A few words about Civil Radio
Civil Radio was founded in 1993 as a result of a collaboration of NGOs, local communities, and civil organizations. The aim of the founders was to give voice to civic initiatives and strengthen civil control.
The principle of the radio is that the programme makers, editors and presenters should be volunteers with only a small board and paid staff to manage and provide the necessary background. Our radio is not a medium that works with paid, professional journalists but with active citizens representing real issues which are not presented in the mass media. The success of the two decades behind us proves that this is a valuable operation. This small radio station that broadcasted only a few hours at the start now has expanded to a “big” radio, in which 150 volunteers make radio shows for a 24 hour daily broadcast.
We could say that we are a “big” radio broadcast as we have 24 hour broadcasting and reach roughly 2 million people, but in fact we are no bigger than a family — our staff providing the conditions for the show makers is still very small. Our budget is 20 times less than the other radio stations in Budapest, but it is still too much to manage for such a small community, and without the support of the state it is always a challenge for us to scrape up this amount year after year.
Civil Radio is not a traditional medium. Radio is not a profit making business for us — it is about expressing independent, free opinions. We do not want to tailor Civil Radio to the needs of financial investors and politicians who do not favour us anyway.
We intentionally keep ourselves away from petty, low-level party politics because the participants of political life did a lot for the division of Hungarian people and the whole society in order to manipulate them with demagogy. We keep the dirt of politics out of our doors, rather, we support dialogue and regular conversation between various groups of the society. Under the surface, the benefits of this radio station on society are evident, but this is not a topic in the mass media because it is not in the interest of the profit makers to reveal an affordable and just cause.
Why is Civil Radio different?
- There are many other forms of media, but the independent, free community radios have almost disappeared in Hungary. There is no other radio that thematically aims to present social issues and give publicity to citizen activities and initiatives operating in Hungary.
- Civil Radio is a trustworthy medium — we have never tried to keep our radio alive by getting support from business companies or political parties. The authenticity of our voice has always been more important for us than our survival.
- The Civil Radio volunteers are activists dedicated to their work rather than those hired to work for a fee. Our radio is an open workshop where a community of active citizens gets together to do something for their own life.
- We do not follow the patterns of other media. Our mission cannot be easily defined and categorized. We speak differently on programs compared to the mainstream — we are not professionals. Our voices sometimes stammer or stutter, but it is more important for us what we say rather than how we say it. We are “just” representing the voices of issues not covered by anybody else.
- It is not our goal to show the world from one perspective, or to speak in only one style or taste. The diversity of our volunteers, shows, and musical profile demonstrate that our way of representation cannot be compared with any other media.