FANS of SBS’s Hebrew and Yiddish broadcasts can breathe a sigh of relief, with news this week that Jewish programming had avoided the axe.
It was announced that when the new schedule comes into effect next April, the two-hour show between 11am and 1pm on Sundays will remain.
Nitza Lowenstein, executive producer of SBS’s Hebrew program, was overjoyed.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome because we retain our prime slot every Sunday,” she said.
“This is a fantastic achievement for the Jewish community.”
The total number of hours for Jewish programming has been cut from three to two, but with Alex Dafner, who produced the third hour, retiring, it has nonetheless been hailed a victory.
The Sunday program will now include Hebrew, Yiddish and English elements.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s executive director Peter Wertheim and NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’s chief executive Vic Alhadeff negotiated with SBS to keep the programs.
“Given the pressures on SBS Radio to cater for large new minority communities, it is not surprising that some of the smaller, more established ethnic communities had their programs shifted from analogue to digital radio,” Wertheim said.
“In these circumstances, the Jewish community can be well satisfied that we have retained the existing two-hour time slot for an Australia-wide Jewish program on SBS analogue radio.”
Alhadeff said the community should be very happy. “SBS clearly has to juggle the needs and requirements of an ever-increasing number of constituencies which make up multicultural Australia, and we appreciate the consideration it has given to those of the Jewish community.”
The recent decision comes after the first SBS radio schedule review in 20 years.
The new SBS Radio schedule will ensure the languages broadcast reflect the multicultural make-up of today’s Australia.
SBS audio and language content director Mandi Wicks said: “The revised schedule will enable SBS to better deliver on its charter obligations by better servicing the largest communities with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and offering more services to emerging high-needs communities.”
ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim is pleased negotiations with SBS led to Jewish programming being retained.