'Listen To How The World Sounds': International Radio Festival's Founder On Why Radio Isn't Going Away Anytime Soon

'Radio remains the leading medium through which to discover music'

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One of the world's biggest radio festivals just went down last week - and it went down in Malta's very own capital city, Valletta. The ninth edition of the International Radio Festival has just ended - and what a festival it was.

With other 80 different radio shows broadcasting worldwide, including everyone from BBC Radio 1 to Malta's Carlo Borg Bonaci, the week-long event has cemented its place as one of the most important radio festivals of the year.

Lovin Malta caught up with the Founder and Festival Director Darryl von Daniken to see why he radio is as important as ever, why Malta is the perfect location to host his festival, and and what he's got in mind for the future of IRF.

Tobias Stahel International Radio Festival Irf 2 O15 Zurich 7457

Pictured: Darryl von Daniken

In the 1980s, Darryl began to realise just how powerful radio could be

"Whilst studying architecture in the 80s’ in Brighton I ended up supplying TopShop with Acid House T-shirts," he says. "Discovering Ibiza during its early house music explosion firmly planted me in the events business, helping me realise the value and power of music in media," he said.

That's when he decided to combine his passions for music and media

It was just nine years ago that the first edition of International Radio Festival was launched.

"We launched it when I became aware of the real impact radio delivered compared to other media; and which was bound to only increase the more digital we were to become. Radio created global media and the way we monetise it, today going full circle from representing the media of quantity to that of quality," he says.

Darryl knew people loved discovering new music through radio

"Radio remains the leading medium through which to discover music, and Malta understands the power of music in the form of festivals in general – not only how it attracts visitors from overseas, but also offering the opportunity for them to mix and ‘bond’ with the locals at such festivals culminating in a unique and authentic cultural exchange generating equally unique memories of their stay… so bringing the world’s only music radio festival and conference to ‘music island’ Malta made perfect sense," he said.

And it is only set to become more and more powerful

"I am not a Futurist," he laughs, "but what I do believe is that radio/audio in our current earphone generation will become the most valued medium, because it lets us get on with life as opposed to constantly being glued to our screens."

And that's exactly why he set up the unique International Radio Festival

"The International Radio Festival is the only Business-to-Business conference and Business-to-Customer festival which showcases and debates the business and curation of music radio programming, offering those tuned in (on DAB+ across Malta, or globally online) the opportunity to ‘listen to how the world sounds’."

Tobias Stahel International Radio Festival Irf 2 O15 Zurich 7471

The ninth International Radio Festival took place in Valletta, European Capital of Culture 2018, between 29th October and 4th November, in Valletta.

Over 11 musically inspired on-air days, the International Radio Festival once again brought together over 30 ground breaking radio stations from Malta and around the world, presenting more than 80 unique music radio shows live on-air, and broadcasting such shows to a worldwide audience, allowing listeners and visitors the chance to “Listen to how the World Sounds”

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Written By

Johnathan Cilia

Johnathan is interested in the weird, dark, and wonderful contradictions our late-capitalist society forces upon us. He also likes music and food. Contact him at [email protected]