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Elena Maroulleti 
Founder/Executive Producer & Host AKTINA FM - AKTINA TV 
President AKTINA Productions, Inc., & CYPRECO Of America, Inc.
Selected Among The 100 Most Successful G/Cypriots Living Abroad
By IN Business Magazine 

 

Elena Maroulleti Top PhotoElena Maroulleti is a Greek Cypriot American independent journalist, reporter and producer of news, special features for television and radio, including live concerts, folk arts and cultural programs and original documentaries pertaining to Greece and Cyprus. She 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. 1977) as well as the founder and Executive Producer/Host of AKTINA FM (EST. 1993) and AKTINA TV (EST. 2002). She fully commits her professional talents and efforts to the Greek Cypriot and Greek American communities at home and abroad. Ms. Maroulleti is a dedicated volunteer who donates her time and work without any compensation in all of her capacities within AKTINA Productions, Inc., and CYPRECO Of America, Inc.

 

LIFE

 

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.

 

Ms. Maroulleti initially studied Administration at the London College of Secretaries in the United Kingdom and thereafter in the United States, Journalism, TV/Radio Production, Advertising and Promotion, at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York through a scholarship from her employer ABC (American Broadcasting Companies).  Furthermore, she has independently studied and extensively researched the Greek and Cypriot folklore and culture. She continues to enhance her knowledge with frequent working trips to Cyprus and Greece. Over the years she has gathered and recorded substantial information and literature and has conducted countless interviews with traditional folklorists, musicians, dancers, archaeologists, authors among other folk arts professionals in Greece and Cyprus. She is also a filmmaker and has produced many documentaries highlighting different aspects of the Greek and Cypriot cultures, including ancient sites and monuments. Her documentaries are shown on AKTINA TV, during live screenings, while several are posted on the AKTINA TV Youtube Channel, a very popular online channel with over five thousand followers and views of its videos in the millions.

 

CAREER AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

 

Shortly after immigrating to America and settling in Astoria, New York, Ms. Maroulleti co-founded and established the first Greek Cypriot Folk Dancing Group in America, later known as Greek Cultural & Folk Dancing Group "The Vraka." At about the same time in 1975, she began her professional working career in administration at the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA-CREF) and thereafter in 1979 at the American Broadcasting Companies (ABC). Her professional career in TV news broadcasting and production began in 1981 when she joined the ABC News division where she held positions in support of the production of the Network’s acclaimed news programs, World News Tonight, Nightline, 20/20 and Good Morning America among others. By 1982, under her leadership, "The Vraka" folk dancing group grew and expanded into a complete Cultural organization with non-profit and tax-exempt status featuring diverse folk arts departments, including ancient Greek theatre among other.  In 1990, the organization was officially renamed CYPRECO of America, Inc.  Since then, CYPRECO has grown to become a leading and multi-awarded cultural organization with notable contributions and activities.

 

Elena Maroulleti CyprecoPhoto by Maria ToliosAmong her achievements over the years was her bold decision in 1993 to establish AKTINA FM on New York's public station WNYE 91.5FM, as the first-ever Greek American Radio in the U.S.A broadcasting in English, as well with an innovating bilingual language format. AKTINA FM is among the first Greek American radio outlets to introduce online streaming. In 2002, Ms. Maroulleti also introduced and established AKTINA TV on WNYE-Channel 25 as the first English-language Greek American television program available on a local channel in New York City. Her vision, and to great success, was to provide radio and television programs for Greek Americans and Greek Cypriot Americans of all generations and ages, especially for those who were born and raised in the USA and whose first language is English. This audience was underserved by the existing Greek American television and radio outlets, including the majority of Greek press which exclusively used the Greek language. Moreover, AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV served and still serve as remarkable and inclusive media outlets for Americans of Hellenic ancestry, but also for the general audience of all other ethnic groups and ages, to learn and become acquainted with the history, folklore and culture of Greece and Cyprus. By removing the “Greek language barrier” for the delivery of news, Greek and Cypriot cultural content and entertainment among other interesting and fun programs, AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV are easily accessible by all in New York city and beyond.  Because of Ms. Maroulleti's above vision, AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV were quickly embraced by Greek and non-Greek audiences and to this day, are among the most highly rated and desired Greek American media outlets. Over the years, the name-brand “AKTINA” has become a household name for some 1M New Yorkers, spanning many generations. In 2018, on the 25th anniversary of AKTINA Productions, Inc., and of AKTINA FM, the New York City Council and the City of New York honored AKTINA FM by co-naming the Street where it was founded and established in Astoria, New York, "AKTINA FM Way."  As far as we know, AKTINA FM is the only Greek American Radio in the U.S.A to have a street named after it.

 

Initially, several members of the Greek American media were very skeptical and even critical with Ms. Maroulleti’s revolutionary decision to introduce and establish radio and television programs broadcasting in English and with a bilingual language format. Following however, the unprecedented success of both AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV, these very skeptics and critics, were later inspired to follow in her footsteps by including English and bilingual language sections in their newspapers, magazines, publications and broadcasts.

 

GMJ 2015 Machairitsas MaroulletiGMJ 2015 With Lavrentis Machairitsas. Photo by Anastasios Mentis

In 1994 she introduced the successful concert series GREEK MUSIC JOURNEY (GMJ). The series was fully established in 1997 as part of her mission to further introduce and promote the music of Greece to wider audiences (Greek and non-Greek).  Since then she has produced memorable and sold-out GMJ concerts covering different Greek music themes at renowned theaters in Manhattan, New York such as, The Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, The Town Hall and the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

 

In 2016, Ms. Maroulleti also launched the expansion of AKTINA FM on the Internet by establishing it as a full grown Greek American Radio on the Internet streaming worldwide 24/7 daily across thirteen websites including this one. With its strong presence on the Internet, AKTINA FM has grown to become a highly popular Greek American Radio online attracting across all thirteen streaming websites which carry its name brand, some 3.8M visitors who also enjoy its daily programs 24/7.

 

Between 2001 to 2004, Ms. Maroulleti spearheaded the campaign and the coalition of the Ethnic Broadcasters leasing airtime on WNYE FM-TV, to prevent the sale of these two important media assets, owned and operated at the time by the NYC Board of Education (BOE). In December 2004, the BOE accepted Ms. Maroulleti’s proposal and transferred the licenses of the WNYE stations to the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, instead of selling the entities. Soon later however, and during the tenure of three different New York City Mayors, the last being Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ms. Maroulleti had to spearhead three more very successful campaigns which again prevented the sale of these media assets.  Her success safeguarded once again the continuation of all programs provided by ethnic broadcasters leasing airtime on these stations, as well as the jobs of the employees at WNYE FM and WNYE Channel 25.

 

Ms. Maroulleti's long and impressive career as a broadcaster and 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 governments, as well as elected officials in Cyprus and Greece, several high profile personalities and Greek and American stars (cinema, music, arts) among many others.

 

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

 

GMJ 2015 Kotsiras Maroulleti cyprecoGMJ 2015 With Yannis Kotsiras. Photo by Anastasios MentisOver 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 the Tri-State area New York City. Among other media sources, she has been featured in articles and profiles by The New York Times, Newsday, The Daily News, and other local American and Greek/American newspapers. 

 

Her contributions for the preservation and promotion of the Cypriot and Greek cultures in America through radio, television and live performances are recognized and much appreciated by the public she serves, as well as by the governments of Cyprus, Greece and the U.S.A. For her achievements and outstanding contributions to her community and to her profession, she has been awarded over the years by various elected U.S officials with Citations, Proclamations and Congressional records, while she was also the recipient of the "Women of Achievement Pacesetter Award 2000" initiated and presented by former Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr., on March 28, 2000 during a special ceremony held at the New York City Hall in Manhattan. In January 2009 she was also awarded with "The Distinguished Fellow Award" by The Panpaphian Association of America, Inc., during the organization’s annual gala awards ceremony. In July 2010, in recognition of founding and establishing in the U.S.A the highly rated radio and television programs AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV, she was selected by the Cyprus-based Magazine “In Business” and was featured in their cover story, "Business Success Stories - 100 Cypriots Who Have Distinguished Themselves Abroad."

 

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