We went to the office this morning, a rarity these days (the office is on the other side of Bucharest and besides, we prefer to work at home). With no Ubers available (there rarely are early in the morning) we had to resort to a bog standard taxi. Fortunately, the cab which turned up was clean and didn’t reek of cigarettes: always a bonus.
Less fortunately, the cabbie had his radio tuned (rather loudly) to a station called Radio Zu.
Now, we have heard some really, really poor radio in our time. Morning programmes are often the worst: not everyone can be Terry Wogan. This, however, was something else. While the two (male) presenters appeared to have the voices of adults, their vocabularies, level of humour and general demeanour were those of eight or nine-year-old boys. We had to do a Google search when we got to the office to convince ourselves that this wasn’t some kind of bizarre social experiment. It wasn’t. The two presenters are real, and they’re adults: Daniel Buzdugan and Mihai Morar. Good grief.
We then searched them by name:
The top result is a news item about how the pair are under investigation for plagiarising material from a well-known Romanian blogger. Perhaps that’s why their current material is utter shite: they can’t get away with stealing other people’s jokes anymore.
Anyway, it will probably come as no surprise that Radio Zu belongs to Intact Media, the holding company which also runs the Antena TV stations, currently facing eviction from their studios following the failure of Intact’s owner, Dan Voiculescu – a convicted fraudster – to repay the €60 million he stole from the Romanian state.
Speaking of Antena, you may be interested to know that Romanian civil society is currently in the process of organising a boycott of all brands which continue to advertise on the channel. There is a full list on this Facebook page. It includes some big names (Vodafone, Kinder, McDonalds, Nescafe etc.) who really ought to be setting an example and voluntarily withdrawing ads. A couple of major companies have already done so: Telekom and Raiffeisen Bank. Well done them. We have no idea how effective a boycott will be in Romania – there is no boycott culture. We have to start somewhere though.
Another Romanian TV station, Pro TV, this week began broadcasting a Romanian version of The Great British Bake Off. It wasn’t all bad: the set was faithful to the original, as were the tasks the contestants had to carry out. However, like most Pro TV productions it was far too long (two hours!), and completely lacked the down-to-earth charm and self-deprecating humour of the UK version. Pointlessly dramatic incidental music and a faceless voice over did not help. The presenter, Nicolle Stanese, looks fabulous but can clearly do little else, while the three judges (Tudor Constantinescu, Simona Pope and Alex Stan) are all a bit too young and full of themselves. Indeed, one – Constantinescu, owner of the now closed Chocolat cake-shop and cafe chain – was arrested in November and faces some serious tax evasion charges.
Surely there must be some kind of sweet, innocent, Romanian Mary Berry figure they could have asked to do it?