Bringing the island's communities together through radio
The advent of the digital age has revolutionized how we communicate with each other, and how information is shared generally, creating opportunities that seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. A team of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots has taken advantage of the possibilities provided by new technology to establish the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC).
Based in a tucked-away corner of the Ledra Palace complex within Nicosia’s buffer zone, it aims to provide various media services to all communities on the side. This includes a digital radio station, MyCyRadio (http://mycyradio.eu/listenwatch-live/).
Established in April 2013 as a UNDP project with EU funding, the CCMC was consciously based in the buffer zone to ensure complete freedom of access to people on both sides of the island.
As CCMC’s Natalie Konyalian points out, “we are probably the only official community radio in Cyprus. All the staff are volunteers, they don’t get paid. The difference with us is we’re only web-based. We don’t have a frequency. The advantage to that is it’s worldwide. It’s accessible worldwide and we’re set up in a way that whatever show is broadcast, it’s immediately available on our website as a download. You can download as a podcast say, and do whatever you want with it after that.”
She noted that the station began with just five volunteer broadcasters, and at one point, this had risen to 50 and now stands at 20 to 25. New volunteers are always welcome, she added.
Magda Zenon, who presents a weekly programme on the station called, KaleidHerscope, said that one of the station’s aims is to give a voice to those who would not have one otherwise, particularly in mainstream media. In her case, this means focusing on gender equality in a country where “the Cyprus problem dominates everything”.
The station also features non-Cypriot voices; at present it has an Arabic show and another presented by a Congolese man.
Konyalian pointed out that diversity also applies to the content of programmes. “Some people just want to do music shows, some people want to do about arts and culture”.
As for current affairs, there used to be a programme each Friday presented jointly by a Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot journalist, something that she hopes will be revived soon.
“Community radio is the way for everyone who has something to say,” Zenon said.