Top listeners:

skip_previous skip_next
00:00 00:00
playlist_play chevron_left
  • cover play_arrow

    Génération X - Rencontre avec Jamiroquai - 1995 Jamiroquai

  • cover play_arrow

    Sky The Tunnel 2

  • cover play_arrow

    Concert U2 – Zoo Tour – 1993 U2


L’Echo des Garrigues

today21 March 2024 91 87

share close

From pirate to community radio

I was 12 when, in 1981, I was a guest on the ‘Hebdo jeune’ programme hosted by Élian Raffy on one of France’s oldest pirate radio stations: L’Écho Des Garrigues. The radio station, as its name suggests, broadcasted its programmes from the garrigues around Montpellier. Following the broadcast, I joined the team, first as producer and then as co-host. That same year, François Mitterrand, freshly elected president, liberated the airwaves. Pirate radio stations were dead, long live free radio (free radio in France means Independent radio station). L’Écho became an association, resolutely non-commercial and trying to promote the Occitan language.

Chaotic beginnings

L’Écho, which initially broadcast from an old car, finally moved into a cramped flat on the top floor of the tallest tower block in the Matelles district of Montpellier. The flat was made up of 3 tiny adjoining rooms. In the first room was a sofa above which hung a mythical photo of chanson, Brassens, Brel and Ferré, “3 hommes sur la photo” (“3 men in the photo”). The second room contained the technical area, the mixing desk and the entire record library. In the third room was the studio, a round table with a dozen microphones and 3 or 4 headphones, one of which only worked in one ear.

A difficult start

The transmitter was installed half in the kitchen, half in the bathroom. The whole system was connected by a multitude of cables running through the walls, with no apparent security. Under these circumstances, it was difficult to go to the toilet as the door didn’t close (the cables were blocking it) or to pour yourself a glass of water from the tap, which was covered in bare electrical wires. The heat in the room was intense and it was not uncommon for an overheated heater to cut out. You then had to open all the windows, and wait a long time before it started up again. For 2 years, it was in these conditions, often accompanied by my mother, that every Wednesday and sometimes at weekends, I made my first forays into radio. Today, l’Echo des Garrigues continues to broadcast under the name l’Eko des Garrigues.

Written by: Jean-Michel Venden

Rate it