Community radios have become an important tool for civil society initiatives in many cities. Often, they offer a platform to voices, debates and concerns usually not heard on conventional radio programmes. With their stations, they occupy public spaces, shape their neighbourhood and engage in developing in the city.
Since 2019, THF Radio broadcasts from the old gatekeepershouse (“Torhaus”) at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. The studio not only offers a space for radio shows but invites to gather, participate and reflect on the curation and organization of THF Radio. The program is self organized by the community: neighbours, artists and activists from the surrounding areas. Through the radio, the former vacant space has been activated and opened up for discussions around city development, focused on the development of the tempelhof airport building. The empowering, collective and interactive potentials of radio broadcasting are not only contributing a diverse range of voices and perspectives to public discourse, but also connecting actors across the city of Berlin.
The potential of this format and the idea to bring it to other neighbourhoods made us build the rolling radio. This bike trailer can move across the city and be used by different actors to create pop-up radio stations and broadcast from anywhere. After being built in summer 2021, the rolling radio has been used in various neighbourhoods of Berlin and now contributes to connecting different local initiatives by sharing knowledge about processes and troubles of bottom up city making.
Claiming and reclaiming public space and making it your own is an important aspect of living in a city. Spatial practices open up possibilities and can transform neighbourhoods and cities into livable and interconnected places. Radio is and has been a tool of such spatial practices, a tool that is easy to approach and that has been used for ages to share information by communities and groups that wanted to get their voices amplified. THF Radio started with these communities in mind and has grown to be a network for different initiatives and groups in Berlin. With the rolling radio we can share our ideas, experiences and resources even more. From offering platforms and possibilities in an open framework, ideas and concepts can emerge by the power of a community and a strong neighbourhood network.
Demonstration on Tempelhofer Feld for giving and making space for initiatives at Tempelhof Airport.
Discussion and food at Torhaus with different city initiatives.
Rolling Radio at Haus der Statistik Berlin.
In our understanding, the community can be understood in at least two ways: First, the radio is carried by a community. Tasks, responsibilities and costs are shared among all participants and only the common commitment makes it possible for Torhaus Berlin and THF Radio to function as a non-commercial and free platform.
Secondly, THF Radio is a radio and Torhaus a space for a community, namely for Berlin citizens, who can use the platform for their own formats and ideas. An important aspect for us is to make access and participation as easy as possible, especially for people who are underrepresented in the music and cultural scene and often have difficult access. We aim for a diversity in our program, a diversity with regard to people, content and music.
In total, there are more than 100 people from different backgrounds and interests actively involved in the project. This team entails people from architecture, urban design, theater, sound engineering and philosophy.
Part of Living The City Exhibition Berlin we developed a program over 3 month in an old travel office of the Airport
Initiative about development of an Hangar at the airport bringing together different city initiatives.