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National Iranian Radio and Television or NIRT (Persian: رادیو تلویزیون ملی ایران) was the first Iranian radio and television organization which started its work on October 26, 1966, and operated up until the Iranian Revolution in 1979, after which NIRT became the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
- 1 Background and history
- 1.1 NIRT International Radio Service
- 2 References
- 3 Notes
- 4 Further reading
- 5 External links
Background and history
In the summer of 1966, the Plan and Budget Organization allocated a budget for the project, and the Ministry of Economics donated land. A temporary structure was built, and on October 26, 1966, National Iranian Television sent its first broadcast message, a statement by the Shah. Test programs were run, and complete programming commenced at Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, in March 1967. The first week’s programs included the broadcasting of the Shah’s birthday celebrations from Amjadieh Stadium.
In June 1967, the Parliament approved a proposal for the economic and administrative independence of NITV, National Iranian Television, to be separated from the control of the PIT in terms of hardware, and from the Department of Publications and Broadcasting in terms of production and programming. In 1970, the Industrial Management Institute in Tehran was asked to plan a merger of NITV with the thirty-five-year-old radio network, and to plan for the rapid expansion of broadcasting services throughout Iran by establishing new production and transmission centers.
In 1971 National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT) was incorporated as a public broadcasting monopoly run as an independent government corporation. The Shah appointed Reza Ghotbi as the first director-general; neither of them thought he would also be the last. Sabet’s television was taken over in July 1969. Sabet had been nothing if not generous to the Shah. During the Shah’s brief "exile" in 1953, Sabet had presented him with a blank check to ease his sojourn in Italy. Having received permission to establish Pepsi-Cola plants in 1952 with privileges in regard to customs, Sabet naturally presented substantial shares in the company to members of the royal family. However, once it was decided that Sabet''s television captured large audiences from the new government station (he continued to offer rather low-grade, American-type entertainment without political propaganda), he was forcibly bought out for a reputed sum of 20 million toman, against his initial capital investment of 70 million. His building was taken over and became the home of the new Educational Television. Subsequently, in the mid-1970s, with a supposed government move against the excessive profits of large entrepreneurs, a notion embodied in the nineteenth point of the "White Revolution", Sabet was severely penalized for ostensibly distributing Pepsi in dirty bottles. He began to transfer his wealth abroad, and left before the revolution. In July 1979, his holdings were taken over by the Revolutionary Committee of the Islamic Republic.
Prior to 1967 television had covered about 2.1 million people. When NIRT began regular transmissions that year, coverage rose to 4.8 million, and by 1974 had risen to over 15 million, roughly half the total population. That NIRT was accorded a very high priority in the state development strategy is evidenced by the large budget allocations that were provided to the organization. This allowed the use of the latest technologies, including microwave delivery systems to overcome problems of mountainous terrain. By 1975–76 radio covered almost the entire country, and 70 percent of the population had television reception. One indication of the prime importance attached to owning a television was the fact that people in villages without electricity, who had survived with oil lamps and iceboxes, bought generators in order to be able to run a television. Television became extremely popular across all ages and social groups; the little audience research that was undertaken recorded roughly six hours of viewing a day with an average of seven viewers per set by 1974 (NIRT Commercial Affairs, 1974). Despite overall budget cuts in 1975–76, NIRT''s total budget rose about 20 percent, and by 1975 NIRT was second only to Japan in Asia in terms of the development of its broadcasting capabilities. The big state had developed its big media.
NIRT International Radio Service
For 22 years the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) broadcast a local radio service (Radio 1555) and a local TV service (Channel 7) to the capital of Iran from their studios in Tehran. However in 1976 it was decided by the Iranian government that AFRTS should close down its radio and TV services, which it did on 25 October 1976, the day before the Shah of Iran’s 57th birthday.
Radio 1555 closed with presenter: Airforce Staff Sergeant Barry Cantor playing as the last record: Roger Whittaker’s Durham Town (The Leaving). This was followed by a closing announcement by Chief Master Sergeant and Station Manager: Bob Woodruff, followed by the American National Anthem.
The following morning, the 26th October 1976, the Shah’s birthday, this additional Iranian government owned radio and television service began under the control of NIRT Director General: R. Ghotbi.
The service was initially called ''Tehran Radio'' but quite quickly was changed to NIRT International Radio reflecting the fact that although it provided a local service to expatriates and Iranians alike in Tehran and its surroundings, it also broadcast throughout Iran, and to neighbouring countries.
NIRT International Radio was broadcast on: 1555 kHz AM (Medium Wave) and 106 MHz FM (stereo) in Tehran.
Earlier in the year, by way of adverts in international broadcasting magazines a number of (mostly British) broadcasters were brought together to help design the studios, produce and present programmes and provide a local, national and international news service.
The new radio service had a self-operated studio, as used commonly throughout the West, however this was new to Iran and the presentation team advised the NIRT technicians in building the studio and adapting the mixing console to work in this way.
The initial Presentation team comprised:
- Ted Anthony - previously from KLAC, Los Angeles;
- Frank Carpenter - from Radio Hallam, Sheffield, England, and
- Marc Paul (Burden) - freelance and syndicated radio – BBC and Australian radio.
The team was later joined by:
- Mikel Hunter - previously from KGBS Los Angeles.
- Claude "Hoot" Hooten (as Brad Edwards) - previously from KGBS Los Angeles.
The News Gathering and English Newsreading team comprised:
- Ray Goff - from England, previously broadcasting in Australia and New Zealand;
- Peter Body - previously broadcasting in Bermuda and Australia;
- Mike Russell - from Scotland, and
- John Coulson - from Metro Radio, Newcastle, England (later joined Presentation).
Others on the news team were: Dave Emory, Vahe Potrousian, Rory Sutton and Sheila Mills. News was read in English by those listed above, and by specialist newsreaders in: Farsi, French, German and Russian.
The first record played was country artist Charley Pride singing: ‘The Happiness of Having You’. The first news bulletin was read by Englishman Ray Goff at 6.00am. Music and all other programmes were in English and presented live in a calm, friendly manner similar to the output from British and North American local stations at that time, with a mixture of: pop, rock, ‘middle of the road’, soul and oldies music interspersed with syndicated programmes: The American Country Countdown, The Wolfman Jack Show, Jim Pewter etc.
Tags:AFRTS, American, American Forces Radio and Television Service, American National Anthem, Asia, Australia, Australian, BBC, Barry Cantor, Bob Woodruff, British, Director General, Educational, England, Farsi, French, German, Happiness, IRIB, Iran, Iranian, Iranian Revolution, Islamic, Islamic Republic, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Italy, Japan, Los, Los Angeles, NIRT, NITV, National Iranian Radio, National Iranian Radio and Television, National Iranian Television, New Zealand, Newcastle, Nowruz, Parliament, Pepsi, Persian, Plan and Budget Organization, Radio, Ray, Revolution, Reza Ghotbi, Russian, Scotland, Shah, Shah of Iran, Tehran, White Revolution, Wikipedia