About programming

Civil Radio broadcasts programs on the life of common city squares where morning and evening walkers, homeless people, bus drivers and street musicians can be heard. We have a program that focuses on different districts and quarters of Budapest through outdoor recordings which are then brought back to the studio for editing. While preparing it, we visit these districts to find interesting topics, communities and organisations. It is very important for us to focus on local matters, events and values. Mainly, we would like to introduce those people who are not famous or well-known, but whose everyday activities are good examples of solidarity, appreciation, identification with others and are involved in the protection of local values.

Civil Radio highlights the social life and civic associations of the districts, analyses the contacts between local governments and civic organisations, and reports on different NGO-support systems developed by different democratic governments. We discuss the local traditions and what measures are being taken to protect them. We are always listening to other radio stations, perusing local newspapers and watching cable-television networks to see if we can contribute or expand on any local story.

Programs which give an insight into the evening life of Budapest have become an important part of our broadcasting format. We have organised broadcasts from locations such as dance halls, concerts, alternative theatre events and live music festivals. We have had street interviews, and, occasionally, have called up street telephone boothes, at random, casually asking whoever answers to give us a report on the life of the capital. By popular request, we have re-tooled our "Nostalgia Budapest" program where, among other things, we talk to well known town historians. The topics we cover on this program include: the civic associations and social life of the 1900’s, origin of the names of city streets and squares, restaurants of the capital, local newspapers before the second World War, the town grove, baths, street music, celebrations and the festive days of civic life.

Our musical programing is a very important part of the evening format. We try to avoid playing the current musical clichés and top songs from the pop charts. Instead, we sophisticated a blend of contemporary jazz, progressive rock, blues, new age, ethno, folk, world and classical music. It’s always a pleasure to invite talented new Hungarian bands and musicians to Civil Radio so that they have an opportunity to play their music and showcase their talent to a receptive audience.

Civil organisations are generally inexperienced, in theory as well as in practice, on how NGOs function and are managed. Civil Radio frequently organises training courses which help civil organisations to engage in social communication, and represent their interests in the media. The training is based on the experiences and contacts of Civil Radio. The program is titled "How can we make news about ourselves?".

Videos about Civil Radio

About the Foundation

The Foundation for Civil Radio was established in Budapest in 1993 to support and popularize the cause of non-governmental and non-profit radio broadcasting. In addition, it was established to operate a local radio station in Budapest for the same purpose. More than a hundred associations, foundations and institutes joined the program initiated by the four founders: the Association of Community Developers, the Open Training Association, the Hungarian Institute of Social Workers and the Lágymányos Public House. Since 1994, Civil Radio has had six periodic programs through which a group of volunteers could get technical experience in the field with support from media experts. At the same time, a parallel program structure has been developed to complement this work. This includes the characteristic features of a community radio, the hallmark which distinguishes Civil Radio from commercial and public service radios. An outstanding feature of Civil Radio is its unique effort to encourage the civil society and the grassroots movements in Budapest and to publicize their work.

At the same time, we established a studio and bought the equipment necessary to make permanent broadcasting possible. We met these challenges with the help of our volunteers and with the financial support received from our benefactors, the aforementioned founders. In the spring of 1995, Civil Radio got permission to establish a studio and the license to broadcast. Since September 1995, Civil Radio has been on broadcasting on the 98 FM frequency. This frequency has been shared by three different community radios: Tilos, Civil and Fiksz Radios broadscasting at different times of the day/week.

An important element of the story is that local frequencies have been used for broadcasting in Budapest for the last four years. The three mentioned non-profit radios, in spite of an extremely modest financial background, were the first radio stations in Budapest to begin their on-air programing after getting their licenses. They began round the clock broadcasts on September 1, 1995. Although other radio broadcasters have huge financial resources at their desposal, they could not put out full-time programming, while their "poorer cousins" were able to broadcast permanently on this frequency. Of course, community radio stations also have huge resources, but these can not be measured in forints but in the love and labor of their volunteers.

Currently, Civil Radio broadcasts everyday with the help of more than a two hundred volunteers. Cultural, social, environmental protection events, communities, conflicts and the life of the capital city and its districts are the central topics of our programing. About  220 volunteer programmers and technicians present more than 170 programs that go onto the air in two week cycles. Those who would like to join Civil Radio have the opportunity to participate in training sessions within the radio but also they can attend the training offered by the Hungarian Federation of Free Radios or Independent Media Centre.

Civil Radio is financially independent. Resources of its operation are: mostly grants that the radio applies for or gets through bids, most recently some EU funds. But mostly Civil Radio relies on the work of volunteers. In general Civil Radio programmes do not allow for commercial sponsorship, there is no commercial advertising, but mostly cultural or charity announcement.

Civil Radio is unique in its effort to give forum to the third sector, i.e. representatives or members of the civil societies, NGO-s and community initiatives. Presenters of the radio cover issues of community interests including but not limited to questions of social justice, disadvantaged and disabled people, environment, consumer protection, ethnic groups, cultural events, holidays, traditions, art exhibitions, concerts, performing art etc. Civil Radio also tries to involve its listeners in making radio programmes. Editors frequently invite guests and in that way the radio encourages civil society to promote and publicize their activity. Civil Radio avoids discussing nationwide or party political issues and concentrates on local news, problems, events at the district and neighbourhood level.

We are an independent radio station, we do not depend on political or economic interest groups. Sources for its operation are: work of its volunteers, funding grants and other forms of financial assistance from friends of the station. This is an interactive radio station, listeners can participate in the process occasionally or as often as they wish. One of our main objectives is to "demolish" the myth of mass media and to prove that everybody - who has a message - can get a microphone and be an active member of our team.

Basic data

The Foundation for Civil Radio Broadcasting (Civil Rádiózásért Alapítvány)

The address of the Foundation and the Radio Studio:
Hungary - 1116 Budapest Sztregova utca 3.
Telephone/Fax: +(36)-1-489-0997

Home page:

Official registration: Capital Court number 3982 (18 May 1993)

Radio Permission: E6790-1/2006

Tax number: 18048023-1-41

Bank Account: OTP I. kerületi fiók. 1013 Budapest, Alagút utca 3.
Bank Account Number: 11701004-20147734
IBAN Number: HU13 1170 1004 2014 7734 0000 0000

Time of broadcasting: 24/7 every week
Frequency: URH (FM) 98.00MHz
Capacity: 50 W
Antenna capacity 138 W

Managing Director: Ákos Cserháti

Running international projects in Civil Radio

LARA - Language Radio 2006-2008
More info here.

International projects in Civil Radio eralier

META - Media Training Across Europe 2005-2006

More info here.

Inter.Media - Intercultural Media Training in Europe 2005-2006
More info here.

MTAE - Media Training Across Europe 2005-2006
More info here.

European Week of Media and Minorities 2006
More info here.

RECORD - Radio European Community On Reciprocal Dialogue 2004-2005
More info here.

Radio for a New Generation 2004-2005
More info here.

Europe On Air 2002-2003
More info here.