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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 May 2015
NEWS 2 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 MAY 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM SBS Greek marks 40 years on air Pioneering program still going strong HELEN VELISSARIS When SBS Radio debuted on the airwaves, the first language that was heard was Greek. Back then, it was a language per day, and the Greek programme with Takis Kaldis launched SBS Radio in 1975. The program was one of a kind. Devoid of advertising, it spoke to Greeks about issues at the heart of the migrant plight in Australia and did so in their language. While other Greek radio stations and programs existed before SBS Radio, it was SBS that became the journalistic vanguard. A journalist with SBS from the early days is current 3XY broadcaster Rena Frangioudaki. She remembers the Greek program striking a chord with Greeks from all walks of life at the time. "Back then the program was like a religion," she tells Neos Kosmos. "Our listeners were even late for work so they could stay and listen to the program." The topics covered in the first years of SBS were much more community-based, with weekly segments covered by various groups in the community. "We had shows for the young, the old, Cypriots, Cretans," Ms Frangioudaki says. Most of the staff who worked at SBS back then were volunteers, and would go out of their way to get news to the community. , t t m- The lack of technology didn't help either. Ms Frangioudaki remembers being frustrated having to wait for days and weeks for the Greek dailies to arrive in Australia by ship. The program really developed into what many recognise today back in the ‘90s. “Back then the program was like a religion.” Rena Frangioudaki Coming to SBS in 1990, Syd- ney's senior producer Efthymios (Themi) Kallos says the program developed at the same time as SBS matured as a broadcaster. "As the years went by, the station and the programs we produced became we produced became more orientated towards information and current affairs and less about community announcements," he tells Neos Kosmos. "If you ask the top SBS officials they would say we became more professional." Now, SBS Radio has grown to include 74 language programs, a digital and online presence and is across all social media platforms. As a go-to place for news in the Greek community, it's no surprise that SBS and Neos Kosmos have a long history of working alongside each other. Neos Kosmos' publisher Dimitiris Gogos was given the first license for what was to become SBS, then called 3EA (Ethnic Radio) in Melbourne. The Sydney licence went to a Neos Kosmos contributor, Takis Kaldis. Editor-in-chief of Neos Kosmos, Sotiris Hatzimanolis, still works at SBS Radio in Melbourne on a casual basis, Veteran Sydney reporter, Themi Kallos. and was on air with fellow Neos Kosmos journalists, the late Kostas Nikolopoulos, Babis Stavropoulos and sports editor Elias Donoudis in the 1970s. "It's a team effort," Mr Kallos says. "Neos Kosmos has been very supportive of SBS and its principles." Back in the 1970s, SBS Ra- dio's establishment was a risky investment. The Whitlam government gave Al Grassby, from the Commission of Community Relations, $67,000 to start 2EA and 3EA to pay for two full-time staff for three months. The investment paid off, and SBS Radio launched some months later, broadcasting in seven languages. Now as SBS looks to the future, their principles are still at the heart of everything they do. "We remain dedicated to connecting to the communities, through multilingual conversations across all platforms and devices always in order to inspire social cohesion in Australia," Mr Kallos says. Theophanous’ corporate role raises eyebrows Greens slam former minister’s connection to energy company Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber has called for greater transparency regarding former ministers and their work in the corporate world. The call came after an article in The Age this week raised the issue of a potential conflict of interest regarding former Labor Minister of Energy and Resources Theo Theophanous, and his current role as a political advisor to energy company Lakes Oil. During his term as minister between 2002 and 2006, Mr Theophanous played a key role in the creation of the 2005 Geothermal Energy Act and advocated that Victoria should abolish its onshore gas moratorium. Although The Age did not al- lege that the former minister was engaging in any illegal activity, the newspaper raised speculation over recent meetings Mr Theophanous has had with state Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas. The premier and Mr Theophanous were spotted talking at the A-League Grand Final, and a day later he was seen speaking with Mr Pallas - shortly after the treasurer had given a conference speech about Victoria's plans to hold an inquiry into onshore oil and gas. When questioned by The Age Mr Theophanous declined to comment on his role or the private talks he had with the politicians. The premier's of- Under fire: Former Victorian Labor energy minister Theo Theopanous on his last day in the Victorian Parliament in 2010. PHOTO: PETER KAKALIAS. fice and Mr Pallas' spokesperson also declined to comment on the nature of the conversations with the former minister. "The treasurer meets with a range of stakeholders across a number of issues, but does not disclose the contents of those private discussions," Mr Pallas' spokesperson told The Age. Lakes Oil executive chairman Rob Annells said that there was nothing controversial regarding the former minister’s involvement with the company, citing previous high-profile members of the Lakes Oil board. "We had Alexander Downer on our board ... he was an excellent director, and although Theo is not a director, so far we are communicating very, very well and he is a very intelligent man and he has a lot of experience which we are drawing on," said Mr Annells. Former federal resources minister Martin Ferguson is of a similar mind and currently serves as a director of gas producer BG Group. "I actually think former politicians can bring to business an understanding of the workings of government, and a broader understanding of the expectations of the community," he said. "Just as [former Greens leader] Bob Brown has devoted his energies to the endeavours of the Sea Shepherd since leaving the senate, it is no different for a former state or federal minister to also work in the business sector, be it of a paid or voluntary nature." Mr Barber told The Age that "ministers should be banned for life for representing a company on a particular matter or transaction that they oversaw at the time of being minister".
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