Açık Radyo (Open Radio), which went on air 18 years ago on 13 November, 1995, is a “regional” radio station, which broadcasts to the metropolitan Istanbul area and its environs. It was founded as a private company as required by the Turkish Law on Radio and TV broadcasting, but nevertheless functions like a non-profit organization. (Actually, in 2003, the General Assembly of shareholders formally adopted a resolution to that effect.)
Açık Radyo is a collective, which has 92 partners holding almost equal shares where the shareholders own “share certificates”, which are composed of marked and numbered lithographs of the
late distinguished painter and sculptor Abidin Dino.
The inscription on the back says:
“This is to certify that the support you have provided for the founding of a free, independent, democratic, dignified, compassionate, and out-of-the-ordinary radio station, which will hopefully lead to the creation of other similar projects.”
Açık Radyo is not dependent on any interest group or any capital group. It is also completely independent from the state, and from any kind of “ideology” except the principles of pluralist democracy, the rule of law, and the protection and promotion of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. Thus, it is an independent body. It can be considered as one of the rare independent institutions in the Turkish media scene, which is under increasing pressure from the concentration of ownership of financial and power centers.
“Open radio is open to all the sounds, colours, and vibrations of the universe.”
During its 18 year existence, Açık Radyo has called upon the talents and efforts of 1065 individuals –ranging from age 9 to 75 – from all walks of life and from a rich variety of professions – as well as those of a few unemployed – who contributed with more than 928 programs (talk shows, music shows, etc.) to the radio station.
Currently, 204 programmers are contributing with more than 148 different programs to Açık Radyo each week. Together with the “guest speakers”, it can be said that every week more than 300 people “occupy” the modest studios and corridors of Açık Radyo, thus contributing to the general “uproar”.
People from more than 21 different nationalities of the world –American, Belgian, Bosnian, Brasilian, British, Bulgarian, Canadian, Costa Rican, Dominican, French, German, Greek, Iranian, Israeli, Italian, Lebanese, Russian, Spanish, Sudanese, etc.– have been part –or rather, members– of the Açık Radyo family of programmers.
The outstanding common characteristic of the whole bunch of Açık Radyo programmers, producers, Djs, etc., is that they all “work” on a totally voluntary basis. That is to say, with very few exceptions, they are volunteers, working without any salary or remuneration whatsoever. This is, as far as we can tell, a rare phenomenon globally.
Last but not least, at Açık Radyo we have had one individual who regularly co-produced a weekly music show for 6.5 yearsposthumously! (His family’s permission, of course, obtained.) And, another individual prenatally contributed for a show called “Baby Scent”. (Her permission, of course, taken for granted.)
Around 20,000 “guests” have been hosted at Açık Radyo over 17 years’ broadcasting. Just for some “namedropping”: From Noam Chomsky to Naomi Klein, James Hansen to Bill McKibben, RichardFalk to Thomas Hammarberg, Amy Goodman to Robert Fisk, Arundhati Roy to Norman Finkelstein, Amira Hass to Rabab Al-Mahdi, Joseph Stiglitz to Yılmaz Akyüz, George Monbiot to Michael Albert, Hrant Dink to David Barsamian, Çağlar Keyder to BenjaminBarber, Hasan Cemal to Alper Görmüş, Halil Berktay to Ayhan Aktar, Gilberto Gil to Tania Maria, Mike Stoller to Hal David, Füruzan to Adalet Ağaoğlu, Fredrick Jameson to Thomas Pogge, Vandana Shiva to Kumi Naidoo, Yaşar Kemal to Çetin Altan, M.Ali Talat to Bakır Çağlar, Timothy Garton Ash to Şevket Pamuk, İbrahim Ferrer to Bertrand Cantat, Gilbert Achcar to Samir Amin, Sue Mingus to Susana Baca, Ajda Pekkan to Nil Karaibrahimgil, Cem Boyner to Bülent Eczacıbaşı, Tarık Ali to José Bové, George Soros to Dani Rodrik, Tolga Yarman to Ahmet Yüksel Özemre, Uri Avnery to Daniel Amit, Burhan Doğançay to Mehmet Güleryüz, Orhan Pamuk to Vüs’at O. Bener, Aykut Barka to Ross Stein, Haluk Bilginer to Kenan Işık, Aykut Kocaman to Simon Kuper, OrnetteColeman to Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Arif Mardin to Ahmet Ertegün, Niyazi Sayın to Nevzat Atlığ, İnci Çayırlı to Münip Utandı, Kâzım Koyuncu to Bülent Ortaçgil, İdil Biret to Ayla Erduran, Susan Buck-Morss to Elizabeth Povinelli, John Zerzan to James Petras, LesterBrown to Maude Barlow, Wolfgang Sachs to Lisa Franzetta, Franny Armstrong to Annie Leonard, Joel Kovel to David Harvey, Johan Galtung to Bill Ayers, Mark Kurlansky to Thomas Blanton, Pierre Dardot to Christian Laval, Bertrand Tavernier to Fatih Akın, Thierry ‘Titi’ Robin to İnti İllimani, Charlie Haden to Toots Thielemans, Stefanos Yerasimos to John Berger, Semih Balcıoğluto Piyale Madra, Harun Tekin to Aylin Aslım, Esbjörn Svensson to Björn Beckman, Dave Clark to Peaches, Larry Coryell to Mike Stern…
… From the torturer to his victim, from HIV/AIDS patients to transvestites, from the 3 year-old horse-rider to the 93 year-old musician, from the 8 year-old environmental activist to the 80 year-old movie projectionist, from a renowned chef to a relativly less well-known horsecart driver, from the autistic youngster to the experienced genetic scientist, from TESEV to MAZLUMDER, from KADER to KAMER, from Amnesty International to Greenpeace – on the average 3 guests a day everyday throughout all these years.
Currently Açık Radyo has 23 professional employees. The average age for the administrative and technical personnel is 34.
Açık Radyo syndicates the daily independent news hourDemocracyNow! (in English) and the daily world news bulletin ofDeutsche Welle (in Turkish).
Açık Radyo has carried out program exchanges and a collaborative program of research and technological development on world music and the internet with 4 European radio stations: Nova/Paris, Multikulti/Berlin, Blue Danube/Vienna, Radio 3/Warsaw.
An original world music show on Açık Radyo, Dünyayı Dinliyorum (I Listen to the World), has been broadcast by RBB Multikulti Berlin, VDR Funkhaus, Radio Sweden P 6, Europa Köln, and Radio Bremen for years on end and it is currently being syndicated by Multicult 2.0.
International Putumayo World Music program has been syndicated now for more than 10 years by Açık Radyo.
Music of the World, a program at KPFA Radio from Berkeley California, has been syndicated on Açık Radyo since the 30th broadcast season (2007). In 2011 the program has been renamed by its producer as Music of the World İstanbul and in its new format it is now being aired directly from Açık Radyo studios.
Furthermore, world music programs produced by 3 to 13 year-old programmers of Radıjojo!, the first German non-commercial, non-profit radio station for children,
have been –and is being- aired by Açık Radyo since April 2008.
Açık Radyo has also been cooperating with RFI on world music programs.
Açık Radyo has pursued a two year project in partnership with the Marseille radio station Radio Grenouille and the 3 radio documentaries born from that partnership were broadcast in both İstanbul and Marseille.
Last but not least, in September 2011, within the framework of“KolajIstanbul” (CollageIstanbul) days organized by Gaîté Lyrique,one of the leading contemporary art centers of Paris, Açık Radyo broadcast live for three days (2 hours daily) from Istanbul to Paris, during which live interviews on contemporary art, music, and literature were held with around 20 guests.
Açık Radyo can be best described as a combination of News, Music, and Personality
The Talk ‘Shows’
Açık Radyo airs “talk shows” on: News and commentary, ecology, environment, public culture, philosophy, language, civil society, birth, women, children, youth, grass roots organizations, the city of Istanbul, Europa, European Union, The Mediterranean, Anatolia, fundamental rights, law, peace movements, history, mathematics, mind games, science, science-fiction, mythology, anthropology, human brain, economy, archeology, political economy, social policy, meteorology, climatology, local administration, design, architecture, world literature, poetry, books, drama, cinema, plastic arts, urban planning, museums, communications, internet, electronic games, television, psychology, traffic, business world, advertising, consumer society, health, cuisine, wine, bread, olive, coffee, scent, football, sports, travel, nature, photography, amateur aviation, riding, sailing, earthquake preparedness, occupational hazards & security, children’s rights, animal rights, globalisation, civil society, social movements etc.
The Music ‘Shows’
Açık Radyo has a wide range of music programs embracing a multitude of eras and genres such as World Music, Jazz, Blues, Rock, "Oldies", Folk, Classical Music, Pre Classical Music, Medieval Music, Troubadour’s Music, Opera, Concerto, Turco-Ottoman Music, Turkish Folk Music, Rebetiko, Sephardic songs, Chansons, Vampire Music, Reggae, Dub, Surf, Rap, Punk, Hip Hop, Latin, Brasil, Paraguay, Cuba, Operettas, Musicals, Electronic Music with its subgenres, free improvisation, music from the internet, minimal music, experimental music, Persian music, Indian music, Bollywood music... Soviet, Scandinavian, American, British, French, Russian Symphonies... Special Programs have been aired on different musical instruments such as the human voice, viola da gamba, cello, piano, guitar, clarinet, jaws (jew’s) harp, didgeridoo, etc.
The Radio Documentaries
During 17 years of broadcasting Açık Radyo has aired and/or has been airing various “documentaries” and/or “serials” on: 100 years of Sound Recording History of Turkey (4,5 years); writer Sabahattin Ali (100th anniversary, 6 months); composer Ferit Alnar (100thanniversary, 6 months); “Amma Hikâye” (“What a Story!” - Reading of select short stories from world and Turkish literature, 3 years);Andersen’s 200th Birthday (reading of his tales, 26 weeks); Arendt(100th anniversary, 1.5 months); writer Oğuz Atay (30th anniversary of his death, the complete reading of his novel, Tehlikeli Oyunlar/Dangerous Games, for 12 weeks); Bach (250th anniversary of his death, 4,5 years); Baroque music (1 year); Beckett (100thanniversary, 6 months); The Beatles (“The Quartet that Gave the Century Its Sound”, 6 months/104 hours); Berlioz (200th anniversary, 6 months); Borges (6 months); Brecht (50th anniversary of his death, 6 months), Brel (25th anniversary of his death, 6 months);The Brothers Karamazov (complete reading, 52 weeks), composerMesut Cemil (100th anniversary, 1 week), Camus (50th anniversary of his death, 3 months); Chekhov (150th anniversary, 2 months);Coltrane (80th anniversary, 6 months); Darwin (200th anniversary and 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species, 6 months); De Beauvoir (100th anniversary, 5 programs); Dickens (200thanniversary, six months); Don Quijote (400th anniversary, 32 “chapters”); Dvorák (100th anniversary of his death, 6 months);Dylan (60th anniversary, 1 year); Duke Ellington (100th anniversary, 1 month); the ECM Anthology of Music (1 year); Elvis (25thanniversary of his death, 1 month; remembering, 1 year); poet Tevfik Fikret (90th anniversary of his death, 2 months); Freud (6 months);Galuppi (300th anniversary, 3 months), Gershwin (100th anniversary, 1 month); Gogol (200th anniversary, 5 months); Gödel-Escher-Bach(4 months); Woody Guthrie (90th anniversary, 1 month; 100th anniversary, 4 months, ongoing); Händel (250th anniversary of his death, 4 months), His Master’s Voice in Turkey (2 months); Billie Holiday (90th anniversary, 6 months); Michael Jackson (50thanniversary, 6 months); The Illiad (complete reading, 6 months);Kafka (125th anniversary, reading of The Metamorphosis, 22 programs); Lennon (25th anniversary of his death, 6 months);Madame Bovary (150th anniversary, complete reading, 3 months);Madonna (50th anniversary, 1 month); composer and virtuoso Mesut Cemil (100th anniversary, 1 week); Mahler (90th anniversary of his death, 1 year); Mendelssohn (200th anniversary, 6 weeks); Jim Morrison (25th anniversary of his death, 1 week; 30th anniversary of his death, 2 months); Mozart (250th anniversary, 1 year); Music Assemblies in Turkey (52 weeks); writer, poet, activist Aziz Nesin(100th anniversary of his death, 6 months; remembering, 6 months);Oral History of the Turkish State Radio (3,5 years); Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker (50th anniversary of his death, 6 months); Cesare Pavese(100th anniversary, 1 week); Protest Music in History (6 months);Rembrandt (400th anniversary, 6 months); J.-J. Rousseau (300th anniversary, 10 weeks)… Salinger (100th anniversary, reading ofFranny and Zooey, 4 months); Saroyan (100th anniversary, complete reading of The Human Comedy, two months); music from the contemporaries of Shakespeare (5 years); composer, singer and conductor Münir Nurettin Selçuk (100th anniversary, 1 month); Soviet (Russian) Rock (1 year); Springsteen (60th anniversary, 6 months); composer Selahattin Pınar (100th anniversary, 1 month); composer Cemal Reşit Rey (100th anniversary, 8 months), composer Adnan Saygun (100 th anniversary, 6 months); Schiller (250thanniversary, 6 months); select Short Stories from World & Turkish literature (3 years); Robert Schumann (200th anniversary, 2 months); Dmitry Shostakovich (100th anniversary, 2 months); Greek composer Skalkottas (4 months); Stravinsky (6 months); String Quartets (1 year), Tales from the 1001 Nights (6 months); Turkish music virtuoso and composer Tanburi Cemil (6 months); Turkish Rock Music (1 year); composer İlhan Usmanbaş (2 months); Vladimir Vysotsky (30th anniversary of his death, 2 months); Jules Verne (180th anniversary, 20 programmes); Vian (90th anniversary, 4 weeks), Weill (100th anniversary, 1 month), Zappa (2 years)…
Special Dates, Commemorations, Documentaries, etc.:
Sacco and Vanzetti on the 75th anniversary of their execution, Sabra and Shatila massacre on its 20th anniversary, 12 September 1980 coup d’etat on its 25th anniversary, 12 March 1971 coup d’etat on its 40th anniversary, 27 May 1960 coup d’etat on its 50th anniversary, 9/11 atrocities on its first anniversary… Açık Radyo has had more commemorations and documentaries than we can list here. Some other selected highlights include:
Acting as the semi-official radio station of the UN International HABITAT (II) Conference held in Istanbul on 1996 and broadcast bilingually for 15 days…
Producing in 2005, in cooperation with the Radio Nederland, a two-hour program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto against nuclear weapons.
A 6-hour documentary on the 50th anniversary of the 6/7 September 1955 events (pogrom) where attacks against the businesses and homes of the Greek, Jewish and Armenian minorities were perpetuated.
During May 2008, special sound collages commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 68 Revolution were broadcast daily.
In 2000 on the first anniversary of the great 1999 Earthquake disaster a 2-hour documentary was produced and broadcast. On the 10th anniversary of the earthquake a series of special programs during one week was presented.
Between 1999-2011 special programs for religious holidays were produced where more than 80 distinct personalities from the areas of art, music, literature, history, science, etc., were interviewed in an effort which may be described as an exercise in a sort of “oral history”…
Since its second year, Açık Radyo has been regularly presenting one or two-hour yearly “wrap up” programs with the general title of “Last Year in Perspective” on the last day of each year (1996 - present)…
On its 15th year Açık Radyo produced a special 4-hour documentary program called “Timeline” covering the notable global events of the previous 15 years.
“A Theater of The Mind”
Açık Radyo, in its manifesto, states –among its aims and purposes– that it will serve to establish a “theater of the mind”.
And it has strived to uphold this claim by numerous readings from world literature starting with the Alexandre Dumas (père) classics:The Three Musketeers, to be immediately followed by 20 Years After. Select episodes and/or tales from yet another and much older classic, the One Thousand and One Nights were read just ‘round midnight in order to provide yet further “clarity of mind” to our listeners.
During this “adventure of the mind”, huge novels Such as War and Peace by Tolstoy were read from cover to cover for months at an end in the tiny Açık Radyo studios. Sometimes those readings addressed a single hypothetical listener (also known as “the Fat Lady” to certain members of the Glass family), as evidenced in the complete reading (in the wee small hours of the morning) of The Brothers Karamazov in its original Russian; this was sort of a “parallel reading” of the great novel in its Turkish translation during daytime rush hour.
The “Açık Radyo Stage” opened it’s “curtains” in November 2005 with the performances of a theatre group named “Civil Theater”. In May 2006, another group called “Theatre After 6” took over the project with the title “Voices From Filifu”. 25 plays by leading writers from all around the world such as Aziz Nesin, Tennessee Williams, Alexander Pushkin, Behçet Necatigil, Eugène Ionesco, Anton Chekhov, Woody Allen, Dario Fo and many other notable playwrights have been aired on the Açık Radio “Stage”.
In the same year, Açık Radyo has participated in the 15th International Istanbul Theatre Festival with Federico García Lorca’s The Shoemaker’s Remarkable Wife produced by a troupe called the “Theatre Playhouse”.
Long time Açık Radyo programmers as well, the troupe Theatre After 6 brought Gogol’s The Government Inspector to life in Açık Radyo’s studios to celebrate Gogol’s 200th birthday.
Açık Radyo was once even closed down for 15 days by the authorities, because of a reading of Bukowski’s short story called the “The Most Beautiful Woman in Town.”
Açık Radyo also takes pride and joy of bringing fairy tales back into our lives. Andersen’s Tales have been recited in commemoration of the writer’s 200th anniversary by actor Tomris Incer in 2005. The next year, she went on to recite fairy tales from Anatolia to the Far East, from Mexico to India, from Vietnam –back– to Andersen’s Denmark...
In 2005, on the 400th anniversary of the publication of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, readings and commentaries by scholar Jale Parla were realized in 32 episodes. 2005 was also the 10th anniversary of the death of the celebrated Turkish writer Aziz Nesin, the year when, accordingly, readings from Nesin’s short stories were featured.
Author William Saroyan was commemorated by a complete reading of his magnum opus The Human Comedy. These readings later become part of an exhibition on Saroyan in İstanbul.
Cult eccentric historian-writer Reşad Ekrem Koçu also joined the party posthumously with readings from his priceless Weird Stories From Our History. Kafka was on the air in his 125th birthday with The Metamorphosis. The Nobel laureate writer Sartre was after a meaningful answer to his own question What is Literature on his centennial.
2007 was the 150th anniversary of the publication of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Celebrated Turkish actress Tilbe Saran committed herself to daily readings of the novel for three months always following the original chapter divisions of the novel. Turkish dissident author Sabahattin Ali would have been 100 in 2007 had he had not been murdered at the age of 41 by the deep state apparatus. Açık Radyo featured his short stories, poems, letters during a period of six months to celebrate his birthday.
Tilbe Saran continued her readings by a rendition of Oğuz Atay’s Dangerous Games to mark the 30th anniversary of the author’s death. (As mentioned above, she followed up by a reading of theBrothers Karamazov, while the Russian original of the classic was read by another celebrated actress, Maria Merlzyakova Akgüllü from the St. Petersburg Academy.)
J.D. Salinger’s 90th birthday was celebrated by a reading of Franny and Zooey by Ömer Madra, who also happened to be translator of the novella into Turkish.
Açık Radyo has also participated in the international network which produced the “Voices from Iran” project and aired 8 short plays by Iranian playwrights in 2011 and 2012.
One final note on the “theatre of the mind”. Perhaps for the first time in the history of broadcasting, a radio station was granted a theatre award. During the 11th Lions Theatre Awards, Açık Radyo was presented with a special award for its efforts to widen the scope of the theatre audience through its production of the program “Kuranderde Kalanlar” (Left Under the Downdraught).
Some Of The Main Issues Covered by Açık Radyo
On Global Climate Change and Global Justice: Açık Radyo, since its inception, has been actively engaged in the struggle waged against global climate change and global warming. It has continuously tried to amass scientific information and evidence of devastating changes in the atmosphere, oceans, ice cover, land, and biodiversity, and then to disseminate and share this information with the general public. In short, it has always tried to focus on what it deems to really matter.
Besides giving widest possible coverage to the greatest threat ever faced by the biosphere – caused mainly by human behavior, and fossil fuel corporations and affecting foremost the poor and the weak – its editors have undertaken the rather painful task of organizing of and taking part in panels, conferences, seminars, TV/radio shows on the issue.
Açık Radyo produced two separate live shows powered by solar energy on the subject. Also, it has been one of the main organizers of the Istanbul march and meeting, whhich was held on 3 December 2005, in coordination with the global movement, to protest against global climate change and to support the Kyoto Protocol measures, and the measures to be taken after the Kyoto Protocol expires. The meeting, the first of its kind ever, was held with the active participation of more than a thousand individuals.
In 2006, Açık Radyo also was actively involved in the organization of the Istanbul demonstration held as a part of the second international mass rally against global warming. The day of the rally in Istanbul, 4th of November, happened to be one of the coldest days and – at least until mid December - the only snowy day of the year. Nevertheless, there has been quite an active participation by at least 500 people.
In 2006 Açık Radyo aired a selection of talks on sustainable environment, progress, social justice and peace movements taken from the international website Big-Picture.tv, with the efforts of volunteering translators. Açık Radyo also participated in the "Stop Climate Change"- march against in 2007 - and in the "Another Energy is Possible" march in 2008.
In 2009, numerous programmers from Açık Radyo participated to the COP15 “Climate Summit” in Copenhagen. We followed the summit during all its 13 days. Açık Radyo also participated in the 100.000 strong mass demonstration in Copenhagen. In toto 17 hours of broadcasting were accomplished during COP15 meetings.
Açık Radyo was also among the organizers of the Turkish “leg” of 10/10/10, the biggest global mass climate movement in history, an initiative of 350.org. At the end of the demonstration in Taksim, Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk were also present and both leading dissident intellectuals made speeches for the occasion.
Açık Radyo was present in COP17 in Durban as well thanks to the support of Heinrich Böll Stiftung. The climate “summit” was covered by the radio station on a daily basis. On the last day of the conference hundreds of dozens of participants staged a sit-in in front of the main Hall entrance before the plenary session, in protest over the lack of progress of the negotiations. They were properly “debadged” and compelled to leave the UN conference building. The editor in chief of Açık Radyo was among them.
The members of the Açık Radio “family” continue to be a part of the efforts to build a global mass movement to make sure that necessary steps are taken against the biggest crisis facing the planet, before it’s too late.
Reporting on War and Peace: When Açık Radyo first went on air, the war in Bosnia had already entered into its culminating phase. It was, nevertheless, to go on with this mode of “slow motion” for many months to come. Açık Radyo, both with its word and music, unhesitatingly took sides with the underdogs: Throughout the war it produced a daily program called “The Bosnian Diary”, connecting by phone to the ordinary people of Sarajevo. From day one of broadcasting Açık Radyo continued to focus on the omnipresent cases of international violence.
It was certainly one of the first media outlets in the world to perceive the coming threat of the illegal and unethical occupation of Iraq. 17 months before the invasion, Açık Radyo began to warn its listeners on such a possibility and even made a “scoop” on the so-called Rumsfeld Plan of 2001, through reading between the lines of mainstream newspapers. Açık Radyo commentators were among the earliest –globally– to thoroughly expose the lies concerning the Saddam regime being an international threat with the so-called weapons of mass destruction.
Long before the invasion, a daily half-hour news program called “The Peace Band” was aired regularly and this broadcast went on well after the invasion. Açık Radyo broadcasted “live” –through telephone from London and New York– the huge global mass protests of 15 February 2003. It was also the only radio station in Turkey reporting live the mass protestations in Ankara on the same day when the Turkish Parliament rejected the deployment of US troops on Turkish soil for the invasion of Iraq. Finally, on 24-27 June 2005, the historical Final Session of the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) –and the consequent Verdict of the Jury of Conscience– have also been broadcast live on Açık Radyo for four consecutive days…
Açık Radyo has strived to follow up on the world peace movement, the world justice movements, the Seattle and Cancún World Trade Organisation (WTO) meetings, the Porto Alegre and Mumbai meetings of The World Social Forum (WSF), the Genoa and Geneva meetings of The European Social Forum (ESF), The American Nations Summit, etc,from the “inside”, i.e., from outside the “embedded” media.
Reporting on the Uprisings for Democracy, Justice, and Dignity:
Açık Radyo strives to diligently follow what is happening in the world; with special emphasis on the revolutionary uprisings of the 21st century. We started very early on talking about the wave of rebellion that was sparked in Tunisia. Açık Radyo programmers followed the developments in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and other North African and Middle Eastern countries with many hours of programming. We have also covered and are still covering the uprisings of theindignados in Spain, the Occupy movements all over the world, student movements in Chile, in Quebec, Canada, people’s environmental movements in Brazil, Canada, USA, Turkey and elsewhere – basically all over the world.
Coverage on Independent Media: In 2006 Açık Radyo aired a 38-hour program series titled “Media Talks”. The project was supported by the Dutch government. 40 distinctive speakers including writers, journalists, newspaper, magazine publishers, radio and tv directors, legal practitioners, communication specialists, philosophers, researchers were hosted in the programs. These “experts” shared their views and experiences on vital media issues such as journalism ethics, the role of advertising, restrictions on the freedom of the press and the freedom of information, functioning of ombudsmanship, teaching of journalism, environmental journalism, etc. Additionally, the firm AC Nielsen conducted an extensive research exclusively for Açık Radyo concerning the “Reliability and Credibility of Turkish Media”. The results of the poll (quantitative and qualitative aspects) have been presented extensively on the “Media Talks” program.
On Disaster Preparedness: From day one of the great Marmara earthquake disaster of 1999 Açık Radyo started to perform as a “clearing house” for the civil society, formed an Earthquake Communication Center (ARDIM), broadcasting on the disaster and the rescue efforts and aid for 24 hours for 60 consecutive days. We continue to produce to this day a program called “Golden Hours” on earthquake and other disaster preparedness. (Rush transcripts of many of the specific individual programs have been posted on Açık Radyo website.)
In 2000, on the first anniversary of the great 1999 Earthquake disaster, Açık Radyo produced and presented a 2-hour documentary on the event. In 2009 on the 10th anniversary, another special series on the disaster was aired for one week.
Music Festivals Organized by Açık Radyo
Açık Radyo organized (in collaboration with Positive Organization) the Istanbul Musical Festivities I and II in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Attended by 10.000 music and art lovers each, these events covered all kinds of music, from Classical to Folklore, from World Music to Jazz, from Arabesque to Salsa, as well as various activities for children, international panels, world premier performances, dance workshops,etc., (around 125 activities in to).
Açık Radyo co-sponsored two photograph exhibitions; the first being “1968 Through the Lens of Magnum” in 1968; and the second, on the millennium, “Portraits of the 20th Century”. Each one of these exhibitions was visited and viewed by around 8,000 individuals. In 2006, Açık Radyo organized a thematic collective exhibition titled “NatürMort” (Still-ed Life), to draw attention to the issue of global climate change. 6 art galleries and 83 artists including some of Turkey’s leading painters, sculptors and photographers have contributed to this exhibition and donated the revenues of the sales to Açık Radyo.
Conferences And Panels Organized by Açık Radyo
Between 1996 – 2012 Açık Radyo editors and programmers have participated in nearly 500 conferences, gave lectures or took part in numerous panels, workshops, symposia on broadcasting, independent media, freedom of the press, global climate change, globalization, history of music, etc. at various universities, (İstanbul University, İstanbul Technical University, Bogazici University, Bahçeşehir University, Çukurova University, Marmara University, Mimar Sinan University, Galatasaray University, Yıldız Technical University, Middle Esat Technical University, Kadir Has University, Koç University, Kocaeli University, Gazi University, Edirne University, Eskişehir University, Yeditepe University) cultural centers, nursery, primary and high schools, and other relevant institutions in İstanbul and other cities (8 per month, i.e., 2 in 1 week).
The Parties Thrown by Açık Radyo
More than 60 parties have been organized by Açık Radyo, each with a different theme.
Media Coverage on Açık Radyo
Açık Radyo and/or its programs, and its activities have been covered by over 6000 articles, nearly 200 interviews, broadcasts, etc. during the station’s 17 years of existence, averaging one mention per day. It has been the subject-matter of two documentaries (one of them by the renowned artist and academic Antoni Muntadas: On Translation: Açık Radyo (Myths and Stereotypes), two separate master theses. It has been mentioned in at least 3 novels, 1 film and one detective novel. Furthermore, Açık Radyo programs have been quoted as sources in a number of articles in the mainstream media. Many Açık Radyo programs have also been published in printed form.
Açık Radyo has been the recipient of 45 awards in Turkey – and elsewhere – between the dates of November 1996 and October 2012. A short list of some of them is as follows:
2012: Açık Radyo co-founder and programmer Ömer Madra was awarded one of the two Senior Research Fellowships of the Mercator – IPC initiative – a unique cooperation between Istanbul Policy Center at Sabanci University and Stiftung Mercator in innovative research on climate change, EU/German-Turkish Relations, and education; also 2012: Kültür-Fen High School “Those Who Honor Us” Award for effort in raising consciousness against the threat of climate change, Donizetti Classical Music Award, to the programmers of “Alla Turca”, Ali Pınar and Ersin Antep;
2010: Journalists and Writers Foundation's ‘Peaceful Co-existence’ Award;
2009: Turkish Society of Journalists News Award for Global Warming; 2009: IX. Lions Theater Awards 2008-2009 for "Kuranderde Kalanlar", a program by Gülhan Kadim Sertdemir;
2008: The Izmir International Fair Award for Açık Radyo’s campaign against global warming;
2007: The “most” popular (foreign music) radio award, 2007: Public Service Award from the Istanbul Branch of The Ankara University Political Science Faculty Graduates; 2007: Turkish Association of Journalists Nezih Demirkent Special Award: "Insistent Broadcasting for the Protection of the Environment and Persistently Warning the Public Conscience on Global Warming");
2006: TUREB (Turkish Tour Guides Association) "Broadcasting for Sustainable Environment" Award;
2005: Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Award for Best Research in Recorded World Music was won by programmer Cemal Ünlü for his book Git Zaman, Gel Zaman (Pan publishing, 2004), based on his programs at Açık Radyo;
The Best Radio Program of 2003 (Association of Turkish Journalists);
The Best Radio Station of 2002 (Association of Contemporary Journalists);
The Most Successful Radio Station of 2001 (Istanbul University, Faculty of Communications);
The Most Preferred Radio Station of 2000 (Marmara University, Faculty of Communications); 4 consecutive yearly awards for programs on informatics, information technology and computer sciences;
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999: Turkish Association of Journalists’ Radio Program Awards (1998/1997); 3 awards for Health programs (1999 - Istanbul Chamber of Medicine; 2000 - Turkish Association of Physicians).
Açık Radyo Online
The Açık Radyo website was started in the beginning of 1997, at which period there were only around ten million internet users globally. In the first two years of its existence the web site of Açık Radyo (www.acikradyo.com and www.acikradyo.com.tr) encompassed basic information about the programs and programmers, broadcast schedule and the general structure of the radio station.
Açık Radyo has also been broadcasting online since May 2000.
Açık Site (Open Site): Together with the Açık Radyo website a second website became operative towards the end of 2001, when there were an estimated 700 million internet users worldwide. Açık Site –as has been expressed by its own “manifesto”– aimed to be
“a tiny flash-light held to the dark side of the world”.
On the website transcripts of various interviews and talk shows on Açık Radyo have been regularly posted, in addition, links from various original and translated articles concerning the state of the world written by eminent thinkers and artists of the world were posted.
Açık Radyo + Açık Site: Starting as of December 2004, the pay subscription system of Açık Site was eliminated and the two web sites were combined in one:
In addition to gaining access to detailed information about Açık Radyo, its programs, and its listeners it is now possible to find a “civil library” comprising more than 30.000 articles, commentaries, special dossiers, research, reports, cartoons, and the like… The website is visited by an average of 50 thousand people every month.
The "Open Space" Project
In the fall of 2005 a group of students from İstanbul Bilgi University carried out a collective graduation project on Açık Radyo. The idea of a creating a youth community within Açık Radyo resulted in the creation of a contest that would enable young people to express themselves via alternative media channels. Thus Açık Radyo had the privilege of organizing the first program contest for university students. It was titled: “Change the world, if only for an hour a week”. The next year hhis was followed by a second contest titled “Let’s Play!”. 64 young people from 18 universities from all over Turkey have participated with 47 projects. The winning projects were aired on Açık Radyo.
The Açık Radyo Listeners And Listener-Support Projects
The opinion poll conducted by AC Nielsen in 2000 regarding Açık Radyo shows that its “core listeners” (those who listen every day) number around 45,000; those who listen every other day: 80,000; once a week: 120,000; the number of listeners who have listened at least once during the last 3 months is around 200,000.
According to the polls conducted by the Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts (IKSV) in 2001 and 2003 among the music lovers and filmgoers of the International Festivals of Classical Music, Jazz, and the Istanbul International Film Festival, Açık Radyo was chosen the most popular radio station.
At the beginning of March 2004, a project called “Açık Radyo is seeking its listeners” was started. The purpose was to further the effort of the 92 founders and 650 volunteer programmers with the active contribution of the listeners. The main aim was to attain a level of “sustainable independence”. With the addition of these funds raised from a few thousand individual “listener-sponsors” to the regular income obtained by advertisements and sponsorships, it was hoped to attain a level of permanent financial sustainability in the long run.
During a year-long campaign the listeners were asked to sponsor one or more programs. At the end of 2004 the number of listeners who had sponsored their own radio station turned out to be 2,250 – meaning that 2,250 individuals had consciously chosen to pay from their pockets for a public service completely free of charge!
It can be argued that this constituted a rare case for individual participation in the Turkish media, if not unique. The Second “campaign” of 2005 have activated more or less the same number of individual sponsors.
Every year Açık Radio announces the Listener-Support Project with a one-week-long mini “radio festival” with numerous guests and their special “shows” on air. The third Listener-Support campaign lasted 99 hours in 9 days in March 2006. Around 100 actual and former programmers came together in panel programmes to discuss the content of the last ten years of broadcasting within Açık Radyo.
The Fourth Listener-Support Project with the motto "Altogether With Açık Radyo" was carried on between 24th February and 4th March 2007. During these nine days, nearly 40 "regular" listeners participated in programs, making Açık Radyo literally interactive.
Besides listeners, many renowned and respected artists, writers, actors, musicians from Turkey and elsewhere produced and presented their own programs, contributing their own voices to that of Açık Radyo's. At the end of the 9th day, the number of individual sponsors had reached 3,000.
The Fifth special project broadcast in 2008, with its motto "Altogether With Açık Radyo, Forever!", had numerous celebrities as programmers. Further, some articles from soon-to-be published The Open Book (the Açık Radyo Encyclopaedia) were read and/or converted to programmes by their respective authors.
In March 2009, the sixth Listener-Support Project was carried on for 9 days with the participation of an impressive number of leading artists and intellectuals from all around the country. Special reading sessions from other articles of The Open Book, which had been now published, were held for a second year running. A vast majority of supporting listeners of Açık Radyo renewed their pledges. At the end of the Sixth Listener-Support campaign the number of individual sponsors of Açık Radyo had reached 4,500.
Açık Radyo in its 15th year: Açık Radyo celebrated its 15th birthday on 13 November 2010. To celebrate the occasion, the 15-year adventure was immortalized in printed form in a special book: The Open Book. The book is composed of material from 15 years of Açık Radyo programming as well as articles written by programmers and supporters of the radio. Famous Turkish painter Mehmet Güleryüz hand-painted the covers of a limited run of 50 books for the event.
By 2010, the mini festivals of Açık Radyo had become an established tradition. The motto for that year was “Açık Radyo Forever!” New names had been added to the long list of leading artists and intellectuals of Turkey who had been lending their voices and support to Açık Radyo. Also, starting from this year a good many listeners were invited to the station to lend their vocal support, their music, and/or ideas on how to improve the content and organization of Açık Radyo. The number of supporters from among the listeners was again around 4,500 by this time.
The 8th and 9th special campaign programs of 2011 and 2012 continued to host some of the leading artists, musicians, journalists, thinkers, and –yes!- radio personalities from Turkey, plus a number of artists from abroad, as well as a significant number of listener-supporters, original “founding-members or partners of the station, who contributed with their own highly creative original music, talk, and/or literary programs, thus infinitely enriching the content of Açık Radyo. At one time members of a four-generation family of founders-programmers-listeners-supporters got together in the studio to produce a unique live-show!
The number of listener-supporters had been “stabilized” around 4,500-5,000 by that time.
To make a long story short, Açık Radyo listeners have embraced Açık Radyo as a medium trying the protect and preserve the common values, or all that we share… This support roughly covers the expenses of 5,5 months of the radio station. The “project” now is in its tenth year, the living proof of the assertion that “Açık Radio Forever” is possible. This unequivocally means that sustainable independence is also possible and indeed essential for all!
Towards the End of the Second Decade
The Açık Radyo station, an alternative medium with its independent standing outside mainstream media, keeps on its determined effort at its 18th year, to share –via its talk shows and music programs– information with a view to transform its listeners into informed citizens, to transform itself into a huge forum of discussion, and to pave the way for people to get organized for a better future. It strives, in brief, to show that another world is not only possible but essential as well.