1 April 2019 marked 35 years since the first Faroese programme was aired on Faroese public television. Prior to 1 April 1984, Faroe Islanders had access to Danish TV news. Not everyone was thrilled when the Danish news programme was replaced with Faroese TV news in the mid-80s.
Árni Gregersen, a journalist who started on the job on 1 August 1984, recalls the fightback.
“People were disappointed to lose the Danish television news,” Árni remembers. “In those first two years, we really had a fight on our hands. We were competing against the Danish television news. Many people demanded that it be returned to their screens, but those demands eventually faded and the Faroese news programme, which is still called Dagur og Vika today, became the show that provided people with news.”
Jógvan Páll Johannesen, a TV technician, started working at the Faroese public television (Sjónvarp Føroya) on the same day as Árni and has worked there since. He has witnessed the many changes that have taken place in the past 35 years.
“Those first few years were a very exciting time,” Jógvan Páll recalls. “The equipment was relatively advanced and modern, even better than Danmark Radio’s. The first person I met on my first day was Árni Gregersen!”
Árni and Jógvan Páll travelled all over the Faroe Islands and abroad to cover a wide range of news events, often choosing to focus on different stories to those preferred by the public radio.
“Faroese radio had existed since 1957 and we were very conscious about not wanting to cover the same topics and news stories as the public radio,” says Árni. “We wanted to spread out to the whole country and cover subjects that the radio typically chose not to do. Our frame of mind was that anything was possible.”
Jógvan Páll has noticed a change in the working culture these 35 years.
“We all cared for Faroese television and it felt like being part of a family,” he says. “The atmosphere was very special. Today, everything runs on a deadline. At that time, you had more time to talk to one another. It was a completely different working culture. The content is much better today, but when we started, we were proud that we could produce content about Faroese issues in the Faroese language, made by Faroe Islanders for Faroe Islanders on Faroese television.”
Árni agrees: “At that time, just creating Faroese television was good enough. Today, the demands are much greater. In general, everything has improved since then.”
Words: Levi Hanssen
This article was originally published on Faroeislands.fo