We are very happy and proud to celebrate one year of life of Radio Civic, the community radio born in Romania thanks to the energies generated by the Grassroots Radio project.

It’s been a year since the first shows, rhythms, news were broadcast on the radio:

“I’m Mira, from Radio Civic and I’m presenting the interview with .…”

“I’m Jean Trofimov, from Civic Radio and I invite you to listen to Local Jukebox … ”

“I’m Raluca Lisov, from Radio Civic and I bring you “Vorba buona”.…”

“I’m Alin Gabriel Varenic, from Radio Civic and I want to tell you the history of the Zaporozhian Cossacks and stories in the Ukrainian language .…

“I’m Simona Ana Fortan/ Claudia Titu/ Cristina Abaianet, from Radio Civic and I present the news of the day…”

“I am Elena Cristea, from Radio Civic and I present to you the beauty guide”

“I am Sineta Badea Cazacu and I am going to tell you the Evening Story”.

These are the people, along with the extraordinary commitment and care of Adi Voinea, Dan Manea, Liana Ganea, Mircea Toma and Irina Zamfirescu, who shape the shows of Radio Civic and made possible the existence of this community radio station.

Radio Civic broadcasts audio programs dedicated to audiences belonging to the rural communities of Sfantu Gheorghe and Vârvoru de Jos. In one year these community stations have grown a lot, arranging broad and diverse show schedules and implementing the cutting-edge technologies the Grassroots Radio is able to offer. And they did not spare themselves even during the pandemic, when they organized a nice set of shows to keep the population properly informed as well as cheer listeners up. With joy, we transmit to local residents, every day, the pulse of the community, the tradition and history of the place, the music with the golden voices and the unmistakable rhythms, the life stories of the elders of the place and the wishes of the young people of the future.

Grassroots Radio join Radio Civic’s celebration by listening and singing “Blue Sea, Black Sea” an old traditional song, choral, re-recorded and re-orchestrated by Jean Trofimov. Jean brings to the listeners of Radio Civic Sfântu Gheorghe, every day, day by day, for almost a year, the show “Tonomat local”. But Jean also made his mark in selecting the music that Radio Civic broadcasts throughout the day. In this interview, conducted by Mircea Toma and Mira Bălan, you will hear Jean talking about Sfântu Gheorghe, about the local people, about his musical career and about his involvement in Radio Civic. And you will listen to his version of “Blue Sea, Black Sea” (“Mare Neagră, Mare Albastră”). The story goes on! Happy birthday Radio Civic!

As the Coronavirus is spreading across Europe, Grassroots Radio project partners (including AMARC Europe) are devoting their energies to arrange information initiatives to keep local populations informed about data and events connected to the health emergency. Additionally, there are members of the consortium who are also active to monitor governmental decisions regarding the organization of information about the virus.

This is the case of Active Watch, the Romanian human rights organization and member of the GR project that promotes free communication for the public interest. Liana Ganea, member of Active Watch and Reporters Without Borders as well as an active component of the GR project, answered to the microphones of Radio FRO, a free radio broadcasting in Upper Austria.

A significant part of the interview is dedicated to the measures that Romania is implementing in order to contrast fake news. Liana told Radio FRO that the Romanian government decided that local authorities cannot communicate data to journalists anymore. All data about the cases have to be communicate to a central body that is governing the crisis. This is an example of lack of transparency that the government has started to implement.

NGOs are rather buys to react against these policies. The declaration of state of emergency has introduced measures that are affecting freedom of expression, making the work of journalists and NGOs more opaque and difficult. One of the consequences of these decisions is that the government can ask the telecom regulator to delete any website that they think create fake news. According to Liana, this process is rather unclear both because there are not intermediate steps until the shutdown and because the criteria to determine the quality of a content have not been clarified.  According to Liana, state authorities admitted that they lost track of the virus.

The interview has been conducted in English and included between minutes 11.45 and 23:00.

AMARC Europe as part of the Grassroots Radio Project wants to share the statement of the project for World Radio Day 2020 and wishes all project members and partners a Happy World Radio Day”

For this occasion, the project team has produced several video clips and released a press statement. The clips are made in English, Romanian and Portuguese, in representation of the three countries in which the project is being piloted. These short clips show the diversity that the project entails, including the auxiliary use of Text To Speech technologies.


The Grassroots Radio project joins its voice with community radio stations worldwide to celebrate World Radio Day 2020. According to UNESCO: radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programs, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organizations and operations.”

The Internet has helped to bring people together from all over the world, but it has not helped neighborhoods or communities nearly as well. The Grassroots Radio project is piloting solutions for community information platforms and media pluralism, working to lower the barriers to start and sustain a community radio station, create regional and European-wide networks of stations that can pool community-level resources, co-innovate collaborative media services, increase the permeability and impact of those stations through a combination of existing digital and nondigital technologies

The Grassroots Radio project is diversity: diversity in the consortium of partners (academic, commercial and non-profit NGO partners), diversity in the approach to new forms of interaction between mobile telephony and traditional radio, diversity in the engagement process of remote communities in Romania, Ireland and Portugal. As an ICT-based project, Grassroots Radio is proud to be diverse in the gender balance of consortium members as well, operating within a field – that of ICT – which still suffers from strong gender gaps.

The community radio movement is different from the public and commercial broadcasting sectors, but also diverse within the non-profit sector itself: locally rooted antennas, campus radios, city radios or rural radios, religious radios, socially driven experiences, information or simply entertainment experiences, all this represents the diversity of the sector

According to Chris Csikszentmihalyi, the Grassroots radio project coordinator, “the diversity of the project is especially evident with the experimental side of the use of new technologies, including the auxiliary use of Text To Speech technologies, tailored on the needs of local communities and local languages including Romanian, Madeiran Portuguese and Gaelic Irish.”

Nowadays independent, local and community-oriented journalism is more and more exposed to political and economic threats and pressure. In this context, community media remain crucial actors and articulation platforms to ensure the participation of diverse communities in public discussion, provide access to local information and give a voice to underrepresented communities.

The Grassroots Radio project consortium wishes our colleagues and friends around the World a happy World Radio Day 2020!

Grassroots Radio has been presented at the Ethnographies of Collaborative Economi(es) Conference, which took place in Edinburgh (UK) on October 25, 2019. Mariacristina Sciannamblo (AMARC Europe) discussed the paper titled “Co-designing collaborative care work through ethnography”, co-authored with Roberto Cibin (M-ITI), Petra Žišt (M-ITI), Chris Csíkszentmíhalyi (M-ITI), and Maurizio Teli (Aalborg University). The paper addresses a number of issues – such as the importance of language for community engagement, the relationship between digital and physical environments, and commonality – as they emerge from a conversation between two H2020 CAPS projects, Grassroots Radio and Commonfare.

The conference was hosted in the fascinating setting of the College of Art at the University of Edinburgh, and has welcomed European researchers from many disciplines who are currently conducting ethnographic studies of practices, cultures, socio-technical systems and lived experiences of collaborative economies.

The event has been supported by the COST Action “From Sharing to Caring: Examining the Socio-Technical Aspects of the Collaborative Economy” (CA16121, 2017 – 2021), which is nurturing a network of actors (academic researchers, policy makers, practitioners) who are working to develop models of collaborative economy and platforms as well as to assess the social and technological implications of the collaborative economy through a practice-focused approach.

Conference proceedings are available at this link.

AMARC joined the 6th Conference of the Radio Research Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), which was held in the lovely setting of the University of Siena (Italy), on September 19-21.

Several interesting keynote speeches and pieces of research have been presented, highlighting the variety and vivacity of the radio sector across and beyond Europe. The first keynote speech was held by David Fernandez Quijada, Manager of the Media Intelligence Service, the market research unit of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). He provided some interesting data about the situation of radio in Europe. In the EBU area, there are more than 12 thousand radio stations. Around the 90% of this group is composed by analogue FM stations, and the digital ones are, at the moment, just about 15 hundred (a significant majority of them are DAB+ stations). Most of the European stations are national, with only 120 international cases.

Passing to the radio consumption habits, Fernandez Quijada stated that in 2018, European citizens listened to the radio, on average, 2 hours and 22 minutes per day: these are 4 minutes less than the previous year and 14 minutes less than 5 years before (2013). People are still using this media, but the time spent on it has been decreasing. This trend is also more evident among the European youth: in 2018 they listened, on average, 1 hour and 26 minutes per day of radio: 5 minutes less than the previous year and 20 minutes less than 5 years ago. The European citizens reached weekly by radio are still a big group, the 84% (which corresponds to 420 million listeners), but also, in this case, there is a reduction (-1.7%) compared to 2013.

It is interesting to know that radio is considered the most trusted medium in the majority of the European countries, with the difference of Hungary, Serbia and Greece that put the Internet at the first place, while Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey chose the television.

Additionally, AMARC Europe presented a paper together with other partners in the context of the Grassroots Radio project. The paper, titled “Fostering Community Radio: the Grassroots Radio project”, discusses the activities and challenges of co-designing community radios in rural areas.