Volunteer-run Rhubarb Radio inspiring Berlin and Barcelona to follow lead
Berlin and Barcelona are hoping to recreate their own versions of Rhubarb Radio, Birmingham’s volunteer-run radio station based at the Custard Factory.
The three cities last week came together at an event looking at Birmingham City Council’s plans for a Digital District spanning the Eastside area of Birmingham.
Speakers from the Spanish and German cities told attendees at the “Birmingham’s Digital District” event about how their cities were strengthening their economies by encouraging digital participation and investing in infrastructure.
The event followed the announcement by Birmingham City Council earlier this year to turn the Eastside area into a digital showcase by installing next-generation high-speed broadband infrastructure.
The initiative, part of the council’s Big City Plan, revolves around a project to install fibre-optic technology which would enable internet speeds of more than 100 megabits per second in the area.
Rhubarb Radio director Daniel Cremin said representatives from the two cities were interested in the Rhubarb Radio model with a view to recreate it at home.
The station is run by volunteers and has forged relationships with Birmingham’s community groups and live music venues to allow it to stream live gigs from around the city.
Mr Cremin said: “They want to encourage community debate and they don’t have anything like Rhubarb there. Both Berlin and Barcelona will literally have a copy of Rhubarb Radio.”
He has been working with representatives from the cities to get them up to speed on how Rhubarb works.
“Rhubarb is an open source programme, obviously, so they could just take it if they wanted to but they don’t have the skills we have got here in Birmingham,” he said.
Rhubarb Radio is also involved in a project to get local authorities and public sector bodies to use audio streaming and a range of web-based tools to engage people in the democratic process. The station has worked with Sandwell Council as part of the CivicUs project.
Rhubarb Radio will also be audio streaming this week’s Hello Digital event which focuses on how businesses outside the digital sector can benefits from web-based marketing and social media.