Riris Papatsarouchas originally set up radio station Sifnos Radioactive 91.3 in 1999 to provide some better driving music (writes Georgia Bisbas). As well as broadcasting to some 10,000 people on Sifnos and the nearby Cyclades, it has built a global fan base, with listeners in Brazil, Zimbabwe and Thailand. Here, Papatsarouchas tells us how he manages the station, which broadcasts for half of the year from Athens and from Sifnos in the summer – and about the street party that has made him famous across the Aegean.
How did you become involved in the station?
I got involved in the station because I created it. It’s a one-man show! It started in Sifnos in 1999 as a personal project. I was passionate about collecting MP3 files (looking back, I should have collected vinyl instead), which you could only listen to on your computer at the time. I created the radio station so I could listen to my music in my car. It was never intended to be commercial; advertisements kill the spirit of the radio. From day one it has been a labour of love.
What does the roster look like?
In 2003 I decided to enrich Radioactive with news bulletins that would inform listeners, which is especially important here as it’s quite remote. I started Datamax News, which produces weather, fashion, sports and news bulletins in MP3 form for my station and others in Greece. The idea was that they would buy them and broadcast the news that I had found. I also have great producers from elsewhere in Greece, as well as San Francisco and Belarus, who send me sets because they love Radioactive. At 23.00 every night, there’s a one-hour set from DJs around the world. I also do a live set on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at midday, where I talk about the music.
What sort of music do you play?
The music is eclectic. It’s mainly stuff I like; we don’t play any pop, other than the occasional 1980s power hit. My original job was in computing, so I’ve programmed the radio to create new playlists every hour, depending on the day and place. No two hours are ever the same and we broadcast 24/7. We have constant variety, so listeners never get bored. It can be anything from Frank Sinatra to Guns N’ Roses or Barry White. That’s why I have so many listeners: no commercials and good music.
Could you tell us about a memorable broadcasting moment?
Every August, I host a street party in Sifnos and thousands of people come from all over the world to join in. I’ve already received emails about people trying to book their flights. But there have been a lot of other memorable moments. During the summer people come by the studio in Artemón village: famous DJs and Greek musicians. The Dandy Warhols even played once.
© MONOCLE Weekend Edition February 19, 2022
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