Gwardamanġa Charles Arrigo maltese television
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When Malta went quiet for the nation’s first TV broadcast

Description

At St Luke’s Hospital, patients and nurses watched together, while in Gozo people huddled in front of electrical shops in Victoria and Nadur to get a good view.

On 29 September 1962, Malta fell quiet as the country’s first television broadcast, live and direct from Rediffusion House in Gwardamanga, was beamed across the Maltese Islands.

Amid a nationwide hush, the first pictures to come on screen were the Malta Television Service logo, formed from the Maltese Cross.

The distinctive voice of Charles Arrigo then proudly announced: ‘Dan huwa l-Malta Television Service’ and the show was underway.

At the time, television was described as ‘a most remarkable development of modern life’.

However some warned of the problems that it might create.

One critic wrote in a newspaper: ‘One would think that television might interfere with homework.’

Another newspaper article claimed: ‘In the political field, will television give the “telegenic” orator an undue advantage over a less flamboyant but no less thoughtful rival?’

Television sets were a very expensive luxury for most Maltese families and radio remained the dominant form of entertainment well into the 1970s.

In 1975, broadcasting in Malta came under the control of the state-owned Telemalta corporation after decades of being a monopoly in the hands of Rediffusion.

Xandir Malta rules the airwaves throughout the 1980s until Public Broadcasting Services Ltd was set up in 1991.

PBS and now operates three radio stations and two television channels serving Malta and Gozo.

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