Switzerland's public broadcaster, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, has announced a surplus of SFr4 million on its 1999 budget of 1.4 billion.
SRG SSR idee suisse, as it's known in Switzerland, broadcasts television and radio programmes in the four national languages.
A revision of the broadcasting laws is in the offing. It would anchor the corporation as an independent public service broadcaster, with advertising only allowed on television.
Commercial stations are likely to get a free hand in future, assuming they can assure finance and advertising revenue.
SRG SSR idee suisse would under the new law get sole rights to the radio and television licence fees levied from listeners and viewers. At present a small percentage is given to some local commercial radio stations.
However, the new law also foresees an advisory board for the corporation, and this idea has not gone down well with parts of the management.
Meanwhile SRG SSR idee suisse is asking the government for a licence to start a nationwide television information channel which would largely rebroadcast television news and current affairs programmes for those who have missed normal scheduled times. A pilot programme in the Zurich area has been termed a success.
by Peter Haller