STB: Transition to wartime programming
BY Georgi R. Chakarov
Liudmyla Semchuk
The beginning of the full-scale invasion and the transition to wartime programming

From the first days of the full-scale invasion, the STB channel switched to news programming. In the first months, it was broadcasting the news marathon to inform Ukrainians about all the most important events of this war. On April 18, responding to the high demand of Ukrainians and following our mission to help and inspire, STB switched to humanitarian programming.

“STB is a true friend of its audience. We always stand next to Ukrainians in the most important moments of life. Especially now, when the whole country has united in protecting our land from Russian invaders. From the very beginning of the war, we have received powerful feedback on all our venues: viewers shared amazing stories, their own problems and expectations with us. They told how they live, what upsets them, inspires and calms them in this difficult time. Therefore, we directed all our unique expertise in producing projects based on real people’s fate to respond to the audience’s needs. We have told inspiring stories of people who live near us. Our psychologists have responded to the urgent needs of Ukrainians who found themselves in difficult life situations because of the war. Our experts have taught how to protect yourself from danger and deceit in wartime. And our hosts and celebrities have shown by their own example that “working” means “winning”: any contribution is important here and each of us is important in our place,” comments Lyudmila Semchuk, Managing Director of STB.

Approach to entertainment content and fall programming

People want to be distracted and watch something that makes them smile. As a nationwide channel, STB tried to show such content carefully during the war. Entertainment content has an extensive palette and for a comprehensive expert assessment, the channel involved lawyers and psychologists in consultations and developed an internal document to pinpoint the criteria for content that does not retraumatize the viewer.

This fall, viewers will see the long-awaited premieres filmed before February 24, which were delayed due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine: MasterChef, The Bachelor, World of Dance, Moment of Truth, Happy in Seven Days. Also, STB will air projects, which are being produced in wartime conditions: DNA: Missing People Search, the series When We Are At Home. Together for Victory, and a  fundraising reality documentary featuring the Ukrainian MasterChef host.

In When We Are At Home. Together for Victory, viewers will see short stories about well-known heroes who, due to Russian aggression, ended up in different places. Now they will live on the screen in the same situations that every Ukrainian faces today in real life. Each of them, in their own way, brings the moment of the long-awaited meeting closer to celebrate the Victory of Ukraine together. They defend the country in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, volunteer, work, raise children, help their neighbors and hide in storage during air raids. Just like us, sketchcom characters find time to cry and laugh. And every day, they prove by their own example that life goes on.

STB also continues to fill the prime air with inspiring serial stories and romantic films. The information front is still held by the news team of Starlight Media within the framework of the United News marathon.

“When you feel the breath of war every day, you understand that the most valuable thing is our life. The most important thing that all of us can do is to live, help the Armed Forces of Ukraine to defend the country from the enemy and work in the given conditions, each in his own place and on his own front. And also - to fill your inner emotional state with inspiration so that we have the strength to bring our victory closer together. In April, the STB channel offered viewers content that is relevant to the current reality - useful headings that help protect life during the war. This fall, we invite Ukrainians to live: with love in their hearts, enthusiasm in their eyes, pride in their own people, honesty to loved ones, with taste in every kitchen and with any set of products. We must live our life every day, every minute because this is what our invincible warriors are fighting so boldly for,” Semchuk says.
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