WNYE 91.5FM/HD1 NY WNYE CHANNEL 25
Founder/Executive Producer & Host AKTINA FM/TV
President AKTINA Productions, Inc., & CYPRECO Of America, Inc.
Selected Among The 100 Most Successful G/Cypriots Living Abroad
By IN Business Magazine - July 2010
Elena Maroulleti is the founder and President of the non-profit and 501 (c) 3 New York-based cultural organizations AKTINA Productions, Inc. (EST. 1993) and CYPRECO of America, Inc. (EST 1979). She is also the founder and Executive Producer and Host of AKTINA FM radio on WNYE 91.5FM/HD1 (EST. 1993) and of AKTINA TV on WNYE-Ch. 25 and OceanTV20 (EST 2002). She is an independent journalist/reporter who has been also producing and hosting on a volunteer basis Greek radio programs on WNYE 91.5FM since 1988. Her work with the two non-profits she presides over and with AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV is also provided on a volunteer basis.
Photo right by M. Tolios
Ms. Maroulleti comes from the beautiful coastal town of Famagusta in northern Cyprus. In the summer of 1974 she was forced to leave her town following the illegal invasion and subsequent occupation by Turkey. A year later in 1975 she immigrated to the United States and settled in Astoria which is the home of the largest Greek American community in the U.S.A and outside of Greece.
great passion and love for her native country Cyprus, as well as for
motherland Greece has always been and continues to be the driving force
behind all of her volunteer activism. And, it is no coincidence that soon after she settled in Greek Astoria she started her long and impressive volunteer work of promoting the rich culture of Cyprus and Greece and at the same time bringing awareness about the Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of almost 37% of her country and more importantly about the devastating effects and results this continued illegal occupation brings upon the cultural heritage of Cyprus. It should be noted that, much of the cultural and historical sites and monuments in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus have been blundered and looted, while all churches and other Greek Orthodox places of worship after they were looted where either destroyed, or turned into mosques, while many were turned into barns, holiday inns, discos, even public restrooms. In a more systematic effort to completely alter and erase the Greek identity and character of northern Cyprus, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot regime have also changed all Greek names of places, towns, villages and streets into Turkish ones. At the same time, Turkey also embarked on a policy of changing the demographics of the island by importing by the thousands some of its poorest civilians from Anatolia. Certainly these are alarming factors for Ms. Maroulleti but also for anyone and everyone who believes and supports human rights and who condemns such atrocities which occurred in the 20th century and continue to this day in the 21st century. Ms. Maroulleti's advocacy for Cyprus is purely on the cultural level and her mission over the years has been to educate the general public and keep alive in the memory of Greek Cypriot immigrants the Cypriot history, culture and heritage and at the same time caution that the occupied northern part of the island is under a real threat of losing its true identity and its thousands of years-old rich history and culture because of the illegal practices of the state of Turkey that is illegally occupying it.
Photo by ETA Press July '08
Ms. Maroulleti, is a recognized journalist/reporter and producer of news, special features programs, folk arts and cultural programs, and original documentaries for television and radio. From May 1979 to July 2001, she was part of the main production team of ABC News. She held in this News Network important news production support positions for the acclaimed news programs, World News Tonight, Nightline, 20/20 and Good Morning America among others.
Ms.Maroulleti utilizes her professional journalistic and administrative experience, as well as her knowledge on the culture and folklore of Cyprus and Greece for the benefit of the Greek Cypriot and Greek American community. Apart from being the Executive Producer/Host of the highly rated programs AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV, her volunteer work also includes running the two non-profits she presides over, AKTINA Productions, Inc., and CYPRECO of America, Inc., contributing countless hours as the Chief Administrator and the Executive Producer/Director of all Live Cultural Programs and Concerts. Over the years she has produced countless successful performances that promote the rich heritage, folklore, history and culture of Cyprus and Greece and which target Greek Americans of all generations and the general public. Furthermore, she produces outstanding and sold-out concerts of great cultural value that highlight representative aspects of the Greek and Cypriot music and dance. In 1994 she introduced the successful concert series GREEK MUSIC JOURNEY (GMJ) with a mission of further introducing the music of Greece to the general audience. Since then she has produced from the series memorable and sold-out concerts covering different Greek music themes at renowned New York City venues such as The Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center and New York's landmark theatre The Town Hall.
Ms. Maroulleti who has studied extensively and researched the Greek and Cypriot folklore, and culture continues to enhance her knowledge in these areas with frequent trips to Cyprus and Greece. During these visits she interviews folklorists and the elderly who give her valuable information on the Cypriot and Greek customs, traditions, dances and music.
Over the years, Ms. Maroulleti has been featured in Greek/American and American newspapers, magazines, as well as in major newspapers in Cyprus and Greece for her devotion in promoting the Greek and Cypriot culture in America and in particular in Queens since 1976. Among other media sources, The New York Times, Newsday, The Daily News, and other local American and Greek/American newspapers have featured Ms. Maroulleti.
Her contributions to the preservation and promotion of the Cypriot and Greek culture in America through radio, television and live performances are recognized and much appreciated by the public she services, including the governments of Cyprus, Greece and the U.S.A. For her achievements and outstanding contributions to her community and to her profession, she was awarded the "Women of Achievement Pacesetter Award 2000" by former Council Speaker Vallone during a special ceremony on March 28, 2000 at City Hall in Manhattan, N.Y. In January 2009 she was also awarded by The Panpaphian Association of America, Inc., with "The Distinguished Fellow Award" during the organization's Annual Awards Gala in Queens, NY. In the July 2010 cover edition of the monthly Magazine IN Business published in Cyprus and entitled, "Business Success Stories - 100 Cypriots Who Have Distinguished Themselves Abroad", Ms. Maroulleti was selected among the 100 most successful Greek Cypriots living abroad in recognition of founding and establishing in the U.S.A the highly rated radio and television programs of AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV.
Among her greatest achievements over the years which is widely recognized here in the U.S.A and abroad was her revolutionary decision in 1993 to establish AKTINA FM as the first ever Greek American radio show in the U.S.A using an English-language as well as an innovating bilingual language format, and thereafter in 2002 by establishing AKTINA TV as the first ever English-language television series. Ms. Maroulleti's vision was to finally establish and provide radio and television programs which also address the needs of the new generations of Greek and Cypriot Americans who were born and raised in this country and whose first language is English and who before AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV were not serviced by any other Greek American media since everyone was broadcasting or publishing exclusively in Greek. Furthermore, to appeal to the general audience to further introduce them to Greece and Cyprus.
Ms. Maroulleti's revolutionary decision was justified and as true testament as the following facts: AKTINA FM was originally introduced as an hourly weekly show, however it quickly expanded its broadcasts to four hours per week within the first three years after its introduction. It continued to expand gradually over the next few years with additional airtime reaching 5 hours, then 6 hours, then 7 1/2 hours up until its present 9-hour weekly schedule. Within a year following the introduction and establishment of AKTINA TV, other local stations have also requested to carry this program. Presently, AKTINA TV also airs on Ocean TV20 in Toms River, NJ for two hours weekly.
What is more important is also the fact, that Ms. Maroulleti has set up the basis for other Greek American media to follow in her footsteps! Several years following the establishment of AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV, all Greek American local newspapers realized the need to include either dedicated "English sections" or bilingual sections in their publications. Furthermore, Greek American magazines are being published either in English or bilingual, while there are Greek American radio programs who have also included a few dedicated English segments, however none of them provide or include the innovative bilingual language format that AKTINA FM provides.
The establishment and huge success of AKTINA TV as an English-language Greek American program on WNYE-Channel 25, has also prompted WNYE's management in 2003 to require from all other lease programmers who provide ethnic programs to either produce them in English or to include English sub-titles. WNYE's decision has helped these ethnic programmers who originally only produced programming in their native language and which only targeted their respective communities to also reach wider audiences. It should be reminded that WNYE Channel 25 caters to New York's multicultural society with a variety of informative and cultural programs produced by the station and also by independent programmers who lease airtime.
Ms. Maroulleti's long and impressive career as a broadcaster/journalist includes countless exclusive interviews with worldwide personalities, world leaders including Presidents (Cyprus, Greece, USA - Pres. Bill Clinton 1990), elected officials in the U.S.A from all branches of the City, State and Federal government , as well as elected officials in Cyprus and Greece, several high profile personalities and Greek and American stars (cinema, music, arts) among many others.
Elena Maroulleti has studied "Administration" at the London College of Secretaries. In addition through a scholarship from the American Broadcasting Companies (ABC) while working for this network, she also studied "Journalism, TV/Radio Production, Advertising/Promotion" at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
Photo by Kostas Beis May '08
Elena Maroulleti is also the founder and President of the Ethnic Broadcasters Action Committe (E.B.A.C), the first ever organization established in New York representing all independent ethnic broadcasters producing programs on WNYE-FM/TV. The organization was established in 2001 to address all needs and concerns of its members pertaining to the survival and continuation of their programs on WNYE FM/TV. To her credit Ms. Maroulleti has led several very successful campaigns since the establishment of EBAC that prevented the sale or transfer of WYNE's FCC license to another TV/Radio network and thus safeguarded the continuation and survival of all ethnic programs broadcasting on WNYE 91.5FM and WNYE-Channel 25. WNYE FM/TV which is commercial-free, is the last remaining City-owned station in New York and the only that has had a history of leasing some of its airtime to independent producers, mostly representative ethnic programmers who make up New York City's ethnic diversity. AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV which are also commercial-free and non-profit, produced and hosted by Elena Maroulleti, are among those representative programs airing on this station.