Media comment: 103 FM’s media ‘excellence’

The station has invested much effort in putting together an impressive cast of people on the various programs.

Old radio (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Old radio
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
People from all over the world look at Israel and see innovation written everywhere. Israelis tend to excel, especially when it comes to science and technology.
Although the World Cup in football has not yet been won, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to a few Israelis and Israel even made it to first place in the Eurovision song contest.
Israel also has a radio station which excels: the 103 FM regional radio station broadcasting for the greater Tel Aviv area.
The station has invested much effort in putting together an impressive cast of people on the various programs.
These include Ben Caspit, Gabi Gazit, Ron Kofman, Natan Zehavi, Advocate Yoram Sheftel, Varda Raziel-Jacont and the “comedians” Shai (Goldstein) and Dror (Rafael). These people are outstanding representatives of a model of radio programming especially tailored for the Tel Aviv-area population.
Raziel-Jacont is a good example. According to her biography as it appears on the 103 FM website, she is a psychologist who is also an avid lover of classical music. Her claim to fame originates most naturally from her psychological advice program aired on 103 FM radio weekdays at 4 pm.
As reported by the Calcalist news site, on October 9 last year, her programs were suspended for two weeks by the Second Authority for TV and Radio (SATR). In one of her programs (and this was not the best of the lot), she read from a letter describing a listener who was in extreme mental stress, was considering suicide and requested Zakont’s help. Her answer was that the letter was manipulative – and she went on to explain that there are circumstances in which suicide is legitimate.
Another listener, who said she was suffering from sexual abuse, was told to date many men and seek multiple sexual experiences as the best way to deal with her trauma. And all this sage advice is dispensed at 4 p.m., when most children and adolescents are asleep.
In another instance, she supported the use of physical force against children. The present-day generation of parents was described as “the cream and banana generation.”
Anyone interested is invited to the 103 FM webpage which provides abstracts of her wonderful programs.
The fact that she was suspended for two weeks presumably only increased her ratings. In any case, one cannot discern any fundamental change in the quality of her programming following the suspension.
Obtaining harsh sentences from the SATR is almost daily business at the station. It obviously makes for good publicity.
Kofman is one of the station’s sports commentators.
On July 9, 2012, he had a most exciting conversation with Ben Caspit, moderator of a light news program.
This conversation included epithets such as “zero,” “rag,” “journalist whore,” “bedroom spokesperson,” “belong in the gutter,” “animal” and more. The SATR was unhappy but did not go beyond a “tsk, tsk” admonishment.
FM 103, it seems, was delighted; on its website, under sportscasting, the first item is a link to this specific instance of excellence in media discourse.
Zehavi, though, is the station’s star. His language managed to prod SATR into actually fining the station NIS 80,000 at the end of 2012. In January 2014, as a result of a verbal attack on MK Israel Eichler, he was the cause for a NIS 69,900 fine on the station. One of his most important achievements is his running feud with Sheftel, a colleague at the station he describes as “the disgusting radio presenter.”
Zehavi is an extreme left-winger, Sheftel, an extreme right-winger. Both agree on one thing, namesly that it is good business to curse each other in public.
Zehavi is a very sensitive person. He is known for slapping lawsuits on people, especially those who have the nerve to attack him verbally. After all, freedom of speech should not be overdone.
Shai and Dror are a model couple. Their past is rich.
They could be described as malefactors, offenders, miscreants and more, for a court of law found them guilty of libel against fellow journalist Matti Golan, which the judge termed “a crusade” against him. They do fit in well with the groundbreaking atmosphere of 103 FM.
In one of their programs, Dror Rafael informed listeners that he had easily managed to pass a police breath test while driving under the influence. The program received another slap on the wrist from SATR’s ombudsman, but no fines or suspension.
This couple is a model of good behavior for children. In the best tradition, they show that the best way to assert oneself is to do so at the expense of the weak. What’s better than to make jokes about deaf people on the day dedicated to the deaf population? This took place on May 25, 2010. The response of 103 FM to complaints was that if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it.
Only two weeks ago, we reported on their unabashed foul treatment of Sapir Sabah, the teenager who complained against her teacher’s extreme left-wing propaganda voiced in class. This too, probably was not well received at 103 FM, since the SATR has not decided to fine the station for the infraction.
Radio 103 FM has full backing from the Israeli press council. Paragraph 17 of the ethics code deals with outside employment of journalists. It states that: “A journalist shall not engage in any occupation, work, service, public relations, advertising and soliciting advertisements which may give rise to the suspicion or the appearance of a conflict of interest or of misleading the public.”
Especially in view of this clause, Gazit and Zehavi appear in various radio advertisements on issues that might at times be broadcast on their own program.
Former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, the president of the press council, knows of this practice.
Does she take any measures? No.
Is this good business? Yes, if profits are the only important criterion. Do we have the right to demand that also on the airwaves, morality and the spirit of the law be obeyed? Don’t the residents of the greater Tel Aviv area deserve something better? The authors are respectively vice chairman and chairman of Israel’s Media Watch (