Source: Professional Magazine “Strategie” (marketing, media, research, 1997)
By sad coincidence, this issue brings the first results of the people meter research and at the same time three memories of its promoter – the recently deceased Eva Ličková.
We asked those who had been in constant touch with Eva professionally for a kind of personal looking back at her life.
Karel Soukup, head of the Nova TV Press Department
The readers of Strategie have known Ms Eva Ličková, who left us unexpectedly at the very peak of her career, mainly as a widely recognized expert in the field of media research. In the past years, I was privileged to have her as an inspiring colleague and a precious person that I cooperated with very closely within my post at TV Nova.
Her life journey started in 1945 in Mladá Boleslav, though she spent her youth in Brno where she attended secondary school and began her college studies. Sometime around then, her big and perhaps lifelong love was born: theatre. A love originally fed by her girlish dreams of becoming an actress, I guess.
The student Eva attended the Brno theatre almost daily. It is thus not surprising that at finishing her History and Theory of Theatre studies combined with Czech in 1968 at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, Charles University, her master thesis was devoted to the dramatic works of Arthur Miller. She had cleaved to theatre and drama ever since – unsystematically, yet persistently. Those who knew her mostly as an erudite expert on research would be certainly surprised by the list of television dramas that she participated in as an author.
Since 1994, the first year of TV Nova’s broadcasting, Eva Ličková worked in this company as the head of the research department. Her expert and organizational erudition, professional respect as well as human qualities created an atmosphere of trust in the acquired data and she made a major contribution to linking expert, well founded results with everyday television practice. Lately, she played an important role in implementing the people meter research of Czech TV audience measurement.
You cannot describe a life of a person so active and energetic as Eva Ličková was in a few sentences. She cooperated with a number of foreign institutions and organizations, especially within the EBU and GEAR. Her teaching activity was significant as well as the long list of her rich and versatile publication activities. All of us who had been lately privileged to be her colleagues or even close co-workers are well aware of the profit we gained from her professional knowledge and selfless advice she provided us. We drew inspiration from her great absorption in her work, found support and plain human help in her life wisdom.
They say that everyone is replaceable. It depends – some are less replaceable than others. However, it will be very difficult and it will take very long to fill the gap that Eva left not only at TV Nova.
Jan Jirák, Department of Mass
There are people whose destiny is to start new things and look for new solutions. With traveller’s instincts, they wander through unknown lands and expend enormous effort on realizing things, looking for impulses very far or inside themselves. They rely on themselves and their own knowledge and they put at risk more than you can imagine: themselves. In my opinion, Eva Ličková was – at least as far as the field of mass communication and media studies in the Czech Republic are concerned – exactly this kind of traveller, with her unique and respectable effort and admirable outcomes of her work.
When the Department of Mass Communication was established at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, in 1993 and its members started creating the subject of Mass Communication and drafting the future of the media studies in our country, a problem arose how to make the previously scarcely covered issues accessible to students: the issues of media research background, methods and interpretation. It was an extremely demanding task without reference books available – almost an impossible task in the midst of the spontaneously and swiftly developing empirical research. In Czech society, there were indeed few people able to take on such a task.
Eva Ličková was one of the few. She had professional experience from the Czechoslovak Television, she was at the starting point of SKMO (The Association of Communication and Media Organizations in the Czech Republic), at the moment she was fully experiencing working for the first private TV channel and she was looking forward to the processing of the people meter measuring results. She was swamped with work and she certainly did not need to take more. Yet she did not hesitate when the members of the Department of Mass Communication asked her to “build” the Media Research subject – and she set to the task with extraordinary vigour. In a short time, she managed to synthesize and assess her experience; she supervised master theses associated with her topic and was involved in forming the future of the field. Through the natural authority of her knowledge, she left her marks on the shape of the whole field more than we could have ever imagined.
Eva Ličková became the pioneer of the newly established field of mass communication in its best sense. She contributed to forming the shape of the field and the arduously established tradition of media studies in the Czech Republic not by big words or impressive concepts, but by the uniqueness of her knowledge, natural factuality and relentless diligence – and she contributed more than most of us could realize at that time.
In 1993, I was commissioned to lead the Czech Television’s Programme and Audience Analysis Centre where Dr Ličková held the position of the head of the Broadcasted Programme Analysis Department. At that time, Eva Ličková was accepted as a delegate of the Czech Television in GEAR (The Group of European Research) at EBU. This was certainly a milestone in our work.
It was thanks to her that we gained immensely interesting and inspiring materials on different systems of audience measurement through people meters, information on principles and systems of organizing such research and competitive tendering. Moreover, to her merit we made contacts with colleagues with other European public televisions, which was of crucial importance.
All of this started a fundamental series of events. Eva Ličková was commissioned to act on behalf of the Czech TV in drawing up and preparing materials for the competitive tender on the project of television audience electronic measurement through people meters which colleagues from GEAR contributed to greatly. In October 1993, the competitive tender was announced and in March 1994 it was carried out with the outcome that took its first steps right at the days when Eva Ličková left us.
There lies a great deal of work behind this short summary. It should not be forgotten that besides this huge and demanding project, Dr Ličková ensured the everyday running of the Analysis Department, she participated in innovating programme description and frequently travelled abroad on business to gain appropriate know-how for working in the Czech TV.
Eva Ličková’s leaving from the Czech TV for TV Nova was quite dramatic. Personally, I admit that I had never thought she could change her personal and professional world so radically. At the same time, it is understandable that the conditions and environment TV Nova could offer were perhaps adequate reasons for leaving. She was neither the first nor the last one who could see the way out in a green field and a clean desk, in unburdened professional and personal relationships. I am just very glad that together we managed to overcome the problem and that we, hand in hand though representing completely different institutions, brought the electronic measurement project to a successful conclusion. I must mention the fatal circumstance that Dr Eva Ličková passed away exactly one year after the contract for the research had been signed.
Eva Lickova (1945-1997)
To the bereaved, my dear guests in mourning,
we have gathered here today to say our last farewells to a person very close to us all, Dr Eva Lickova, CSc.
For one of those present today, Eva was a close life partner, for another two, a mother, for most of us she was a widely appreciated, expert, and special colleague, who left us unexpectedly at the very peak of her professional career.
Eva Lickova’s life began in 1945 in Mlada Boleslav, but she spent her youth in Brno, where she studied at secondary school and began her university studies. At some time in this period, her great and possibly life-long passion for the theatre was born, a passion which was probably initially enlivened by her girlhood dreams of a life in the theatre. As a student, Eva was practically a daily visitor of the Brno theatre. So it’s no surprise that when in 1968 she completed her studies in theatre history and theory in combination with Czech, at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, her diploma work was dedicated to the dramatic works of Arthur Miller. Thereafter, she stayed close to the theatre, more specifically with creating drama, if not systematically, then certainly continually, so the number of television productions to which she contributed as an author, will certainly have been a surprise for those of you who knew her as a scientifically erudite expert in the field of research.
Eva Lickova gained the title PhDr in 1974, again at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University with a CSc degree in sciences. Then in 1983 on the basis of her dissertation work ‘Dramatic works for television and a survey of their effect on society.’ At that time Dr Lickova was already working in the Analytical Department of ČsT (Czech T.V.), where she initially worked intensively on compiling a dictionary of television terminology. She then later devoted herself more and more to questions of sociological research and also partly to the theory of the television program.. In 1990, she became the head of the department of program analysis in the formation of SAPA in what was then Czechoslovak, later Czech television, and from 1994, that is from the first year of broadcasting, she worked in NOVA television as head of the research department. With her immense industry, activity and professional authority, she was the main factor which ensured that the field of media research received the attention which was due to it. Moreover, she recently played a large part in the introduction of peoplemeter research into the viewing figures for Czech television stations.
Dr Lickova’s pedagogical activities were very significant. From 1982 she was an external lecturer on the theory of the television documentary, she co-operated with the faculties of Philosophy and Journalism at Charles University, whilst carrying out her diploma work in the fields of the television program and surveys of television viewers. She then worked at the current faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University as a full-time pedagogue in the branch of ‘television and film in mass communication’, specifically for the branch of research into mass media. Thus she managed to successfully combine her own practical experience from the field of television and media research generally with the education of the younger generation in an academic environment.
It is impossible, in a few sentences, to describe the life of someone as active as Dr Eva Lickova was. For example, she worked on SČDU, a committee for television theory and criticism, she was a member of the council of the Institute of journalistic theory and practise at the Faculty of Journalism, Charles University, she collaborated with a range of foreign institutions and organisations, especially in connection with EBU, a tally of the various seminars and conferences at which she participated would be extensive, and a list of her rich and wide-ranging publications would be equally long.
All of us who were lucky enough during the past few years to be in working contact with the deceased, or even to be her close colleagues, know very well how we have profited from her expert knowledge, drawn inspiration from her selflessly offered advice and information, found support from her, and basic humanitarian help in her life wisdom. Also an example to us all, was her enormous dedication to her work which sometimes even bordered on self-sacrifice. It is said that everybody is replaceable. This is more true for some and less for others. However it will be extremely difficult and will take a very long time to fill the space that Eva has left, both in NOVA and among us all.
Our respected colleague, dear Eva, beloved wife, dearly loved mother, may the earth shield and protect you.
Allow me, on behalf of the husband, the children and the other bereaved, to thank you all for your participation in the ceremony and for your commiseration.