It’s one of the more amazing radio experiences you can have. Radio Garden looks like Google Earth, but instead of showing you travel routes, famous landmarks and aerial photographs of your neighbor’s back yard, it shows you the internet radio audio landscape of the planet we share. In some ways it’s like a return to the days when short wave radio was how you tuned in to the voices of other countries. By spinning the globe and zooming in to the land masses and the cities on them, you’ll see little green dots. Each one of them is a radio station feed, and the bigger the dot means the more radio stations are coming from the one place. You can hear anything that anybody is broadcasting on the internet, in real time, and cruise the planet. It’s an ear opening experience, and wherever the circle reticle falls, you’ll hear the sounds of radio static at first, then the station you’re targeting will come bursting forth from your speakers. There are internet radio stations of absolutely every type, in every language.
Jonathan Puckey and Puckey Studios were invited by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision to come up with an installation for their museum for a research project called Transnational Radio Encounters. The project is about radio that crosses borders and radio of different languages, and Puckey and company rather quickly came up with the idea of making a website instead of an installation. While the world map does show aerial maps of the world that you can see if you zoom in, there are no borders on the map, no labels. You’re expected to wander and explore.
Listeners just naturally gravitate towards the part of the planet they know. Los Angeles listeners will find a stack of commercial stations that also have internet feeds. Nestled in there in the second “page” of listings is the one for SCIFI.radio. Selecting that gives you the SCIFI.radio feed, live. A spin of the globe and you’re thousands of miles away, listening to another station in another country, coming from a place you’ve probably never heard of until that moment.
By bringing distant voices close, radio connects people and places. Radio Garden allows listeners to explore processes of broadcasting and hearing identities across the entire globe. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away – or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes.
In the section Live, you can explore a world or radio as it is happening right now. Tune into any place on the globe: what sounds familiar? What sounds foreign? Where would you like to travel and what sounds like ‘home’?
In the section on History one can tune into clips from throughout radio history that show how radio has tried to cross borders. How have people tried to translate their nations into the airwaves? What did they say to the world? How do they engage in conversation across linguistic and geographical barriers?
Jingles offers a world-wide crash course in station identification. How do stations signal within a fraction of a second what kind of programmes you are likely to hear? How do they project being joyful, trustworthy, or up to the minute?
Finally, one can listen to radio Stories where listeners past and present tell how they listen beyond their walls. How do they imagine the voices and sounds from around they globe? How do they use make themselves at home in the world?
Internet radio is one of the surprisingly powerful communications media on the planet. We decided we wanted to step up and be a part of the world community, so we asked for – and got – a listing on Radio Garden so that anyone can stumble across our station and discover the unique programming we have to offer.
But it’s a big world. Go play. What will you find?
Just remember to come back to your sci-fi radio roots here on SCIFI.radio. In all the world, there’s nothing quite like us.
- Design & technology by Studio Puckey.
- Concept & production by Studio Puckey in collaboration with Moniker.
- Radio Garden is developed in co-ordination with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
SCIFI.radio is listener supported sci-fi geek culture radio, and operates almost exclusively via the generous contributions of our fans via our Patreon campaign. If you like, you can also use our tip jar and send us a little something to help support the many fine creatives that make this station possible.