This year’s Radio TechCon both unnerved and inspired attendees
Belgian radio stations — commercial stations and public broadcasters — are preparing for a busy radio summer holiday by installing “pop-up” on-air studios — and, in some cases, more — in popular seaside cities along the country’s 65 km coast.
On July 1, Joe launched The Joe Summer Island on the sea promenade in Westende. The town’s mayor Jean-Marie Dedecker officially opened the event. The station’s on-air studio was in a large entertainment park fair packed with nostalgic attractions, a huge Ferris wheel and drink and food stands.
The Joe Summer Island — from July 1 to August 15, with live programming from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. — is the station’s first stay on the Belgian coast. The event features homegrown artists like Belle Perez and Mama’s Jasje. “Joe Summer Island is the combination of a retro fair and a music festival,” said DJs Sven Ornelis and Anke Buckinx. “We want our island to become the place to be for a family outing.”
On the same day, public broadcaster VRT’s MNM channel opened the doors on the Blankenberge beach promenade, rebaptized “Costa del Blankenberge.” From a temporary on-air studio near the famous Blankenberge pier and the O’Neill Beachclub, MNM is offering two months of sunny broadcasts. The station has arranged daily visits and “meet and greets” in the studio and is distributing free sunscreen tubes. The MNM team has also invited visitors to clean up the beach in return for a collectible MNM-gadget.
On July 2, Qmusic launched their Q-Beach House in Oostende for the 15th year in a row. The event is known for a popular combination of live radio from a studio on the beach and sunset concerts crowds. Oostende’s mayor Bart Tommelein provided the official opening address with Q DJs Jolien Roels and Matthias Vandenbulcke.
“We’re very happy to see Qmusic return to our city,” Tommelein said. “I’ve been following the building of the Q-Beach House from day one, and everything looks great. After two years of COVID, this is poised to become a beautiful summer.”
Singers Camille, Willy William and Milo Meskens inaugurated the Beach House, and Metejoor performed the first sunset concert on July 7.
VRT channel Radio 2 has set up a coast tour under the banner “Radio 2 Zomerhit.” Between July 11 and August 20, the station is broadcasting live from its mobile studio in coastal towns like De Panne, Bredene and Blankenberge. Listeners could visit the live radio studio daily between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
VRT’s Eén TV channel, backed the tour, recording and airing live performances of the 20 nominees for the annual Radio 2 Zomerhit on TV in the respective cities.
Finally, Nostalgie will return to Nieuwpoort, broadcasting from its seaview studios on the promenade during the Nostalgie Beach festival. The studio doors will be open to the public between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. with presenters Leen Demaré, Bjorn Verhoeven, Johan Henneman and Astrid Philips.
Nostalgie Beach Radio will also introduce new DJs Ben Roelants, with a travel show on Saturdays, and stand-up comedian Raf Coppens, hosting “sing and smile” shows — a mix of comedy and sing-along — from the beachside studio. In addition, the station will welcome headliners Simple Minds and bands like Anouk and Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. Nostalgie presenters and guests broadcast live from the festival site.