Deathknell for A Very Much Alive Night?

The radio show, which for 20 years featured live performances by beloved artists of yesteryear, has been cancelled but Israel’s nostalgia-lovers are not prepared to let Laila Chai Me’od go gently into the night.

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!”

Laila-Chai-Meod-israeli-music-stars

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.

Laila-Chai-Meod-host-Amnon-Peer

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.

On its Facebook page, Nostal.co.il posted this “souvenir photo of the final broadcast” with actor-singer Ya’ackov “Yankale” Ben-Sira, singer Gaby Berlin and Eitan Masuri on keyboard.

Yep. Looks like a pricey production indeed.

Laila-Chai-Meod-last-show

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). 

Dudi Patimer-israeli-music-collector

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.

About Rachel Neiman

A veteran media professional who has lived in Israel since 1984, Rachel has been part of the ISRAEL21c organization since 2008. Prior to that, she served as managing editor of Globes Online, the English-language edition of Israel’s leading business daily, and before that, at The Jerusalem Post, as a business reporter, feature writer, and consumer columnist. Rachel began writing about Israeli technology companies at LINK Israel’s Business and Technology Magazine and is a professional Hebrew to English translator. In her spare time, she is an active member of the Havurat Tel Aviv congregation, and the Holyland Hash House Harriers, part of an international running and drinking disorganization.