Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.I have mentioned before in this blog that the Welsh language TV channel S4C’s biggest problem is not the language but the fact that it is limited to one channel stream. Thus the soap opera Pobol Y Cwm (Sheryl is dead….how could they!) could be followed by a gardening programme which I wouldn’t watch.
My view was that even if it was for limited hours, say 7pm to 1am, S4C needed a second channel to provide an alternative to the viewer which other broadcasters are able to do.
Well coming up is another reason why S4C needs that second channel. The annual festival of music, literature (mainly poetry) and performing arts in the Welsh language that is the National Eisteddfod.
Now I’ve been to an Eisteddfod before, about eight years ago. I and my daughter enjoyed it. There were various reasons why I haven’t been to one since but we’re planning to go this one in Cardiff next Friday and we’re both looking forward to it (in fact to a sort of twilight zone person like me re Welsh,not fluent but far better than the cat sat on the mat, a place for the most part where Welsh is spoken without a safety parachute adds to the excitement).
As a TV viewer though my view is slightly different. For me then the Eisteddfod is exactly like my opinion of chocolate. Enjoyable in small doses but something I cannot gorge myself on.
And there’s the problem. S4C provides blanket coverage of the festival. And when I say blanket if we take next Wednesday for example it broadcasts from 6am to 12:45am the following day. That’s eighteen and three quarter hours. Of that time (including news and weather headlines) fourteen hours will be spent on the Eisteddfod. And remember, that’s for one day.
(There are other similar festivals/shows that S4C provides similar coverage for. But as this is the next one coming up this is the one I’m using as the example)
Let me stress here. I’m not saying that S4C should not provide blanket coverage of the festival. It’s in it’s DNA it has to do it. But the lack of a second Welsh Language channel means that there is no option for the fluent Welsh speaker, learner or Twilight zone intermediate like me in case we’d rather watch something else. In terms of TV (as I know there is an S4C catch-up service) it might actually mean that the viewer turns to an English language channel. Irony of ironies.
So in an age when TV channels emerge for no obvious reason whatsoever. A second Welsh channel would perform a public service for the Welsh language and would provide choice. Even if it was full of repeats..
Until the next time.