The history of private radio in Romania after 1990 (the part experienced by me), E1


1991 – spring

Since autumn I lived in Bucharest, because I was a student. My tape recorder double and I moved into a studio apartment on Drumul Taberei. I had advanced, I knew what FM was and what it did, and I had a favorite radio, it was called Nova 22, it was on the frequency 92.7 megahertz. Nova 22 was recently reactivated online by one of those who were then, in ’91, dikes: Geo Culda. Then he did a daily program together with Cristi, later known as Matze. They called themselves Raccoons. It wasn’t the only radio where trick nicknames were used for artists, there were others; Bagheera, Mister Big (I was a colleague with him for many years and we still keep in touch) and many more. Anyway, most of the time the people who spoke “on the station” only said their first names.
Nova 22 had an interesting schedule, a pattern that would disappear with the radio on December 31, 1992. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The grid looked like this: every working day, from morning until 4:00 p.m., there were so-called “antenna” programs, which were three hours long, and they were made by the same people every day – that’s how the Raccoons were. Music, various comments, various announcements, advertising. After 4:00 p.m., there were different shows for one hour every day until the evening, made by specialized filmmakers, depending on the subject of the show. They were diverse, from economics to a particular genre of music, such as baroque. And at night there was more underground stuff: an hour of punk music with Zille, a German I don’t know if he presented in English or Romanian, where I first heard about the band Die Goldenen Zitronen, then heavy and very heavy metals with Lenți Clerk speaking very close to the microphone and this thing could be heard, and so on. One evening I fell asleep with the radio on and I remember that a terrible storm started at night which woke me up, but before I fully woke up, in that state between the realms, I heard some terrible howls that didn’t stop, they were already for several tens of seconds, I already knew that I was completely awake and that I was not dreaming, and I was terribly afraid. Luckily, after the appropriate number of seconds, I heard Lenți’s voice. “Have you listened to the band Agatocles with the song…” Anyone who knows what Agatocles, a grindcore band, sounds like, understands how that fear took me out of my sleep.
On Nova radio, the commentary was decent, unlike Contact, where the speech seemed superficial, forced, sometimes it was even slightly ungrammatical. Just easy. I say “unlike Contact” because at that time there were only two radios in the west band: Nova and Contact. I remember that once I heard a diva saying that “the Danes (!) consume x kilos of fish (!) annually”… I laughed at her, whoever it was, now I know three ex-directors from radio Contact, I don’t like it to think that one of them would have been on duty then…
Bracket: this story with the west band is also relevant for that period, because the two frequency bands somehow represented the future and the past, the two orders on the two sides of the Iron Curtain, the east and the west of Europe. The east band stretched from 67 to 87 Mhz, and the west band over 87.0 to about 104. The thing was that the radios in the east did not pick up what was on the west band and vice versa. And the future was to be of the west band, of the western radios, which had started to come (as was mine which in time got the nickname Pig because it was more rounded that way).
Going back to the radio commentary, back then in 1991, not much was said.
Kind of like most radios these days. But for me the most important thing was to be able to say “good morning Bucharest, Marius Vintilă on the microphone…” Oh, oh, oh, look how cool I’m going to be today… so I decided to make an attempt to reach on a radio from there, even if the DJs still made mistakes with grammar…