Council approves return of cult radio station

The National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) at its meeting on Thursday approved plans to restore the University of Latvia’s sponsored student radio station Radio NABA to the available public radio Channel 6 at 95.8 MHz FM next year.

According to Dainis Mjartāns, the NEPLP member charged with overseeing the public and commercial radio sectors, no additional budget funding would be required to restore the program of alternative music and cultural-educational programming to a frequency on the FM airwaves in and near Riga. However, given the density of channels already allotted frequencies on the dial in Riga, only a non-commercial program would be appropriate to a channel with the limited broadcasting radius of a low-power station.

“In creating the program for youth-oriented Channel 5, Latvian Public Radio was told to incorporate or accommodate existing NABA programs. Yet the creative differences between the two competing concepts proved to be irreconcilable. The NEPLP sought and found a solution to maintain an alternative cultural program under the wing of Latvian Radio, oriented to those of all ages who appreciate non-commercial culture as a promoter of diversity and a wider audience for LR as a whole,” said Mjartāns.

According to Mjartāns, no further budget allocations would be required because the NABA community has traditionally worked as a volunteer staff of independent producers since its founding twelve years ago.

On his part Radio NABA program chief Madars Štramdiers remarked: “The NABA community and our trusted friends are pleased to announce that we will be able to come back to FM radio soon. From now on all our efforts and time will be dedicated to developing NABA as a quality source for culture, urban intelligence and alternative lifestyles in the public media, rather than just fighting for a place on the dial.”

Under its new radio frequency, Radio NABA will continue to develop its unique traditions of promoting non-commercial culture genres, non-governmental organization activities and alternative music movements, while also popularizing the academic life in higher education.

The broadcasts of Saeima plenary sessions would also be restored on Channel 6, which are no longer heard between the dedicated commercial-free programming of popular music and on-air personalities launched this year on Pieci.lv.

Latvian Radio officials point out, however, that the alternating broadcasts switching back and forth to parliament on Saeima plenary days are dissonant with the rest of the programming and could be considered an obstacle to growing the potential audience for Channel 6/Radio NABA.

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