Having survived what can best be described as a turbulent year, Radio Ara’s traditional week of crowdfunding events this year is what the station calls “in many ways a celebration.” The community broadcaster had been facing severe financial problems and was on the verge of bankruptcy just a year ago.
But with loyal listeners rallying around to show support and make donations, as well as finally sealing a hard-fought temporary five-year agreement with the government that guarantees the public service broadcaster €250,000 a year to develop its mission to provide programming that “reflects the social, cultural and artistic events” of the grand duchy.
But the station is aware that because the agreement is not enshrined in law, its long-term future remains uncertain if it wishes to retain its independence. “Since its foundation almost 30 years ago Radio ARA has been financed to a large extent by the contribution of its listeners. The agreement with the government is temporary and as such we must continue to show that we are a community financed project. This is above all an endorsement of a unique information project in Luxembourg, which guarantees genuine independence” said Guy Antony, Radio ARA.
On Friday 24 September the fund-raiser kicks off with a Bumper Friday Show at 6.30am. Presenter Sam Steen is joined by the ARA City presenters for a day of Friday fun and madness. Then, later in the afternoon the iconic voice of Bistro’s Céline Agnes will fill the airwaves as she goes head to head in a DJ battle with “some of Luxembourg’s finest music lovers”.
Friday evening also sees the Radio Ara Walk around Bonnevoie, which includes live performances from Sheebaba at Rotondes, Hanna Ida at the kyosk in the Bonnevoie park, Corps in Situ at Bannannefebrik and DJ sets back at Rotondes.
The Radio Ara studios will be open to listeners and anyone interest in the work the community station does on Friday from 4 to 6pm and on Saturday from 12 to 2pm.
Throughout October the shows on Ara will be dedicated to the special relationship that bonds volunteers, listeners and the radio together.
“This past year has seen us add shows in Farsi, Tigrinya, Albanian, Spanish, Greek and Irish it has been an exciting evolution of the international programmes on offer at Ara, and I don’t think we are done yet. There is a large Romanian and Polish community in Luxembourg, it would be great if we could hear community shows from those groups in the future. We are always open to new ideas,” said Lisa McLean, Ara City coordinator.