A group of fifteen international students started UvA radio. Felix Faillace (21, European Studies) and Adel Al Khozaae (21, Communication Science) tell us more.
What is UvA radio?
Felix: ‘It’s a radio station for university students. We’re already on Spotify and Soundcloud and I think we’ll also join YouTube once we get more video technology. There are fifteen of us volunteering, and we produce about five shows and a few specials. Later this afternoon, for instance, we have an artist coming in to record a few songs. We don’t have a massive following but we’re growing. Anyway, we only started four months ago.’
Let’s figure this out: about how to get involved in university life, being a student, how to figure yourself out as a person while figuring out the practical aspects of adult life.
Getting 6s: about politics, sport and other general events happening in the week. The name is based on the Dutch ‘zesjescultuur’: the idea that mediocrity in school is good enough.
Worth the watch: about the movies that are in theatres right now.
How did you come up with the idea?
Felix: ‘Our friend Dan was involved in student radio in America and it was something he wanted continue here. When he first mentioned it, I thought he was just being drunk but when I realised he was serious we got a room at the UvA and started to produce content. We started in August.’
Some of the shows are about politics at the UvA. Why are you, as international students, interested in Dutch university politics?
Felix: ‘I’ve always been interested in politics, although I’m not particularly involved in any political movements. A lot of the stuff going on here is focused on cuts at the Humanities faculty and at the university in general, and discussing it on our shows is the least we can do to help.’
Adel: ‘We want to start a conversation. One of our goals is to bridge the gap between faculties and students. We’re open to talking with all faculties and all students.’
Felix: ‘When I compare the UvA to England, I find there’s a real lack of student participation and engagement. They mostly just go to classes. There isn’t much of a community feeling. In England there are way more societies and every university has a radio station.’
What do you think is the reason for this lack of community?
Felix: ‘I’m not sure. I think it has something to do with university’s lay out. In England, universities tend to have large campuses and designated buildings where students live. At the UvA, apart from Roeterseiland, everything is spread out. When I moved here from London, I had no place to live, no place to congregate. And I don’t feel there’s much of a community sense on the different courses, either. We would like to get more students involved in the university.’
Adel: ‘In the Netherlands, going to university is like going to your job. It’s not like: UvA for life, let’s all get the t-shirt! There’s a lack of community spirit.’
Felix: ‘But UvA radio isn’t necessarily about helping the university build a community. What we want is to get people to be creative and involved in radio. Every university should have a radio station. We want to create a platform where students, musicians and artists can share ideas. It’s crazy there hasn’t been a radio station at the UvA for decades!’
Which radio stations or podcasts inspire you?
Felix: ‘Podcasts like Desert Island Dicsc help me think about how I can improve as an interviewer. I also listen to the American comedian Joe Rogan.’
Adel: ‘He did this weird TV show Fear Factor where he developed his interviewing skills. He had so many big guests on his show, like Elon Musk and Jordan Peterson.’
Felix: ‘We like that we have lots of creative freedom. The university said we can do whatever we want. We can act like a start-up while being supported by the university: they found a room for us and put together a bit of funding for radio equipment. We collected money from everyone involved to use for advertising.’
Are you also focused on Dutch students, or are your shows mostly for internationals students?
Felix: ‘This is a concern of us. Obviously we’re international students, and in my experience the international students do seem to stick together more, while the Dutch remain separate. But we want it to be for everyone. Next week, friends of mine are coming to the studio and we want to start a show in Dutch.’
Adel: ‘It’s not that we set out to exclude Dutch students, it’s just evolved the way it has, with international students approaching us and wanting to be involved. As the project grows, there will definitely be Dutch content.’
What is your main ambition with UvA radio?
Felix: ‘The thing with anything creative is: you might do it because you enjoy it, but your success is determined by how many people you reach. But this shouldn’t matter, because it doesn’t change the quality of the content. We want to get to a stage where everyone at the university knows what we’re doing. If people want to be involved, they should come and be creative as well.’