What is the priority of the 21st century – the well-known aspiration to disseminate information quickly or maybe something completely different – disseminating pleasure? What if one click would allow you to indulge in pleasant, soothing, and exciting things? Don’t let yourself think you’ll be listening to a Kama Sutra-themed program...Wait a minute, has someone just mentioned “listening”? Surely, after all, it’s all about a strikingly unusual radio station that has just been set up in Kraków.
What lies behind this station’s extraordinariness are two things: first, it broadcasts digitally and on the Internet only; second, its format is completely different from that of mainstream radio stations. OFF Radio Kraków – a new, alternative radio station is the child of Radio Kraków.
It has been a long time since so much freshness was brought to our radio. It’s all thanks to ‘OFF creators!
- said Marcin Pulit, the CEO of Radio Kraków. Those “OFF creators” are more than ten people who didn’t hesitate to take up a great challenge. Once the news was spread that a new station was going to be launched, Radio Kraków was besieged with creative people with exceptional visions of a station’s prospective image.
OFF Radio Kraków is a music station without traditional news breaks overflowing with politics and catastrophes. “Talking” will take up to 16% of airtime while the remaining 84% will be devoted to music and hosted radio programs.
People whom we’ve invited to create radio programs are outstanding and passionate about music. It doesn’t mean, however, that we are not going to talk about what’s happening in the city.
- says Paulina Bisztyga, a manager of the station.
We want to stay close to initiatives undertaken by people with passion, events driven by great ideas and spontaneity instead of money. We intend to talk about our listeners’ views on what sets the rhythm of a city life. Our plan is to transmit various concerts, record on them as well as recommend cultural events and new places.
- Bisztyga adds.
The radio doesn’t wake us up – weird, isn’t it? It’s because for an OFF Radio listener mornings start at 10 a.m. – the moment Ania Piekarczyk begins her show “Morning with Off" during which she talks to her guests about Krakow’s cultural life. When it comes to a radio format, it’s immediately visible that it’s been heavily influenced by enthusiasts of various Polish and foreign alternative music festivals and radio stations such as OFF Festival, Unsound, Sónar and BBC Radio 6.
You can listen to OFF Radio Krakow on the Internet and via special digital receivers. Paulina Bisztyga states that creators of the station dream about its expansion so that it’s listened to and enjoyed in coffee houses, clubs, secondhand clothing stores and the hairdresser’s. This dream is the reason why everyone who has contributed to the formation of the radio is taking part in an action to distribute as many receivers as possible to extraordinary and popular places.
These outstanding individuals will be among hosts of OFF Radio programs:
Good Paul - a DJ with 18 years of experience and a graduate of The Red Bull Music Academy in Toronto. He has performed at the largest festivals in Poland such as Heineken Music Festival, Tauron, Audioriver, Boogie Brain as well as at one of the largest festivals in the world – Sónar in Barcelona.
Daniel Drumz - a DJ and producer who has been on stage for 15 years and performed in cities such as New York, London, Berlin, Dublin, Vilnius and Prague to name a few. For a long time he was a member of legendary Polish hip-hop group Grammatik (he still records and performs with Eldo – former member of Grammatik). Daniel is the author of numerous classic mixtapes and several vinyl records released by U Know Me Records. He graduated from Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp Warsaw and participated in the first Polish edition of Boiler Room. His debut album “Untold Stories” was released in January 2015.
DJ Oliwia Ungaro – a firm believer in the cult of vinyl discs. She’s been present on the Polish electronic music scene for 10 years now both solo and in the Chrono Bross duo which she co-creates with her brother Kinzo Chrome. Oliwia is famous for her exquisite taste in music and excellent playing technique. What she enjoys the most are dark and raw sounds of techno, the acidity of acid house, depth of cosmic music, simplicity of electronic sounds and warmth of house rhythms.
Jacek Szubrycht – a music journalist who writes about music in both short and long forms, the former being, for example, articles in a Polish weekly newsmagazine Polityka, interviews for the music section of redbull.com or his own blog posts. The latter, long forms include a book-length interview with a Polish singer Maryla Rodowicz as well as biographies of bands such as Slayer or Vader. Jacek collaborates with OFF Festival and represents the Hungarian Sziget Festival in Poland.
Do you want to know more? We’ve had a conversation with with Paulina Bisztyga – manager of OFF Radio Kraków, cabaret singer and a remarkably energetic woman in possession of a beautiful and dangerous voice.
Why bothering with a creation of a new radio station if we already have Radio Kraków?
There is no doubt that Radio Kraków is an amazing station, however, it is incapable of providing listeners with all the content we want. OFF Radio is about a unique playlist which is compiled by the station’s head of music, Wojciech Barczyński. So far, there has been no station that would address subjects of interest to those who enjoy alternative music. Their tastes have been simply ignored. Besides, we believe in all exceptional individuals who host music programs – they are real assets to OFF Radio.
Does “digital” mean “less available”?
We hope people will start buying digital receivers if they have not started already. Just like it was in the case of digital television. There is a widespread but false assumption about receivers’ staggering prices. The truth is that a good quality receiver can be bought for as much as 50 zlotys. It’s worth investing in such a device because it allows listening to a tremendously large number of radio stations (including FM stations) and provides a much better sound quality. Of course OFF Radio is available on the Internet as well, where the role of podcasts is substantial.
Who do you think should work in the OFF Radio?
People connected with music in various ways – experienced journalists but also novices in the field, DJs, festival organizers. To put it simply – music enthusiasts.
Will there be any regular music events organized by the radio?
We began by organizing an opening party in the Forum Przestrzenie, which is the best club in Kraków, and the fact that thousands of people turned up made us realize that we were needed. Among performers that night were our residents: Daniel Drumz, Good Paul, Peter Fegle, Kolektyw Easy Cheesy, Herbaciarz – our invaluable audio engineer, and Moment, who doesn’t have his own radio program yet but hopefully will visit us often when we finish building a DJ booth. We definitely want to organize events and be visible in the city – we have plans and ideas but we need time to implement them successfully.
How did you end up in here? Did you want to? You publish records and host quite a number of radio programs…
I’ve been working in Radio Kraków for some years now and I have to say that, even though it’s been developing very slowly, the bond between me and the radio is close. It all began with one program I co-hosted with Agnieszka Barańska and to tell you the truth I have no idea myself when and how it happened but I started hosting more and more of them. Marcin Pulit, the CEO of Radio Kraków wanted to do something new and unique because public broadcasting stations are supposed to promote digital technology. Hence the idea of creating OFF Radio Kraków. I happened to be asked to become its manager.
A few words about your plans and dreams?
I have to get a hold of my imagination now. I just would like to enrich the radio format by introducing more programs and I would love OFF Radio Kraków to enjoy decent listenership. You know, just the typical dreams of an experienced radio worker…
Listen to OFF Radio Kraków here!
Paweł Piotr Polak
photo: Andrzej Pilichowski Ragno