CORONAVIRUS: Boom in web and pirate radio stations

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With the shutdown of businesses and stringent measures limiting movement in a large number of countries, there are those who are putting their energy into opening web radios. Pirate radio stations are opening up on air and those already functioning are raising their transmission power during this present state of emergency, knowing full well that it is highly improbable that the authorities will be checking.

Ireland: Two women from the world of show business found Radio Quarantine

Kate McKeown, live from home
Kate McKeown, live from home
Image directly received from
Kate McKeown

“After having wasted hour after hour following the news on the imminent end of the world, we had had enough of it and decided to put our energy into making the lives of those having to stay at home more bearable”.  So Anna-Rose Charleton, a film producer who had had all her work cancelled, and the London singer actress Kate McKeown, who had been forced to return to Dublin because of the Coronavirus outbreak, set up the Quaran Team, a team of experts under the guidance of Maitiú Charleton, Anna-Rosa’s quarantine partner, and started webcasting. The programmes go on air from Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 09.00 pm GMT with music, news and guests from the show business world. They focus on listener participation and try to involve people who have a talent or a story to tell.

Quarantine FM Logo
Logo of Radio Quarantine
Source

Click here to listen to Radio Quarantine. You can also find them on the following channels. Instagram: @quarantinefm
Twitter: @FmQuarantine
Tik Tok: @quarantinefm
Facebook: @FmQuarantine 

New ‘pirate’ radio stations set up and some increase transmission power

Having a lot more time on their hands is also spurring radio stations to go on air without authorisation. In Italy, on March 20th, 2020 it was reported that Radio Zona Rossa was transmitting on 6330 kHz on shortwave. The name was inspired by a programme invented by Radio Codogna but it concerns an autonomous radio station and its own programme. In Great Britain, a group on Facebook reported that Fusion FM, a pirate radio station near Birmingham, had a more powerful signal than those from authorised broadcasters. There is no change in Madrid, where there are a great number of unauthorised radio stations, but the authorities do not carry out checks.

Online FM broadcast monitoring station in Madrid, Spain
Source

A song of hope on 183 European radio stations

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Disk jockey, Sander Hoogendoorn
Sander Hoogendoorn
Received by Wunderbaum Management

March 20th, 2020 will be remembered as the day European radio stations showed united solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic.  At 8.45 a.m. 183 European radio stations, including RAI and the BBC,  played the English group ,Gerry & The Pacemakers’ version of  ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, an iconic, moving song considered a hymn to humanity.  The song became even more popular after the Liverpool FC fans adopted it as the team’s official anthem (see here) after qualifying for the finals of Champions League in 2019).

The initiative was the idea of Sander Hoogendoorn, a disk jockey working for the Dutch pop music public channel, NPO 3FM, who wanted to bring all the radio stations in the Netherlands together. In the end the initiative went beyond their national borders (find a list of stations that participated here).

Three questions RadioReporter asked Sander Hoogendoorn

Sander Hoogendoorn
Received by Wunderbaum Management

RR: Did you expect this success?

SH: No, I didn’t. The plan was to play this song with all the breakfast shows in the Netherlands. When they tagged along I was happy but then radio stations from Belgium started joining in. Then we started to make some phone calls to see if other European radio stations would like to join us. And they did!

RR: How long did it take you to arrange it?

SH: On Tuesday we started to talk to our listeners about the idea. In the same show I called some friends at other radio stations, asking them to join on Friday at 08.45. They were really happy to help. During the week more and more stations joined in, the last ones even on Friday morning. I think that all around the world more than 190 radio stations played the song!

RR: Which song would you choose to celebrate the victory over the pandemic?

SH: Queen – We Are The Champions

15.000 Italian transmitters connected 

La Radio per l’Italia
Source

Three hours later, at 11.00 a.m., radio stations all over the peninsula united to show solidarity and bring everyone together by playing the Italian National Anthem and three very well known Italian songs:  Azzurro (Adriano Celentano),  La canzone del sole (Lucio Battisti) and Nel blu dipinto di blu (Domenico Modugno). The population was asked  to tune in and wave the national flag. The radio stations involved included 19 private networks (Maria, Radicale and Mater only for the anthem) and more than 600 radio stations,  members of Aeranti-Corallo and Confindustria Radio TV, all connected to more than 15,000 transmitters (there are 9.123 national network transmitters alone. Source: FMList and FMScan).