Steve Ahern reports from the International Radio Festival in Malta.
Malta is a mixture of languages and cultures, a perfect place to celebrate radio.
For the last 5000 years, the little Mediterranean island, situated just south of Italy, was occupied by ancient Phoenicians and Romans, was part of the Ottoman Empire, then was a colony of both the French and the British. In the 1500s the island was given to the Hospitalier Knights, and still bears many relics from that period.
The Maltese language is a mixture of Arabic, Italian, French and English and is unique in Europe. The capital city Valetta is ringed by Islamic and Colonial fortifications. Visitors winding their way through the ancient narrow streets sense centuries of history surrounding them.
It’s raining today.
My IRF branded umbrella certainly came in handy on the walk from the Excelsior Hotel, around the harbour fortifications, to St Elmo’s Fort where broadcasts are taking place all day from a specially built stage and broadcast booth.
Founder and Festival Director Darryl von Daniken says radio is experiencing a “tremendous resurgence, fitting in perfectly with today’s earphone generation.” Radio feeds our need for “authenticity and time away from today’s ever-increasing impersonal over digitised, over engaged world,” where “superficial surfing” is the order of the day.
I caught up with Darryl sitting outside the live radio studio, where Hits Manchester was broadcasting.
He explained that one of the features of the International Radio Festival, now in its 8th year, are the live broadcasts where radio stations from the world come together so that delegates can “hear the world.” Every two hours over the week of the festival another stations broadcasts live from the festival venue.
The festival continues all this week, with live broadcasts, events and a conference. See the full program here.
We will bring you coverage of the festival all this week on radioinfo and AsiaRadioToday.