The encounter of people on the radio
Cicek Tahaoglu - 11/11/2010
“Each population has its songs, and these songs comprise their cultural heritage. We think that if we bring these heritages together, people would understand each other better.”
We are talking with Yüksel Kilinc at Yon Radio, which he founded himself. It is a busy day; phones are ringing off the hook, guests and producers come and go, and the live broadcast continues at the studio.
Yon's journey as a commercial radio started by broadcasting “turku”s (Turkish word for folk songs); it was designed as a folk music radio station. Now in its sixteenth year, folk music is still the dominant format not only in Turkish but also in various languages.
Today, Yon's programming format consists of national and international news, commentaries, culture and art programmes, debates, children's programs, and music hours that mainly broadcast interviews and folk music.
Why folk music?
Why folk music? Because folk songs narrate people’s unofficial histories. In folk songs, you can feel such things as war, peace, oppression, uprisings, pain and passion, even if you don't understand the language. Folk music gives voice to women's cries and oppressed people. Folk music carries the past into the present and helps peoples understand each other. It is therefore universal.
Kilinc reminds that rock music has its roots in American folk music.
“Folk music is life itself, the common value of the people. That's why we also broadcast 'Pena', a weekly rock program.”
The first partner from Japan
Yon Radio's first international partner was from Japan. The radio station now counts various partnerships with other radio stations from all around the world.
While introducing Anatolian music to the world, they would also like to introduce world music to Turkey.
Yon broadcasted folk music programs with guest musicians about music from Cuba, Venezuela, China and Armenia. These programs are enriched with informative explanations that make folk music and cultures more understandable.
Kilinc is very pleased with the interest their audience shows for those programs.
“After special programs in which we presented Armenian songs and explained the music in detail, not only Armenian listeners, but also others who had the chance to listen to and learn about these songs expressed their pleasure.”
Yon Radio collaborates with broadcasters from China and Russia and produces daily programs, such as “Hello from China”, “Russia's Voice”, and “Hello from Xinjiang Uygur”. The programs includes both music and news.
Broadcasting from both sides of the border
The most recent project of Yon Radio is its partnership with Armenia's “Radio Van”. In this project, they share experiences of private broadcasting besides program packages, music and news.
“They inform us about the extent of radio broadcasting, programs that attract attention, technologies being used in Armenia and teach us how to prepare news in Armenian and we convey our experience in Turkey,” Kilinc says.
They also exchange broadcasters in the project’s framework. Programmers from Turkey go to Armenia and Armenian broadcasters come to Turkey and prepare programs and exchange their professional experiences.
Kilinc believes that “this project will allow the broadcasters from two countries to see and learn about different cultures and observe the effects on radio broadcasting in two countries.”
“Peoples strive to learn about each other, and everyone tries to carry their voice to the others.”
World folk music library
Yon Radio, also functions as a folk music library and try to widen its international broadcasting network and increase partnerships. The music in the Radio’s archives is chared with other broadcasters who request it.
The Anatolian music archives contains various examples from the Black Sea region folk songs to Alevite (one of the sects within Islam) “semah”s (religious ceremony music) and Armenian and Kurdish songs.
Where there is political tension between certain cultures in Turkey, Yon tries to bring their histories together through their songs.
Kilinc emphasizes that “this is not a form of political engagement; our purpose is to introduce various cultures to each other through folk music”.
A cultural atmosphere of peace
Kilinc says that there are still many countries they would like to approach to look for more partnerships.
“We are trying to establish partnerships with African countries, produce programs in Iraq and bring the voice of Iraqi people to our radio.
“The work of politicians is not enough for peace. As a radio station, we have the responsibility to introduce other nations to our listeners and provide a lasting cultural atmosphere of peace.” (CT).
Translated by Sue Marsh Akyel from Turkish to English