Enough :: Latvian Television is down


Enough reader · 20.11.2023. · Comments (24)

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This year, several of the best specialists left Latvian television – the main reason for their departure is the years-long, allowed disorganization in the remuneration system and in the management of the company in general, especially in the Technology part, which neither the chairman of the board Ivars Priede (pictured) nor his subordinate directors are capable of managing.

In the meantime, several strategically important procurements lie in a pile (some for three years, others for five or more years!), which I. Priede is unable to organize and complete and without which LTV cannot develop. They are the procurement of LTV Unified control, the procurement of the substation of the electrical supply system, the LTV Content information management system, or Media Asset Management – The purchase of MAM, which will be joined by the now infamous and multi-million purchase of the Portable Television Station (PTS).

It goes without saying that the prices of hardware and equipment are increasing every year, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of euros have not been saved for the country because of these delayed purchases. When our engineers recently visited the Estonian public television and radio ERR, they came away completely shocked and admitted that their Estonian neighbors are at least ten years ahead of Latvian Television in terms of technology implementation and work organization, and the most painful thing is that with such years of management and LTV there is no hope of catching up with them, let alone building European-level public television.

It is I. Priede who is the head of LTV’s procurement commission and is responsible for the Technology part, personnel policy and remuneration system. As it is written in Priede’s CV on the television website LTV.lv, Priede has been responsible for the technological development of LTV since May 2016!

This year, within a few months, eight operators wrote their resignations and, moreover, the best ones, whose LTV is few and who have invested a lot of effort and time in their professional growth. They went to work on other televisions! The creators of the programs put their heads together – how will we work without the best in the future?!

This year, even before the mass departure of professionals, trade unions and representatives of operators once again drew I. Priedes’ attention to a critical situation – unclear remuneration system, poor management and work organization in the company. After talking with Priedi, the employees concluded only one thing – either he does not understand what is happening in the structure under his command, or he does not want to understand.

Back in 2019, the operators wrote a collective letter to I. Priedem, in which they expressed their indignation about unfavorable employment contracts, work organization and unclear pay. The answer was received after half a year and only after several reminders! Even before that, the State Audit pointed out these shortcomings, but the disorder remained. In the meantime, Latvian television continues to buy outsourcing services with taxpayers’ money, thus filling the operator and all kinds of other “shortfalls”, while the starving LTV technical staff (and often also creative ones) use almost every opportunity to earn money in side jobs, including in competitor televisions, meanwhile not only one in the administration earns thousands.

Still others, both on television and from the outside, are just amazed that such a large company with five hundred employees exists without a Personnel Department and without a personnel policy! And what creatives? Scarce and or split in half to maintain the quality of LTV broadcasts. How long will they have enough strength, enthusiasm?!

Chronic disorganization has threatened LTV broadcasts more than once, the television union also wrote about this in its letter to the television management and the Council of Public Electronic Media last June: “The LTV union has pointed out the disorganized management processes inside LTV in several meetings with the company’s board and SEPLP, as well as the weakness of the company’s technical management.

At the same time, we warned that sooner or later this years-long non-solving of problem situations in essence, without making decisive decisions, without investing in technical skills and without creating a strong management of technical processes, will lead to a disaster on the air, which also resulted in the non-existent LTV broadcast of the Latvian ice hockey team’s celebration on May 29. welcoming event in Riga.”

SEPLP, however, chose to look from the outside at what continues to happen at LTV and apparently will happen, leaving all “management” to the chairman of the board and building dream castles about the united public mass media. Only there won’t be a palace, there is a slum in front of your eyes. Is this the right attitude when talking about an object important to national security?!

Only due to a lucky coincidence, the Festival of Songs took place without catastrophic technical incidents, only the outdated tap of the filming camera, made in Belarus, broke, which finally had to be replaced. But the staff admitted that they worked the festive period on the verge of exhaustion – the slightest unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, and there would be another scandalous failure. When politicians go for interviews on LTV, they scrunch up their noses from Soviet smells, get stuck in elevators, squint and close their eyes, but endure because they need to talk in front of the camera.

And the operators are far from the only ones who are “dissatisfied”. This year, several leading specialists in technology, IT and program creation left their jobs. Another skilled and experienced engineer in such a narrow field as modern television is also thinking about leaving, whose loss, as well as repeated failures with procurement, will make the years-long technological decline of LTV even deeper. I wonder who will work with the new mobile television stations, if I. Priede will ever be able to buy them?

For several years, LTV has been trying to buy MAM, and this digital system is critical for the television to work as a modern internet television company. This year, MAM’s procurement, which was organized by I. Priede, has already failed twice and will probably not happen again until the end of the year – the unearned money will most likely have to be returned to the state budget, the prices of digital equipment will rise again in today’s tight market conditions, but without a digital system LTV sinks even further into the past, which, like the dilapidated building, is so reminiscent of Soviet times. Technical specialists have repeatedly pointed out to I. Priedem that organizing strategically important projects in this way is not correct!

The procurement of the substation of the electrical supply system has been delayed for several years, the substation is more than 35 years old and, of course, it needs to be renovated. The half-finished procurement of LTV’s unified directorate has also been going on for years, the stalled non-implementation of which is associated with risks to national security (by the way, as well as the inability to procure PTS). If the only control panel burns out in a short circuit caused by some external factor, for example, someone accidentally knocks over a glass with water (but the procurement for the installation of a spare panel has not been carried out to the end), then the society will be left with LTV black screens, which would definitely not be desirable at X hour.

Claims that there was no money for television do not stand up to any criticism! Large purchases are not planned in time in the budget, because the money runs out of the fingers in the poor organization of work, but – when it is needed so much that it could no longer be postponed – even then the purchases fail, because they are poorly organized and managed. Then I. Priede is asking for money from the government out of order. LTV lives by spending unnecessarily, and uses public money to put more and more patches on its inefficiencies. It looks like this is how LTV will celebrate its 70th anniversary – abandoned and half-destroyed during the seven-year rule of I. Priedes.

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The article is in Latvian

Tags: Latvian Television


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