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Radio Bulgaria is at the beginning of journalist Rumen Stoichkov’s professional path

"Radio is a magic of sounds and I am thankful that fate brought me here”

Photo: Yoan Kolev

30 years of dedicated work for the listeners. This is how one can briefly describe the professional path of journalist Rumen Stoichkov. Since 1988 when he first entered the Bulgarian National Radio, he has not betrayed the radio although he has received many invitations to work for higher salary in private radio stations. He is the personification of the unspoken saying that working in the oldest media in this country is a privilege, a responsibility, but above all a cause. Stoichkov's career started in the "Program" Editorial Office. Its functions are now performed by the Program Directorate, where the schemes for the various radio programs are collected and coordinated. Just a few days after he started work, he was invited to become an associate of Radio Bulgaria and thus combined the two positions.

"It was my dream to do the work of a reporter and journalist, so I didn't think twice and accepted. Almost immediately I was sent to my first report in a school," the journalist recalls.

He says that back then working with the audio recorded on audio cassettes was a tedious process, but he does not regret any of the reports he made. Their number for 30 years of work has reached 2000.

With the investigative reporting award of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, 2007.

“To a large extent, I am rather self-taught,” the journalist says. “Many years ago, I found myself on a business trip to Peshtera and there I realized that I had started reporting. This is the most difficult journalistic genre because in the radio everything is a magic of sounds that must be well arranged.”

Despite the praises he received for his reporting, the interview that earned him the position of a full-time reporter on the national news program of the BNR - "Horizont" is something special. It is the only interview of renowned intellectual and creator of the Italian language program of Radio Bulgaria, Petar Ouvaliev, with the Bulgarian national media. The interview was recorded during Ouvaliev’s visit to Bulgaria in 1992.

In order to record the interview, the journalist had to wait for nearly 20 days. Ouvaliev arrived at the invitation of then Vice President Blaga Dimitrova and his schedule was full, so the interview kept getting postponed.

"I waited patiently for this interview,” the journalist says. “But on the day he called me, it turned out that I had forgotten my questions to him. The conversation lasted for about an hour, during which I relied solely on my speed, reflexes and clear thinking. Since then, I have never written preliminary questions. It is very important not to interrupt and to listen carefully. During the interview, we watch each other and each body movement, or look allows me to make inferences about the person opposite of me.”

Over the next 22 years, Stoichkov continued with his reports for the various broadcasts of the program. He also became the host of the emblematic show "Night Horizon". In front of his microphone, he wished listeners "Good night" in exactly 1,300 editions. It is interesting how he managed to win and keep their loyalty for more than 2 decades:

"The secret is to respect the audience, to do your best to please them, because for these 22 years I have always known that I work for the people who listen to us, not for myself. Initially I thought that our audience at night might consist of some mad or drunk people but it turned out that 10 percent of the radio listeners listen to us. I realized that they respect me because of my tolerance and patience."

Stoichkov has preserved his best feelings, appreciation and gratitude to the BNR to this day and considers the Radio's birthday- January 25, to be his personal holiday:

"I love this institution immensely and I am thankful to fate for bringing me here. Happy holiday to all colleagues, may they be healthy and follow their thoughts and intuition. The should remember that there are countless topics outside the capital city."

In the studio

Although retired, Rumen continues to practice the profession and has included his reports from different parts of Bulgaria in seven published books. He always strives to do something good for the people he meets.

"I always go with my intuition, without a pre-made plan. I go to the main street in some village where the people gather. I know that even the most beautiful place has its problems related to bad healthcare, lack of good communication with the municipality, bad infrastructure, missing public transport. However, what people miss the most is their children and grandchildren who now live in big cities or abroad. No one is happy when their children are far away, even if they are better off in life.”

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: Yoan Kolev, personal archive

Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

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