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San Marino’s first live internet radio broadcast

August 12th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Last week we traveled to San Marino to organise a workshop on internet radio at the San Marino Arts Festival (SMIAF) and to broadcast the festival.
The SMIAF web site says:

100 music events, theater, circus, photo, art, culture and appetizers-meetings, the event gives voice to young artists of Knowledge, professionals and creators of San Marino, Europe and the World. The Festival creates a “social network” real and human in the ancient Land of Liberty to meet, interact, learn and create new knowledge. SMIAF Project aims to promote, also throughout the year, a new and more valuable visibility for the country both locally and internationally.

But this fails to convey the real excitement. The festival is run by volunteers – young people from San Marino. They have only a small budget and much of that is money raised by them. And there is a real buzz about it – enhanced by the venue. The old city of San Marino is perched 800 meters up on a mountain with small winding streets. There are ten festival stages with steep climbs between them.

We met for the workshop at about four in the afternoon on the Friday. The workshop, held outside in one of the main squares, was a little complicated in that we did not speak Italian and most of the volunteers spoke only limited English. But with help from Anthony, our Maltese translator we got by.
This is the fourth internet radio workshop we have run this summer and although they vary a little according to time and numbers, the format and content is much the same. We introduce them to the equipment and to how internet radio works, then we run a storyboarding workshop to get ideas for content and formats for the broadcasts. This is usually followed by a session where participants decide what roles they will take responsibility for – producers, floor managers, technicians, music, journalists etc.

Then it is down to the hard work of preparing content and getting out publicity through social networks whilst at the same time practicing interview techniques and how to use the microphones. The workshops are always pretty chaotic but a lot of fun. With previous workshops teh aim has been to produce a 30 minute programme. In this case we ended up broadcasting from four in the afternoon until ten o’clock on the Saturday and on the Sunday we ran on to well past midnight.

What is particularly satisfying is the enthusiasm and speed of learning which happens when participants have a real and authentic task – to broadcast live radio. And the live element provides an adrenaline rush which a participant at a previous workshop described as being “better than drugs”. It is also great to watch how participants fuse together as a team and take on different roles and responsibilities in the process.

The SMIAF radio programme has a longer term aim than the festival. San Marino has only one radio station and that is government controlled. To the best of our knowledge the festival marked the first internet radio broadcast from San Marino. And our intention is to develop internet radio in San Marino starting with a podcast serie4s from the autumn and leading to the launch of live internet radio next year.

It was a great weekend. Thanks to all who helped us – the SMIAF organizers, the technical support but above all all those who joined the SMIAF radio team over the weekend. We hope to see you all again soon.

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