Television must respond to the social, economic problems, – says the first Armenian TV presenter Nara Shlepchyan



On the first day of the opening of the Armenian television (on 29 November 1956) the first greeting words were spoken by Nara Shlepchyan.

The first presenter of the Republic of Armenia was born in Yerevan, in an intellectual family. In 1957 she graduated the Russian Language and Literature Faculty of the State University after “V. Brusov˝ in Yerevan. From November 29, 1956 she worked as a TV host at the Armenian Television andis currently working there. She was the author of numerous television projects, programs (news, literary, artistic, musical events, interviews). In 2000-2001 she was the writer and producer ofthe TV program “Our screen”. She received the medal of the Hero ofLabour and the title of the honoured USSR and People’s Artist, also thediploma of the Supreme Soviet president, the medal “Movses Khorenatsi”, the recognition of the Prime Minister of Armenia for the development and maintenance of the Armenianlanguage, the diploma and golden medal of the Radio and Television International Academy, the golden medal and the title of academician and the medal of honour of the president of Armenia. Since 2011 she is the member of the Council of the Armenian PublicRadio and Television.

To find out the presenter’spast life path and the achievments of the Armenian television we talked to the national artist of the Republic of Armenia, Nara Shlepchyan.

Dear  Mrs. Shlepchyan, how happened that you became the first Armenian television host? Not everyone has that luck.

I was a studentat the University after ˝V.Brusov˝ when our neigbour, who later became a famous movie and television director, Zhirair Avetisyan, suggested me to see how they choose the television hosts. When about 250-270 participants were examined, the committee from Moscow, noticing me,said: “who is that girl, wouldn’t she want to try too? So, I presented an improvised program in Armenian and “Chop-chopik” byK. Chukovski, inRussian. As I came out into the corridor, the commission from Moscow said to me that I was chosen and they congratulated me. I was very surprised, but afterwards an“attack” took place, some saying that “look, they employ people through the acquaintance!”

Do you consider yourself lucky?

I don’t know. It simply happened like that. What I’ve realized in life, I made it by myself, without anyone’s help. My luck was just that before theopening of the Armenian television I had the opportunity to see for several times what was the television in Moscow, how the hosts welcome, how they speak, read, sit etc.

Many people wonder why Nara Shlepchyan doesn’t apear to the television anymore..

You cannot be on the screen in all your life. Today I continue to work at the Armenian national television and radio, and I am invited from time to time to interviews or on special events. However, the beginning and throughout my career were unforgettable. I remember հօwthe people crave for the opening of the Armenian television, which coincided with the day of sovietization. I came out and congratulated them on that special day, wishing interesting and prosperous programs. And in two months began the transmission of the main TV programs.


What funny moments or stories do you remember?


It was the first day of the opening of the Armenian television. Before starting the emission the Armenian film director, Marat Marinosyan, told me he would show a sign through a hand gesture which would mean that the emission was over. When I finished speaking, I saw his signal and exclaimed relaxed (in Russian): ˝Ой, не могу!˝ (Oh, I can’t anymore!). It turned out that the emission wasn’t over! I also remember, when some operators came from St. Petersburg to Armenia to teach our operators how to work. Incidentally the camera fell down from the hands of the foreign operator and suddenly my boots were seen. The very next day I received a reproach for that Nara Shlepchyan showed his boots. With the tears in my eyes I went to the director, but he told me to not worry, because soon that part would be removed. He just could not reproach the foreign operator for that…


How should be the TV host?


The host should have an intelligent look, with a special, charming and educated voice, to have a good diction, a large sight, to be an interesting and educated person, to have an expressive and original speech. If the TV host isn’t endowed with beauty, he/she must be at least a pleasant and charming person. And if the presenter/host has a good taste, such a person would be a good example for the audience.


Can we consider the 60-70’s a golden age?

Sure. In that time there were gathered the best specialists of various fields in the local television. Apart from that, we had many editions such as children, preschool, youth, literary, industrial, agricultural, sport, also an ensemble of the folk, pop music and symphony bands which were known throughout the Soviet Union. Our television was the second after Moscow and the number of employees had reached to about 3000.

What happened with the Armenian television after the collapse of the Soviet Union? 

Imagine that allthe old specialists remained out of work and new ones came in, not professional ones, which appeared on the screen unprepared. Those who remained as directors, managers they began to use the same slogan as many people: ˝there are needed people of a new mentality˝, but whether they have something in their head or not, what matters..? I must say it was very disappointing and somehow offensive.

We օften hear that the soviet’s host school is already out of fashion.

Well… Before I used to say ˝good evening, dear friends/dear viewers˝, now they say ˝hello, hi!˝, so.. regardless as they wanna say ˝you can watch or not, that’s your problem..˝. When the TV program’s texts of our times were of 5 pages, we used to say “oh, it is a small text, we can learn it by heart over night”. But now they do not even think about it, because there is sufler (prompter). We couldn’t even imagine to keep papers in our hands during a show or concert, because the host/presenter could be fired for that.



What kind of TV programs does need the Armenian television today?

Many. We have many social, economicproblems to solve and television must respond to all that. Օtherwise, which is its mission?! Besides, the emission must have an interesting and useful theme to be able to answer to three classical questions: what, for whom and how.

I heard you like to take pictures.

Yes, I do like. But recently I have no time to. I’ve always liked to fix all I noticed. I kept some of those pictures I took, for example, the image of fire of the Cultural Sport Complex “Hamalir” of Yerevan, which I made from my balcony and gave it to the museum “K. Demirchyan”. It turned out to be the only photograph of the fire in that place.

And.. that you cook very delicious our national dishes. 

Of course, but I like when someone else cooks (smiles)..

Is there something that you regret for?

I only regret that I have got only one child.

Have you received offers to work abroad?

Yes, I have. There were many offers. I was invited to Vilnius, Georgia, Central Asia, U.S., etc.. For example, when I led TV programs in Moscow presenting Armenia and the Armenian television, people always approached me asking: ˝would you like to work on our network?˝ But as I was the only child in our family, and being a little patriot, I just could not leave nor my parents, neither my country. I remember when in the 90’s the Armenian Television sent me to Los Angeles to do an interview with Richard Hovhannisyan (Armenian historian in America). That time I received an offer to work there as well.

Though, you’ve never left the country..

I take the advantage to thank my people for the love and respect they gave me. ˝..How can I leave and go..˝, especially when I was the participant of the Karabakh’s movement.

Where do you get such energy from?

I think it is born with the human.

Thank you for the honest and pleasant discussion.

My pleasure, and I am sending my best wishes to the Armenian Union in Romania and to all readers of the Magazine ˝Ararat”. I have very good memories about Romania..


Elena Chobanyan

Posted by on May 28 2013. Filed under Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Television must respond to the social, economic problems, – says the first Armenian TV presenter Nara Shlepchyan”

  1. The same thing happens in Poland

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