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Irish radio journalist, producer and EBU lecturer Tom McGuire in Sofia:

"BNR garners high loyalty from listenership across the country and the world through Radio Bulgaria"

Tom McGuire
Photo: BNR

The information created by the Bulgarian National Radio continues to enjoy the highest public trust in Bulgaria. With these words, BNR Director General Milen Mitev opened a two-day seminar at the BNR headquarters in Sofia, dedicated to the organization of news content and current information in public media in order to create an integrated newsroom with special guest speaker Tom McGuire.

A prominent journalist, producer and award-winning documentary filmmaker, Tom McGuire has long been the head of the Irish RTÉ Radio 1. Having started his career in commercial radio and then the regional station of the RTE in Cork (RTE Cork), he then moved to the headquarters in Dublin. "RTÉ Radio 1 and the Bulgarian National Radio have almost the same number of employees and almost the same responsibilities," the guest told the attendees of the seminar. The joint initiative is of the Bulgarian National Radio and the EBU Academy.

We bring you more about the role of public service media these days from Tom McGuire in an interview for Radio Bulgaria:

„I think it is like it has always been – to hold a mirror to the public where their culture, the world and their society is. We take time to reflect that and to, in the words of those who founded radio, to‎continue to educate, inform and entertain 24 hours a day.‎ Trust is important because that is the foundation of all public-service media. The audience must know, they must trust that what they are hearing is correct because there is a lot of stuff out there today that is fake, and that is the first responsibility of the public service broadcaster”.

During the seminar in Sofia, Tom McGuire worked with journalists, editors and digital content specialists from the national and regional programs of the Bulgarian National Radio, describing the challenges in the daily work of a modern-day news journalist in Bulgaria and Ireland:

I think the BNR is a very vibrant organization, I think it is very outward-looking and ‎very forward-looking. I am jealous that it can have such high listenership that is not something that ‎we would experience in Ireland, the level of loyalty that BNR is able to garner from listenership ‎right across the country and across the world through Radio Bulgaria.‎ Also, I was really impressed with the variety of staff. There are so many people of all different ages and generations and all different parts of the country and I’ve had the privilege to meet them. There is a very colourful and rich tapestry of Bulgaria and it’s good to know that that’s been reflected every day.”

Foreign-language programs for international audiences, such as the content that Radio Bulgaria presents daily, have a very bright future through online distribution, says Tom McGuire:

“We do not have such an international service in Ireland but I think for countries like Ireland and like Bulgaria it is very important that we take our place in the world and show who we are. We are small countries by international standards, we are very similar in terms of the nature of the people. Bulgaria is slightly larger with a slightly larger population yet again I think we depend on the connection with those who live abroad, the diaspora. So it is really important that Bulgaria can tell its own story and not have someone else tell it for them”.

The participation in last week’s seminar at the Bulgarian National Radio has been Tom McGuire's second visit to Bulgaria after his attendance of the EBU Radio Assembly in 2019, held in the Bulgarian capital. "Sofia, like Dublin, is a city you can easily explore by walking," he shares.

“I’m growing to love Sofia. It is really strange that it bookended the pandemic for me, my last visit was my final work visit before Covid to the Radio Assembly. It is really such an old civilization and a relatively new country in terms of the late 19th century. I think that Ireland looks on Bulgaria as another small country within the European Union and as such, we need to stick together.”

Photos: BNR
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