(photo credit: Courtesy)
Within less than a month of being given permission to air a new weekly half-hour current affairs interview program called Close-Up, IBA Television's News in English has scored another triumph and will broadcast the initial results of the Knesset elections live on Channel 33.
The 30-minute broadcast will begin at 11 p.m. on February 10, an hour after the release of the exit polls.
IBA reporters Elli Wohlgelernter, Jon Elkins, Viva Press and Elisha Rabin will be reporting live from the major party headquarters, while veteran IBA diplomatic reporter Leah Zinder will anchor the program from IBA studios in Jerusalem.
Pollster Mitchell Barak from Keevon research will be the guest commentator, providing analysis of the outcome of the exit polls and presenting possible scenarios for the next coalition.
The election night broadcast will be edited by IBA news director Steve Leibowitz.
IBA News, which has been under threat every time the Israel Broadcasting Authority has to tighten its belt, has been earmarked for expansion as the powers that be have begun to understand the importance of getting English-language news and opinion out to the world.
For those who prefer radio, Israel Radio's English News will also feature a special election broadcast from 11 to 11:10 p.m. on the Reka channel.
Meanwhile, Channel 10 franchisees are in danger of losing their franchise because of their failure to honor their commitment to produce high-quality documentaries and dramas, and are instead catering to the lowest denominator of the viewing public.
Similarly, Channel 2 is under threat of being sued by former franchisee Telad which, together with Reshet and Keshet, was one of the three original franchisees of Israel's first commercial channel.
Telad, which specialized in documentaries and dramas, lost out in the last tender, leaving Reshet and Keshet to run the show, and as a result, critics say, the cultural content of programs has deteriorated.
Channel 10 has suffered enormous financial losses since day one, with majority shareholder Yossi Maiman pumping millions of dollars into the venture with no tangible reward.
If a new tender is issued for Channel 10, there will likely be few takers, if any, given the economic crisis. While ownership of any major media outlet creates an aura of influence, even when the owner is scrupulous about not interfering with editorial policy and decision making, the temptation to own a television station may be tempered by the great financial risks.
Ratings for the initial election campaign broadcasts on Channel 1 were 6.5 percent at 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, which was far in excess of the average rating in the 2006 elections, when the first night of campaign broadcasts in the earlier time slot of 8-9 p.m. scored ratings of only 3.5%.