This article documents the ideals of the free autonomous radio stations in the Netherlands: how they started as vehicles of the squat and activist movements in the cities and were gradually transformed into independent organizations that communicated the 'voices' of sound-artists underground musicians and community based groups who were not represented in mainstream media. Although they were broadcasting illegally many free radio stations were tolerated by the government as long as they did not interfere with the frequencies of regular radio stations and radio communication devices. Since 2003 however free autonomous radio broadcasting through the ether has almost completely disappeared. In that year the government started the 'Etherflits' (Ether flash) action which resulted in the abolition of approximately sixty per cent of the illegal radio broadcasters. This action created space on the fm band for commercial and public stations which were granted new fm frequencies through an auction in the summer of 2003. However the development of internet radio and the Indymedia radio network gives rise to new opportunities for the seven remaining free radio stations. Radio programmes are being exchanged with other free radio stations abroad and new ways of bilateral participation of people as producers and recipients of information are being developed.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis

Lelieveldt, Philomeen, & van Leeuwen, Jitse. (2008). Prick up your ears! De idealen van Vrije Autonome Radio in Nederland, 1969-2006. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 11(1), 66–90. doi:10.18146/tmg.558