SEAN CLARK-STAFF WRITER
Moving towards greater community awareness and communication, Fresno State’s Armenian Studies Program goes on the air. Premiering in December and running indefinitely hye talk brings local, national, and international guests to Fresno to explore issues affecting Armenians in the central valley and abroad. The show, hosted by Barlow Der Mugrdechian, seeks to discuss topics that will be of interest to both Armenians and non-Armenians. “This is to get people involved and have closer contact with the community,” explains Der Mugrdechian.
Hye talk began out of discussions between Der Mugrdechian and the Fresno Armenian Radio Hour host, Greg Kohayan. Produced at Fresno State’s Speech Arts Television Studio in conjunction with the Academic Innovation Center Video Unit, hye talk will be the Armenian Studies Program’s first talk show. Der Mugrdechian worked two years ago on the pilot of Horizon with Paul Chaderjian, now technical advisor of this program. Working within a talk show format, the tempo and feel of each show will be allowed to evolve over the course of it’s run. So far three shows have been taped for broadcast and more are planned. “Each show is going to be developed around the guest,” says Der Mugrdechian, “because each guest is going to represent something different to the community.” The first three shows were directed by Candace Egan, assisted by Felix Contrera and students of Fresno State.
The first broadcast will highlight President Emeritus of Fresno State, Dr. Harold H. Haak, remarking on his recent trip to Armenian Universities. The interview is an exchange of both educational issues and conditions in Armenia. Der Mugrdechian has also recently visited Armenia, and this allows him a unique perspective to open up the interview with more introspective questions about contemporary issues. Being part of the Armenian Studies Program in Fresno is beneficial also. In the second show, featuring Republican Congressman George Radanovich, Der Mugrdechian’s university and community background gave him an advantage to approach topics from a Fresno Armenian standpoint. This gave him insight to the questions of Armenian Nationalism and local concerns of American Armenians.
The third show taped so far shows student involvement in the Armenian community. Der Mugrdechian brings back two Fresno State alumni to talk about the creation and continuation of this publication, Hye Sharzhoom. Now in its seventeenth year of publication, the three share the circumstances of this student newspaper and its growth within the community.
What is next for future shows? “I prepare an interview according to who I am talking with,” illustrates Der Mugrdechian, “and open it up from there. I think this will be the best way to have the freedom to talk about what matters to Armenians and the community.” hye talk hopes to be at the center of opportunity to bring in influential visitors, and to reach out to the central valley and beyond.