Dear listeners & supporter of Radio ARA,
First of all THANK YOU so much for all the great support and all the financial help you are giving us with monthly payments or one-off donations!
Some of you have asked for more clarification of the situation and why we are in this financial crisis. We shall endeavor to answer your questions and make it clear below. (reading time 4 Minutes!)
Started originally as a Pirate station, Radio ARA grew and existed as 3 units:
1. Since 2000, the English language programme ARACity Radio, was produced by a commercial production company. Professional presenters were employed to create the shows. The advertising money was used to pay the presenters and Radio ARA for the weekday airtime 6am-2pm.
2. Graffiti, the youth shows. This part is a not-for-profit organization (ASBL) with the status of a youth house and has financial support from the Ministry of Education and the Municipality of Esch/Alzette. Social workers are employed to work and train over 60 voluntary youngsters and a number of schools, to produce projects relating to their interests. Graffiti youth programmes have airtime weekdays 2pm-5pm.
3. The programmes you hear in the evening and weekends are a platform for original music, cultural and socially relevant content, and is produced in over ten different languages. This is content that is not represented in Luxembourg’s mainstream media. This part of the program is represented by the not for profit organization Mond Op (ASBL). The content of these shows is created by over 100 volunteers, and the organization, scheduling and the technical support is done by volunteers and a handful of part-time employees.
Why are we crowdfunding now?
As an independent radio and a platform for communities, associations, different languages, the local music scene and much more. In few words, Radio ARA was never rich. With the airtime rental fee from ARA City Radio and Graffiti, the membership fees, donations, and for the past two years a small stipen from the ministry of media, Radio ARA was able to survive.
However, over the past five years digitalization and the growth of English media within bigger media houses in Luxembourg, has meant marketing budgets have shifted as competition has increased.
Advertising has moved away from traditional media to online platforms such as Facebook, and websites, and as a result ARA City Radio experienced a dramatic decline in advertising revenue over the last years.
The pandemic was the final blow, as all but a few companies withdrew advertising. The commercial company that produced ARA City Radio officially closed.
Up until that point, the rental fee for airtime from ARA City Radio was the most important income for the whole radio. The main goal now is to keep the English speaking programme on-air and continue giving you the same emotions as we always did!
Most mainstream media in Luxembourg gets press aid from the government. Is there no law that supports community media?
Many countries in Europe have a law assuring the financial support of independent and community media such as Radio ARA. These laws offer a financial basis for facilities and payed staff for technical support, administration and the mentoring of volunteers. UNESCO and the EU have stated their belief in the importance of supporting community media as a means to encourage engaged citizenship; despite this, Luxembourg does not have such a law.
To keep media pluralism in Luxembourg alive, we demand that our government follows a similar path to our neighboring countries and financially support community media. With 50% of our resident population coming from abroad, community media has an increasingly important role, because it supports the diversity of the country and gives everybody the opportunity to have a voice on-air.
During the pandemic, with the help of volunteers, Radio ARA was the only media in Luxembourg to produce local news in 9 different languages. This ensured the different communities in Luxembourg were informed about new measures taken by the government during this time.
Does the New Media Law support Community Radio?
The new media law was created to support the written press and digital media. The government also wants to give financial support to community media, BUT as a condition to be eligible for this aid, the new law forces community media to hire professional journalists.
This restriction does not in any way reflect the need of community media!
We don’t need full-time journalists to enforce our station, but as a community radio we need financial support for antennas, rent, technical support, salaries for our staff who coordinates and trains all aged volunteers, including students and youngsters and provide opportunities for the local communities.
This is why we need your financial support and your help to get us the visibility we need to make everybody aware of this grievance in the Luxembourgish media landscape. Thank you!