London Indymedia

Be part of a radio revolution

ram radio | 19.09.2005 17:50 | Free Spaces | Indymedia | Technology | London

rampART radio is an internet radio station which was orginally set up to provide independent coverage during the London European Social Forum held in October 2004. When the ESF finished rampART struggled on putting out daily news and events listings, along with some of the best revolutionary tunes and parodies you are likely to come across anywhere on the net. Over the last year the station has had it's share of up's and downs, including a month of down time when we lost our ADSL internet connection after the post office decided not to deliver any more post (including our phone bill). During the G8 in July, rampART radio provided 5 days of live up-to-the-minute coverage and enjoyed it's highest ever audiences as the stream was rebroadcast around the world. rampART radio also played a role in covering the protests against DSEi and even the London bombings after the G8.

Now, almost one year since it was created, I propose to kill rampART radio.

Ok, not exactly kill but certainly a rebirth in a very different form.

Internet radio suffers from many problems, some of which are slowing be solved by technology and some which can't. The two main problems are content and listeners.
It is so easy to set up a station that there are litter ally tens of thousands of internet stations fighting over what is actually quite a small potential audience. Unlikely real broadcast radio, internet streams require expensive computers and broadband internet connections to listen to them. This may change as WiFi technology advances and provides battery operated pocket internet radio players, but in the meantime it remains a very elitist technology. Obviously real broadcast radio would be better but the state makes sure that only the rich and compliant have easy access to the air waves. Unless we want to be harassed by the licencing authorities we have to continue with internet radio and make the best of it.

Which brings us to content. Making new content on a regular basis (such as daily news bulletins) requires commitment. In this country there doesn't seem to be that many activist projects producing audio content. Indymedia Radio have been producing a live one hour show almost every week for Resonance FM, as have Small Slow Peasants. Up north there is Below The Pavement. During the G8 there was the Radical Radio Collective which produced quite a bit of content during the week, but DSEi saw only one audio file uploaded to indymedia. It is hard to maintain or justify a political radio stream with this little new content.

Indymedia sees loads of written reports and photos for most demos and protests. It is also seeing an massive increase in the number of video clips being uploaded. It is perhaps strange that audio clips are so rare since the technology has been around so much longer - perhaps it simply isn't as sexy as video and digital photography. However, audio does have many advantages to video, it is easy and quicker to produce usable content. Arguable, audio encourages better reporting and can convey a better understanding of issues and motives than most video clips.

So where am I going with this?

I am proposing to debrand rampART radio - relaunch it under a new more generic name and radically broaden involvement in the project.

By dropping the name rampART radio the project can be liberated from it's physicality and invite new participation beyond the rampART. It's new name and concept will hopefully encourage a much wider feeling of ownership in the project which will become an umbrella or platform for existing and new audio based alt media production projects.

The proposal is based on a concept I had early on in the history of rampART radio when I argued it should be called something more generic like Squat Radio or Real Radio. However it now takes on board lessons we have learnt during the last year about the importance providing non streaming access to connect (ie. public archives) and the benefits of content syndication. Additionally this proposal is inspired by a project based in Barcelona called R23 (see which incorporates web based remote management of archiving, playlist editing, scheduling and streaming.

The new radio project would hopefully look something like this;

* New name - Squat Radio / Real Radio / R Radio / Ram Radio or whatever
* New website - probably based on NetJuke and the system used by
* Closer integration with Indymedia UK and other political websites and forums.
* Multiple physical studios, including rampART studio.
* Training and regular management and content meetings.
* Major emphasis on archiving and content syndication

A priority would be to encourage individuals and groups to produce regular content in the knowledge that it would be streamed on an established radio station and archived so that other stations are likely to rebroadcast it or individuals download and listen to it at their own convenience. Contributors would form the management collective that would sort out scheduling issues etc by consensus. The collective would communicate by email list, facilitate skill sharing and training, plus maintain a list of equipment and expertise on which they might call.

The website would act as a front end to both listeners and contributors. It would enable remote management of the stream playlists and schedules and also facilitate the addition of new content to the ac hives and playlists. Listeners would not only be able to listen to the stream or download something from the archive but also be encouraged to get involved in content creation.

I envision different groups (eg. the Samba band, No Borders, Smash EDO, Schnews etc.) and different spaces (eg. rampART, Sumac Centre, the Basement, 1in12, Cowley Club etc); creating their own content on a regular basis and acting as nodes to promote the station locally. Perhaps some squats might rebroadcast on micro power to the residents or simply pipe to communal rooms.

Content wise I would hope for daily news summaries from indymedia and other sources, events listings, a weekly schnews reading, detailed reports of actions by the participants, recordings of cultural events, gigs etc taking place in 'our' spaces, interviews with interesting visitors about what's going on in their countries or with their projects, discussions and debates, political musics, and drunken ranting. Basically, the kind of stuff rampART has been doing for the last year but much much more of it from a many more spaces, groups and individuals. (Also encouraging people doing video to consider also ripping decent audio from their footage).

Why? Because we must develop our own media and if we all do it alone we are wasting our energy!

If different projects all create a radio stream then most of the time it will be just looping the same old tired playlist and getting tiny audiences. But if different project all concentrated on content then we all get one good stream with bigger audiences attracted by constant fresh output with daily news and events listings and info about what's going on where and what there is to get involved in.

How? The technology required to make this work all ready exists, it just needs to be brought together.

What is needed is people to commit. Talk to friends, the people and projects you are active with. Would they be interested in get involved?
Let us know. We'll organise a meeting and start the ball rolling. Do you have suggestions? Can you offer technical skills, training or equipment?
Can you donate bandwidth? Ideas for shows? Read the news? Get the software working? Create the website? Administer the mailing list?
Promote the station or rebroadcast the station?

Got an questions?

At tonight's weekly rampART meeting I will propose the debranding of rampART radio and if agreed by consensus then I will organise a meeting for people who express an interest in creating a new inclusive radical radio station within the remit of the UK progressive left / DIY movement.

Please do get in touch.

ram radio
- e-mail: rampartATmutualaidDOTorg
- Homepage:


Display the following 4 comments

  1. Brilliant idea — rampart radio listener
  2. This is a comment — Tony Laing
  3. And a bit more... — Me again!
  4. Webpage error. — Rudolph Projerin L'vovich


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