June 2001: Christopher Street Day
December: World Day of Handicapped People
21st March 2001: International
Day Against Racism
On the 21st of March all
participating radio stations of Polyphonia presented special programming and
at the same time took part in a international day of broadcasting, for which
Radio Voix Sans Frontières, a project of Amarc, broadcast
a worldwide, 24-hour programme on this International Day Against Racism.
Radio Orange 94.0
assumed the coordination for the European Channel of Radio VSF . Vienna
was therefore the hub radio station for all European contributions on March
21, responsible for the broadcast and moderation of the European Programme
as well as for the live transmissions to other independent radio stations
in Europe. Orange 94.0 used this work ahead of time and the interest of the
media in this event to provide migrants in Austria a chance at participation
and to encourage them to use independent radio as a public platform for their
own interests. Before and on the 21st of March a close working relationship
between the independent radio stations and organisations of migrants in Austria
did actually come about, resulting in new contacts. These will probably be
of use in the future. On that day of special broadcasting three new programmes
came into being at Orange 94.9 and they have been on air since that time:
sedajeh ashena ("Familiar Voices") produced by Persian women, Radio
Dersim, produced by Kurds in Vienna and a programme by women from Latin America.
All of these concentrate mainly on their situation as migrants in Austria.
In Radio Dreyeckland
in preparation for the 21st of March a special editorial group was formed,
in which members from other editorial groups - many of them from the In
anderen Sprachen (In other languages) group - participated in the
planning. This team produced the feature Herzlich willkommen - a short
travel guide to Germany for European Channel of Radio VSF. Besides
this Polyphonia attempted to engage as many independent radio stations of
the approxiamte 50 in Germany as possible: by exchanging broadcasts, with
live transmissions on the 21st of March and by participating in the international
programme of Radio VSF. On 21st of March at Radio Dreyeckland international
teams made up of members of various editorial groups moderated a 24-hour special
programme. This was broadcast in many different languages, with own contributions,
studio discussions, live transmissions via Radio VSF. By these activities,
new groups got involved who previously had no contact with the the radio.
The experience of broadcasting in groups made up of people from different
backgrounds and editorial groups was exciting for all involved and most were
of the opinion that this should happen more often.
in preparation for March 21st, decided to focus on building a network between
independent radio stations and the movements and projects of migrants in Spain.
This decision was preceded by a survey of current connections and cooperative
endeavors, which was accomplished by direct inquiries of independent radio
stations in Spain. The results of this survey showed how shockingly little
representation migrants had in independent media, especially women. For this
reason a large part of the preparation activities was dedicated to strengthening
existing contacts as well as connecting these with other radio stations. Against
the backdrop of current events in Spain one of the main thrusts was to establish
contact to the movement Sin papeles (Without Papers) in order
to give them the chance to report - from their point of view - about their
protests and their struggle. On March 21st various programmes revolving around
this subject were broadcast throughout the day. In Spain and especially in
Barcelona the struggle of many migrants, who had sought refuge in churches
and some of whom who had started a hunger strike, was reported directly from
there. The coverage of these events had a strong impact upon the activities
and broadcasts of Radio Contrabanda, which is documented by interviews with
the migrant women, news reports of civil disobedience directed towards anti-foreigner
laws and in discussion panels. We, of course, participated in the live transmission
of the Radio VSF programme as well.
focus during the preparation time leading up to March 21st was to get as many
people in the radio station itself as possible involved in the special events
of that day. Besides this Radio Ondarossa invited groups and organisations,
who up until this time had had little contact with the radio, to come and
actively participate. At the very first meeting in January it became clear,
that many groups had no contact to Radio Ondarossa and that most groups did
not know about the other groups nor their work against discrimination. For
this reason Radio Ondarossa and Polyphonia will be attempting to report on
discrimination from the point-of-view of those affected by discrimination
and to provide information about active groups in order to promote contact
among the various organisations. And its goal is not to report about
discrimination, but rather to have those affected by discrimination get up
to the microphone speak for themselves. That is only possible by direct cooperation
with such groups; contacts which could be expanded to other independent radio
stations in Italy. This is exactly what was tried on the 21st of March. There
were various programmes which were produced by migrants. An on-air debate
about the social and political situation of refugees in Italy was especially
interesting. In this debate there were representatives of the Columbian and
Sri Lankan communities, active members of the movement against refugee camps
in Italy and representatives of a self-help organisation which work for the
rights of refugees from the view of basic human rights. Radio VSF transmitted
an hour of this debate live, using the internet possibility of live-streaming
- a technical first for Radio Ondarossa, which then made this broadcast accessible
for other independent radio stations in Italy.
Day - Gay Pride 2001
For a total of three hours the airways between Rome, Vienna and Freiburg were
crackling on Gay Pride in the year 2001: Radio Dreyeckland, Orange 94.0 and
Radio Ondarossa were connected with one another for the first time in their
communal history via live stream. Between the hours 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. all
three radio stations broadcast the same program, which dealt with gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transsexual aspects in each of those countries.
This adventure in communal
broadcasting, which was available in English, Italian and German, also brought
some difficulties to light: Radio Contrabanda in Barcelona was not able to
live-stream its contribution to Gay Pride because of technical problems. An
attempt to call one another during the broadcast was another area of complications
that had not been anticipated: a conference call between Rome, Vienna and
Freiburg could not be completed as planned because of an echo in the live-stream
that literally filled the airwaves.
It was not in the infinite
space of the airwaves though, but at Gay Pride 2001 itself, that it became
clear that lesbian, gay men, transsexuals and bisexuals have not lost any
energy in the struggle against discrimination. On the 29th of June people
from all over Italy came to Rome to celebrate Gay Pride. Radio Ondarossa
was on the scene and spoke to representatives of the queer community, where
not only the situation of people who are discriminated against because of
their sexual orientation were discussed but also the situation in general
of the queer movements in Italy and in Europe was touched upon. Even before
Gay Pride 2001 Radio Ondarossa had already several events and broadcast some
programs dealing with the subject of Anti-Discrimination. One of the highlights
here was a two-hour live studio discussion with Silvia Rivera. Silvia Rivera
is one of the activists who was involved in the protests surrounding Stonewall
Inn in 1969. This program was broadcast by other community radios (in Italy).
Another event that elicited great interest was a workshop dealing with transsexuality.
A representative of the transgender community spoke about difficulties and
problems associated with a sex change operation twice during this.
Transsexuality was also
a subject at Radio Dreyeckland. Participants at the "Lesbenfrühlingstreffen"
(Lesbians Meet in Spring), which had taken place in Rostock a few weeks before
Gay Pride, discussed interaction with transsexual men and women in the lesbian
community in a live studio debate. Another important focus at Radio Dreyeckland
was the question of political significance of Gay Pride. Asking the question
"Is Gay Pride more than just a big party nowadays?", a group of
gay men discussed the reasons why fewer and fewer gays engage in political
work against stigmatization and discrimination. Other programs dealt with
Jewish gays and lesbians, with racism and anti-semitism in the gay rights
movement and with the double discrimination faced by those both homosexual
and handicapped. A live broadcast from the lesbian and gay street festival
in Freiburg in August rounded off the activities in summer.
was once again the topic of a conference; this one organized by Radio Contrabanda
on the 28th of June. This time the focus was on the double discrimination
that comes with being a woman and a lesbian. A whole day long various groups
of lesbians from Barcelona discussed strategies in the struggle against the
daily discrimination faced by lesbians, especially the different kinds of
strategies used by the various groups in their confrontation with conceptions
of what is "normal". Other topics were the diverse forms of discrimination
that lesbians and gays face and possible strategies of dealing with this in
the public sphere. Theoretical considerations of discrimination were however
not the only objects of discussion during this "day of action" at
Contrabanda. Gay Pride itself was a topic: listeners of Contrabanda heard
the day before this lesbian and gay event what was planned for other cities
like Madrid, Zaragoza, Bilbao and Valencia.
At Orange 94.0
it got really hot: "Heat Waves in Community Radios of Austria" was
the motto of six days of broadcasting in connection with Europride which was
hosted by Vienna in 2001. The program - called "queerattack.oag"
- offered an interview with Drag King Dianne Torr, a lesbian and gay top 20
play list and many other contributions which dealt with people faced with
discrimination due to sexual orientation. The main thrust of this was to contrast
common prejudices against gays and lesbians with various inner and outer perspectives
(of gays and lesbians themselves). In collaboration with the community radios
of Graz, "Helsinki", and of Linz, "FRO", a mixed program
with help for those just coming out, information about activities connected
to Europride in Vienna, a "lesbian collage", a lesbian city tour
and much more. Producers at "FRO", "Helsinki" and Orange
94.0 integrated the topic of sexual discrimination into their programming,
combining it with the topic areas that they usually handle. On the one hand
there were those who felt discriminated against because of their sexual orientation
and/or those who usually dealt with discrimination against lesbians, gays,
bisexuals and transsexuals in their regular programs. On the other hand there
were those who made Europride 2001 (and Gay Pride Month) the occasion for
special programs. Aside from collaboration with "Helsinki" and "FRO"
there was also a lively exchange of programs between Orange 94.0 and other
community radios on national and international levels. Thus programs like
"Dyke-Time" from Graz and various broadcasts from Radio Lora in
Zurich or from Community Radio in Stuttgart could be heard in Vienna from
the 25th to the 30th of June.
There was also a lot of
cooperation and collaboration with radio stations not belonging to the group
of Polyphonia project partners.
Within individual radio stations various production teams, who in day-to-day
life normally had nothing or little to do with one another, also worked together
to produce programs and organize events.
This "day of action", organized by Polyphonia, was a success essentially
because of the cooperation of various groups, organizations and individuals
who are engaged in the struggle against sexual discrimination.
Handicapped people in community radios
People with handicaps
play far too small a role in community radios - whether they themselves be
radio producers or whether it is a topic in the broadcasts. At the same time
community radios could be an important forum for people who daily have to
face discrimination and exclusion. The Polyphonia Project has taken it upon
itself to change this situation. Together with organizations of handicapped
persons and handicapped individuals working in radio stations, Polyphonia
has worked out suggestions and discussed options for giving handicapped persons
more space in community radios. It became clear during this time that barriers
and obstacles need to be dismantled not only in individual radio stations
or productions teams but in the media in general.
Using Polyphonia's suggestions
as a stimulus Radio Handicap
- a program at "Rundfunk Meißner" in Hessen, Germany - organized
the first "Forum for people with handicaps (working) in the media"
in October 2001. A total of 15 associations and media groups took part at
this forum held at the Reha-Klinik (a clinic) in Lichtenau. Many ideas and
suggestions for creating collective approaches to both the media and handicapped
persons came out of this meeting. It was thus decided that journalistic and
media competence among handicapped persons should be directly encouraged by
way of continuing education (courses). This plan was brought up and discussed
at the "Tagung der Aus- und FortbilderInnen der freien Radios" ("Conference
of Teachers of Continuing Education at Community Radios") in Germany
at the beginning of 2002.
On the 3rd of December,
the so-called "World Day of the Handicapped", Radio Contrabanda,
Radio Ondarossa, Orange 94.0 and Radio Dreyeckland had their third collective
broadcasting day. This "day of action" was to be the first real
highlight of long-term discussions of and dealings with the topic of "being
handicapped". At the same time it was also an important stimulus for
others working in radio, as well as for organizations and individuals, who
were interested in getting involved with the fight against discrimination
due to handicaps. Indeed - at the Polyphonia conference in Freiburg in April
of 2001 it had become clear how important a continuous collaboration among
individual handicapped production teams at community radios actually was.
Radio Handicap of Hessen took up the idea of building a network of production
teams and began to actively work on an exchange of programming. Polyphonia
project partners as well as other community radios in Europe now use the offer
of programs coming from these handicapped production teams.
The "day of action"
on the 3rd of December was organized differently by the different project
partners. Radio Dreyeckland in Freiburg broadcast a twelve-hour program
in which the visible and the invisible barriers faced daily by people with
handicaps was the focus. Among other things there was a radio excerpt from
the conference "Freedom of Thought" held in the summer of 2001.
At this conference people with psychiatric experience gave report on "Human
Rights in Psychiatric Institutions". In a studio debate representatives
of self-help groups in Freiburg discussed difficulties and progress in the
fight for a barrier-free city. Besides this there was also a documentary report
of the Hamburg band "Station 17"; a band in which not only handicapped
persons play, but also those handicapped by being "normal". Last
but not least was the important fact that at Radio Dreyeckland a new broadcast
slot was created for this topic and a new production team came together for
it after this "day of action".
Not just one day of special
broadcasting, but an entire month of broadcasting was devoted to the topic
"Media and the Handicapped" at Orange 94.0 in Vienna. This
radio station hosted several round-table discussions in which two main topic
areas were the focus. On the one hand there were discussions about how the
topic of "disability" is handled and presented in the media generally
as well as which strategies could be developed to combat such images and clichés.
The other area of discussion was about how access to and participation in
the media for handicapped persons could be made easier. One important aspect
of this was about what concrete options and means community radios already
have or would need in order to acheive this goal. Via these "round-tables"
new contacts and plans for collaboration among various organizations for the
handicapped were made. As a result of these contacts a series of radio programs
named "Media and the Handicapped" was created and broadcast in December.
A series of radio plays by mentally retarded persons is in preparation. Beyond
this a cooperative effort with the Austrian Ministry of Social Works came
about by way of the public discussion around the subject of "disability
in the media". Orange 94.0 has been recommended to create the radio presentation
of a sensitivity campaign initiated by "Behindertenmilliarde" (roughly:
"A Billion for the Handicapped").
in Barcelona concerned itself on this Polyphonia special day of broadcasting
with the situation of women with handicaps. The phenomenon of double and multiple
discrimination in a sexist, homophobic, racist and handicapped-insensitive
society, with which handicapped women are confronted, was the main area of
interest for women involved with the medium radio. An interesting and controversial
discussion grew up around the subject of "sexuality". That handicapped
women are often thought of as "asexual" was seen as yet another
form of discrimination and was criticized accordingly. Radio Contrabanda maintained
telephone contact to other community radios and organizations of the handicapped
in Spain and was thus able to report on related activities and discussions
going on in other cities.
too, sought direct contact with active groups of or groups dealing with the
handicapped in order to plan and carry out their special day of broadcasting.
In preparation for this day Radio Ondarossa participated in several action
groups. Using a "Mobile Broadcasting Combinat" the radio station
visited events and festivities, accompanied groups to meetings at schools
or while handing out flyers, and visited these groups in their own offices.
Part of the programming was done by radio journalists at Radio Ondarossa and
partly it was done by temporary production teams made up of people with handicaps
themselves, in which they prepared programs in their own language and according
to their own way of expressing themselves. At the end of these activities
many of the participants of the same came to the studios of Orange 94.0 on
the 3rd of December where much of what had been collected and recorded by
the mobile team was broadcast during the length of a whole day. In live discussions
and interviews, those directly affected by these topics - handicapped persons
and those who look after them - demanded free assistance, criticized the Italian
social law and the law of equality, and spoke of problems they had at work.
On this "World Day
of the Handicapped" Radio Ondarossa, Radio Contrabanda, Orange 94.0 and
Radio Dreyeckland were able to sensitize not only listeners but also those
working in the medium of radio to the topic of discrimination due to disability.
The project partners of Polyphonia networked with other community radios,
organizations of the handicapped and with individuals in order to create a
foundation for future collaboration and cooperation in the fight against discrimination
and exclusion. As on other "days of action" this Polyphonia special
event in the year 2001 lead to an heightened exchange of programming among
various European community radios as well as among individual handicapped
production teams. The result of all this networking and cooperation was an
exciting, informative and confrontive day of broadcasting. Besides this plans
for new projects were made and if all goes well will be put into action in
the beginning of this year.