FM4 – You’re at Home, Expat!
Usually we advise our readers to expose themselves to as much German as possible for learning purposes, but in this case relax, turn the radio to 103.8 and listen to alternative contemporary music with (mainly) good old English hosts and programs.
FM4 is the fourth national radio station in Austria next to OE1 (classic, sophisticated, conservative), Ö2 (regional program for each federal state in Austria), Ö3 (mainstream, pop). Originally in 1995 fm4 was supposed to be the “youth” radio focusing on the many facets of alternative music and sharing it’s airtime and frequency with Blue Danube Radio. After being very popular amongst young people FM4 took over to 24h airtime in 2000, increasing its popularity even more and becoming the voice of alternative (music) culture in Austria. And it still is, thus the radio station has grown up with their listeners it remained youthfull but not restricted to youth or even adolescent content. Their programs got wider throughout the years and is rather contemporary alternative mainstream, then alternative. FM4’s playlists include classic alternative genres like rock, pop, electronica but also hip hop, house, punk and still they are not afraid to dive into experimental areas. The station is in support for national artists, as well as covering international releases. In addition FM4 has become a popular sponsor and host for music events and is co-hosting Austria’s biggest alternative music festival, the FM4 Frequency.
One of FM4’s distinct feature is its choice of language. Whilst from morning to noon (6 .00 am to 2.00 p.m.) Morning Show, Update and Reality Check are hosted in English. Afterwards Unlimited takes over, bringing you an hour of (themed) contemporary pop/dance music. The afternoon and evening programs vary within the week days, but are more talk-show based with music wishes, listerner callsand special guests. This more interactive part is mostly in German until finally Sleepless accompanys the listener in English through the night. FM4 also has their own news team delivering newsflashes hourly in English and at 9.30 am and 12.30 even in French.
Whilst many countries offer radio stations in different languages, FM4 took it over from the Blue Danube Radio. What few people know is that Blue Danube was integrated with the completion of the UNO-City in Vienna in 1979. It offered English- and French programs and easy listening for the UN-employees and expats, which came with the city. From 1995 to 2000 FM4 took over the night-shift of Blue Danube Radio, and positioned itself as a critical and non-mainstream alternative program. When private radio stations, who emerged at the same time as FM4 claimed that this fourth frequency, should be open for public stations. The Austrian broadcast organization ORF defended the position of FM4 by emphasizing on the multilingual aspects of the station. Still FM4 is the only Austrian radio station with English content and has increased its popularity not only as a radio station, but also as an information platform for non-mainstream culture, with its website fm4.orf.at.
Trivia facts like these are always a free win in every conversation and we will be happy to provide you with even more of Viennese trivia in future blog posts.