Community radio and transnational encounters

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Community radio and transnational encounters      

A note by Peter Lewis & Caroline Mitchell, December 2014

The HERA-funded, three-year Transnational Radio Encounters (TRE) project ( has now entered its second year. TRE’s seven partners, from the UK, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, have been looking at the way radio has been a factor in constructing identities within and across national borders. Much of the study is concerned with national broadcasting organisations; we two are focusing on community radio (CR) and in the first year, we have been researching to what extent community radio within the UK is being used by minority groups to make connections with similar groups overseas.

The minority groups we have talked to include:

  • minority ethnic groups, whether belonging to historically settled communities, or more recent refugee and migrant communities. Their transnational encounters might include connections with a homeland and/or with diasporic groups in Europe and beyond. We are also interested in the connections that people have between radio stations via the music that they broadcast.
  • women’s radio – a ‘social minority’ in so far as women are under-represented in mainstream media. Many women are involved in UK CR and some belong to international women’s groups such as Women´s International News Gathering Service (WINGS: )
  • stations whose main focus is on sound and radio as an art form. The Radia network ( links some two dozen stations across Europe
  • LGBT programmers
  • stations whose output combines music with language spoken by a minority within a nation (Gaelic, Irish)
  • stations with an interest in Green ways of living

By connections, we mean anything from contact with listeners or listening groups to arrangements for exchanging or co-producing programming, or exchanges of staff/volunteers. We are also interested in any personal or station archives of transnational community radio programmes.

Now we want to extend our research across mainland Europe and develop ways of mapping, connecting and introducing community stations across Europe to each other. We could act as a sort of ‘dating agency’, arranging Transnational Radio Encounters for those who have similar interests relating to their social, ethnic and cultural identities.

How can you be involved?

  1. Please tell us about any transnational activities that you are involved in or have been involved in, in the past.
  2. Would you be interested in linking up with other stations and programme makers with similar interests?
  3. Please pass this on to anyone else you know who might be interested in linking up their transnational radio activities

Peter Lewis ( and Caroline Mitchell (


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