On September 24 Ukraine’s state broadcaster UA:PBC confirmed its intentions to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.

Now, just a few days later, Ukraine’s government has forced the broadcaster to stop its analogue transmission owing to mounting debts.

Noel Curran — the Director General of the EBU — has called on the government to reallocate funds to keep the broadcaster on air.

“We are dismayed that the authorities have taken the decision to deprive the Ukrainian people of this important public service.”

“We urge the authorities to restore transmissions immediately and allocate the necessary funding to allow public service media to fulfil its critical role to society and to democracy in Ukraine.”

As the EBU points out, that’s particularly important in the run-up to Presidential and Parliamentary elections, which will take place in 2019.

UA:PBC is the country’s only broadcaster that is a full member of the European Broadcasting Union — a requirement in order to participate in and air the Eurovision Song Contest.

This year the broadcaster, which has one of the smallest budgets in Europe, only received half of the 40 million euro budget which it is allocated under national law.

The news is unfortunate, but it isn’t entirely surprising. Back in March it emerged that the broadcaster had only received half of its entitled funds.

At the time UA:PBC’s board chairman Zurab Alasania, who resigned as general director after a budget cut during the hosting process of Eurovision 2017, took a pessimistic outlook on the public broadcaster’s future. As he told UNIAN:

“Due to this [lack of] funding, UA:PBC will be forced, already in April, to stop broadcasting without exception from all analog transmitters, as well as a significant number of digital and satellite transmitters.”

In June, UA’s First channel stopped analogue broadcasting in nine cities — including the capital Kyiv — as part of its belt-tightening.

Naturally Eurovision fans are now worried about what this all means for Ukraine’s participation at Eurovision 2019. After all, they withdrew in 2015 citing financial problems (which were, no doubt, compounded by war with Russia over the annexation of Crimea).

Their recent confirmation that they plan to compete at Eurovision will give fans a degree of hope. But intentions — no matter how good — don’t always work out. Let’s hope Ukraine’s government — and by extension UA:PBC — can get their finances in order fast.

Something else to consider: The national final Vidbir is run by the commercial broadcaster STB (while UA:PBC looks after the winning song as the ESC entry). STB is not affected by these financial issues…but they’re not an EBU member so they couldn’t take over Ukraine’s ESC entry if UA:PBC closes down for good.

Read more Ukraine Eurovision news

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beccaboo1212
2 years ago

Maybe they should do online national final for a change. 🙂

Jonas
Jonas
2 years ago

It’s not as bad as it seems…I think. A more gradual transition to digital would have been preferable of course, but at least they’re still on air. There’s no reason this should stop them competing next year. Nobody in Ukraine might be watching, but the station still exists at least.

As an aside… “a full member of the European Broadcasting Union — a requirement in order to participate in and air the Eurovision Song Contest”…well, except if you’re Australia.

Mohrant
Mohrant
2 years ago

Please don’t leave us Ukraine! You’re one of Eurovision’s best (and one of my personal favourite) countries.

Fast Food Music Lover
Fast Food Music Lover
2 years ago

The last time they were forced to sit out the contest they came back with a bang so it might be for the best.

Pavel
Pavel
2 years ago

Vidbir is a relatively nice selection (two last Vidbir winners are questionable, but I still enjoy about 10+ songs from their NF over the last 3 years)

EscFAN
EscFAN
2 years ago

Crimea was not annexed

Kris
Kris
2 years ago
Reply to  EscFAN

Mr Putin is it you?

Vlad
Vlad
2 years ago
Reply to  EscFAN

Very relevant comment /s

MikolasFan
MikolasFan
2 years ago

Whaaat? one of my fav Eurovision country could be out of contest? no freaking way!
ebu must switch the local broadcaster who can pay, problem solved /

Tasha
Tasha
2 years ago

William dear, did you read it? it from official twitter of UA:Eusrovison quotes : “UA:PBC shuts down”. No. UA:PBC is still available in digital broadcasting. The analogue television is an outdated television technology, and most of EBU members don’t support it as well. Yes, at the moment refusal of analogue broadcasting wasn’t a part of broadcaster’s plans. But that doesn’t mean that UA:PBC will stop its broadcast, or will not participate in Eurovision events. UA:PBC is working as usual” So what does it mean? UA:PBC is off or on ? they still have find the money, right? i don’t get… Read more »

James
James
2 years ago
Reply to  Tasha

Traditional analog TV is when older TV sets with antenna still receive analog signals transmitted by broadcaster. Now, digital TV is set to gradually replace analog, with many countries making the switch as early as 10 years ago. Digital allows broadcasters to air digital signals without physical intrusions such as buildings and mountains and have them received by newer TV’s with a built-in digital TV receiver. So basically, UAPBC’s channels are still on the air, just not on analog. Viewers will need to buy their own digital receiver and have it installed on their old TV sets to get the… Read more »

Tasha
Tasha
2 years ago
Reply to  James

thanks a lot for explanations:)
though i still don’t get what does it mean for UAPBS as EBU member, UAPBS wrote they gonna participate in Eurovision events, but EBU saying they need to find money first, i’m wondering maybe EBU and UAPBS cooperate to force local government give them fund ? lol

Tasha
Tasha
2 years ago

WTH? again funding problems? why EBU cant just give all rights to broadcasting ESC to STB channel instead of dealing with poor and constantly problematic UA:PBC broadcaster who take money from national budget?
unless its up to decision of Ukrainian government

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
2 years ago
Reply to  Tasha

STB is a Ukrainian commercial channnel, not a public broadcaster like UA:PBC. It’s probably not eligible to have EBU broadcasting rights.

David
David
2 years ago

Analogue? That was stopped in Norway back in 2008…

Tasha
Tasha
2 years ago
Reply to  David

yup, but Ukraine is post soviet poor country with current war with Russia and economics problems, so no wonder here, though they still mange to send amazing entries and do decent staging show almost every year

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
2 years ago

What a sh*t show.

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
2 years ago

Noooo Ukraine’s my favourite competing country 🙁
I hope they’ll get it sorted out <3

Kris
Kris
2 years ago

I dont get what the problem if they have local brodcater which has money and willing to pay? Who can allow to change national broadcaster of EBU, i confused…

Kris
Kris
2 years ago
Reply to  Kris

I’m confused by the username….lol

James
James
2 years ago

Upon learning that UA: PBC is also transmitting on digital, this should not be a problem actually.

Unless of course much of Ukraine’s TV households have yet to transition from analog to digital then there is a legitimate cause of concern.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
2 years ago
Reply to  James

That’s probably it.

Skimur
Skimur
2 years ago
Reply to  James

The switch to digital broadcasting was planned several years ago, the exact date of disconnection of analog broadcasting was known at least a year ago. All channels showed a warning about that every day, as well as detailed instructions on what to do to receive digital channels. There was even a social program where pensioners and poor people were provided with T2 tuners for free. People had enough time and opportunity to switch to digital TV. All this noise about disconnecting analogue broadcasting is just an instrument in the hands of some politicians, which they use to try to attract… Read more »

Bruno
Bruno
2 years ago

oh i believe they will find the way to resolve it, Ukraine is too important country to EBU and to Eurovision specifically, just let rich broadcaster STB to get on board as a member of EBU , STB runs Vidbir anyway and pays all the bills for NF winner,staging, transferring, and etc.

Skimur
Skimur
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno

STB had a 3 year contract, which ended in February. Until now, it is not known who will get the rights to conduct Vidbir next year.

Joe
Joe
2 years ago

I feel like they’ll figure this out. The EBU is rooting for them and they already confirmed. Fingers crossed.

Henry
Henry
2 years ago

Peace Peace Love wasn’t so wrong about Eurovision bankrupting the host tv station after all..

cyprus
cyprus
2 years ago

Dont worry guys, at least Ukraine WILL participate in Junior eurovision! 🙂 🙂