisions on grounds of demand. It should adopt and sustain the values TRT Radio 3 stands for.” 

Istanbul Music Festival Director Yeşim Gürer Oymak said TRT 3 undertook the invaluable mission of expanding the public reach of classical music. “It is so sad the radio is now reducing its network. Classical music is an inseparable and indispensable part of modern education. Therefore, governments should undertake a direct role in its penetration to society to the largest extent,” she said.

“Classical music has long fallen from the favor of television producers, now it is losing its one precious radio station,” she said, adding that classical and jazz music appealed to limited audiences not only in Turkey but in all countries. “Still, a public broadcaster should be sensitive toward the demands and needs of that limited audience. It cannot ignore them.”

TRT a school for generations

Uğur Gülbaharlı, head of Yıldız Technical University department of visual design, said as an academic he would like TRT Radio 3 to continue to broadcast classical and jazz music in all corners of the country, especially because these genres are preferred by a limited audience. 
“It can only increase the demand for these types of music if it continues to broadcast them in these regions where the polls indicate a minimal demand. TRT has been a school for generations,” he said. “My generation learned to appreciate classical and jazz music from the TRT Radio 3. Now I am teaching classical and jazz music. I think this is enough explanation why the station should go on as it does now.”