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Sjónvarp Føroya

M.A. Winthersgøta 2
P.O. Box 21
FR-110 Tórshavn
Tel.: 298 17780
Fax: 298 18815

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TV against all odds
The mere fact that the population in the Faroe Islands is so small, only 45,000 people, makes the Faroese Television company, Sjónvarp Føroya (SvF), a remarkable organization.

But this small nation has its own culture and speaks its own language. These days, with innumerable analogue and digital TV signals shining down upon even this spectacular and dramatic landscape in the middle of the North Atlantic, it is vital for the Faroese language to have its own television station producing programmes in its native language and reflecting everyday life in the Faroes.

The only Faroese TV
SvF is the national television company in the Faroe Islands and the only station based on the islands broadcasting in Faroese.
The station transmits about 40 hours a week, and like most public-service stations the range of programmes is wide, covering news, documentaries, entertainment, culture, sport and drama.
SvF produces a little less than 20% of all its transmissions and translates into Faroese about the same percentage of foreign programmes.

By producing as many high-quality Faroese programmes as possible, SvF will contribute to make all the Faroese more capable of living, working and prospering in the Faroe Islands and to make them more able to understand Faroese society and thus influence it in a democratic way.

SvF will also, as an open window to the outside world, contribute to giving our nation as a whole a better understanding of the world and enable it to participate in the community of nations.

SvF will undertake all these tasks according to the wishes and demands of the Faroese people, but independent of any political and financial influence.

One of the youngest in the world
The Faroe Islands got their own TV station in 1984, and were one of the last countries in the world to do so.

In 1957 Útvarp Føroya, the Faroese Radio Station, was established, and way back in the 1960s there were already discussions as to the possibility of establishing a Faroese television station. But the small population was far from an ideal foundation for a television channel.
In 1972 a committee set up by the Faroese Parliament presented a copious report in preparation for a Faroese television station, and in 1976 Parliament agreed in principle that the Faroes should have its own television company.
At the same time, the Government was under a lot of pressure from the population and found itself compelled to give private associations licences to transmit. However, these companies were only able to produce a very small number of programmes themselves.

It was not until 1982 that the final bill on public television was passed by Parliament, and Sjónvarp Føroya was established as an independent organization, separate from the radio. At the same time, the private associations lost their transmission licences. SvF was able to broadcast its first test programme in April 1984, and in September of the same year it started broadcasting its own regularly programmes.

High ratings
Although SvF is a public station with the usual demands made of a "public service" channel, it is self-supporting. Costs are covered mainly by licence fees, advertising and bingo.

The Faroes include 18 islands as well as some islets and rocks. This is quite a challenge to the editors in Tórshavn.

The purpose of SvF is, among other things, to follow the debates inparliament and government but it is also very important to cover everyday life around the country.

Dagmar Joensen - Nés is head of programming.

The station services about 13,000 households, but approx. 50 transmitters and transformers are needed to distribute the TV-signals to all the islands. The transmission net is administered by the Faroese Telecom company.

Surveys have found that SvF has a high number of viewers - in some cases up to as much as 70-80% - especially for the SvF-produced news and other local productions.

The Faroese television audience seems to appreciate highly the local environment, and SvF has made it one of its top priorities to visit as many places in the Faroes as possible to cover everyday life in the small villages. This is a considerable challenge to the small production team in Tórshavn, as the Faroes consist of no fewer than 17 inhabited islands.

Furthermore, being a national TV company, SvF is committed to following the developments in the Parliament and Government, and all movements within trade, commerce, the financial sector, and the cultural sphere,etc.

The station in the centre
Sjónvarp Føroya is situated in a couple of old connected houses in the centre of Tórshavn.

The station has a permanent staff of 35 people besides 15 to 20 freelance workers and other specialists.

The organization of the station is made up of the management with its own special units and four departments, the administration department, the planning department, the production department and the technical department, all taking care of the daily functions. Each of these departments has its ownhead.

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