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The guest of the week at Perpetuum Mobile, Mr. Răzvan Dincă, President and CEO - Radio Romania

Friday, 25 March 2022 , ora 14.59

My guest this week's anniversary is Mr. Răzvan Dincă, President and CEO of the Romanian Broadcasting Company, also known as Radio România. Thanks for coming!

Thank you for inviting me!

You are the general manager of one of the largest media corporations in Romania. What is your opinion about Radio România today?

There are two things: what I thought and what I believe now. Initially, I had a certain type of opinion about Radio România. Even though I worked here 10 years ago as an advisor to a former president of Radio România, the perception I formed then is not the same as the one I found once I held this position. I could see things quite superficially, and even if I was inside this entity, I could not perceive its size. Once we came to the leadership of Radio România, two major things happened, namely the fact that we were in the middle of a pandemic and we were also at the beginning of an armed conflict on the Romanian border. These two aspects created a perception on Radio România, through my prism, different from what I might have seen initially.

Radio România is a vital institution for Romanians and for the importance that the media should have on the life, health, integrity of a country, of a people. The fact that these two external and internal threats, due to the pandemic, worked at the same time, and through the prism of Radio Romania, was seen differently. Once you realize that your role is a really important one, it is not just an irrelevant and simple information about everyday, everyday aspects ... no! It is a guiding role, it is a role that can decide, at a certain moment, on life and death ... If you are aware that you have such an important mission that what you say, what you say, can have an effect on the other hand, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of listeners, at that moment you feel your body freeze and you start to think differently. At least with the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, Radio România has been an actor - from the types of humanitarian exercises, to the way in which we tried to capture any kind of news, information and retransmit it in the best possible way. honest to the public and the audience from wherever we are received. This mattered and, in a way, made the organization react extremely strongly and the people who work here - mostly journalists - to reconsider their position towards the vocation they have and to realize that, In such crisis situations, this vocation has an acute justification. I have found that there are people who have an incredible passion for what they do and that their passion is sometimes manifested by personal risk. There are three correspondents who have gone to Ukraine and are ultimately risking their lives. They left with war vests and helmets on their heads, with protection from the Romanian state, as much as it can protect in a territory that is under threat, but here they risked their lives to obtain some information. to send home. This is an extreme example. There are also everyday examples of people working 24 hours a day to keep an entire nation informed.

Radio România is not just that! Radio România is a kind of culture, a type of representation of the national culture. Culture is not necessarily understood as a cultural activity, but a culture understood as the totality of knowledge that a nation has in a given time. The fact that, through the multiple means of expression we have, so many channels through which we broadcast, so many entities with which we operate - from the Music Bands Directorate, which brings together so many artists (Radio Popular Orchestra, National Radio Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Choirs), to the National Radio Theater, the Regional Studios, the main radio stations listened to on frequencies throughout the country - all these provide information, but also extract information. Find out what the country is like from everything you manage to synthesize from this information obtained. The Rador News Agency, which at times receives 500-600 news items in a single day, from external and internal sources, is a database through which you understand the world in a rare way.

Maybe the expectations I had initially were not met as I would have thought. They have been far surpassed by what I have encountered here and in view of these aspects of which I spoke earlier, and by the complexity which these trades, subject to public radio, have, and at the same time give me an additional obligation, to be very careful how I manage, if I succeed, to offer those who work here a better institutional framework, a kind of help, as far as possible, in making others who can make decisions about Radio România to understand the purpose and importance of this organization. I am referring, of course, to those who finance Radio România, to the Romanian Parliament, to the Romanian Government, with whom I have a permanent dialogue and who I hope that, especially once they receive all kinds of information from us, observe and will observe in space. public and in the institutional space how important this institution is, at least now.

You know what it's like ... sometimes you see the importance of a friend when he disappears from you. Some people may perceive that when nothing remarkable happens in the public space, that Radio România is not very important. Yes, because it does not stand out in a way, so to speak, commercial, because it does not make the kind of professional compromises, because maybe, sometimes, the kind of journalistic approach leads to a normality of expression. This may not be spectacular, indeed, but when major things happen, this is the only way to go about it. At this point, you find that what has seemed trivial to you so far, that is, normalcy, becomes mandatory and becomes a statement that we must follow not only when it is essential to understand certain things, but all the time.

If we manage to keep this paradigm, I think we will win a long-term bet and it is to be appreciated that, in the past at least, Radio România employees, journalists, managers, have understood - a large part of them - not to slip, not to tip the scales to one side or the other, not to make major compromises with their job. Now, in a way, for those of us who know what it's all about, being inside this organization, we feel the benefits. There is a lot of talk about fake news. Here that these discussions about fake-news seem to define by opposition Radio România, exactly the way in which Radio România provides the exact, correct news, verified in time, it is assumed that now it must exist everywhere. Until now, this topic did not really exist, it was extremely little used, and Radio România did it because it had to do it that way. Now, it seems to be becoming the motto of Radio România. Radio România is the one that never makes fake news.

Mr. Răzvan Dincă, listen to Radio România Muzical as well, right?

Fortunately, my vocation is artistic. Being very close to the music area through the profession I have and being passionate about music, I listen to Radio România Muzical in a proportion of 30-40% of the total radio listened to per day.

From the point of view of the music-loving listener, Răzvan Dincă, what do you think of Radio România Muzical?

I don't know who was saying that at one point ... I think Churchill was quoted when he was told that he had to cut budgets from the cultural field because there was no more money ... "Well, then what would we do? Do we still need the money if we cut the cultural area ?! " I say the same thing. Radio România Muzical is a type of treasure that must be constantly supported to exist. I realize how complicated it is for people who do not have the organ through which to perceive what music means - there is, unfortunately - how to convince them that Radio România Muzical is an essential service. Here, too, we enter into a substantive discussion, because perhaps some states, more developed in some respects than we are, use music as a process of learning things that cannot be said in words. States, emotions, sensations transmitted through music can be perceived by almost anyone, but in an educated system can be perceived by those who began to learn from children what a musical instrument means, how it is used, what types of musical instruments there are, what sounds they emit ... And that's why, I repeat, in certain countries of a certain type of bill, a musical instrument from kindergarten is studied. Radio România Muzical does a certain type of education. However, it should be doubled by an education at national level, in which to create the audiences of the Radio România Muzical station in kindergarten. I would suggest and appeal to all those who may be listening to the interview with me today: Put your children to music! Whatever it is, any kind of musical instrument. What do you like, as a parent, what do they like about you as a child? It develops a certain type of brain ability and sensitivity of the person that we, perhaps, those who do not read notes, do not perceive. And being profane in listening to music, we may not feel and understand the subtlety and value of this universal, paraverbal language that moves the masses emotionally. If music cannot be explained in words, but can only be perceived, listened to, then the fact that there are personalities in the music shows on Radio România Muzical that explain certain things related to music in words, make this approach an educational one. , one that has a role in understanding the musical phenomenon on a larger scale, to a lesser extent.

I consider that 25 years of Radio România Muzical is not enough, because in 25 years you go through one, two generations. It takes many generations to become a musical and educated nation within the nation. The habit of consuming music must be related to the consumption we have in a daily basket. Participating in an event once every two years does not mean that you are a music lover or that you live in a musical sense. There are, in many countries in this world - I'm sorry to have to make this comparison, but unfortunately I do it because maybe for some it's unique - the habit of going to concerts or opera performances or at other types of musical performances in the cult area once a week, once every two weeks; and the program has a repetitive course over time in both a person's life and the successive lives of those generations. We leave work, we go to a restaurant where we eat an aperitif, after which we go to an opera show, during the break we drink a glass of champagne, a tea or a coffee, after which, at the end of the opera show, we return to the restaurant , we have dinner and go home. This ritual that contains a social component, an entertainment component, a leisure component with friends and family is repetitive in countries that have a very important musical component. In our country, this behavior is sometimes manifested by listening to Radio România Muzical, it is manifested another time by exercises to participate in certain random cultural events; very few people do this on a recurring basis.

Our struggle, I think, and here the appeal is to be made to managers, leaders of cultural institutions - public, private - who must change the cultural offer in offering experiences to people and make them ritualize, to end up repeating certain types of habits. This must happen and maybe Radio România Muzical, in its mission, should push people in such a direction. For the time being, the culture in Romania is subsidized in a proportion that, without exaggerating, exceeds 95%. Know that it is a huge proportion. The fact that the Romanian state puts so much money into culture is a privilege. I hope it will last longer, but at the same time, we, who work in the cultural field, must understand that we must increase the addressability and try, through the means we have, to attract more and younger audiences. earlier public in the artistic directions we were talking about and urge them to spend more time around these musical events in this sense, culturally in a sense in extesio. Because, the meaning of Radio România Muzical must have two directions: on the one hand, through what it does as an activity, namely that it broadcasts music - it talks about a certain type of access to culture in absolutely any area where we have reception in Romania , but at the same time, it has this integrative and educational role and a guiding role for those who decide on their lives and those around them - children, parents, friends. And then, the relationship, the engagement between Radio România Muzical and the eventual listening audience must be one-way, there must be constant dialogue, there must be constant listening to the need. Of course, it is very important that cultured people, who are a captive audience of Radio România Muzical, continue to listen to Radio România Muzical, but I think it is at least as important as a new audience, an audience that can barely opens his eyes and ears to social life, to perceive the importance of music.

You said in an interview, and I quote you, "My goal is simple. Modernization, digitization, and information without politicization." From this perspective, how is it and how do you see România Muzical radio in the future?

I avoided that when I got to lead Radio România to put my vocational intentions in the foreground. I considered that, on the contrary, I have to do it in such a way that the steps I take do not take into account what I have done before in terms of my profession - that of director and that of cultural manager, in the end, this I was - and try to think of Radio România as an entity that deals mainly with the transmission of information and news to the general audience in Romania and beyond. That was what my statement was about, and less about the activities related to my job. Regarding Radio România Muzical, like the other radio channels and stations that we manage, it suffers from a lack of current technicality. For example, a lot of news stays on air, even if it is in the area of ​​public interest, it only stays on air. They were produced, transmitted, heard on the radio and carried on, on the air ... once, maybe, if repeated, the second time, the third time. And then, in 30 days, they go to a stored archive for a limited period of time, 30 days, after which they disappear. Well, it seems to me that this aspect must be capitalized in a different way. That is, all this on-air content should go into storable content and otherwise and monetizable and otherwise, online type. This technique is not easy.That is, you will need to be able to transfer all of those voices to other content, and then turn the news into an on-air news item with online content. This form can be made in an automated way to one side, then, of course, with human input, to the other side. And that content must also be integrated into an online platform that is relevant in our century and important to be passed on in a content approved by the journalist who made the news on air. Here is a way in which digitalization must participate in improving the process of making radio and media in Romania. I mean Radio România, because elsewhere it may exist.

There are also technical elements, namely software integration for the entire organization; each one works as it considers in its own studios and between regional ones, in Radio România there is still no software unit so that all the data can be transmitted in the same way, in the same way - things that you, the journalists, hit very often and in the production software you have and, perhaps, to borrow materials from the regionals to transfer to the day-to-day business you practice. I think that modernity also consists in something, in the fact that we must never forget the audience we are addressing now, but at the same time, let us not forget the mission we have, because we might enter into a pity, to serve the current public at any cost, period. If we are careful only to pursue that kind of audience, we lose sight of the future, we lose sight of what is coming after us, what kind of audience can we bring with us to exist in the future, and he with our help to there is better in that future. So in order to be connected to the audience of the future, we need to be connected to the technology of the future, we need to be connected to the new technological trends and the new models of addressing. At the moment, it seems to me that radio consumption will increase, but the radio will change its shape, it will not be radio as we see it now, but it will be a more integrated form in the area of ​​the podcast, in the online area. People will be wearing headphones and a telephone, not a normal radio, at the gym, where they work, and they will listen to the radio in a different way - a more active radio, more in their direction, in their relationship with them. Let's see how we can respond to this need. Also, those who make shows ... For example, on Radio România Muzical there are so many specialists who talk about what is next or what was. It is very important for them, their speech, to serve a future audience, not just a current audience, for their speech to be one that will capture the audience at this moment and give them curiosity, to satisfy their desire, but also to give him the curiosity to listen further, to diversify his way of thinking and to come up with things that maybe at a certain moment no one would have thought of. It is very important, I think, for that presenter, that commentator, that critic to have this quality of radio man and to be able to respond to a wider audience than the one immediately valid, among those who are already actively active.

I had the chance to be part of the team that launched, 25 years ago, Radio România Muzical. It was a period then full of unpredictability, but Radio România Muzical then survived, then grew and now, at this moment, it has a well-deserved place in our media landscape. Is, today, Radio România Muzical, a certainty in the corporation of Radio România?

There are things that you do not perceive as essential, but they are. And they become essential when you realize what effect all kinds of music can have on a person, an entity, a country. How to calculate this effect? You can't do that. But there are a few people who are aware of this effect. Some of them are composers, some are conductors, some are performers, some are radio producers. And some of those who are the professional spectators of the live shows in the concert halls become aware. These are the ones that provide meaning for a station like Radio România Muzical. And they, being aware of the important approach of music for society, come with content. Radio România Muzical broadcasts this essential content to the general public. If the circle closes and what Radio România Muzical will create as desired and will guide the company to be active in the field of music - at the amateur level, at the level of awareness of local public authorities to invest in music events - if it will be more a promoter of the genre than a content distributor will further fulfill its purpose. Radio România Muzical, for me, is essential! In my term, Radio România Muzical will receive only improvements insofar as it relates to what I can do in this context. So, there are no threats, but on the contrary, only arguments to keep and value Radio România Muzical further.

Mr. Răzvan Dincă, President and CEO of Radio Romania, on March 24th, Radio România Muzical turns 25 years old. What is your message to the listeners of the station in the first place?

In such a world, of the tumult created by armed conflict, bloodshed, pandemics that still work below us, even though we pretend we forgot about it, and many other threats that may arise in this context, music is a universal language that speaks about other things - about the meaning of human existence, about the deep emotion, about the things that bring you closer to divinity or about the essential things that every human being has, some consciously, others not. When you have contact with music, whatever you may be and whatever training you may have, you can't help but feel it. There are people who are not aware that music is important to them because they have no contact with it, and then how can something that has no contact be important. I would put it this way: if there are voices talking about music therapy, maybe we should guide people to understand that this therapy will always lead to peace, not war, it will always lead to healing, not disease and always music it sends a positive message, no matter how sad it may be. And, if we have a little soul, and if our brain sometimes dictates to us to do some actions that do not meet only the primary needs - and I think the moment when the language was invented was after the advent of music, so our brain worked in -a musical meaning before functioning in a sense of the word - we must not forget that this type of musical language transcends language, transcends peoples, transcends continents and, above all, transcends conflict.

Interview by Gabriel Marica
Translated by Medeea Alexandra Stan,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu