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Eyes and ears On the road with Switzerland’s public broadcaster

Switzerland has a long history of public media – and the challenge of keeping it current for future generations.

The range of programming produced by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) is varied, especially considering the fact that the budget has to cover the four national languages as well as an additional seven at its international arm SWI This linguistic quirk is why newsmakers in Switzerland often end up speaking into multiple SBC microphones.

With the popularity of citizen journalism and YouTube, the competition for eyeballs is fiercer than ever. A particular challenge is trying to appeal to younger viewers who barely remember a time before Netflix.

But last year, both the SBC and its supporters were relieved when Swiss voters rejected a proposal to do away with the mandatory licence fee for public broadcasters. Every household pays CHF365 ($365) per year for access to radio and TV in Switzerland.

This piece is part of ongoing coverage from the International Public Media Conference in Bern on March 4, where participants will discuss the future of public media and how it’s responding to political, financial and technical changes.

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