Teun van de KeukenNovember 27, 20225:15 pm

    ‘We should actually make a program about Public Broadcasting.’ In the approximately twenty-five years that I have been making radio and television programs, I have heard this statement regularly. I myself have said it several times in all that time. Because while we regularly judged others about abuses, dishonesty and injustice, it wasn’t really comfortable with ourselves either. Not to mention the humiliating Champions League-like behavior that has been going around over the past week DWDD has come out.

    My first editor-in-chief, mentor and radio father After disappointing broadcasts, Wim Noordhoek taught me two mottos that I live by: ‘you can’t lay a golden egg every week’ and ‘every train has a last wagon’. In short, you can all be very important about it, but those programs are not that important. Life’s work? Get a life.

    No, I’m talking about the total mismatch between the position of people at the top and people at the bottom. When I once started in radio, I worked on short contracts. After three of those contracts with the same broadcaster, the employer had to offer me a permanent position. He didn’t feel like it at all and so I was sent to the so-called GAKantie (the GAK was the then unemployment authority). I had to apply for benefits for three months and after this legal period I could start again with a clean slate and a new cycle of three contracts.

    This happened everywhere. That period has now even been extended to six months. The idea is to force employers to hire people, but they still often don’t. And so the workforce they consider exchangeable will have to see how they get through that six months. Job security: zero. Chance of a mortgage: also zero.

    When the broadcaster really wanted to get rid of me after ten (!) years of these loose contracts, I was not offered a severance payment at first. After all, I had not been in permanent employment. The fact that everyone advised me against going to the union (‘if you do that, no one in Hilversum wants you anymore’) is typical of the culture of fear. I was angry and did it anyway. The NVJ made sure that I received one month’s salary for every year worked.

    At the top it is very different. That is where the managers of the NPO rule. About three men have all the power. As US chief justices, they appear to be appointed for life. They and only they determine whether programs are broadcast. While they don’t officially deal with the content of programs, they do anyway. They allow formats to change and presenters to change.

    The bosses of the various broadcasters let this happen, otherwise they will be left empty-handed. They have to create programs to keep their organization afloat. And so they say things like ‘maybe change this, because the network manager doesn’t like this’, ‘or ‘he was in a good mood today!’ I once stood in an elevator with an adult broadcaster who, after a good pitch high fives started sharing. A degrading scene.

    The balance of power within the NPO is unhealthy. The whole thing needs to be overhauled.