UKRAINE: Ukrainian Radio / Bayraktar

Inhulets River at dawn – Source: Culture Trip

Radio Garden is really wild when you’re looking at an active warzone – unsurprisingly, radio stations where the active fighting are tend to be down, and further out, you can see the “propaganda line” between Russian and Ukrainian broadcasting. You can get a sense of the direction stations are taking by translating their websites, but I wish I had some knowledge of either language, I’m sure there’s some really strong content.

Radio Bayraktar – Named after the Turkish Bayraktar drones that have been so effective, this online station in Kyiv is almost totally Ukranian patriotic and propaganda songs – all genres, and even if you don’t understand Ukrainian, between the “Slava Ukrainia”s and the different remixes of the Bayraktar song (see below), you’ll get it. Listen live here.

Papino Radio 107.6The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is a Russian-backed breakaway state in the Donbas, and along with Luhansk and Crimea, form the parts of Ukraine that have been under Russian control since 2014. There’s about 2 million people living in the DPR, and of course, they have their own pro-Russian patriotic and propaganda radio. Most of it is the mirror of Radio Bayraktar – take a look at the Google translate of their social media. Listen live here.

Garmonia Mira – And now for something completely different! Based in Odesa, this quirky little station is a mix of jazz, classical, and easy listening, but with astrological reports built into its weather reports, scifi and poetry readings, and what I would call “granola Christian” programming – worship songs, “life-affirming” sermons, etc. It’s new to me to see it in an Eastern Orthodox content, but it’s 100% a thing. Good jazz selection too. Listen live here.

There’s also several stations that are just good dance/EDM mixes. In no particular order:

As for the Bayraktar, shortly after the Russian invasion stalled, a war song started circulating in Ukraine, celebrating the effectiveness of the Ukrainian military and Putin’s miscalculation in invading. It’s been remixed into a million different genres, including this really catchy dance mix by Andriy Muzob.

The full English translation is here, but a little example:

His own country wasn’t big enough / Now the invader has crossed our border / Their war machines have melted in the fields / Bayraktar

The senile old grandpa [Putin] is ranting / And the people believe everything / Now the Tsar has learned a new word / Bayraktar

Bayraktar English Translation

As far as war songs go, it’s a lot higher production value than “Hitler Has Only Got One Ball” that my grandpa taught me, but the sentiment is similar.

GABON: Gabonese Radio and TV

A surfing hippo near Port-Gentil – Source: Olivier Stocchi, TrekNature

I poked around Radio Garden and a few other sites to find some live radio from Gabon – there’s not a lot available, but there were a few neat channels.

Urban FM 104.5 – This has definitely been my favourite station, it’s great to put on when I’m working. Reggae, rap, hip hop, dance, pop – most of it Gabonese or from other parts of Africa. It’s a big fun mix. It’s pretty much uninterrupted music too! Listen live here.

Gabonews – The online feed isn’t up all the time, but it’s a major private radio station in Gabon. There’s a lot of variety – some news and talk in French, some pop and rap, and some more traditional Gabonese instruments – or “tradmodèrne” mixes. Listen live here.

Africa Radio – Africa Radio is notable for being a longstanding Gabonese institution that is no longer Gabonese. It was launched in 1980 as Africa No. 1, broadcasting out of Libreville, with French and Gabonese state investment. Africa No. 1 expanded into additional radio stations in Paris and Libya (with involvement from both Gaddafi and the post-Gaddafi governments). However, after strikes and complaints of poor working conditions, Africa No. 1 had its licence pulled and ceased broadcasting in Gabon in 2018. It has since been reborn as Africa Radio, with stations in Côte D’Ivoire and the Republic of Congo. You can listen live to regional broadcasting with music and talk in French, or music streams with club, rumba, and African dance music.

Notre-Dame de Lourdes, Libreville – Source

There’s a few live TV channels streaming from Gabon as well:

Gabon 24 – Gabon’s national broadcaster – formerly part of state broadcasting, now they’ve been spun off into a standalone company. They livestream on Youtube, and post individual clips from news stories on their channel. They’re still very much the state broadcaster, so they don’t really rock the boat, but there’s news, weather, sports, talk shows – the whole deal.

Gabonews – This is a private broadcaster, also with livestreams and clips from their broadcasts on Youtube. Again, a similar mix of news, weather, sports and talk, but an very interesting little difference: they also carry addresses by Jean Ping, the opposition leader who narrowly lost the 2016 election due to vote rigging in Ali Bongo’s home province. He’s positioned himself as a statesman, and continues to address the nation as the “Elected Gabonese President”.

NEW ZEALAND: Kiwi radio

Napier’s 1930s Art Deco city centre – Source

I’ve been trolling through Radio Garden for live radio from New Zealand, especially to listen to as I work. There’s a fair bit of commercial radio, but it’s really similar to the music played on commercial radio here – some even geo-locate their ads online, so I get Canadian ads in the breaks! However, there’s also a lot of really interesting independent, public, community, and online stations in Aotearoa. The time difference means I’m mainly listening to overnight programming, but that’s often when they play the really cool stuff.

Base FM – An Auckland-based station that prides itself on its independence – “100% DJ’s choice”. They rotate DJs, and each gets to play whatever tickles their fancy. They also have shows dedicated to only NZ and Indigenous artists, interviews, new artist showcases, and more. Big mix of hip hop, jazz, electronic, reggae, and more. Listen live here.

KiwiFolk Radio – On the opposite end of the country, in Dunedin on the south end of the South Island, another independent radio station – this one all folk, Celtic, bluegrass, and jazz. I think they play either exclusively or mainly Kiwi artists – I was listening to a lovely late-night set that interspersed music with some soothing local birdcalls. Listen live here.

Radio Los Galanes – A really interesting little radio station on the South Island – mainly Latin music. I tuned in to some absolutely fire Spanish guitar, interspersed with clips from Spanish language. I’ve also caught jazz, big band, and calypso. Listen live here.

Mouthfull Radio – Fun experimental radio, with soundscapes, house, hip-hop, and dance mixes, and DJ sets. Less esoteric and more upbeat than some of the experimental radio in San Marino last month, but similarly interesting. Listen live here.

RNZ Radio – Now the big one! There’s several different stations from RNZ, New Zealand’s public broadcaster:

  • RNZ National: The main RNZ radio station – a mix of news, talk, and music. The late night radio usually has radio documentaries – I listened to one on farmers growing ultra-high quality fruit for export to Japan, where they’re sold for immense prices. Listen live here.
  • RNZ Concert: An all-music channel, mainly classical, opera, jazz, and choral music. Very little interruptions – sometimes there’s a presenter sharing some details, sometimes it’s a concert played straight through. Listen live here.
  • RNZ Pacific: A similar mix as RNZ National, but with a focus on Pacific Islands – sometimes the program is the same, and sometimes it’s either Pacific-focused or Pacific-language programming. There’s news and shows in Tongan, Samoan, French, Cook Islands Maori, Niuean, and Pidgin languages from PNG, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Listen live here.

SAN MARINO: Sammarinese Radio, Podcasts, and TV

Heritage Unbounded – San Marino: A Small Republic with a Big History – A podcast from Johns Hopkins University’s Museum and Heritage Studies department, interviewing Dr. Paolo Rondelli, who served as San Marino’s ambassador to the US and is now the country’s ambassador to UNESCO. Rondelli was part of the team that got San Marino’s historic centre and Mount Titano onto the UNESCO World Heritage list, and he talks about changing ideas of historical preservation – especially as many of the buildings in the centre have been continuously used by the same institutions for centuries. He also touches on how San Marino hopes to balance massive tourism with protection for historical and environmental sites.

Futureproof with Sergio Mottola – A podcast focusing on the tech industry, with a focus on big picture questions of ethics, industry, and technological trends. It’s hosted by Sergio Mottola, a tech venture capitalist who formerly served as CEO of the San Marino Innovation Institute, a state-owned private company that supports tech ventures in the country. I listened to the episode “Our future with tech: interfering or augmenting?“, which had some good nuanced debate on how paradigm shifts are more often forced than accepted and how to tackle the ethics of tech companies.

USMARADIO Pocasts – San Marino’s university has a major department, USMARADIO, dedicated to research and innovation into radio and radiophonic studies. They have a wealth of podcasts, with some in English, that really work on showcasing and developing new artistic expressions of sound and communication. They have a lot of experimental music and soundscapes – I put on Cave I – Halfcastle for a walk on a cold, snowy evening and it set the mood perfectly. USMARADIO showcases artists and collectives not just from San Marino and Italy, but around the world. An interesting one is female:pressure_ROJAVA. It’s a collaboration by artists and poets about the Rojava conflict and Kurdish attempts to create autonomy in Syria, as well as women’s attempts to create autonomy in the movement – past just the female fighters that are usually seen in Western media.

Mount Titano and its Three Towers – Source

USMARADIO live – The live radio feed from USMARADIO also has some really interesting stuff. It varies dramatically what you get – due to the time difference, I initially started listening to overnight radio, which is mainly the very very experimental music and soundscapes that they also have in their podcasts. Then I started tuning in at different times and picked up other playlists – one morning it was relaxing African folk music, followed directly by an European medieval choral ensemble. Later, I picked up from free jazz, then some slam poetry in English set to experimental sounds. It’s really fun to get a complete surprise every time I click play. Listen live here.

Radio San Marino 102.7 FM – The main radio channel from San Marino RTV, the country’s public broadcaster. There’s a really big variety here – I’ve heard English and Italian-language classic rock, dance, jazz, hip hop, Top 40 hits, and classical music, interspersed with talk programming and news in Italian. Listen live here.

Radio San Marino Classic 103.2 FM – San Marino RTV’s music-focused secondary channel. It’s also a mix of English and Italian-language music, mainly classic rock, 90s hits, and pop, with special shows focusing on 60s music, love songs, and soul throughout the week. Minimal talk, it’s almost entirely music. Listen live here.

And if you speak Italian, San Marino RTV also has two tv channels streaming online – RTV and RTV Sport. The former is general national broadcaster formatting- news, weather, Italian tv shows. RTV Sport is live games, interviews, and analysis – I’ve caught Italian soccer and kickboxing matches streamed on it.


State Museum of History of UzbekistanSource

As always, went to the ever-addictive site Radio Garden to poke around live radio from Uzbekistan.

Oriat FM 100.5 – Based in Tashkent, Oriat FM is mainly dance, pop, and top 40 hits – the music is mainly in English, with some songs also in Russian or Uzbek, and some work in elements of Central Asian folk music. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve never heard before, it’s good to put on in the background. Occasional news and discussions in Uzbek, but not a lot of ads, and I keep catching the Uzbek national anthem, which plays at 6am local time (my evening). Listen live here.

Pink Unicorn Radio – Online radio from Pink Unicorn Records in Samarkand, a label that focuses on hardstyle dance music, metal, hard rock, but there’s also emo and pop punk. Listen live here.

See The Sea Radio – Another record label in Samarkand, seems to be by the same people behind Pink Unicorn. This is deep house and trance music. I wonder if the name is ironic, given Uzbekistan is one of only two doubly landlocked countries. Listen live here.

A’lo FM – This station in Tashkent bills itself as light-hearted music – pop and dance music from Central Asia, Russia, the West, and other places. Listen live here. Their website also has big collections of memes, funny pictures, and jokes in Uzbek. I ran some through a translator – this one made me laugh:

“Elijah, how do you like your new house?”

“It’s good. At first I felt like a stranger, but now I’m arguing with all my neighbours!”

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Trinbagonian Radio

Trinidad and Tobago is so famous for its music, and its live radio does not fail to deliver. As always, Radio Garden was my first stop, but there are also a lot of great channels live on Trinidad Radio Stations. In fact, there are a LOT of great radio stations all over T&T – this is barely scratching the surface.

Caribbean Wave Radio QX93 – This has been one of my favourite stations to listen to this month. It’s a great mix of soca, calypso, reggae, funk, and all other kinds of upbeat Caribbean music. No talking or ads either, it’s just a great vibe. Listen live here.

Talk City 91.1 FM – A really interesting station that’s music, news, and talk – they only play music from T&T and the Caribbean, including some very powerful political folk and calypso when I tuned in. They also have a strong focus on freedom of speech, democratizing radio, and good quality talk radio and journalism. Listen live here.

Dread Radio – An online station in Port of Spain exclusively playing reggae. While reggae is deeply connected to Jamaica, it’s also had a huge influence across the Caribbean, with Trinidad producing plenty of homegrown artists. Listen live here.

The Red House, Port of Spain – Source

Sangeet 106.1 FM – This station covers the huge variety of Indo-Trinidadian music – chutney, classical Indian music, Bollywood, and all sorts of jams that weave in Hindi and Indian music. Fun hosts, call-ins, and requests too! Listen live here.

Radio Toco 106.7 FM – Local radio for the town of Toco, up on the northeast corner of Trinidad. There’s a huge variety of shows, depending when you tune in. Sometimes it’s gospel, sometimes it’s dance remixes or soca, sometimes it’s the news or a breakfast show. It’s never the same thing twice. Listen live here.

Pulse 89.5 FM – Based out of Signal Hill on Tobago. When I tuned in on the weekend, and got an amazing live DJ set, blasting a huge upbeat dance mix. They also have lots of live DJ sets on their Facebook page. Then when I tuned in on Monday morning, it was a very sharp and intelligent call-in show about issues of corruption and inefficiencies in government. Listen live here.

ALBANIA: Albanian Radio

The Accursed Mountains (aka The Albanian Alps) – Source: Horizon Guides

One again spun the globe on Radio Garden and got some interesting radio stations from Albania.

Radio DJ 98.2 – Based in Tirana, it’s well-DJ’d dance mix. Great for working out or working at your desk! No talking or ads as far as I can tell, just 24/7 dance music. It’s definitely on my favourites. Listen live here.

My Music 97.3 – A pop music channel that only plays Albanian artists – mainly in Albanian, but some songs are in English as well. A good spectrum of what’s popular – rap, pop, ballads, dance music, R&B. A few bumpers but not a lot of ads. Listen live here.

Radio Pendimi – I tuned in at about 2am Albanian time for some beautiful atmospheric Islamic music in Albanian. Turns out that this is a Sunni religious station partially sponsored by Saudi Arabia. That led me down the Wikipedia rabbit hole on Islam in Albania since the fall of communism – in the 30 years since religion has been allowed back into public life, Sunni and Sufi Islam and Christianity have returned in fits and starts, with most people identifying but unobservant. Both religions have had the support of NGOs and the faithful in other countries, and Albania is navigating a complex web of identities as a secular state but with religious freedom, a Muslim state in Europe, an EU aspirant, and receiving support from countries like Saudi Arabia. Listen live here.

Radio Lushnja 95.5 – Based in Lushnjë, a small city in the middle-south. Since I keep on logging on to radio at the equivalent of the middle of the night in Albania, I keep on getting the fun late night music. I ended up with something that sounded similar to klezmer, then a sweet folk song, then some latin beats in Albanian. Listen live here.

TOGO: Togolese Radio

Aklowa Falls – Source

For a small country, there’s a lot of good radio from Togo! As always, I used Radio Garden this month to take a listen; here are some stations that really caught my ear.

Obé Web Radio – Online radio out of Lomé – this has been one of my favourites to listen to. It’s a really good mix of pop, rap, dance music – mainly francophone African. It’s a lot of good upbeat music, mixed well with not too many repeats. Listen live here.

Gameli Folklorique – Radio Gameli has several different channels; I’m really enjoying the folk music one, especially the drumming with complex polyrythms, backed with choirs. Listen live here.

Ahouevi – A really good broad selection of music – I’ve tuned in on different days at different times and listened to jazz, R&B, Togolese folk, and Koffi Olomide’s “Coronavirus Assassin” lockdown song about God’s wrath. Ahouevi’s site also has Togolese news and a heavy focus on football. Listen live here.

Radio Nataan – “The Voice of the Savannah” – the northernmost radio station I could find, based out of Dapaong, where coastal Africa starts to transition into the dry Sahel. They have a strong focus on sharing artists from Togo’s north, as well as the region’s history and culture. Listen live here.

Radio Université de Kara – Campus radio from the University of Kara in northern Togo. It’s the second university in Togo and has some of the best computer tech in the region. When I tuned in the campus channel was playing funk-gospel. Listen live here.

ALGERIA: Algerian Radio

Bardo National Museum – Source: Reddit

A great month for radio – there are a lot of options for interesting Algerian programming. Most of these were found through Radio Garden – and there are a lot more options from Algeria if you’re interested!

Radio Algérie Chaîne 3 – Radio Algérie is Algeria’s public broadcaster, so there are a huge selection of channels. In addition to specific music, Quranic study, sports and other channels, it has three main talk channels. The first is in Arabic, the second in Berber languages, and the third in French. I ended up listening to the French channel, since that’s the one I speak. There’s news, interviews, call-ins from the public, as well as a mix of western and Algerian pop music. Listen live here.

Radio Tamenrasset – Most of the radio I’ve been listening to is from coastal Algerian cities, particularly Algiers, so I decided to use Radio Garden to find the station furthest south into the Sahara I could find, in Tamenrasset. Music is mostly Amazigh / Algerian folk music, and I tuned in a few days ago during Eid to a beautiful show of members of the public calling in to sing recitations of the Quran. Listen live here.

Skyrock Alger – Really great mix of high energy pop, rap, and dance – they seem to mix between Algerian, French and Top 40 hits – when I was listening they were playing Lil Nas X’s Montero on heavy rotation. Its a great song, so I’m not fussed. Not much talk, about from their bumper of “le soleil, la mer, le foot – Skyrock Alger” (The sun, sea, and soccer). Listen live here.

Jow Radio – This has probably been my favourite radio station to listen to – it’s a digital radio station in Algiers that plays one of the biggest range of music – Algerian / Maghreb, French, Top 40, and pretty much every style of music – rap, dance, pop, 90s, oldies. Listen live here.

Radio Dzaïr – This is not one, but eight online radio stations – all play different varieties of Algerian folk music – Chaabi, Raï, Saharan music, Andalusian, etc. It’s a great way to explore – I particularly like the station just titled Dzaïr – it’s usually high energy folk music, often with ululations. Listen to all of the stations here.

NAURU: Radio and podcasts

Coming in to Nauru on Nauru Airlines – Source: Fun Geography

Radio Nauru – Nauru’s official radio station – during the day it plays Nauruan programming with BBC News. The music has a good variety – folk songs in Nauruan, religious music, pop and some retro jams. Overnight programming is rebroadcasting Australian talk radio. Unfortunately, the internet livestream isn’t very reliable, sometimes it will go down for a few days. Listen live here.

While I can’t find any podcasts from Nauru, I found some very interesting individual episodes (mainly from Australian news sources) about different aspects of Nauru’s history, culture, and current situation.

ABC Earshot: The secret history of Nauru – A look into the Nauruan phosphate boom and getting into the nitty gritty of how the country lost its fortune – the bad investments, the money laundering, how Nauru ran up against the American Patriot Act when Al-Qaeda members showed up with Nauruan passports, but also how many Nauruans protested the bad investments and the squandering as it happened.

3CR Earth Matters: Listening to Nauru – An Australian environmental podcast interviewing an political geographer who has worked extensively on Nauru to study the effects of climate change on both the island and the people. Has excerpts from discussions with Nauruans on climate, and touches on how extractive colonialism has created an uncertain future for the island – both through the devastation from phosphate mining and rising ocean levels.

BBC Radio Poetry Postcards: Nauru – “Proudly She Sways Her Colour True” by Lyn Detabene, a Nauruan poet and teacher. She also shares about the country, and the importance of supporting and reviving culture and identity on Nauru.

Reveal News: Five years on Nauru – Investigative journalism from 2019 by ABC on the children of detained refugees kept on Nauru and the (lack) of support from the Australian government, as well as how the Australian Pacific Solution came about with Nauru. I also want to flag that if you’re in Canada or Australia you can donate to Operation #NotForgotten, which is resettling the last detained refugees from Nauru to Canada.