Friday, September 08, 2006

Saving Money and Improving Israel's Media

An excerpt from the article of Sep. 7, 2006 "Where is all the money going?" by Evelyn Gordon in the Jerusalem Post, which delas with trimming the Defense Ministry's overblown budget:-

Army Radio

This is another money-guzzler. Again, since the figures are classified, there is no way of knowing its exact price tag. But a radio station does not come cheap, even when costs are cut by the use of conscript labor: It requires expensive hi-tech equipment, and Army Radio also employs several stars who earn hefty salaries.

In a modern democracy, there is no conceivable justification for the army to be running one of only two national radio stations (an evil compounded by the fact that the other is run by the government). But this is especially true given that Army Radio is completely civilian in nature: Its mix of news, talk shows and music is identical to that found on non-army stations.

Moreover, abolishing Army Radio would not just save money; it would make money: Airwave frequencies are valuable commodities in the modern world, and Army Radio controls two. These could be auctioned off, and the money used to fund genuine military needs.

I could add that the salaries in Galatz, the Hebrew abbreviation for the station, are unfathomable. Non-military "star" personalities, Rafi Reshef, Ilana Dayan, Yael Dan, etc., are employed and while perhaps their monthly income is not as it would be on the private market, I am sure it is much, much more than a recruit would earn. Then there is the phenomenom of "children of..." whereby the offspring of former station stars seem to be absorbed without much of a problem thus creating dynasties. In one case, even a grandson, scion of two generations of Galatz braodcasters, has succeeded in getting in.

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