As TV photo-opportunities go, the scene for the signing of the contract establishing a studio and offices for the ERT3 TV channel on Paros scored ten out of ten!
The evening of the 29th August was very warm with a slight breeze and the ceremony took place in the old square by the side of the Town Hall with the old arch and the church on one side and the old windmill in the background. Against a backdrop of the sea and sky with a constantly changing set of colours from pale pink through various shades of rose, mauve and purple and finally the very dramatic red ball of the sun falling into the sea at sunset, Mayor Rangoussis and the General Manager of ERT3, Dimitris Katsantonis, put their signatures to the agreement.
Then, as they explained the future plans and objectives of Paros's new TV station, the new crescent moon appeared high in the sky above the bay - truly magical television pictures.
The Bishop of Naxos and Paros, Ambrosios, blessed the signing and gave an emotional speech about how he felt that it was of great significance that ERT3 had chosen Paros, the home of one of the most important churches in Orthodoxy, the Ekatontapiliani. The Byzantine Choir then gave a memorable performance of three hymns chosen especially for the event and two of the youngest members of the children in the dance group gave beautiful gifts from the Studio Yria to the ERT3 representatives to commemorate the event.
The ERT3 "Studio Paros" will initially broadcast programmes and documentaries on Paros's daily life and cultural events and on sites of historic interest on the island. It will then gradually increase its scope to include other Aegean islands and the Peleponnese.
The establishment of the studio and offices, situated on the first floor of the "KAPI" Centre for Senior Citizens (the old Town Hall building) in Paroikia is a big step forward with respect to promoting tourism for the island. The new channel will show all aspects of Paros culture and sites of interest to encourage visitors who are interested in something more than just sun, sand and an evening at the bar. Paros has so many archeological sites to explore, a very progressive and interesting museum as well as the magnificent Ekatontapiliani, some of the oldest marble mines in the country, as well, of course, as the beautiful inland villages. All these factors contributed to the decision to bring ERT3, headquartered in Thessaloniki, to Paros. Remember too that there exists an ancient link between Paros and northern Greece through the kings who originated in the area and then travelled to the north, as well as the connection with the first anti-war poet Archilochos - the most famous poet after Homer - who lived in Paros before settling in northern Greece.
The executives from ERT3 plan to start broadcasting from Paros within the next two months ready for the winter schedules, showing around two hours of our "local" news and events and special programmes each evening.
We all send our congratulations to the Mayor and the Municipality with this venture, wish them every success and look forward to seeing the beauty of "our" island and its history being made available to a larger audience.