By Han Sang-hee
The Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) will go through a facelift this spring to attract more students and also get a head start in 3D programming.
"I have been working as president since October last year. For the past months, we have been working very hard to bring a fresher EBS for viewers, and I believe this is a time of transition", Kwak Duk-hoon, the president of EBS, said during a press conference at the Press Center, central Seoul, Tuesday.
The three keywords of the reform are "3D", "Nurturing Competent Koreans" and "Originality".
Following the recent breakthroughs in 3D technology, the public broadcaster is bringing more interesting documentaries and programs that will be shown in 3D theaters.
EBS surprised fans with its programs such as "Koreanosaurus" and "Early Humans, Edge of Asia" over the past two years, and it will continue to try to wow viewers with "The Mammoths, Titans of the Ice Age", "Koreanosaurus 2" and "Angkor Wat".
"The Mammoths, Titans of the Ice Age" (April 26 to 28, 9:50 p.m.) will focus on the extinct species that lived on the Korean Peninsula two million years ago. The sequel of "Koreanosaurus", the successful film about Korean dinosaurs, will be presented in theaters this December prior to the television airing.
A two-series documentary "Angkor Wat" will be co-produced by EBS and Cambodian television producers and staff. This is the first time a program depicting the UNESCO World Heritage site will be shown as a 3D film.
As an educational channel, EBS has strived to support students and parents who needed more than school classes, but couldn't afford additional "hagwon", private cram schools.
In line with the ongoing drive toward education, Kwak explained that EBS is planning to bring more effective programs that students can follow easily without having to attend expensive hagwon.
"We tend to believe that viewers are our customers. It is our duty to offer them easier and more helpful programs and ideas. For example, there was a student who pointed out that it was difficult to download a program on the Internet because the area was not Internet-friendly. We are listening to the viewers and trying to bring out the best results and answers possible", Kwak said.
English will be one of the main priorities, considering the avid interest among both students and parents. EBS Radio will offer various English shows, including "Dynamic Writing", "Business English", "EBS World News" and "Morning Special". EBS Television will be more specific, with numerous programs that nurture specific grades, such as "3rd Grade, Elementary School English Go For it", "Middle School Beginners' English Reading" and "My First English Writing Note".
Producers and programmers have expressed their interest in the third term "originality" at the press conference, and it seems the broadcaster is planning another fruitful year of creative content and distinctive shows.
This year, it will focus on co-productions and Korean history.
The North Pole has been a popular choice for producers and broadcasters, and EBS is following suit. The network joined Norwegian network NRK to create "Ice Race" (Feb. 22, 9:50 p.m.), depicting the reality of the North Pole. The documentary features grand scale scenes filmed on an icebreaker, a first for a local network to board the ship to shoot a show. The six series program will start airing on Feb. 22 and run through March 3.
EBS is also planning to bring "Korea-Turkey: Forever Friendship" (working title) late this year with Turkish counterparts.
To mark the 100th year of Japan's annexation of Korea, EBS is airing "Port Opening and War" to show how Korea, Japan and China opened their doors to the West in the 19th century.
Meanwhile, the animated documentary "1936 Korea" (May 17 to 19, 9:50 p.m.) aims to show viewers Korea's flora and fauna, and its culture and customs in the 1930s when Swedish zoologist Sten Bergman visited Korea. Additionally, EBS is planning programs that will feature the Korean War and Korean history.
"Our customers are the entire general public, and we will strive to bring up-to-date and effective measures to satisfy their needs", Kwak said.