Talks shows in Nepalese Television
This is a short research paper accomplished to meet the partial requirement of the Television journalism course being taught in Bachelor in Media studies of Kathmandu University under the supervision of Mr Prem Luitel who is also a senior editor of Nepal Television. This research report is the output of a small content analysis of online content regarding television talk shows aired from different Nepalese television stations. The areas covered are the popularity of those talk shows and different sustainability factors needed to push such TV talk shows which are accepted by Nepalese society positively. This research provides a starting point for future researchers willing to work on the television research sector of Nepal.
Television stations in Nepal: a short history
The idea of having television in Nepal was sown in 2041 (1984) B.S. Only after 6 months, i.e., on 29 Shrawan, 2042 (1985) B.S. Nepal Television began its test transmission. After 2058 (2001) B.S., the era of government television entered into the age of private ones. Before this, few private companies had bought NTV time and were broadcasting their programs.
Today, private channels like Kantipur Television, Image Channel, Sagarmatha TV , Avenues Television, ABC TV, Sagarmatha TV, Channel Nepal, Terai Television, News 24 TV, NBEX Mountain Television, Image Metro Channel, are also airing different talk shows along with Nepal Television’s national channel and Metro Channel. Among them, National Television couldn’t sustain.
Talk Shows: Definition and scope
According to Wikipedia.org, A “talk show” also called ‘chat show’ is a television or radio program where one person (or group of people) discuss various topics put forth by a talk show host .Sometimes, talk shows feature a panel of guests, usually consisting of a group of people who are learned or who have great experience in relation to whatever issue is being discussed on the show for that episode. Other times, a single guest discusses their work or area of expertise with a host or co-hosts. A call-in show takes live phone calls from callers listening at home, in their cars, etc. Sometimes, guests are already seated but are often introduced and enter from backstage.
Talk shows cover varieties of topics ranging from politics (dominant in Nepal) to the social, cultural domain. Foreign channels are found inviting comedians, celebrity and sometime experts from particular sector. For example Taiwanese talk shows rely on comedic bantering, musical and talent performances, wildly animated on-screen texts and visuals
History of Talk Shows in global and national scenario
Wikipedia states that Joe Franklin , an American radio and television personality, hosted the first television talk show. The government-run Radio Nepal was established on 1 April 1951while Nepal television was founded in 1985. In Nepal, talk shows started before that in 1968 when the first recording studio was installed inside NTV building with foreign help. Since then, various music, dramas and talk shows existed. The data are difficult to find out regarding when the first tv talk shows emerged in Nepalese televisions for the first time.
There have been sufficient researches conducted on the impact and popularity of different TV talk shows in different corner of the world. Can We Talk? The Power and Influence of Talk Shows (Scott, 1996) explores the talk show genre and how it affects society. Dr. Scott, a noted expert on social issues and a sometime radio talk show host, provides a savvy overview of how and why today’s talk shows and their hosts have become so controversial and compelling. Similarly a book (Stone, 2005) assesses the impact of TV talk shows in our daily life. A thesis (Papadacos, 1997) issued by University of Houston relate TV talk show with the growing concern over sexual content in television. Recent study (Cavett, 2010) shares memories of talk shows experiences of pioneering TV host Dick Cavett and offers his insights into what his career taught him about American culture. Andrew Tolson (2001) put talk shows in academic domain and debates about its multidimensional aspects. Grindstaff (2002) takes the reader behind the scenes of television talk shows. This study (Grindstaff, 2002) draws on interviews with producers and guests and asks what talk shows can tell us about mass media and what they reveal about American culture more generally.
However, in Nepal research conducted on talk shows discourse can be counted in fingers. A research (Kiran, 2008) titled ‘talk shows of Nepalese television’ shows that NTV stands first and KTV stands second interms of popularity of talk shows. An audience survey shows that ‘Dishanirdesh’ presented by Bijaya Pandey, ‘Fireside’ by Bhusan Dahal and ‘Bahas’ by late Indra Lohani were the first, second and third most popular TV talk shows of Nepal. ‘Image Images’ and ‘Kurakani’ of Image television follows those three most liked shows. However research shows that some of the popular pioneer talk shows in Nepalese television were Chintanmanan (Nepal TV), Dishanirdesh (Nepal TV), Bahas (Nepal TV), Fireside (Kantipur TV), Agnipariksha (Channel Nepal), Arajniti (Channel Nepal), Image Images (Image Channel), and Kurakani (Image Channel). They covered both political as well as non-political issues in their broadcast. The non-political domain comprised of social, cultural, personality, environment, health, education and economic dimensions. Some of these prominent TV talk shows still running are dishanirdesh, Fireside and Agnipariksha.
Source: A STUDY OF TELEVISION TALK SHOWS IN NEPALESE CHANNELS (Special Focus on Audience Preferences & Media House Preferences) -2008<www.everestuncensored.org>
The above data shows the various aspects of talk shows aired from Nepalese television in relation to the preferences of Media House as well as their audience. Media Hub Pvt. Ltd, established in September 2001 by eminent media personalities, also contribute to the production of talk shows and sell it to different television station of Nepal, both state-owned and private, Nepal Television, Kantipur TV, Avenues TV, Image Channel, ABA Television etc.
The present situation of Nepali talk shows
In Nepal Television, the largest television station of Nepal, run a popular live talk show ‘Sidha Kura’ where senior political leaders of different parties are invited and discussed about the most recent happening in the political sector of Nepal. Nepal television also runs another recorded version talk show ‘Samaya Sambaad’ which basically remains under political domain interact with Political leaders to discuss about future of Nepal in relation with transition phase and peace process. ‘Sarthak Pahal’ too moves ahead in the same direction. Other sectors are too considered in Nepal television when it comes to talk show. Pipalbot, a talk show invites new faces from different sectors like sports and culture to shade light on future direction of sports and cultural stuffs.
Nepalisite.com claims that beside news items, there are some talk shows which are the most popular TV contents of Kantipur television which especially deals with political stuffs. ‘Fire side’ a talk show run by popular media personality Bhusan Dahal, is another center of attraction for viewers of Kantipur television.
ABC television, another private television station, runs a popular talk show titled ‘Outlook’ as its name suggest it gives wider view of political reality by inviting veteran political leaders. ‘ABC watch’ is another such talk show which invites diplomatic communities to talk about bilateral issues and sometimes it enter the political domain as well. Power Talks is an exclusive weekly television talk show by Santosh Shah that features global leaders, personalities from the United Nations and diplomatic missions, international delegations, celebrities and change-makers. The show covers personal and professional commentaries and insights on topics which include global issues, politics, diplomacy, international affairs, development and progress. The show portrays hope and optimism for viewers in Nepal and abroad.
Recommendation: Effort for quality in presentation
Quality of the programs comes ahead as the major hurdle to the sustainability of these talk shows. Most of them includes inappropriate time schedule, copy presentations from foreign channels, not well-researched monotonous subject matters, repeated questions and answers and low quality in presentations. Existing talk show doesn’t include entertainment domain at all. Comedians and drama artist are still not favored in talk shows while glamorous actress are preferred most by most of the television talk shows. Also, Nepalese research on talk shows lack analytical framework and sufficient case studies besides content analysis, which are also not full-fledged. One can easily feel that the trend of launching new TV talk shows and closing them due to different factors pose threat over the credibility of such programs. Besides, Media houses also need to carryout out audience survey to figure out which kind of issues are to be included in their talk shows in order to sustain on long-term basis.
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