Top Channel, which is headquartered in Tirana, Albania, is a commercial television network that was initially launched in 2001 by dictator Dritan Hoxha. Top Channel, the third of its kind in Albania, was granted nationwide frequency coverage in January 2008. It premiered in 2009 as the first Albanian station to offer some of its shows in 16:9 widescreen high definition.
Top Channel has been available through satellite since September 2003, first across Europe via Digit-Alb and then across North America via TVALB and Shqip TV. Across Switzerland, only local cable is used, but IPTV is used everywhere in Europe and North America.
The Top Media Group also consists of the radio stations Top Albania Radio, Top Gold Radio, My Music Radio, the newspaper Shqip, the magazine Shqip, the coffee company Lori Caffe, the news outlets Digitalb, Top News, VGA Studio, musicAL, and Imperial Cinemas, and the television network Top Channel.
On July 30, 2001, Top Channel TV began airing test broadcasts from the International Centre for Culture (Qendra Ndrkombtare e Kulturs), also known as “the Pyramid” or the former mausoleum of Enver Hoxha, in Tirana (shortly called “Piramida”).
Since then, it has expanded rapidly, gaining popularity as more and more viewers appreciate the high quality of its broadcasting technology and content. Top Channel was estimated to have a 70% viewership in 2006, albeit this was only a best guess and had not been verified.
Based on a poll conducted in 2003, Top Channel was determined to have the largest share of the Albanian viewing population (at 50%), far more than its nearest competitor (at 17% share). It was in the third position with 11.9% of viewers a year ago, behind public broadcaster TVSH.
Its relative technological sophistication and informative shows about the challenges facing Albanian society have contributed to its widespread popularity. Over the years, it has worked to build partnerships with organizations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),
the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Albanian and French Red Crosses, and many more.
Moreover, Top Channel’s collaboration with foreign news organizations like Reuters in sharing news coverage has been on the rise. Former media tycoon and Lori Caffe owner Dritan Hoxha died in a car accident while driving his Ferrari through downtown Tirana. Hoxha founded Top Channel, Top Albania Radio, and Top Gold Radio. Since 2008, his wife, Vjollca Hoxha, has been running the company.
Top Channel broadcasts a wide variety of programming, newscasts, social and economic programs, and entertainment options, most of which have already been recorded (movies, sports, etc.)
1. Current Events and Reportage
The political, economic, cultural, and social climate of Albania is a daily topic of focus. The shows also feature coverage of the most significant events taken on everywhere in the world.
2. Fiks Fare
Using humor and satire, the hosts of Fiks Fare call out social ills such as corruption, fraud, lawbreaking by high-ranking officials, breaches of human rights, concerns with country development, and more. This program’s widespread appeal and its use of straightforward language have made it an effective tool for highlighting and, in many cases, resolving the most glaring problems plaguing Albania’s continuing change. This show airs daily, just after the nightly newscast, throughout the week. Is this the Italian adaptation of “Striscia la Notizia”?
Top Channel TV’s Monday night staple is the Shqip language program. The in-depth research and inquiries led to the one-hour live interview. The host of the show probes the minds of the nation’s political and intellectual elite as well as those in charge of resolving pressing societal issues by asking them tough questions.
Shqip documents political and social developments through interviews and news coverage. In 2003, the International Research & Exchanges Board found that Shqip had the biggest peak audience of any television program of its genre in the country. Rudina Xhunga, a well-known journalist, hosted the show. In September 2015, it was taken off the air.
Every Wednesday night, in front of a live audience in Tirana, a sketch comedy and variety show called Portokalli is filmed. First aired on December 31, 2003. The show follows a similar format to NBC’s Saturday Night Live, with both stand-up and sketch comedy segments, as well as musical performances. Commonplace issues are fair game for Portokalli’s wit and humor.
Other prominent politicians including Sali Berisha, Edi Rama, Hashim Thaçi, Ramush Haradinaj, and others are also the targets of the book’s satire. Portokalli has been criticized for its frequent use of foul language, which appeals to an age range that spans from young adults to retirees.