Açık Radyo (Open Radio), which went on air on November 13, 1995, is a “regional” radio station which broadcasts to the metropolitan Istanbul area and its environs.
It was founded as a private company as required by the Turkish Law on Radio and TV Broadcasting, but nevertheless functions like a not-for-profit media organization.
Açık Radyo is a collective, which has 62 partners holding almost equal shares with the shareholders owning “share certificates”, composed of marked and numbered lithographs titled “Tughras” (Royal Ottoman seals) (re)designed by the late great painter Abidin Dino.
The inscription on the back of each “Tughra” states:
“This is to certify that the support you have provided for the founding of a free, independent, democratic, dignified, compassionate, and out-of-the-ordinary radio station, which will hopefully lead to the creation of similar projects in the near future.”
It must be stressed primarily that Açık Radyo is not dependent on any interest group or any capital group. Needless to say, it is completely independent from the state, too. The radio station is only dependent on the principles of pluralist democracy, the rule of law, and the protection and promotion of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. Thus, it is an independent medium. It can be considered as one of the rare independent institutions in the Turkish media scene, which is under increasing pressure from both the state and from the concentration of ownership of financial and power centers.
“Open Radio is open to all the sounds, colors, and vibrations of the universe.”
During Açık Radyo’s 22 years of broadcasting some 1100 original programs have been produced and broadcast by a record number of nearly 1200 individuals…
During its 22 years of existence Açık Radyo has called upon the talents and efforts of 1194 individuals –ages ranging from 9 to 75– from all walks of life and from a rich variety of professions –as well as those of a few unemployed– who contributed with more than 1063 programs (talk “shows”, music “shows”, etc.) to the radio station.
Currently, 211 programmers are contributing with more than 144 different programs to Açık Radyo each week.
Together with the “guest speakers”, it can easily be asserted that every week more than 300 people “occupy” the modest studios and corridors of Açık Radyo, all contributing to the general “uproar”.
Individuals from more than 22 different nationalities of the world –American, Belgian, Bosnian, Brasilian, British, Bulgarian, Canadian, Costa Rican, Dominican, French, German, Greek, Iranian, Israeli, Italian, Lebanese, Russian, Spanish, Sudanese, Turkish, etc.,– have been part, or better still, members, of the Açık Radyo’s extended family of programmers.
The outstanding common characteristic of the whole bunch of Açık Radyo programmers, (producers, DJs, etc.), is that they all “work” on a totally voluntary basis. That is to say, with very few exceptions, they are “volunteers of Açık”, working without any salary or remuneration whatsoever. Together they make Açık Radyo a community radio – a rare phenomenon not only in Turkey, but globally.
Last but not least, among Açık Radyo programmers we have had one individual who regularly co-produced a weekly music show for nearly 7 years – posthumously! (His family’s permission, of course, obtained.) And, another individual prenatally contributed for 6 months for the “Baby Scent” program. (Her permission taken for granted! Amazingly, 17 years later, she has become a regular contributor for her father’s program, “The High Seas”.)
General characteristics of Açık Radyo and its programs are as follows:
Açık Radyo can be best described as a combination of News + Music + Personality.
The sound of Açık Radyo is composed of approximately 65 percent music, and 35 percent verbal. The programs can perhaps be best described as representing the richness of diversity within genres (with a clear reference to Darwin’s, On the Origin of Species.)
The Talk “Shows”
Açık Radyo airs “talk shows” on: News and commentary, ecology, environment, public culture, philosophy, language, civil society, birth, women, children, youth, grassroots organizations, the city of Istanbul, Europe, the European Union, the Mediterranean, Anatolia, fundamental rights, law, peace movements, general history, mathematics, mind games, science, science-fiction, mythology, anthropology, the human brain, economy, archeology, political economy, social policy, meteorology, climatology, local administration, design, architecture, world literature, poetry, books, drama, cinema, plastic arts, urban planning, museums, communications, the internet, electronic games, television, psychology, traffic, business world, advertising, consumer society, health, cuisine, wine, bread, olive, coffee, scent, football, sports, travel, nature, photography, amateur aviation, riding, sailing, earthquake preparedness, occupational hazards & security, workers’ rights, children’s rights, animal rights, globalization, civil society, social movements, etc.
The Music “Shows”
Açık Radyo has a wide range of music programs embracing a great multitude of eras and genres, i.e., World Music, Ancient Music, Blues, Jazz, Rock ’n’ Roll, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, “Oldies”, Folk, Classical Music, Soviet, Scandinavian, American, British, French, Russian Symphonies, Pre-Classical Era Music, Medieval Music, Troubadour’s Music, Opera, Operetta, Musicals, Concertoes, Turkish-Ottoman Music, Turkish Folk Music, Turkish Rock, Byzantine Music, Armenian Music, Rembetiko, Greek Popular Music, Sephardic Songs, Chansons, Vampire Music, Magical Music, Reggae, Dub, Surf, Rap, Punk, Hip Hop, Latin, Brazilian, Paraguayan, Cuban, Persian, Indian music, Bollywood music, Electronic Music (and its various subgenres), free improvisation, music from the internet, Minimal music, Experimental music, etc. …
Programs About Various Musical Instruments
Special regular programs have been aired on a great scale concerning different musical instruments such as the human voice, viola da gamba, cello, piano, jaws (jew’s) harp, guitar, clarinet, didgeridoo, and others.
An Exclusive “Branch”: The Radio “Documentary”
During 22 years of broadcasting Açık Radyo has aired (and has been airing) a great number of “documentaries” and “serials” on the following “events” and people”:
100 years of Sound Recording History of Turkey (4,5 years); writer Sabahattin Ali (100th anniversary, 6 months); composer Ferit Alnar (100th anniversary, 1 month); “Amma Hikâye” (“What a Story!” - Reading of select short stories from world and Turkish literature, 3 years); Andersen’s 200th Anniversary (an almost complete reading of his tales, 26 weeks); Arendt (100th anniversary, 1.5 months); writer Oğuz Atay (on the 30th anniversary of his death, the complete reading of his novel, Tehlikeli Oyunlar (Dangerous Games), for 12 weeks); Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, (200th anniversary of its publishing, 6 months); Johann Sebastian Bach (250th anniversary of his death, 4,5 years); Baroque Music (1 year); Samuel Beckett (100th anniversary, 6 months); “Istanbul and the Armenians” following the footsteps of the Turkish Armenian writer Hagop Baronyan (6 months); The Beatles (“The Quartet that Gave the Century Its Sound”, 6 months/104 hours); Hector Berlioz (200th anniversary, 6 months); Jorge Luis Borges (6 months); David Bowie (6 months, and another 6 months following his demise); Bertolt Brecht (50th anniversary of his death, 6 months), Jacques Brel (25th anniversary of his death, 6 months); “Tales from the 1001 Nights” (6 months + 6 months); Bruce Springsteen (60th anniversary, 6 months); Albert Camus (50th anniversary of his death, 3 months; complete reading of Sisifos Söyleni (The Myth of Sisyphus, on Camus’100th anniversary); Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (400th anniversary of Don Quijote + complete reading of the classical work, over a year, ongoing); John Coltrane (80th anniversary, 6 months); Anton Chekhov (150th anniversary, 2 months); Charles Darwin (200th anniversary and 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species, 6 months); Simone De Beauvoir (100th anniversary, 5 programs); Charles Dickens (200th anniversary, six months);; Dvorák (100th anniversary of his death, 6 months); Denis Diderot (300th anniversary, 1 year); Antonín Dvorák (100th anniversary of his death, 6 months); Bob Dylan (60th anniversary, 1 year + “Half a Century of Dylan’s Music”, all albums and some covers, ongoing, ); Duke Ellington (100th anniversary, 1 month); the ECM Anthology of Music (1 year); poet Tevfik Fikret (90th anniversary of his death, 2 months); Sigmund Freud (6 months); Baldassare Galuppi (300th anniversary, 3 months), George Gershwin (100th anniversary, 1 month); Philip Glass (80th anniversary, complete works, ongoing); Nikolai Vassilievich Gogol (200th anniversary, 5 months); Gödel-Escher-Bach (4 months); Grammophone Records (1 year); Woody Guthrie (90th anniversary, 1 month; 100th anniversary, 4 months, ongoing); Georg Friedrich Händel (250th anniversary of his death, 4 months), “Hayat-ı Hakikiye Hikayeleri” (Readings of “True Tales” from Açık Radyo Listeners, 6 Months), His Master’s Voice in Turkey (2 months); Billie Holiday (90th anniversary, 6 months); Michael Jackson (50th anniversary, 6 months); The Illiad (complete reading, 6 months); Franz Kafka (125th anniversary, reading of The Metamorphosis, 22 programs); Writer Bilge Karasu (4 months); The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky (complete reading, 52 weeks), Fables by La Fontaine (1 year); John Lennon (25th anniversary of his death, 6 months); Madame Bovary by Flaubert (150th anniversary of its publishing, complete reading, 3 months); Madonna (50th anniversary, 1 month); composer and virtuoso Mesut Cemil (100th anniversary, 1 week + ); composer and virtuoso Tamburi Cemil (100th anniversary of his death, 6 months), Gustav Mahler (90th anniversary of his death, 1 year); Felix Mendelssohn (200th anniversary, 6 weeks); Ilhan Mimaroğlu (4 months following his demise); Jim Morrison (25th anniversary of his death, 1 week; 30th anniversary of his death, 2 months); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (250th anniversary, 1 year); Music Assemblies in Turkey (52 weeks); writer, poet, activist Aziz Nesin (100th anniversary of his death, 6 months + remembering him, 6 months); Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker (50th anniversary of his death, 6 months); Pacifica Radio (60th anniversary, 2 months); Orhan Pamuk (complete reading of the novel The Museum Of Innocence for his 60th birthday, 8 months); Cesare Pavese (100th anniversary, 1 week); composer Selahattin Pınar (100th anniversary, 1 month), Edgar Allen Poe (anniversary of his 200th birth and 160th of his death, 1 month), Elvis Presley (25th anniversary of his death, 1 month + remembering, 6 months); Protest Music in History (6 months); Rembrandt (400th anniversary, 6 months); composer Cemal Reşit Rey (100th anniversary, 8 months); Jean-Jacques Rousseau (300th anniversary, 10 weeks); J.D. Salinger (90th anniversary, complete reading of Franny and Zooey, 4 months); William Saroyan (100th anniversary, complete reading of The Human Comedy, two months); Erik Satie (150th anniversary, 6 months); composer Ahmet Adnan Saygun (100th anniversary, 6 months); Domenico Scarlatti (250th anniversary, 30 weeks); Friedrich Schiller (250th anniversary, 1 month); Münir Nurettin Selçuk (100th anniversary, 1 month); Pete Seeger (90th anniversary, 1 month, repeated at after his death); William Shakespeare ("Words, words, words...", Celebration of 450th anniversary, Shakespeare Lives, everyday for 1 year, repeated partly at 400th of death); Music from the contemporaries of Shakespeare (5 years); Robert Schumann (200th anniversary, 2 months); Sappho (reading of 17 new translations of her poems in 3 languages, accompanied by original scores) Jean-Paul Sartre (100th anniversary, full reading of What is Litterature?); Soviet (Russian) Rock (1 year); Friedrich Schiller (250thanniversary, 6 months); select Short Stories from World & Turkish Literature (3 years); Robert Schumann (200th anniversary, 2 months); Dmitry Shostakovich (100th anniversary, 2 months); Greek composer Nikos Skalkottas (4 months); Igor Stravinsky (6 months); String Quartets (1 year), Turkish music virtuoso and composer Tanburi Cemil (6 months); Lev Tolstoy (full reading of War and Peace, on his 100 the birthday anniversary); Turkish Rock Music (1 year); Turkish Pop Music (a history of 50 years of Turkish pop music, every week); Oral History of the Turkish State Radio (3,5 years); composer İlhan Usmanbaş (2 months); Giuseppe Verdi (200th anniversary; 6 months); Vladimir Vysotsky (30th anniversary of his death, 2 months); Jules Verne (180th anniversary, 20 programmes + Jules Verne in Turkish, 6 months); Boris Vian (90th anniversary, 4 weeks), Richard Wagner (200th anniversary, 1 year); Kurt Weill (100th anniversary, 1 month); Yaşar Kemal (following his demise a full reading of his complete journalistic reporting, Röportaj Yazarlığında 60 Yıl/60 Years Of Reporting, , over 1 year); String Quartets (1 year); Frank Zappa (2 years)…
Programs on Special Dates, Anniversaries, Commemorations, Documentaries
40th anniversary of the ’68 Revolution; 50th anniversary of the pogrom of September 6 and 7, 1955; 75th anniversary of the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti; the 20th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila Massacres; the 25th anniversary of the coup d’etat of 9/12, 1980; the 40th anniversary of the coup d’etat of 3/12, 1971; the 50th anniversary of the coup d’etat of 5/27,1960; the 40th anniversary of the 7/15 -16, 1970 atrocities, the 9/11 atrocities on its first anniversary…
Also, in 2000 a 2-hour documentary on the first anniversary of the great 1999 earthquake disaster; on the 10th anniversary another 2-hour documentary on the 1999 Earthquake disaster;
And, the annual “wrap up” programs titled “Last Year in Perspective”, broadcast on the last days of every year since 1996 (21 programs broadcast to date).
NB: Admittedly, more commemorations and documentaries have been realized within Açık Radyo’s lifetime than can be listed here.
Some Other Highlights
Hosting HABITAT - II:
Acting as a semi-official radio station for the UN International HABITAT (II) Conference held in Istanbul in 1996, Açık Radyo broadcast 3 hours daily bilingually for 15 consecutive days.
(Re)Producing the Russell-Einstein Manifesto:
In 2005, in cooperation with Radio Nederland, we produced a 2-hour program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto delivered as a solid protest against the production and use of nuclear weapons.
Memories of Childhood:
Between 1999-2011 we regularly produced and broadcast exclusive programs on religious holidays. We interviewed more than 80 distinct personalities from all walks of life, excelling in art, music, literature, history, science, journalism, etc. These 2-hour long interviews, broadcast together with music selected by the guests themselves, may perhaps be described as an exercise in some sort of “oral history”, an endeavor which is admittedly quite rare in Turkey. …
Special Anniversary Broadcast – I
“Açık Radyo is 10 years old”: Celebrating our 10th broadcasting year with a special collage/documentary in 8 parts, 30 minutes each.
Special Anniversary Broadcast – II: “Açık Radyo is 15 years old”:
An exclusive 3-hour documentary titled “Timeline” covering the notable global events of the previous 15 years.
Special Broadcast – III: “Talking Açık Radyo – The First 20 Years”:
Three one-hour episodes of a documentary was broadcast on the XXth anniversary of the radio station. This was an effort in search of a different kind of documentation of our broadcasts – we tried to share with our listeners the events reflecting significant episodes from the previous years, beginning with our first day of broadcasting.
Exclusive Recordings of Special Music Events (Broadcast on our 20th Anniversary)
November 13, 2015 was Açık Radyo’s 20th anniversary. For this reason we started an ‘archeological dig’. We dipped into 17-18 year-old exclusive recordings of live concerts from the historical Istanbul Music Fests 1 and 2, held in 1997 and ‘99. These unforgettable music festivals were produced by Acik Radyo in collaboration with the Pozitif organization. Although both events have been a huge success, they had not been aired until that date. The historic recordings were brought out to daylight for the first time ever in 2015, to be broadcast exclusively for our 20th anniversary. After brushing the dust off, we started broadcasting. Some of the recordings were regularly aired on the early morning music show, ‘Sabahlık’ during the week. They were being broadcast for the first time on any other media. The recordings of the many live “mini-concerts” from the now-quasi legendary Fests of ’97 and ’98 were then promptly “embedded” with various other regular music programs of the radio.
Listeners as “Special Guests”:
The music recordings and interviews made by special guests for Açık Radyo’s birthdays, anniversaries, and listener - support campaigns or for other special occasions were continuously aired throughout the year of 2015.
“A Theater of The Mind”:
(Readings of literature, radio drama and exclusive recordings at Açık Radyo)
Açık Radyo, in its Manifesto of 1995, states that it would seek to establish a “theater of the mind”. Since then it has diligently strived to uphold this claim by numerous readings from world literature starting with Alexandre Dumas’ (Père) classics: The Three Musketeers was read live on air daily for several months. This was to be immediately followed by the second tome: 20 Years After.
Select episodes and/or tales from yet another and much older classic, the One Thousand and One Nights were read just ‘round midnight’ in order to provide yet further “clarity of mind” to our listeners.
During this “adventure of the mind” huge novels such as War and Peace by Tolstoy were read from cover to cover for years. Sometimes they addressed a single hypothetical listener (also known as “The Fat Lady” to certain members of the Glass family). The complete reading in the wee hours of the morning of The Brothers Karamazov in its original language, went “parallel” to the daytime rush-hour rendering of the great classic in its full Turkish translation.
The Unique “Stage” of Açık Radyo
The Açık Radyo “stage” opened it’s “curtains” in November 2005 with the performances of the theatre troupe called the “Civil Theater”.
In May 2006, another troupe called “Theatre After - 6” took over the radio drama project with the title “Voices From Filifu”. 25 plays by leading writers from all around the world such as Aziz Nesin, Tennessee Williams, Alexander Pushkin, Behçet Necatigil, Yiğit Sertdemir, Cüneyt Uzunlar, Federico García Lorca, Eugène Ionesco, Anton Chekhov, Woody Allen, Dario Fo and many other notable playwrights have thus been aired .
In the same year, Açık Radyo participated in the 15th International Istanbul Theatre Festival with an exclusive production of Lorca’s The Shoemaker’s Remarkable Wife, by yet another troupe called the “Theatre Playhouse.”
The troupe Theatre After-6, whose members themselves being long-time Açık Radyo programmers as well, brought Gogol’s classic play The Government Inspector to life in Açık Radyo studios to celebrate the playwright’s 200th anniversary.
The Ban on Açık Radyo for reading a Bukowski Short-Story:
Açık Radyo has even been closed down for 15 days by the authorities, because of a rendering of legendary “hobo” writer Charles Bukowski’s world renowned short-story, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town.
Exclusive radio drama productions of modern classics:
In 2016, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and Antigone (by Jean Anouilh's modern adaptation of Sophocles’ classical tragedy) have been produced and broadcast to much acclaim by the troupe Tiyatro Tatavla exclusively for Açık Radyo.
Fairy tales – a revival: Açık Radyo also took great pride and joy for bringing fairy tales back into our lives. Andersen’s Tales have been recited in commemoration of the writer’s 200th anniversary by the late great actress Tomris Incer in 2005. The next year, she went on to recite fairy tales from the peoples of the world – From Anatolia to the Far East, from Mexico to India, from Vietnam (back) to Andersen’s Denmark...
Cervantes, Nesin, Saroyan, Koçu, and “company”:
In 2005, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the publication of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, readings and commentaries by scholar Jale Parla were realized and broadcast in 32 episodes.
2005 was also the 10th anniversary of the death of the celebrated Turkish writer Aziz Nesin. Accordingly, readings from Nesin’s short stories were featured and aired for months on end.
Armenian American author William Saroyan was commemorated by a complete reading of his magnum opus The Human Comedy over a period of six months. These renderings have later become parts of an exhibition by the title of “Saroyan in Istanbul.”
Cult eccentric historian-writer Reşad Ekrem Koçu also joined the party –albeit posthumously– with our regular readings from his priceless Tarihimizde Garip Vakalar (Weird Stories From Our History).
Franz Kafka was also on air at Açık Radyo on his 125th anniversary. We celebrated his birthday by a complete reading of his classic short-story, The Metamorphosis daily for months on end.
The Nobel laureate Jean-Paul Sartre –on his own centennial– could be said to be searching yet for a meaningful answer to his own burning question, What is Literature? (This monumental work has been completely read and broadcast in installments.)
2007 was the 150th anniversary of the publication of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Celebrated Turkish actress Tilbe Saran committed herself to daily readings of Flaubert’s opus magnum for three months, taking great care to always follow the original chapter divisions of the novel.
Turkish dissident author Sabahattin Ali would have been 100 in 2007 – had he not been cruelly murdered at the age of 41 by the agents of the “deep state” apparatus. On the occasion of the anniversary Açık Radyo featured his short stories, poems, and letters during a period of six months to celebrate the great writer’s centennial.
Tilbe Saran continued her readings with a rendition of Oğuz Atay’s novel titled Tehlikeli Oyunlar (Dangerous Games) to mark the 30th anniversary of the author’s death. (As mentioned above, this reading was followed up by a reading of Karamazov Kardeşler (The Brothers Karamazov), while the Russian original of the classic was read by another celebrated actress, Maria Merzlyakova Akgüllü from the St. Petersburg Academy.)
J.D. Salinger’s 90th birthday was celebrated by a complete reading of Franny ve Zooey (Franny and Zooey) by Ömer Madra, who also happened to be the translator of the novella into Turkish.
Meanwhile, Açık Radyo has also participated in and collaborated with the international network which produced the “Voices from Iran” project: Consequently, eight short plays by modern Iranian playwrights have been aired at Açık Radyo in 2011 and 2012.
23 April, 2014 was the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare. From the beginning of the year Açık Radyo had already started celebrating the anniversary by broadcasting immortal lines from the Bard of Avon on life, death, power, omnipotence, love, humiliation, nobility, passion, theft, shame, flattery, politics, storms, climate, the commons, and many more…. These were read in between programs throughout the day for the year throughout. We commemorated the poet with the series titled “Words, words, words ... Shakespeare is Among Us” Our programmers and actor friends rendered some of his famous sonnets, lines and tirades. In addition, the subject of “the reverberations and reflections of Shakespeare on Ottoman-Turkish music” was examined by Bülent Aksoy in three consecutive programs. The series was based upon an article on this topic by poet, scholar and Açık Radyo programmer Cevat Çapan. (Incidentally, two of the songs which we were unable to dig up from the archives of TRT, the State Radio and TV, were performed especially for Açık Radyo for this occasion.) ...We also interviewed Professor Terry Eagleton, the world renowned Marxist Shakespeare scholar and philologist, on the influence of the Bard on the contemporary world.
Thinking it suited the zeitgeist perfectly, we have rendered another important literary work, 1984, the classical dystopia of George Orwell’s. 1984 was read and broadcast fully in the year 2014.
On the other hand, The Myth of Sisyphus, the collection of philosophical essays by philosopher and novelist Albert Camus, was on air from the beginning of 2014 until the end of the year, with actress Saran reading it.
When the great writer and human rights, peace and nature advocate Yaşar Kemal passed, we chose to mark this sad event by a complete reading of one of his less known yet greatest masterpieces, Röportaj Yazarlığında 60 Yıl (60 Years Of Reporting and Story Telling). (Incidentally, the powerful rendering was made by professional speaker Adnan Acar, who was part of the duo that had read “The 1001 Nights” every midnight during the formative first years of Açık Radyo.
At around the same time, we started reading Ancient Greek lyric poet Sappho’s timeless poems. Greek musician and singer Vassiliki Papageorgiou, who had translated the poems from ancient Greek to modern, rendered the poems in their original version as well. The Turkish translations of the poems were rendered by our musician programmer Sumru Ağıryürüyen. The rendering of Sappho’s verses were accompanied by original tunes composed exclusively for this program by Orçun Baştürk, an Açık Radyo programmer.
2015 also happened to be the 150th anniversary of the publishing of Alice In Wonderland (Alis Harikalar Ülkesinde). Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece, ably translated into Turkish by writer Tomris Uyar, was read by actor Tolga Korkut and was broadcast for over 3 months. Highly motivated by the interest shown by the listeners, we felt we could not slow down, so we continued with the reading of Aynanın İçinden, (Through the Looking-Glass), the equally important classic by Carroll.
Last but not least, in what can be viewed as one of the greatest achievements of Açık Radyo within the broader context of “All the radio’s a stage”, we were able to realize what we called the “True Turkish Tales” project. With the instigation of one of our programmers, Güven Güzeldere, who had been inspired by a similar project realized by renowned writer Paul Auster for NPR in the US, we made a call to all our listeners worldwide, inviting them to send in their “true tales” to be selected, read and broadcast at the radio. And they did. Among the more than 400 short-stories we have, through a democratic process, chosen 127 true tales, and they were rendered and broadcast in the spring-summer season of 2016. The project, realized in collaboration with Boğaziçi University’s Nâzım Hikmet Culture and Arts Center was a great success. Shortly afterwards the short-stories were published in a 500-page book in the spring of 2017, with the title Türkiye Hikâyelerini Anlatıyor (Turkey’s Telling OwnTrue Tales).
NB: A final note on the “theatre of the mind”:
In what must be a rare occasion in the global history of broadcasting, a radio station was granted a theatre award. During the 11th Lions Theatre Awards, Açık Radyo was presented with a special award for its efforts to widen the scope of theatre audience by producing and broadcasting the program “Kuranderde Kalanlar” (“Exposed to the Undercurrent”).
Some of the Guests We Have Hosted So Far
We have calculated that some 25,000 “guests” have been hosted at Açık Radyo over 22 years of broadcasting. Just for some “name-dropping”, here is a short list of individuals who have honored us by participating in our broadcasting endeavor:
From Noam Chomsky to Naomi Klein, James Hansen to Harvey Weiss, Bill McKibben to Chris Hedges, Richard Falk to Thomas Hammarberg, Amy Goodman to Robert Fisk, Arundhati Roy to Norman Finkelstein, Amira Hass to Mariam Saïd, Joseph Stiglitz to Yılmaz Akyüz, George Monbiot to Michael Albert, Hrant Dink to David Barsamian, Çağlar Keyder to Benjamin Barber, Hasan Cemal to Murat Belge, Gürol Irzık to Serol Teber, Gilberto Gil to Tania Maria, Neşet Ertaş to Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca, Ara Güler to Harold Feinstein, Philippe Descola to Jacques Rancière, Muntadas to Ian Haydn Smith, Mike Stoller to Hal David, Füruzan to Adalet Ağaoğlu, Fredrick Jameson to Thomas Pogge, Vandana Shiva to Kumi Naidoo, Yaşar Kemal to Çetin Altan, Tuncel Kurtiz to Uğur Yücel, Ergun Özbudun to to Bakır Çağlar, Timothy Garton Ash to Şevket Pamuk, İbrahim Ferrer to Omara Portuondo, Gilbert Achcar to Samir Amin, Sue Mingus to Susana Baca, Ajda Pekkan to Nil Karaibrahimgil, Tarik Ali to José Bové, Uri Avnery to Daniel Amit, Burhan Doğançay to Mehmet Güleryüz, Orhan Pamuk to Vüs’at O. Bener, Mıgırdiç Margosyan to Cevat Çapan, Terry Eagleton to Slavoj Žižek, Aykut Barka to Ross Stein, Haluk Bilginer to Kenan Işık, Aykut Kocaman to Simon Kuper, Ornette Coleman to Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Arif Mardin to Ahmet Ertegün, Niyazi Sayın to Nevzat Atlığ, İnci Çayırlı to Münip Utandı, Kâzım Koyuncu to Bülent Ortaçgil, İdil Biret to Ayla Erduran, Susan Buck-Morss to Helena Norberg-Hodge, Franco “Bifo” Berardi to Michael Hardt, Amitav Gosh to Elisabeth Povinelli, John Zerzan to James Petras, Lester Brown to Maude Barlow, Wolfgang Sachs to Lisa Franzetta, Franny Armstrong to Annie Leonard, Terry Tempest Williams to Raj Patel, Joel Kovel to David Harvey, Johan Galtung to Bill Ayers, Mark Kurlansky to Thomas Blanton, Pierre Dardot to Christian Laval, Bertrand Tavernier to Fatih Akın, Thierry ‘Titi’ Robin to İnti İllimani, Charlie Haden to Toots Thielemans, from Ibrahim Maalouf to Sir Ian McKellen, Stefanos Yerasimos to John Berger, Eleni Karaindrou to Ross Daly, Semih Balcıoğlu to Piyale Madra, Martin Rowson to Aaron Sezar, Harun Tekin to Aylin Aslım, Esbjörn Svensson to “Muffy” Falay, Özdemir Erdoğan to Erol Büyükburç, Gülay Diri to Güzin Değişmez, Dave Clark to Peaches, Larry Coryell to Mike Stern ...
… From the torturer to his victim, from HIV/AIDS patients to trans individuals, from the 3 year-old horse-rider to the 93 year-old musician, from the 8 year-old environmental activist to the 80 year-old movie projectionist, from a renowned chef to a relatively less well-known horse cart driver, from the autistic youngster to the experienced genetic scientist, from TESEV to MAZLUMDER, from KADER to KAMER, from Amnesty International to Greenpeace, from Adbusters to 350.org – on the average 3 guests a day everyday throughout all these years.
Content (Some of the Main Issues Covered)
On Global Climate Change and Global Justice:
Açık Radyo, since its inception, has been actively engaged in the struggle waged against global climate change and global warming. It has continuously tried to amass scientific information and evidence of devastating changes in the atmosphere, oceans, ice cover, land, and biodiversity, and then to disseminate and share this information with the general public. In short, it has always tried to focus on what it deems to really matter.
Besides giving widest possible coverage to the greatest threat ever faced by the biosphere –which is caused mainly by fossil fuel corporations and affecting foremost the poor and the weak of the world– the editors and programmers of Açık Radyo have undertaken the rather painful task of organizing of and taking part in panels, conferences, seminars, TV/radio shows on the issue.
We have produced two separate live programs powered by solar energy on the subject.
Also, we have been among the main organizers of the 2005 Istanbul Climate March, which was held on 3 December 2005, in coordination with the global movement, to protest against global climate change. The meeting, the first of its kind ever, was held with the active participation of more than a thousand individuals.
In 2006, Açık Radyo also was actively involved in the organization of the Istanbul demonstration held as a part of the second international mass rally against global warming. The day of the rally in Istanbul, 4th of November, happened to be one of the coldest days and –at least until mid December– the only snowy day of the year. Nevertheless, there has been quite an active participation by at least 500 people.
Açık Radyo also participated in the "Stop Climate Change" march in 2007, and in the "Another Energy is Possible" rally in 2008.
In 2009, numerous programmers from Açık Radyo participated to the COP15 “Climate Summit” in Copenhagen. We followed the summit during all its 13 days and broadcast live every day. Açık Radyo also participated in the 100.000 - strong mass demonstration in Copenhagen. 17 hours of broadcasting have been accomplished during COP15 meetings.
Açık Radyo was also among the organizers of the Turkish “leg” of 10/10/10, the biggest global mass climate movement in history, an initiative of 350.org. At the end of the demonstration in Taksim, renowned thinkers and activists Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk were also present. Both of the leading dissident intellectuals made speeches for the occasion and these speeches were broadcast.
In 2011 Açık Radyo was present in COP17 in Durban, South Africa as well. The climate “summit” was covered live on a daily basis. On the last day of the conference hundreds of dozens of participants staged a sit-in in front of the Main Hall entrance before the plenary session, in protest over the lack of progress of the negotiations. They were properly “de-badged” and compelled to leave the UN conference building. The editor in chief of Açık Radyo was among them.
From 2009 onwards we went on to cover every COP (climate summit held by the UN) with live reporting, including the so-called historic Paris Summit in 2015. Our volunteer-reporters have also been present in all of the “alternative summits” held in parallel with the UN official summits, as well as taking an active part in all protests and rallies.
In sum, the members of the Açık Radio “family” continue to be a part of the efforts to build a global mass movement to make sure that necessary steps are taken against the biggest crisis facing the planet before it’s too late.
Reporting on War and Peace:
When Açık Radyo first went on air, the war in Bosnia had already entered into its culminating phase. It was, nevertheless, to go on with this mode of “slow motion” for many months to come. Açık Radyo, both with its word and music, unhesitatingly took sides with the underdogs: Throughout the war we have produced a daily live program called “The Bosnian Diary”, connecting by phone to the ordinary people of Sarajevo. From day one of broadcasting Açık Radyo continued to focus on the omnipresent cases of international violence.
It was one of the first media outlets in the world to perceive the coming threat of the illegal and unethical occupation of Iraq. 17 months before the invasion, Açık Radyo began to warn its listeners on such a possibility and even made a “scoop” on the so-called Rumsfeld Plan of 2001, through reading between the lines of mainstream newspapers. Açık Radyo commentators were also among the earliest –globally– to thoroughly expose the lies concerning the Saddam regime being an international threat with the so-called weapons of mass destruction.
Long before the invasion of Iraq, a daily half-hour news program called “The Peace Band” was aired regularly and this broadcast went on well after the invasion. Açık Radyo broadcast “live” –through telephone from London and New York– the huge global mass protests of 15 February 2003.
Açık Radyo was also the only radio station in Turkey reporting live the mass protestations in Ankara on March 1, 2003, the same day when the Turkish Parliament rejected the deployment of US troops on Turkish soil for the invasion of Iraq.
Finally, on 24-27 June 2005, the historical Final Session of the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) –and the consequent Verdict of the Jury of Conscience– have also been broadcast live on Açık Radyo for four consecutive days.
Açık Radyo has strived to follow up on the world peace movement, the world justice movements, the Seattle and Cancún World Trade Organisation (WTO) meetings, the Porto Alegre and Mumbai meetings of The World Social Forum (WSF), the Genoa and Geneva meetings of The European Social Forum (ESF), The American Nations Summit,etc,from the “inside”, i.e., from outside the “embedded” media.
Reporting on the Uprisings for Democracy, Justice, and Dignity:
Açık Radyo strives to diligently follow what is happening in the world; with special emphasis on the revolutionary uprisings of the 21st century. We started very early on talking about the wave of rebellion that was sparked in Tunisia. Açık Radyo programmers followed the developments in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and other North African and Middle Eastern countries with many hours of programming.
We have also covered and are still covering the uprisings of the “indignados” in Spain, the “Occupy” movements all over the world, student movements in Chile, in Quebec, Canada, indigenous peoples’ and other peoples’ environmental movements in Brazil, Canada, USA, Turkey and elsewhere – basically all over the world.
Açık Radyo also covered in extenso the “Gezi Revolt” of May/Jun 2013 in Istanbul within various live programs, and, in the aftermath, produced a three-part, 90 minutes-long exclusive documentary on the subject.
Coverage on Independent Media:
In 2006 Açık Radyo aired a 38-hour program series titled “Media Talks”. The project was supported by the Dutch government. 40 distinctive speakers including writers, journalists, newspaper, magazine publishers, radio and tv directors, legal practitioners, communication specialists, philosophers, researchers were hosted in the programs. These “experts” shared their views and experiences on vital media issues such as journalism ethics, the role of advertising, restrictions on the freedom of the press and the freedom of information, the functioning (or dysfunctioning) of ombudsmanship, teaching of journalism, environmental journalism, etc.
Additionally, the firm AC Nielsen conducted an extensive research exclusively for Açık Radyo concerning the “Reliability and Credibility of Turkish Media”. The results of the poll (quantitative and qualitative aspects) have been presented extensively on the “Media Talks” program.
On Disaster Preparedness:
From day one of the great Marmara earthquake disaster of 1999 Açık Radyo started to perform as a “clearing house” for the civil society. We have quickly formed an Earthquake Communication Center (ARDIM), broadcasting on the disaster and the rescue efforts and aid for 24 hours for 60 consecutive days. We continue to produce to this day a program called “Golden Hours” on earthquake and other disaster preparedness. (NB: Rush transcripts of many of the specific individual programs have been posted on Açık Radyo website.)
In 2000, on the first anniversary of the great 1999 Earthquake disaster, Açık Radyo produced and presented a 2-hour documentary on the event.
In 2009, on the 10th anniversary, another special series on the disaster was broadcast for one whole week.
During its 22 years of existence Açık Radyo has been instrumental –either directly or through the conversion of its programs into books– in the publication of 15 books on a wide range of subjects – among them the translation of the world’s first graphic novel on climate change. Below a short list in chronological order:
Git Zaman, Gel Zaman (As Time Goes By); 2000
Acayip Havalar (Funny Weather), 2007
Karbon Ayak İziniz (Your Carbon Footprint), 2008
Önce İletişim Vardı (In The Beginning There Was Communication), 2008
Açık Kitap: Açık Radyo Ansiklopedisi (Open Book: An Open Radio Encyclopedia), 2010
Testi Kırılmadan: İş Sağlığı ve Güvenliği (On Worker’s Health and Workplace Security)
Kokular Kitabı c.I (The Book of Scents), vol. I, 2014 [c. II, vol. II, 2016)]
Caz Etraflı Konuşmalar (All That Jazz), 2015
100. Doğum Yılında Cemal Reşit Rey (Composer Cemal Reşit Rey, 100th Anniversary)
Bilim Kazanı (The Cauldron of Science), 2015
Biz Yaşarken…(As We Go On), 2015
Kentin Tozu (The Dust of the City), 2015
Bu Şehr-i İstanbul ki (This City of Istanbul), 2017
Türkiye Hikâyelerini Anlatıyor ((Turkey’s Telling OwnTrue Tales), 2017
International Links and Collaborations
Açık Radyo syndicates the daily independent news hour DemocracyNow! (in English). The daily world news bulletin of Deutsche Welle (in Turkish) was broadcast for years, but since 2016 DW has ceased broadcasting its news bulletin at Açık Radyo.
Açık Radyo has carried out program exchanges and a collaborative program of research and technological development on world music and the internet with 4 European radio stations: Nova/Paris, Multikulti/Berlin, Blue Danube/Vienna, Radio 3/Warsaw. (The CARO project, February 1998 – February 2000)
An original world music show on Açık Radyo, Dünyayı Dinliyorum (I Listen to the World), has been broadcast by RBB Multikulti Berlin, VDR Funkhaus, Radio Sweden P 6, Europa Köln, and Radio Bremen for years on end and it is currently being syndicated by Multicult 2.0.
International Putumayo World Music program has been syndicated now for more than 10 years by Açık Radyo.
“Music of the World”, a program at KPFA Radio from Berkeley California, has been syndicated on Açık Radyo since the 30th broadcast season (2007). In 2011 the program has been renamed by its producer as Music of the World Istanbul and in its new format it is now broadcast directly from Açık Radyo studios.
Furthermore, world music programs produced by 3 to 13 year-old programmers of Radijojo!, the first German non-commercial, non-profit radio station for children, have been aired by Açık Radyo from April 2008 until 2017.
Açık Radyo has also been cooperating with RFI on world music programs. It has pursued a two-year project (Soundshift) in partnership with the Marseille radio station Radio Grenouille. 3 radio documentaries born from that partnership were broadcast in both Istanbul and Marseille in 2010-2011.
Last but not least, in September 2011, within the framework of “KolajIstanbul” (CollageIstanbul) days organized by Gaîté Lyrique, one of the leading contemporary art centers of Paris, Açık Radyo broadcast live for three days (2 hours daily) from Istanbul to Paris, during which live interviews on contemporary art, music, and literature were held with 20 guests.
Velonotte Bicycle Tour: The grand bicycle tour ‘Velonette’ which was in Moscow, Rome, New York, London and St. Petersburg previously, was in Istanbul this time. In the tour on May 4 of 2014, in Istanbul, thousands of bikers occupied various streets between Sirkeci-Ortaköy districts. Açık Radyo was on air during this tour which lasted until about 03.30 in the morning. The cyclists Gülhan Kadim Sertdemir, Mahir Ilgaz, Esra Ertan and Ali Somay participated in the live broadcast via telephone.
This organization was a fruitful effort of collaboration by the Velonette team, The Cyclists Association, and Açık Radyo.
Music Festivals (Organized by Açık Radyo)
Açık Radyo organized (in collaboration with the Positive Organization) the Istanbul Musical Festivities I and II in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Attended by some10.000 music and art lovers each, these events covered all kinds of music, from Classical to Folklore, from World Music to Jazz, from Arabesque to Salsa, as well as various activities for children, international panels, world premier performances, dance workshops, etc., comprising around 125 activities in total).
Açık Radyo co-sponsored two photograph exhibitions; the first being “1968 Through the Lens of Magnum” in 1968; and the second, on the millennium, “Portraits of the 20th Century”. Each one of these exhibitions was visited and viewed by around 8,000 individuals.
In 2006, Açık Radyo organized a thematic collective exhibition by the title of “NatürMort” (Still-ed Life), for the purpose of drawing greater attention to the issue of global climate change. 6 art galleries and 83 artists –including some of Turkey’s leading painters, sculptors and photographers– have contributed to this exhibition and donated the revenues of the sales to Açık Radyo.
(The "Open Space" Project):
In the fall of 2005 a group of students from Istanbul Bilgi University carried out a collective graduation project on Açık Radyo. The idea of a creating a youth community within Açık Radyo resulted in the creation of a contest that would enable young people to express themselves via alternative media channels. Thus Açık Radyo had the privilege of organizing the first program contest for university students. It was titled: “Change the world – if only for an hour a week”.
The next year this was followed by a second contest titled “Let’s Play!”. 64 young people from 18 universities from all over Turkey have participated with 47 projects. The winning projects were broadcast on Açık Radyo.
Conferences, Fora and Panels
Between the years 1996 – 2017 Açık Radyo editors and programmers have participated in nearly 650 conferences, gave lectures or took part in numerous panels, workshops, symposia, and fora on broadcasting, independent media, freedom of the press, peace movements, global climate change, globalization, history of music, etc., at various prominent universities of Turkey. (İstanbul University, İstanbul Technical University, Boğazici University, Bahçeşehir University, Çukurova University, Marmara University, Mimar Sinan University, Galatasaray University, Yıldız Technical University, Middle Esat Technical University, Kadir Has University, Koç University, Sabanci University, Kocaeli University, Gazi University, Edirne University, Eskişehir University, Yeditepe University…) Other than the universities various cultural centers, nurseries, primary schools and high schools, and other relevant institutions in Istanbul and other cities were visited upon invitation by these institutions.
Over the years more than 60 parties have been collectively organized by Açık Radyo programmers, listeners and personnel, each with a different theme.
Media Coverage (on Açık Radyo)
Açık Radyo and/or its programs, and its activities have been covered by over 7500 articles, nearly 250 interviews, broadcasts, etc., during the station’s 22 years of existence, averaging one mention per day. Açık Radyo has been the subject-matter of two documentaries (one of them by the world renowned artist and academic Antoni Muntadas: “On Translation: Açık Radyo (Myths and Stereotypes), three separate master theses. It has been mentioned in at least 3 novels, 2 feature films and one detective novel. Furthermore, Açık Radyo programs have been quoted as “academic” sources in a number of articles in the mainstream media. Many Açık Radyo programs have also been published in printed form.
Açık Radyo has been the recipient of 53 awards since November 1996. A short list of some of them is as follows:
2017:Turkish Thoracic Society, Environment and Climate Issues Award
2016: The Istanbul Medical Chamber Press Award to 2 separate programs of Açık Radyo, Kentin Tozu and Su Hakkı.
2015: Crystal Apple Advertising Award for the project by Havas Worldwide İstanbul inspired by Açık Radyo's "The quote of the Day.”
2014: New Researches Enterprise Platform Association (YAPDER) Press Award
TSMD (Turkish Association of Architects in Private Practice) Press Award
2013: Turkish Earthquake Foundation, Special Award to Altın Saatler, a program on disaster preparedness
2013: TMMOB Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects and The Chamber of City Planners, City Planning Press Award
2013: An Award came indirectly to Açık Radyo: EPICA Grand Prix Award for "The Music of the People" print ad developed by Havas Worldwide İstanbul for Açık Radyo. “The print ad consists of a score sheet for a song, notated by people sitting and walking in Coney Island. The photo montage by renowned New York photographer Harold Feinstein was first published in The New York Times in 1952.
2012: Açık Radyo co-founder and programmer Ömer Madra was awarded one of the two Senior Research Fellowships of the Mercator – IPC initiative – a unique cooperation between Istanbul Policy Center at Sabanci University and Stiftung Mercator in innovative research on climate change, EU/German-Turkish Relations, and education;
2012: Culture - Science High School, “Those Who Honor Us” Award for effort in raising consciousness against the threat of climate change, Donizetti Classical Music Award, to the programmers of “Alla Turca”, Ali Pınar and Ersin Antep;
2010: Journalists and Writers Foundation's ‘Peaceful Co-existence’ Award;
2009: Turkish Society of Journalists News Award for Global Warming;
2009: IX. Lions Theater Awards 2008-2009 for "Kuranderde Kalanlar", a program by Gülhan Kadim Sertdemir;
2008: The Izmir International Fair Award for Açık Radyo’s campaign against global warming;
2007: Public Service Award from the Istanbul Branch of The Ankara University Political Science Faculty Graduates;
2007: Turkish Association of Journalists Nezih Demirkent Special Award: "Insistent Broadcasting for the Protection of the Environment and Persistently Warning the Public Conscience on Global Warming";
2006: TUREB (Turkish Tour Guides Association): "Broadcasting for Sustainable Environment" Award;
2005: Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Award for Best Research in Recorded World Music was won by programmer Cemal Ünlü for his book Git Zaman, Gel Zaman (Pan publishing, 2004), based on his programs at Açık Radyo;
2003: The Association of Turkish Journalists),The Best Radio Program of 2003
2002: The Association of Contemporary Journalists, The Best Radio Station of 2002
2001: Istanbul University, Faculty of Communications; The Most Successful Radio Station of 2001
2000: Marmara University, Faculty of Communications, The Most Preferred Radio Station of 2000; 4 consecutive yearly awards for programs on informatics, information technology and computer sciences;
Açık Radyo Online
The Açık Radyo website: The website was started in the beginning of 1997, at which period there were only around ten million internet users globally.
In the first two years of its existence the web site of Açık Radyo (www.acikradyo.com and www.acikradyo.com.tr) encompassed basic information about the programs and programmers, broadcast schedule and the general structure of the radio station.
Açık Radyo has also been broadcasting online since May 2000.
Açık Site (Open Website): Together with the Açık Radyo website a second website became operative towards the end of 2001, when there were an estimated 700 million internet users worldwide. Açık Site –as expressed by its own “manifesto”– aimed to be
“a tiny flash-light held to the dark side of the world”.
On the website transcripts of various interviews and talk shows on Açık Radyo have been regularly posted, in addition, links from various original and translated articles concerning the state of the world written by eminent thinkers and artists of the world were posted.
In addition to gaining access to detailed information about Açık Radyo, its programs, and its listeners it is now possible to find a “civil library” comprising more than 40,000 articles, commentaries, special dossiers, research, reports, cartoons, and the like… The website is visited by an average of 50.000 people every month.
The Açık Radyo Listeners And Listener-Support Projects
The opinion poll conducted by AC Nielsen in 2000 regarding Açık Radyo shows that its “core listeners” (those who listen every day) number around 45,000; those who listen every other day: 80,000; once a week: 120,000; the number of listeners who have listened at least once during the last 3 months is around 200,000.
According to the polls conducted by the Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts (IKSV) in 2001 and 2003 among the music lovers and filmgoers of the International Festivals of Classical Music, Jazz, and the Istanbul International Film Festival, Açık Radyo was chosen the most popular radio station.
At the beginning of March 2004, a project called “Açık Radyo is seeking its listeners” was started. The purpose was to further the effort of the 92 founders and 650 volunteer programmers with the active contribution of the listeners. The main aim was to attain a level of “sustainable independence”. With the addition of these funds raised from a few thousand individual “listener-sponsors” to the regular income obtained by advertisements and sponsorships, it was hoped to attain a level of permanent financial sustainability in the long run.
During a year-long campaign the listeners were asked to sponsor one or more programs. At the end of 2004 the number of listeners who had sponsored their own radio station turned out to be 2,250 – meaning that 2,250 individuals had consciously chosen to pay from their pockets for a public service completely free of charge!
Since 2004 every year Açık Radio conducts the Listener-Support Project with a one-week-long mini “radio festival” with numerous guests, listeners and their special “shows” on air.
In March 2017, we conducted the 14th Açık Radyo Listener-Support Project.
Listener-support is the only true guarantee of the independence of the radio station.