MAY 4th to MAY
Costa del Sol
Sun Radio calling
Foreigners association in Nerja is promoting international
culture on Radio Sol Almijara
The music is
jazz and the voice is soft and mellifluous, just like thousands
of other radio presenters all over the world. But this radio station
is different. The presenter is German Dagmar Ritter, living in Frigiliana,
and the interviewee is the representative of a bodega in Granada
who produces wines in an ecological way. This is Radio Sol Almijara,
founded by the association of the same name and aimed at informing
and entertaining the large international community now living in
the Nerja area, with the emphasis on free speech.
Radio Sol Almijara,
on 99.1 FM, is just one more activity by the cultural association
of the same name, whose primary purpose is to promote understanding
between nationalities and communities through educational, social
and artistic activities.
has been on the air for the past four and a half years, sending
out a sophisticated mixture of music, information and interviews,
all suitable for family listening. Radio headquarters is
a smallish apartment in Nerja, and the equipment used is certainly
not the latest generation, but the sound is something the people
of the region have come to love, and they keep tuning in.
This is a radio
station run by a small group of people who may lack the specialised
training of top professionals in the business, but their very lack
of professionalism is, perhaps, one of their strengths. While most
foreign radio stations operate exclusively through English, Radio
Sol Almijara uses the other principal languages spoken by visitors
to the region and foreign residents: French, German and Spanish.
The philosophy of the group becomes evident on entering the apartment,
when one looks out through the single studio window and see the
blue Mediterranean stretching over the horizon.
Barnich, one of the founders of the station and technical guru,
sums it up to perfection: Our use of different languages means
that we are attempting to avoid the pitfall of setting up a Little
England here. Instead, we try to integrate the resident foreigners
of all nationalities into the community, and not push the Anglo-Saxon
culture on the people who live here.
Britpop style is avoided, while jazz, classical music and folk music
from different parts of the world is the basic fare instead.
wants to hear the same songs being played on the radio every day,
says Paula A. Anthony, an English doctor who works as co-ordinator
for the radio station. She presents a weekly magazine programme
in which she interviews artists, musicians, doctors and anybody
else of local interest.
music is played on Saturday afternoons, with explanations on its
style and content given for those not familiar with it. Norbert
believes that their listeners demand news and information as well,
since they have chosen to live in the area and wish to know more
and Paula believe that foreign residents are now integrating more
than in the past, and have nothing but praise for initiatives such
as the musical, theatrical and film performances mounted in the
Villa de Nerja Cultural Centre in both Spanish and English.
is that many foreigners who come to live here are quite old, and
it is very difficult to learn a second language or integrate into
a new culture in old age, says Noberto.
Radio Sol Almijara
is not a big business, and makes no effort to attract big advertisers
As an association, it has a financial agreement with the local Town
Hall, and is attempting to establish links also with the Torrox
now limited to parts of the Granada coast, Nerja, Frigiliana and
Torrox, but attempts are being made to extend westwards. There are
few advertisements on this radio station, and those that are produced
are done in a humourous way for the sponsors.
The team of
approximately twelve people who work here are unpaid, and present
programmes without the pressure of having to please advertisers.
Most have backgrounds in design, cinema or teaching, and what they
now know about radio is self-taught.
seem to care little about the professionalism of the presenters
and technicians. About 5,000 people tune in every day, and they
love their local radio station just as it is.
the BBC and World Radio Network
of Radio Sol Almijara (RSA) are generally older people who have
travelled, of many different nationalities and with many different
interests, and for this reason, they demand interesting and stimulating
programming. Apart from interviews and music, the station has links
with the BBC and the World Radio Network.
This means that
international news is adequately covered, and along with the local
news coverage provided by the radio station, the international listeners
are well catered to.
RSA is the first
truly international radio station in Andalucía, and is currently
awaiting a decision by the Junta de Andalucía to officially
recognise them as a cultural non-profit-making entity.
All are welcome
to express their views on the radio, and to make programming suggestions
and offer new ideas. As the people who run the station tell us:
This is a radio station that aims to stimulate the mind and
raise the spirits.
courtesy of: Article in Sur in English