Last Thursday night marked the 20-year anniversary and the last broadcast of Laila Chai Me’od (“A Very Much Alive Night”), which for two decades, every Thursday between midnight and 5:00 AM, provided a live performance stage for Israeli music artists. Hosted by veteran radioman Amnon Peer, the show brought together the best in theater, culture and lifestyle — particularly oenophila — plus live music by beloved artists of days gone by.
Small wonder then, that the show’s cancellation is being protested by Davidi Sela, founder of the Council for the Promotion of Israeli Heritage, Nostal.co.il and Radio Nostalgia, who has posted an petition online that reads, in part, “Removing the radio program is a significant blow to preserving the heritage of Hebrew nostalgic music and light entertainment content, loved by us all. Let’s prove to the relevant authorities that public broadcasting does indeed belong to us!”
As of today, the petition has over 14,000 signatures.
The show’s shutdown, however, is part of a much larger process to streamline the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) overall. The recommendations made by Landes Committee, which was appointed to review the IBA — were announced by Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan and Minister of Finance Yair Lapid, also on Thursday.
According to Ha’aretz, “The committee recommended not changing the number of radio stations and the existing eight will continue to broadcast. But Israel Radio will see its budget cut sharply, after the committee found a large surplus of manpower and great inefficiency.”
Surely a show like Laila Chai Me’od can’t cost very much to produce but perhaps — as the only IBA radio show to air full live performances — it was still more expensive than just spinning discs.
In fact, according to an article in ICE.co.il, Laila Chai Me’od had already been winding down since Peer’s mandatory retirement in July at age 67 — although he had made clear to IBA management that he was happily prepared to continue hosting the live show.
Instead, during those seven months, he arrived every week to the IBA studios to edit compilations taken from the show’s 936 episodes that were broadcast weekly in lieu of the live show. It appears that, barring a minor miracle, Thursday’s live performance was Laila Chai Me’od‘s last hurrah.
Yep. Looks like a pricey production indeed.
Nostal also give props to Dudi Patimer, who describes himself as an Israeli pop music researcher, editor, reviewer and poet-lyricist. Patimer is also a prodigious collector of vinyl and his YouTube channel — carrying on the good work of preserving Israeli music from the 40, 50 and 60s — is a must-see (and hear).
Archived recordings of Laila Chai Me’od broadcasts are available online at the IBA website and visit Nostal.co.il to read and sign the online petition to restore Laila Chai Me’od to the airwaves.