One of the oldest TV programs in Vanadzor is Bari Luys (“Good Morning”), which David Antonyan has produced and hosted for 9 years. Initially, it was broadcast on Interkap (currently Mig TV) under the name “Bari Luys, Vanadzor”.
In 2010, the program moved to Lori TV and was renamed “Bari Luys, Lori”. One of the reasons for moving from Mig TV, Antonyan says, was his getting an apartment in the outskirts of Vanadzor. The Mig TV studio is on the opposite side of the city, and he was paying 400 AMD (less than $1 USD but considered expensive for public transportation in Armenia) daily in transportation costs. The host decided to broadcast his program on Lori TV, which is located in the city center.
“That time too I was paid very little money for my program — I did it just for the love of it. Till today, I don’t receive any compensation, and I’m in an extremely bad state. But I’m drawing it out; I don’t want the program to end,” says Antonyan.
“Bari Luys, Lori” is financed by advertisements, and birthday wishes and announcements made on air. Antonyan says his program is mainly sponsored for one week at a time — from Monday to Friday. The cost of one episode is 1,000 AMD (about $2.50). Antonyan splits this amount with the TV station’s staff — the camera operator and editor of that particular broadcast. “Bari Luys, Lori” doesn’t have a regular sponsor and never has. The longest sponsorship deal is for one month — during the New Year’s holidays.
“The last 3 weeks I’ve worked at zero, with nothing. I’ve come with [my own] money so that I don’t stop the program,” he says.
The TV producer and host doesn’t participate in events outside of his program; that is, he doesn’t MC at wedding ceremonies or at parties, or make toasts (presumably for a fee).
Another Vanadzor TV host, Taron Danielyan, works at a few TV stations simultaneously. “In Vanadzor, I’m not some TV station’s ‘brand’ or another. I’m where they need me, and I commend this,” he says.
He’s paid per transaction, and he’s happy with his salary. “I’ve always been in favor of the following principle: as much as you work is as much as you’ll eat. When I had just entered the media industry, I worked for my name — now my name works for me,” says Danielyan.
Unlike David Antonyan, Taron hosts events to supplement his income.
Menua Mehrabyan, currently the sports commentator on Armenia’s Public Television, moved to Yerevan from Vandzor’s Lori TV. He hosted a football program on Radio Lori, then launched a TV program called “Football Lori”.
Unlike Antonyan, Mehrabyan received a monthly salary from the TV station to produce and host his program. After he moved to Yerevan, his program stopped being broadcast on Lori TV.
Comparing the salary of journalists based in the capital and those in the regions, Mehrabyan says that a program host in Vanadzor receives 25–30,000 AMD a month (about $62–74); in Yerevan, the average is 120,000 AMD (about $296) per month. Mehrabyan also ensures a supplementary income for himself, by hosting wedding and other types of parties.
Mehrabyan also hosts opening ceremonies of European championships or international contests held in Yerevan. In such cases, an oral agreement is reached regarding pay. He also has a contract with Republic Stadium to cover football matches — and it doesn’t matter if it’s an Armenian or international championship, he’s always paid the same amount.
Adrine Torosyan, Vanadzor