Date: November 4th 2007


Heute senden wir wieder ab 18h.. (wir bemühen uns um Pünktlichkeit).

Derzeit sind noch ein paar O-Töne, ein Interview und Mitschnitte in Bearbeitung, die u.a. während der letzten Events von Backyard Radio mit Tetsuo Kogawa entstanden sind.

für alle, die sich fragen oder wundern inwiefern die beiden Projekte zusammenhängen oder rivalisieren hier ein kleiner erleuternder Text.. äh, gleich.. vorher sein noch bemerkt, dass wir ncht besonders glücklich sind über den Untertitel "micro.fm" und die in der vergangenen Woche reservierten Domain "www.micro.fm" durch Backyard Radio. Dies führte und führt zu Verwechslungen mit uns, die wir uns mit "K" schreiben. Wir nutzen zwar beide das "Micro Radio"-Konzept von Tetsuo Kogawa, jedoch unterscheiden wir uns durch eine Hirarchie, die so flach ist wie die Erde - als diese noch eine Scheibe war - und die Abwesenheit einer an Gewinn interessierten GmbH.
Dennoch wir koperieren und haben gemeinsame Geschichte.. hier also ein kleines Summery.. in inglisch:

mikro.FM @ Backyard Radio

Berlin is one of the rare German cities without a free radio. But still it has a long history of radio projects and groups of radio activists trying to promote an independent FM-station.

In December last year some of these people met to discuss on how to maintain the awareness for the necessity of a Berlin-free radio and maintain a publicly audible radio practice. As a legal alternative to radio piracy the micro radio concept of Tetsuo Kogawa (http://www.translocal.jp/radio/micro/) were considered and we agreed to combine it with transmission via Internet, just as thing.net did earlier in New York. Like Shakespeare's witches - "when shall we four meet again?" - we fixed a date and disappeared motivated into the cold December night.

January came and so did the date for our next meeting. But not all of the witches showed up. Others joined but we figured that reliability would be an issue. Money from funding was an option.. one that needs a responsible body behind it all and thus a hierarchy and structures. But, damned! we are witches who roam the four cardinal points.

So we came together once more in March at C-Base (http://c-base.org/) as 7 and decided to just get things going. On April 1st with little equipment scraped up and joint together we had our first broadcast. Then we started soldering the famous little transmitters by π-radio (http://www.piradio.de/) who developed a most fashionable model with USB-power supply as a contribution to the project. A logo was developed, flyers were printed and we managed to publish an article (http://www.scheinschlag.de/archiv/2007/03_2007/texte/15.html) in Scheinschlag magazine for our, now, regular show: “sonntags ab 18” (Sunday from 6 pm).

Distributing by Internet, we encouraged people to get or solder transmitters, plug them to their computers, catch our stream and let their neighbours enjoy a local community radio programme with critical and diverting content based exclusively on Creative Commons Licenses. It was astonishing how many different and eager witches and wizards became interested, came along and contributed.

We registered a domain with the TLD of the Federated States of Micronesia – an island nation – committing us to the name mikro.FM (http://mikro.fm/) and to the chorus:
“Make one nation Of many isles,
Diversity Of our cultures.
Our diff'rences Will enrich us,
Waters bring us All together.
They don't sep'rate.
They sustain us.”
We see our decentralized, yet by internet protocol, connected contributors mirrored by those islands and waters.

In order to preserve our independence AND to stay flexible we moved our mixers, microphones, laptops, cables and adaptors to various places and locations. Expanding our routine and social range we bounced our mobile studio from C-Base (http://c-base.org/) to TESLA (http://tesla-berlin.de/) / reboot (reboot.fm), back to a flat, forth to Mehringhöfe (http://www.mehringhof.de/) and onto a balcony. Even the park at Helmholtzplatz (http://maps.google.de/maps?f=q&hl=de&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Helmholzplatz,+berlin&sll=51.124213,10.546875&sspn=8.830752,22.895508&ie=UTF8&t=h&om=1&ll=52.542524,13.420008&spn=0.001044,0.002795&z=19) was a playground for mikro.FM – interviewing local stray guitar players who played us their improvised and mellow tunes (http://minifm.radiokampagne-berlin.de/index.php/2007-06-24_sendeplan). We were part of Camp T-Ψ (http://teabax.de/) and the Chaos Communication Camp (http://events.ccc.de/camp/2007/Intro/), both soldering and broadcasting. Thus
making people aware that regulation of airwaves is the biggest obstacle for a free radio in Berlin – not technics nor software.

Yet, there is a minor bug in our setup: An FM listener is dicey! If you do not deliver on schedule, in bad quality or without a steady position (i.e. frequency & location) he or she is not likely to find or remember your station – gone and away! and only if you're lucky without anger. Sitting in a park, picnicking, plugging scratched up cables and adaptors only to realize that the WiFi you were planing to transmit to the server has just disappeared.. well, you get the point. Another pitfall is the people picking up the stream and converting it into FM: will they think of doing so? won't they need their computers for other purposes? and if they change the frequency? DIY-transmitters are awkward when it comes to tuning and retaining their vibes!

At our initial "when shall we four meet again?"-meeting we pondered on getting down with Freifunk and the new USB-featured ASUS routers, software bundles and firmware integration – but who was to organize and pay all this? Some spoke of funding, Klubradio and USB-driven kits, hence, the name Backyard Radio was voiced. But with all due respect, some rampant witches and wizards wanted to ride airwaves immediately – a classical fork.

FM-transmitting routers are good for listener fidelity but they need to be fed with programme. Backyard Radio and mikro.FM are siblings in the micro radio idea with the same roots (i.e. overlapping in manpower and history).

So here we meet again! Tousled by the four winds for half a year and over 22 radio shows mikro.FM is ready to join the forces and crawl into those fancy ASUS routers while Backyard Radio is up and likely to go on once the funding is over.

Hail Thou, solid ground!

soli,
hikes

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