Conservative journo replaces Ferrari

MADRID — Journalist Jose Antonio Sanchez has replaced Javier Gonzalez Ferrari as director general and effective numero uno at Spanish state broadcaster Radio Television Espanola (RTVE).

Greenlit by Spain’s council of ministers Friday morning, Sanchez’s appointment is widely interpreted as a move by Spain’s ruling Popular Party to ensure control over RTVE in the run-up to general elections in some 18 months time.

Sanchez made his mark as a political columnist at the conservative Spanish daily “ABC.” He is said to be very close to the Popular Party.

RTVE’s primetime newscasts are the primary source of information and opinions in Spain, where newspaper readership is one of the lowest in western Europe.

A new RTVE director general normally names his own top exec team. It is inclear, however, whether Sanchez will substitute RTVE director and numero dos Alvaro de la Riva, who has consolidated RTVE’s ratings leadership in Spain with an aggressively populist programming led by talent reality show “Operacion Triunfo” and “Tell Me How It Happened” (“Cuentame como paso”), a retro drama focusing on a Spanish family living in the last years of Franco’s dictatorship.

RTVE’s most commercial channel, TVE-1, averaged a 25.2% market share last season (Sept. 2001 – June 2002).

Private broadcasters Antena 3 and Telecinco trailed with 20.7% and 19.8% respectively.

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