Thursday, 7 July 2011

State broadcaster resigns after giving son lucrative contract

SPAIN (El Pais) During a meeting this morning of Radio Televisión Española (RTVE)'s administrative council, Alberto Oliart resigned from his post as president of the state broadcaster. According to sources close to Oliart, the president had been planning for months to step down as RTVE chief this summer for three reasons: his exhaustion - he is 82 years old -, the ever-fiercer criticism from the opposition Popular Party toward his work, and various setbacks, such as his failure to sell the MotoGP broadcasting rights to Telecinco or not renewing the deal with Mediapro to produce the program España Directo. His resignation comes after the controversy surrounding the decision by Televisión Española to contract Telefónica Broadcast Services (TBS), owned by Oliart's son, Alberto, to provide technical services to its flagship daytime show, La mañana de la 1.

Technical services for La mañana de la 1, including a team of reporters around Spain and mobile units, were previously provided by Overón. Mariló Montero, the show's presenter, bade farewell to the employees of Overón working on the show live on air last week. Overón's contract with TVE was worth around 14 million euros a year and its renewal offer was rejected by the state broadcaster.

TVE called "for reasons of urgency" a tender process involving the six companies in the sector. Two backed out saying they could not meet the requirements while a fusion of two others declined to bid. Just two companies put forward bids, Overón and TBS. "We decided on TBS because its offer was the cheapest one," TVE stated, adding that there is no "specific prohibition" to Oliart forming part of the Purchasing Management Committee.

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