Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Norway 20.8.2010 – 50 Years of Television

The date was 20th August 1960. The start signal was about to go for television in Norway and pulses were running high. There was intense activity up at Broadcasting House where the opening ceremony was to take place and at the Opera House in the centre of Oslo.
All goes well. Director General Kaare Fostervoll introduces the main speaker, Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen. H.M. King Olav says a few words about the significance of television and officially opens the new medium while voicing the hope that television will help to make lives richer for the Norwegian people. This is followed by a live television show from the Opera House with circus performers, dancers, gymnasts and Nora Brockstedt with the Deep River Boys. The delighted audience stamp their feet! After the grand opening it was back to the daily grind: insufficient technical equipment, short-staffing and thin budgets, but a lot of good television. The mainstay and in fact the most complicated production was Dagsrevyen, the evening news. It was broadcast live and varied between studio reports, telephone recordings, stills, video tapes and films, all sewn together by the news presenter behind a desk and the producer in the wings. Many things could go wrong and frequently did. “Sorry, technical error” became a familiar sight on the screen, but loyal viewers sat glued to their TV sets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays when Dagsrevyen’s globe logo revolved on the screen to the sound of fanfare and drum beats. A few years later we could watch Dagsrevyen every day, a film on Monday, entertainment on Wednesday, a detective series on Fridays, more entertainment on Saturday and eventually in 1972 (as the last country in Europe) we had colour TV. Before long it was possible to watch TV all day long. Then the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) lost its monopoly. Gradually at first, but the death blow fell in autumn 1992 when TV2 went on the air after winning a licence to operate a nation-wide advertisement-funded television channel. It is clear today that NRK has not been harmed by the competition, but is better and more professional than ever. Digital TV, on three channels! 

This historic cover was sent to me by Sissel.

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