[spectre] New podcast: RADIOACTIVITY #2. Radio Tomate (late 60s free radio scene in France)

Radio Web MACBA rwm2008 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 13 12:25:07 CET 2014

*New podcast: RADIOACTIVITY #2. Radio Tomate. With François Pain*

Link: http://rwm.macba.cat/en/specials/radio-tomate-francois-pain/capsula

*Radio Tomate has gone down in history as one of the main players in the
French free radio scene of the late sixties*, but François Pain is a direct
link between it and the situation in northern Italy during the same period.
Initiatives such as Radio Alice in Bologna were more than just the initial
spark for the French movement: the precarious technological infrastructures
(homemade transmitters) were also a result of the experience gained in
Italy in a few short but intense years of underground work. The interesting
thing about this comparison is the enormous difference between the legal
frameworks of the two countries. In the late seventies, Italy had freed the
airwaves, opening the doors to dozens of small independent broadcasters.
Meanwhile, in France, the first broadcasts by Pain and his collaborators
were totally illegal. Before François Mitterand came to power, and the
subsequent legalisation of private radios (a gesture that also gave a green
light to all kinds of non-commercial projects), Radio Tomate and similar
collectives operated completely underground. In this sense, they
effectively continued the work of pirate radios such as Radio Luxembourg
and Europe no. 1, which had successfully dodged government prohibition
since the mid-fifties, and had become popular beyond expectation.

Fruit of the (often conflictive) cooperation of a group of left-wing
militants, thinkers and artists, Radio Tomate was launched in 1981 with the
aim of encouraging a new notion of debate and an alternative form of
communication that revolved around the local area and the streets; as Félix
Guattari, who was an active member of the core team, put it:
'collective-individual reappropriation and an interactive use of machines
of information, communication, intelligence, art and culture.' Just like
Radio Alice, the first incarnation of Radio Tomate did not last long. Two
years after it began, due to police persecution and the chaos inherent to
its decentralised structure, the project was abruptly suspended. And, as in
the Italian case, the station's later iterations (until the start of
Fréquence Paris Plurielle in 1992) gradually moved away from the original
idea, from the mix of poetry and politics that made the first free radio a
radically different media experience.

00:44 The birth of free radio in France
03:27 Organisation and dynamics of Radio Tomate
04:30 Guattari as a pivotal figure
06:26 Underground resistance
10:04 The Minitel experience
12:54 Conflict after the legalisation of free radio
15:58 The influence of Radio Alice

Note: This podcast is only available in French

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