Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Evaluative questions - some answers by Hatto Fischer

As part of the preparations for the meeting in Krakow in October 2005

1. What are for you the qualifications of HRN?


2. Revision of the initial idea of HRN - what has worked, what has failed and what future chances do we have to realize such idea? What possible alternatives concepts do we have or could we develop?

As a kind of introduction:

Rampart Internet Radio – some relevant remarks:

“Internet radio suffers from many problems, some of which are slowly being 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 literally 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 licensing 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.”

What has worked?

Despite little or no funding, production of content has not been that great a problem as originally feared, even though heritageradio is weak on audiofiles but now in the process of rectifying that situation.

What has failed?

Structurally speaking, technological solutions were advanced independent from content and considerations as to what is needed for the journalists and editors to work together. There was at times little or no communication between coordination in Weimar and the rest of the participants.

Many good opportunities to use such a tool in the promotion and protection of cultural heritage were not used at all.

The internet radio within HERMES remains in the odd position of being perhaps the most interactive component in the project without interacting necessarily with the other components or work packages of the project.

Due to having no managerial concept based on mission, business plan and ready to be signed contracts all contributions have come and gone without much of an impact even though the value of these contributions is being overlooked even by the HERMES partners themselves.

An Internet Radio should function as an extension of debates in order to reach a wider audience but the very absence of a cultural debate within the HERMES project makes itself felt also in the absence of the Internet Radio heritageradio.net whenever meetings, workshops, symposiums, summer courses etc. take place as part of the implementation plan of HERMES.

What future chances do we have to realize such idea? What possible alternatives concepts do we have or could we develop?

Clearly any further step will need to decide whether or not the main editorial line will be determined by the key concept of cultural heritage. If so, then a media policy with regards to the promotion and protection of cultural heritage has to be worked out by both journalists, editors and cultural experts, museum directors, archaeologists. By seeking this special dialogue with leading groups of the cultural sector a linkage must be sought with the overall cultural debate in Europe. If heritageradio is to link up with cultural networks like EFAH, CIRCLE, the European Foundation of Culture etc. then it must become a well known platform of communication. The key question here is but with what kind of interaction and in interaction with whom? Should it include the European Commission and the European Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Sports, Media, Education and Youths by bringing live coverage of debates based on written texts which can be made easily available via the Internet with special commentators able to explain the parliamentary process of adapting the European cultural situation to European and National law when it comes to protecting and promoting cultural heritages in Europe? In other words, an extension of services in the direction of the overall European and international level would add to the profile of heritageradio and make it become more responsive to institutions and organizations working already in the fields of culture and cultural heritage. This should be extended also to include the international concern for world heritage and what damages natural and man made disasters such as war can create for cultural heritages around the world. Much more awareness for ongoing events and developments has to be created by heritageradio if it is to become known not only locally or regionally, but at European and indeed international level.

3. How shall it be in the end of the day? What steps are needed to achieve the concepts idea? How can we gain more competence and seriousness as a journalistic platform? This would be our measurement for the next year to be able to evaluate our progress we made or not.

Chances of realizing this requires a board and an independent editorial staff working together with leading experts in order to have a consciousness of what it takes to become and remain efficient in the modern media landscape. Right now journalists and editors are too much concerned with presenting only their own particular cultural background without being aware that recognition of cultural diversity, including the various languages and articulation possibilities within these languages, goes with working together in response to all the contradictions the modern world entails. Therefore, some very far reaching concepts are needed to describe the future work of heritageradio. It will require also a phase of research, training, fund drive, etc. before being able to have a structured approach to the tasks of a competent Internet Radio.

For instance, special relationships between museums and the Internet Radio should be strived for so that the Internet Radio becomes an extension of protecting and promoting cultural heritage as shown by museums in the outside world. The creation of such linkages will require a conscious concept to be followed through at editorial and organizational level. This requires familiarization with the inherent potential and concepts of the HERMES project which envisions, for instance, an Internet Café in the museums and therefore a natural base for the Internet Radio to have one of its many interactive platforms.

The reason for saying this is that future development faces a huge cultural challenge which can only be meet if the Internet Radio manages to articulate the cultural needs being right now either ignored or abused by commercialization drives. Consequently the internal organizational structure of heritageradio must be looked at with cross references to such opinions as expressed by Giovanni Pinna when speaking about the intellectual organization of museums. One of his strongest argumentations is about the need to recognize competences so that editors and journalists work together as the museum director and staff. He speaks about the need of every museum to create its own culture and only when such a culture exists then it is possible to communicate this culture to the outside world. Insofar as heritageradio is exactly the opposition, namely an open ended cultural affinity of people brought together by a European project, the crucial question is, therefore, if these people would remain together if it were not for HERMES?

4. How to finance such a project in future?

Before any financial question can be answered, the managerial approach to such an undertaking must clarify right from the beginning what is the difference between cultural investment and financing activities within the cultural sector but related equally to other fields e.g. media.

By definition anything having a cross border character will have more difficulties in financing itself. Heritageradio is not a newspaper, it is also not a research team looking into issues of cultural heritage.

Basically any concept must be self sustaining in order to be free and independent since this is a prerequisite for journalistic and editorial work.

So far most of the work done has been voluntarily and thereby expresses values of civil society based on having a different access to information when compared with political parties or the traditional but commercial media.

If people are willing to pay for special services provided, it is a must that people know about these services and make use of them.

One target group should be all people connected with museums, exhibitions, cultural work and cultural networks, so that refinement of concept means also researching their special needs.

Any internet radio must have some sources of information which gives it a special flavor e.g. Indymedia’s effort to cover any conflict simultaneously from both sides i.e. the Israeli and Palestinian. There is the alternative radio based on the writings, lectures and works of Noam Chomsky and which provides a life radio one hour show to be bought by other radio stations once a week. As a communication platform it sensitivizes the debates linked directly to both the scientific and political speeches of Noam Chomsky. It is located in science between philosophy and linguistics while in politics Noam Chomsky bases his approaches on the freedom of speech meaning critical analysis of given political developments. He reveals facts and forms of perception not presented in the usual media press. It should be said that the United States faces a very strong onslaught of distorted news due to spin doctors and a public diplomacy policy by the US administration. The more appropriate term for public diplomacy is propaganda. Insofar media and power are conflictual, it should be underlined and stated explicitly that there is a strong need for independent journalism and reports based on validated facts and information. A greater consciousness of what is needed in such a media and political landscape can already describe the role heritageradio has to play if it is to be successful in its undertakings.


Financing comes with



Hatto Fischer

Athens 29.9.2005

^ Top

« HERMES Małopolska | Final HRN meeting in Weimar Oct. 2006 »