48FM all ears and all waves to local cultural voices

Liège university campus and community radio broadcaster 48FM adopts musical carte blanche to support the local cultural sector.

Since 1995, the university campus and community radio station 48FM has always provided easy access to their airwaves. The non-profit organisation, partly funded by ULiège, welcomes and supervises student radio projects while being the host of social and associative projects.

Despite the lockdown necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, 48FM is not stopping broadcasting and continue its programming, with the necessary adjustments such as home recording, limited access to their studio, or Facebook Live interviews. In order to give a voice to a confined local culture 48FM came up with a “musical carte blanche” system.

Photo: © 48FM 2020

During his interview with Liège's innovative cultural magazine Quatremille, 48FM director Fred Cools explained the carte blanche concept:

"The idea is to offer one program per week dedicated to cultural places and institutions in lockdown (…) which is accompanied by musical programming of their choice. "(…) The goal is to give visibility to artists who, unfortunately, no longer have the opportunity to express themselves in the current circumstances."

The radio programme stresses that it is always looking for projects in Liège and insists greatly on accessibility to their play list.

In January 2021, 48FM should finally move to its new premises at the Grand-Poste. A small revolution for the association, which has occupied the top floors of the Maison de la Fédé, place du 20 Août, since 1995. However the first traces of a student radio station in Liège date back to the 80s.

48FM is a university and community radio station. What does that mean? Cools explains:

"'Academic' means that it is a training centre financed by ULiège. It welcomes and supervises students' radio projects, among others. Associative means that it hosts local and associative projects. In terms of airtime, it is generally 50-50. This is the clever mix that gives 48FM an alternative spirit and unparalleled accessibility. To create a programme on its airwaves, you simply have to... offer it! Making radio is already stressful for a lot of people. If on top of that you have to fill in a 15-page file to set up your programme, most people give up! We frame the proposals in a way so that they can be broadcast. It takes three to four studio sessions, which is about a month, a month and a half. Then if there's room, it's on. This year [2020], we received about forty projects in October alone!"

Across the Euregio Meuse-Rhine there are one or two student radio stations and student-focussed programming. In #Maastricht Student Radio Maastricht – SRM, an independent community radio and podcast platform by and for students of Maastricht, broadcasts every Wednesday 18:00-20:00 on 107.5FM. The SRM team are open to new members who are welcome whether they have radio experience or not. Members receive training in their area of interest in radio broadcasting.

Hochschulradio Aachen is a collaborative radio station sponsored by the universities located in Aachen. They broadcast programming by students for students and offer education and training in broadcast radio. Tune in at 99.1FM or listen online via their livestream.

Meuse-Rhine Gazette is keen to encourage radio programming for students across the Euregio Meuse-Rhine and connect the existing projects with new talent. If we have missed any stations, channels or programming or if you ave ideas for your own radio show, please contact us at news@meuserhinegazette.eu

To listen to 48FM, tune in at 100.1FM or stream live via their website.

Read the original version of this article in French at our media partner Quatremille's website.

Quatremille is an innovative Liégeois cultural organisation dedicated to culture, entertainment close to culture, meeting artists and the public, as well as a Liégeois event organiser dedicated to the discovery and support of Liégeois artists – all with the aim of promoting culture and culture makers across Province de Liège.

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