Saturday, 28 February 2015

Radio R, an Opportunity to Grow on Air

It started off with a small group of enthusiasts at Masaryk University who wanted to fill the empty space within the Czech radio broadcasts. They meant to offer clear-cut musical genres, minority topics, and interest in the cultural life of Brno. What happened was that this enthusiasm of a few students evolved into today’s Radio R run by more than 150 volunteers! Founded in 2008, the student radio resides at the Faculty of Social Studies under the Department of Media Studies and Journalism, offering the opportunity of practical experience in the media, as well as the community of people who are more than just colleagues.
                The most outstanding feature of Radio R is its communitarian character, connecting and uniting people who share their experience, inspiration, and most importantly, their friendship. The activities of its members exceed those of ‘normal’ radio broadcasters. The structure, however, stays professional, with a station manager chosen for one year and seven editorial leaders, each supervising shows that are divided into 7 boards. The programme flourishes with diversity, offering a spectrum of shows ranging from politics, technology or business, to literature and dance. And since there’s much more, we interviewed the radio itself: 

Radio R is the biggest student radio in the Czech Republic. Do you think that it relies on the overall quality of Masaryk University?  
It’s clear that Radio R couldn’t really function without the support of Masaryk University, whether talking about the vast expenses that an organisation such as radio requires, or the premises needed for its residence. The essential support from the side of the university came at the very beginning, in 2008, when the radio was starting up only thanks to a very narrow group of enthusiasts. It has transformed greatly since. A minuscule cluster turned into the biggest student radio in the Czech and the Slovak Republic. It has built its own organisational structure, created its name, and located its listeners.

And what does a normal day at Radio R look like?
Every day, the broadcast starts early in the morning and, by contrast, ends quite late at night. Individual broadcasters exchange and take their turns during the day and there also happens a series of meetings of various organisational teams. In fact, Radio R doesn’t consist only of people behind the microphone – there must be someone mastering its operation, too. The truth then stays that whenever you visit our radio, you may find someone here. The mystery remaining is the fact that you always seem to find the same faces.

It is known that you offer shows of all kinds but is there any specialty which rises above the crowd and attracts much attention?
The thematic range is really broad, for example among the shows specialising in individual music genres, the movie scene, or literary authors, the ‘Karma’ show stands out in that its presenters and thematic music allow listeners to release their anger and escape from the daily wrongdoings of life. Also, each episode of the show ‘Behind the border of success’ introduces well-experienced or much promising businessmen, who speak of their journeys towards the million starts. On the top of it, the broadcasters of ‘Summit’ gladly treat any international escapade with a reasonable insight.

Is there any possibility for international students to participate in Radio R?
We are an independent student media organisation which is open to everyone regardless of their origin, nationality, or religion. It actually all depends only on the applicant’s will to contribute to filling gaps in the media space by means of free broadcasting on our on-air waves on the Internet. Some international students already are our members and we welcome any new enthusiasts, whether amongst us, or the listeners.

How could one benefit from working in a radio?
Radio R may offer much useful experience to local, as well as international students. We are a communitarian organisation based on friendly relationships. Therefore, when choosing new members, we don’t look at their skills or experience, but rather on their personalities. Individual members then share advice and learn from each other. On top of having an attractive element in your CVs, you meet dozens of new faces and make them your friends!

There must be a lot of “funny stuff” happening at the radio, do you have anything to share?
Well, there’s plenty of that – the sweet ignorance that the microphones are already turned on made our listeners unwillingly acquainted with digestive problems of our broadcasters, or the station manager appearing identical with the half-naked member of Kiss, or there also was this trip when a mountain chalet full of radio people got raided by a military squad...

So how can YOU become a part of this wonderful community? Check the web of Radio R  or follow them on Facebook and note that “when looking for new members, we don’t seek professional experience. We focus on their personalities and enthusiasm with which they would join us, while all the rest, such as experience, oral expression and technical skills, stays behind. They can learn those with us.” People at the radio offer space for any fresh ideas and creativity. They don’t follow ratings, but rather every member’s personal input and contribution to Radio R: “We most often characterise our radio by four words: communitarian, alternative, non-commercial and open. There exists no other medium similar to ours in the Czech Republic.”

Radio R welcoming new members

Jakub PavlĂ­k, the present station manager of Radio R

Looking for new broadcasters!

A visit from Erik Tabery, editor-in-chief of the Czech magazine Respekt

Radio R on a picnic, enjoying time out of the studio

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