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Entertainment is part of SRG SSR’s programming remit. Its offering is as varied as its audience’s tastes.
Music, comedy and talk shows are the best examples. Entertainment reflects cultural values and forms part of the nation’s cultural identity. What could have more lasting worth than a programme that entertains while at the same giving food for thought, fostering dialogue and perhaps even sparking social policy debate in other formats and media? This shows that there are no absolute dividing lines between information, education and entertainment.
Something for everyone
Like news and current affairs, sport, culture and education, entertainment is part of SRG SSR’s public service remit, which is also set out in the Concession. The range of programmes offered has to be geared to the audience’s diverse needs, covering a broad spectrum of genres, formats and content. In radio, these include plays, quizzes and request programmes. In television, meanwhile, there are quiz, chat and music shows as well as sitcoms, series, films and animation.
Television research shows that prime-time entertainment and quiz shows attract the biggest audiences, as a result of which they have a lot of appeal for advertisers, which in turn means that they can indirectly finance political, cultural and philosophical programmes with smaller audiences. Solidarity on all sides is thus essential in ensuring that some can enjoy sitcoms and others literary programmes. In short, SRG SSR’s entertainment output includes not only programmes that command the highest possible market share, but also minority offerings.
Ensuring unique output
Self-produced news, current affairs and entertainment programmes help SRG SSR’s television channels to stand out from their foreign rivals with a unique offering. This is one of the main reasons for broadcasting in-house productions in prime-time slots. On Schweizer Fernsehen, these include “Benissimo”, “Giacobbo / Müller”, “Total Birgit”, “Aeschbacher” and “Happy Day”; examples on Radio Télévision Suisse are “Temps Présent” (Present Tense), “À Bon Entendeur” (A Word to the Wise), “Mise au Point” (Update) and “Les Coups de Coeur” (Heartbeats); Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana has programmes such as “Attenti a quei due” (The Persuaders) and “Cash”.
The enterprise units and their programming managers are responsible for the programme schedules in the various language regions as well as for programme concepts and content. In this respect, they observe a number of fundamental principles, the most important being respect for the audience and for everyone involved in making each programme.
SRG SSR attaches importance to ensuring that its radio and television programmes are in touch with their audience. It aims to foster direct contact with them and promote cultural exchange and knowledge transfer amid a friendly atmosphere in a light-hearted and entertaining manner.
Examples in radio include productions such as “Uri, Schwyz und Untergang” (Uri, Schwyz and Sunset) and “Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund”(Early Bird) on SRF, the Label Suisse music festival and “La Soupe”, “Le Kiosque à musiques”, “Les Dicodeurs”, “Session Paradiso” and “Espace JazzZ” on RTS, and “Il camaleonte” (Chameleon) and “Parzialmente scremato” (Semi-skimmed) on RSI.
In television, examples include the following: on SRF, the various “SF bi de Lüt” (SF with the people) programmes such as “Über Stock und Stein” (Up Hill, Down Dale) and “Landfrauenküche” (Farmhouse Kitchen), as well as “Samschtig-Jass” (Saturday Jass), “Donnschtig-Jass” (Thursday Jass) and “Hopp de Bäse!” (Clean Sweep); on RTS, “Cash”, “La Boîte à musique” (The Music Box), “Dîner à la ferme” (Dining on the farm), “Identités”, “Entre chien et chat” (Between cat and dog) and “captation de spectacles d’humoristes romands” (Comedy shows from French-speaking Switzerland); on RSI, “Attenti a quei due”, “Molla l’osso” (Let it go) and “Cash”.
Creating a feeling of togetherness
It is widely acknowledged that entertainment brings people together, and this is especially important in a multilingual and multicultural society such as Switzerland’s. This is why SRG SSR regularly broadcasts programmes in which people of all ages, all walks of life and all cultures meet, giving rise to shared experiences that are increasingly rare in today’s fragmented society and all the more important for this very reason.
Some entertainment programmes even span linguistic and national borders and thus contribute not only to understanding between Switzerland’s language communities, but also to strong links with other countries. In addition to offering the audience shared experiences, these interregional and international productions also enable SRG SSR programme-makers to share valuable insights between the different enterprise units. The best examples at the national level are the Radio Tour, the Label Suisse music festival in Lausanne, the Swiss National Day celebrations on 1 August, the SwissAward; examples at the international level, meanwhile, include the Musikantenstadl folk music event and the Eurovision Song Contest.
Entertainment is proving its worth more and more these days as a means of bringing people together not only directly, but also in a virtual environment, for example through Internet forums, online games and music platforms such as www.mx3.ch and www.vxm.ch. Virtual meeting places, too, can serve to forge bonds and strengthen cultural identities.