Sunday, 12 April 2015

Muzaiko Esperanto Radio

Stream URL: (MP3 128k)

Muzaiko - tuttempa esperanta retradioThe world is only just catching up to the opportunities of net radio; as the early 20th century had trouble conceiving of "broadcasting", so the early 21st has largely yet to grasp "planetary radio": a listenership pieced together from widely-scattered outliers. But audience concentration is no longer a deal breaker in this medium.

Case in point: Muzaiko Esperanto Radio. This well-run net-only station airs 24 hours of Esperanto-language music, interspersed with talk-blocks in the same language. Certainly there are enough Esperantists in the world to sustain such a project; though hard to count, they're estimated at a few hundred thousand, possibly a million. Size of a large city, what. Only trouble is, they're sprinkled across the globe in two's and three's. But that, of course, is a far smaller problem online.

And Muzaiko is aggressively courting them. First, by zealously digging up every Esperanto act ever recorded. Not just well-known groups like Kaj Tiel Plu, Dolchamar, and Persone (the "Esperanto Beatles"), but also tracks little-known even to Esperantists; some seem to have been recorded in somebody's kitchen. But they're all good, and in their incredible spread of styles – rap, Latin, folk, pop, 50s rock, heavy metal, punk, medieval, operatic, bossa nova, Russian crooning, French chanson, reggae – they demonstrate the vast reach of Esperanto in the world today. And distributed here and there throughout the programme are spoken items, delivered in flawless, fluent Esperanto. (A kind of music in its own right.) These blocks generally range ten or twenty minutes; sometimes a full hour. All are also available as "listen again" podcasts on-site.

Not that some compromises weren't inevitable; after wrestling with copyright issues (even more frustrating in Esperanto music, given the obscurity of some of the acts), management decided to go with Radionomy, a net-radio stream provider that handles most copyright clearances and recoups its costs through adverts inserted into the stream. The spots are brief and infrequent, but they're also raucous, intrusive, and most annoying of all: in English. Still, it's little enough to pay for such a valuable service.

Muzaiko has one stream, at 128k MP3. Two large buttons on the upper right margin of their listen page allow listeners to load an embedded player on Radionomy's site or download a clickable playlist file. They also offer no programme schedule on their site; just an automatically-updated list of programmes to air over the next two hours, reported in the visitor's own local time. So their scheduling time zone is currently irrelevant (and apparently secret).

Anyway, give this unique net-native station twenty minutes. If you haven't experienced the wealth of Esperanto music, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The Gouge:

Genre: Esperanto language radio, UK radio
Location: England
Time zone: NA
Stream URL access: Excellent
Bouncer: No
Type of radio: Net-only
Mic presence: Pre-recorded
Stream reliability: Excellent
Format selection: MP3 128 kbps, Radionomy Flash player
Song ID: Yes
Found it on: iTunes Internet Radio catalogue

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