International Radio Festival: a week of world-class radio in Malta
Sunday saw the International Radio Festival (IRF) draw to a close in Valletta, and with a cumulative 100 million listeners worldwide tuning into the weeklong event, all ears have been on Malta for the spectacular affair. The International Radio Festival saw over 30 radio stations from all corners of the globe gather in Malta including, India, China, America and Australia, to transmit their hallmark shows live from the historic Fort St Elmo. Cleverly compiled by Darryl Von Daniken and his team, the event has taken thousands of hours of intrinsic planning to orchestrate such resounding success.
Now in its ninth year, this international broadcasting event represents the first and only global conference to debate and showcase the business, production and curation of the world’s most consumed medium – audio/radio content. It’s been an amazing week bringing together some of the best content creators in the world, we take a look at some of the weeks highlights.
Daniel and Ylenia, 89.7 Bay FM Breakfast, Malta
Daniel and Ylenia’s Bay Breakfast show kick-started the week-long radio affair. Whether you’re brushing your teeth, driving to work or trying to drag yourself out of bed on a Monday morning, Daniel and Ylenia are there to soundtrack the start of your day. If you haven’t heard of them, you have probably seen their faces plastered all over billboards and buses. The duo have rapidly become the king and queen of morning radio in Malta, and it is not hard to see why. The young pair have an immense following and zest for life. The energy they provide is infectious, not to mention raucously funny. Having had two shows feature in the festival, Ylenia notes: “It’s absolutely lush to be a part of this event and connect with other audiences from across the globe.” Daniel agrees: “Usually we have to travel far for this kind of event; it’s unreal such a huge festival is being held on our doorstep, and even greater that we have the opportunity to be a part of it.”
89.7 Bay FM Radio has been officially Malta’s most popular radio station for 10 years now, with a market share of 25.09 per cent. Station manager Andrew Zammit strives to keep to the station in tune with his audience.
“It’s vital we connect with the community,” adds Zammit. “Our presenters aren’t just at the other end of a speaker; they go into the community and join events such as pride or charity fun-runs.” We asked Daniel and Ylenia if they ever got used to 5am starts and the honest answer was “Not really,” though with such a fun-filled show, you would never guess it.
93.5 Red FM, RJ Devaki, India
Devaki isn’t just a Radio DJ. In her homeland of India she’s a national superstar. Alongside broadcasting, she’s a top model and successful actress. Her show reaches over 30 million people daily in India. The RED FM network is India’s largest and most awarded network, with over 50 stations across the vast country. Recently, Devaki was crowned Voice of Ahmedabad by the governor of Gujarat. The show is a platform for the aam amdavadi, as well as being the winner of this year’s IRF and Radioandmusic.com’s Sound of India Contest. The mayor as well as the police commissioners, use Devaki’s show to spread their message. Devaki also provides important suggestions to such bodies.
During the Saturday broadcast live from Malta, Devaki’s personality was exceptionally radiant and engaging. Her team even reenacted Holi – the paint-throwing festival of love.
“It’s an honour to be here in Malta; we are really enjoying the island and the great hospitality. Festivals like this are very important for us,’’ adds Devaki.
Kasheme, Flying Carpet, Switzerland
At the polar opposite end of the spectrum of commercial radio stations, Kasheme’s Flying Carpet show has accrued a global cult following. Despite not being an official radio station, “we will be soon,” says the team behind the show. The underground station draws in global music to provide an emotive journey to their listeners. “There are no adverts, no traffic updates and no news.” It’s clear the show is a hypnotic experience, with the trio in a trancelike state during broadcast: “We want to connect with our audience on a deeper level of consciousness.”
We asked them what ‘Kasheme’ means. “It’s a living room like bar in the middle of Zurich with its own in-house record store and state-of-the-art studio/club in the basement,” the team explain. The popular show attracts music lovers far and wide for the emotive musical journey they provide.
At IRF the three owners of Kasheme showcased their idea of the future of radio to a worldwide audience. Flying Carpet saw three friends Nick ‘Soul Mate’ Mazrekaj, Guido ‘FreeJ’ Rumi and Tim ‘J’peux’ Bytyqi play records that are very personal, super charming and totally mesmerizing; in other words, everything Kasheme represents. “Our show is about connecting people on a higher and deeper level of consciousness,” they add.
When we asked the trio where they are from they simply replied, “Planet Earth.”
Rai Radio 3, Sei Gradi with Paola De Angelis, Italy
Paola De Angelis is a household name in Italy. Having worked her way across multiple Rai platforms, Paola has endured an exceptionally successful career in radio. The programme stems back to the 1950’s, with a principal focus on culture. The programme entails classical music, live concerts, drama, literature, economics, philosophy, religion and history. The Sei Gradi show format is based on the theory of six degrees of separation: seven songs are played with six interlinking factors. “I research heavily to discover fascinating facts to connect the songs and information surrounding the artists; I love it,” adds Paola.
“Although I have been in this industry for years, I feel like this week I have been constantly learning and there is still so much to learn,” notes Paola. “It’s so inspiring to see how other broadcasters conduct their shows, and the format they take. I will definitely be taking some new ideas back to Italy.”
The full list of radio stations that took part in this year’s event were Bay Radio, Vibe FM, XFM and Magic FM from host country Malta, alongside international stations; BBC Radio 1 (UK), BBC 1Xtra (UK), Jazz FM (UK), MiSoul UK), Fun Kids Radio (UK), United DJ’s with Tony Prince (UK), Hits Radio (UK), Flex FM (UK), Ego FM (DE), Le Mouv (FR), M20 (IT), Teenage Radio Immaginaria (IT), Kasheme Lounge (CH), LikeFM (RU), Radyo 2 -TRT FM (TU), Ibiza Sonica (ES), Kronenhit Radio (AT), IFM (TU), 102FM Tel Aviv (IL), The Big Time (USA), Pride Radio (USA), Kiss FM (AU), Love Radio (CN), plus Sound of India Contest winner RJ Devanki and Mixcloud online radio award winners Dublin Digital Radio (IE) who won ‘Best Online Radio Station’ and Pinata FM (FR) who won ‘Rising Star’ - Listeners Choice award.
Don’t worry if you missed last week’s festival, you can listen again here https://www.mixcloud.com/IRF/