Radio holding Maestro is striving to be more visible online, sharing content at its website http://radiomaestro.ge, on social networks and its YouTube channel in order to reach its listeners not only in Georgia but abroad.
Tamar Ghlonti, acting director of Radio Maestro, spoke with Golden Brand about how the holding is dealing with the current challenges and why it is important for the company to strengthen its presence online.
Q. What are recent developments at Radio holding 94.7 FM?
A. The last period has been very active for Radio Maestro due to our format. In light of the biggest events taking place in the world, the Russia-Ukraine war for example, the amount of news coverage on our airwaves has increased. The number of recorded interviews with foreign and Georgian politicians and experts has also increased. Among them the most significant is the monthly summary interview with Mykhailo Podoliak, the adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, with whom Levan Chitanava, a journalist of Radio Maestro, is in close contact. In the interviews, Levan discusses not only the course of the Russia-Ukraine war, but also issues of world importance and challenges related to Georgia. This indicates why Radio Maestro is a reliable and esteemed media outlet even outside the country.
Q. How diverse are the programs at Radio Maestro?
A. Radio Maestro is news radio, although its broadcasting network is really diverse — listeners not only receive complete and reliable information not only on current news, but also educational programs that will interest all ages, as well as business and medical programs, technology news, historical events, etc.
Legal questions are also very relevant among listeners, so we added a program about that. This is an open air where listeners are actively involved. Also, listeners have the opportunity to express their opinion on the important events of the day live on the program “People’s opinion”. The calls are not filtered, which shows that Radio Maestro is open, independent and impartial.
Q. How developed is the radio sector in Georgia and what is Radio Maestro’s contribution?
A. The radio sector is definitely developed in Georgia, although it would probably be even more developed under conditions of a healthy and suitable environment. Radio Maestro has been going for twelve years, and throughout this period we have never stood still and have always introduced innovative approaches in the sector, which we will definitely continue.
The relevance of the radio sector became even more tangible during the pandemic, when it was once again proven that the radio is an important instrument for the spread of information and an important actor in the media sector.
Q. What are the challenges the sector is facing currently?
A. At this stage, the biggest challenge for the radio sector are abnormally high government taxes.
In order for this sector to develop, it needs a decent income from advertising, which unfortunately does not meet the requirements that exist in the sector. All kinds of research, including research commissioned by our competing media outlets, prove that Radio Maestro is one of the most rated media outlets. It is the only radio with news format that broadcasts 24/7 all over Georgia, interest in us is also obvious from the business sector.
But radio has a limitation on the timing of advertising blocks. Businesses in Georgia do not have the opportunity to invest large financial resources in advertising, and the funds that flow into independent media are not enough to deal with taxes. Therefore a balanced policy from the state is needed in the long term.
Q. Last year, the total commercial advertising revenue of television and radio broadcasters decreased by 7.6% compared to the previous year — 79.9 million GEL. Is it related to banning gambling ads, or what reasons would you give?
A. Yes, these restrictions certainly have a huge impact on radio advertising revenue. A balanced and adequate approach from the state is needed. Taxes are increasing, while income is decreasing.
Q. How does the decrease in income complicate the activities of radio broadcasters, including Maestro?
A. Of course, it has made it difficult, but we managed and started working with a different system. I would say that global technological development has helped us, which is why it is important for the country to become a member of European structures, which will give us the opportunity to further develop and not lag behind the world.
Q. Please tell us why Radio Maestro supports the Golden Brand awards.
A. Golden Brand is an incentive for businesses and important for the country. It will lead to the economic development and growth of the country in the future. So Radio Maestro will always support such events and initiatives with the necessary information campaign.