Madeira – com­mu­ni­ty radio in the mak­ing in Cur­ral das Freiras

In the last months, the Grass­roots Radio team in Madeira has been doing a lot of activ­i­ties in Cur­ral das Freiras, a civ­il parish of about 2000 inhab­i­tants in the cen­tre of Madeira and loca­tion of one of our grass­roots radio sta­tions. Let’s see togeth­er some exam­ples of what can hap­pen when such a small com­mu­ni­ty of peo­ple has the pos­si­bil­i­ty of cre­at­ing a com­mu­ni­ty radio sta­tion.

There were meet­ings in which the pres­i­dent of the parish, teach­ers, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of local asso­ci­a­tions and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers took part. The local librar­i­an start­ed to list a con­sid­er­able amount of pro­gram ideas relat­ed to her activ­i­ty, such as telling sto­ries about pop­u­lar tra­di­tion and inter­views with the elders to dis­cov­er the area through their per­son­al expe­ri­ences. The pres­i­dent of the parish pro­posed trans­mis­sions con­cern­ing tips on civ­il pro­tec­tion. A teacher of the pri­ma­ry school imag­ined the par­ents lis­ten­ing to some activ­i­ties of their chil­dren through the radio.

Mean­while, the micros­tation and anten­na were assem­bled on the top of the moun­tain to stream the trans­mis­sion. The researchers of the project were invit­ed to take part in one of the main events of the com­mu­ni­ty, the Chest­nut Fes­ti­val, where they could gath­er and stream live inter­views with the locals togeth­er with the tra­di­tion­al Mass. Here, the priest pre­sent­ed to the audi­ence “the Curral’s com­mu­ni­ty radio” and invit­ed the project team to broad­cast also the tra­di­tion­al Christ­mas mass for the elder­ly and the sick, togeth­er with a the­atri­cal per­for­mance made by the young peo­ple of the com­mu­ni­ty. Dur­ing these events, new local peo­ple expressed their inter­est in col­lab­o­rat­ing with the radio.

The project’s team was present also dur­ing the 229th anniver­sary of the Parish foun­da­tion. The les­son of a pro­fes­sor on the pecu­liar­i­ties of the local dialect, the meet­ing with the farm­ers about the dis­eases of the chest­nut trees and the the­atri­cal sketch­es made by the elder­ly asso­ci­a­tions were all record­ed on the mobile phones in order to be broad­cast­ed as soon as the new license is avail­able.

This is what hap­pens in Cur­ral das Freiras, where Grass­roots Radio was licensed to broad­cast from Octo­ber to Decem­ber and is now wait­ing for a new green light from the reg­u­la­tor — ANA­COM. Mean­while, we have been work­ing togeth­er, researchers and com­mu­ni­ties, think­ing about orig­i­nal con­tents, organ­is­ing the pro­grams sched­ule, find­ing new vol­un­teers.

Let’s not for­get that a Euro­pean project like Grass­roots Radio is made of local field­work but also of glob­al dis­sem­i­na­tion: at the begin­ning of April, for instance, Chris Csik­szent­mi­ha­lyi and Ste­fan Can­dea were at the , a crit­i­cal gath­er­ing for jour­nal­ists and trans­paren­cy, in Peru­gia, Italy. There they pre­sent­ed var­i­ous work in bot­tom-up tech­nol­o­gy for open­ness and trans­paren­cy, includ­ing the Grass­roots Radio project.

And that’s all from Madeira for now. Thanks for stay­ing with us.

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