RTS inside: Visiting Radio Television Suisse

Life behind the screen goes on 24/7. News broadcasting is a continuous non-stop process, in thousands a lot of people involved. SUISSEPIC had a unique chance to visit Radio Television Suisse office and had a walk around the studios to see “behind-the-scenes”.

Headquartering in Geneva and having its radio office in Lausanne, Radio Télévision Suisse employs around 2,000 people. RTS has 3 TV stations (RTS Un, RTS Deux, RTS Info) and 4 radio stations (La 1ère, Espace 2, Couleur 3, Option Musique). The brand RTS was created in 2010 by Radio suisse romande and Télévision suisse romande. It is situated in a modern building in the heart of Geneva.

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We arrived on Saturday to enjoy space and not to disturb editors and journalists during their daily process. Tiago eventually agreed to show us around and met SUISSEPIC team at the entrance.

To begin with despite the fact of having many friends employed by different media and also working at the TV, it was the first time when I found myself at the other side of the screen. We started from a Studio 1 called studio magazine or STIM (studio images magazine) “C’est ma question!”, a lovely warm yellow place, where participants of the show answer random questions coming from the public.

And then a short stop to see the sound mixing station and the director’s area. Camera, motor, action!

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BTW radio and television are considered to be important in public life so the government provides an official support of these institutions. The thing is that the Swiss pay special radio/TV fees “Billag” that enable radio and television programs in every linguistic part of Switzerland. It is said that fee is considered to be a financial basis of radio and television. It is paid by those who have at least one device which provides opportunities of listening radio or watching TV.

There was a hot discussion about Bill AG’s necessity, however on 4th March “No-billag” referendum was held where 71% of Swiss people officially supported the tax. The similar system also exists in Germany, Austria and Great Britain.

We were moving forward watching and catching pokemons in the corridors to see the lights arrangements in the biggest studio of RTS. To be fixed at the ceiling all the lights are moved separately due to the vertical lines. All preparations can take a week. If the lights have to be repaired there are special rails defining the trajectory.

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And then followed zone which I personally loved the most. It was a hall of creativity with the giants, maps and artefacts. It was the place, where models and designs for films and TV-shows are created. The hall was huge however Tiago mentioned that only 2-3 people work there.

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We had a short look at the sport editorial office, which apparently has its own broadcasting studio with a big white floor where time or news illustrations are shown. We were just 5 minutes before the news started to be On-Air so I was lucky to feel myself like a real TV-presenter.

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It was almost 12 and we almost ran to the director’s office to see broadcasting process.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Then followed short and clear director’s commands to other participants of this performance such as the cameramen, operators, TV-presenters and the journalists, who were shown LIVE.

I was stuck thinking how these people were doing simultaneous magic. However this is television. Like in transportation or at the plant there are no mistakes allowed.

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Our tour was over at “so-called” museum section, where RTS producers and managers accept their guests. There we found one of the first cameras, old radios and also a logo of RTS.

And the panorama of the small and comfortable Geneva city.

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