National pop music channel keeps people tuned in for two decades

Latvian Radio (LR) Channel 2 chief Armins Ronis recalled how it all began “with colleagues who worked here as a hope for a extra channel with more possibilities and needs than the primarily news and feature program on LR 1.

“So we developed an entertainment radio targeting the youth audience which now has grown into something like a people’s radio,” he sketched in the main story behind Latvian broadcasting’s bedrock source of local music.

With a small staff but huge library of sound recordings, from the hits to some of the rare obscurities, so the LR 2 playlists have been faithfully spinning the nation’s favorite staple blend of German accordion with American pedal-steel guitar ‘Latvian schlager’ mixed with regular in-depth programming on contemporary and historic artists from the local pop music scene.

A celebration concert on April 11 will feature a cavalcade of performing stars at the Arena Riga hall, among them Latvia’s top composers Raimonds Pauls, Mārtiņš Brauns, Zigmārs Liepiņš, Jānis Lūsēns, Uldis Marhilēvičs and many more.

For its birthday program on April 1 the airtime will be filled with a party atmosphere, but it’s all for the listeners, who matter first and foremost, vows Ronis. He thanked them for all of the positive wishes and greetings the staff were receiving today.

“Our twentieth birthday isn’t really for us, it’s another day at work. But it is a birthday very much so for our listeners, for whom we work every day,” he said.

The beginnings of Latvian public broadcasting’s successful popular music program LR 2 date to 1995, when the decision was made to create a youth-oriented educational channel. Since 2000 the channel has been broadcasting round-the-clock and can be considered a full-fledged radio station.

Under the slogan “Songs in the native tongue” the national music radio channel concept was always to be playing the best sounds Latvia has to offer.

LR 2 is not just the most-listened to channel among Latvian Radio’s six channels, but also the most popular radio station in all of Latvia with an 18% chunk of the national market and more than 350,000 listeners, according to data from the winter season released this year by TNS Latvia polling agency.

 

Culture
Culture