The 9th edition of the International Radio Festival (IRF) took place at in the European City of Culture 2018 – Valletta, Malta – from 29th October to 4th November.

Celebrating the world’s most sociable medium – music radio, IRF is the world’s leading industry conference and public on-air event to showcase and debate the curation and business of music radio content.

The IRF Malta edition proved that radio is very much alive and kicking and explored the way major broadcasting organisations are tackling the changing nature of audio consumption; alongside the challenges of podcasting and on-demand audio, with industry experts and leaders from broadcasters, production and technology companies.

The week started with 2 days of with programs about the host country Malta broadcasted live from the historic Piazza D’Armi in Fort St Elmo. Guided by IRF anchors Carly, Gaby, Nik and Normski programs included; Heritage Malta’s taste Maltese and Mediterranean history with Liam Gauci, multidisciplinary artist Ruth Bianco and Maltese architect Claude Borg talked about The Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS), Malta’s premier lifestyle magazine TEMPLE talking about their favourite things in Malta and D’Amato Records, the oldest record store in the world, taking listeners on a mesmerizing trip back into the past. Plus lots of fun and great music from Maltese radio stations Bay 89.7, Magic Malta 91.7 and Vibe FM.

Wednesday marked the start of the international radio shows kicking off Halloween with an actual knight, BBC broadcasting legend Mike Read who joined pirate radio pioneer Tony Prince for the UDJ’s show. Other stations getting involved included 102FM Tel, Aviv, Hits Radio (UK), Like FM (Russia), Rai Radio 3 (Italy), Pride Radio (USA) and Kasheme Zurich (Switzerland).  In the evening IRF held a reception to honour the host country Malta with Guest of honour Minister of Tourism, Konrad Mizzi.

In a speech Konrad said “the event was a celebration of different channels coming together and I am delighted to be hosting it in Malta’ He continued “Malta has changed to become a city destination with a host of culture and nightlife and is a very welcoming place for holidays and business’.

On Thursday the live international radio broadcasts continued with Italy’s  non-profit radio project for teenagers Radio Immaginaria, egoFM, (Germany), IFM (Tunisia), TRT (Turkey), Kronehit (Austria), Rising Star’ winner in the recent Mixcloud online radio awards Piñata Radio from France and influential pirate radio station Flex FM who’s phone lines jammed with the high number of calls. The broadcasts also received huge amounts of listeners almost crashing the website.

Thursday also welcomed industry professionals to Malta for the IRF Audio conference. With positive takeaways being that radio is alive and kicking and evolving to meet changing audience’s speakers included; Absolute Radio’s Content Director, Paul Sylvester, David Lowe, Trevor Dann and Paul Smith talking about the launch of BBC Sounds, Cliff Fluet exploring how Blockchain technology can benefit the radio industry, David Lowe explaining the process of creating the instantly recognisable BBC News theme music plus Nick Pitts (Jazz FM), Lindsay Wesker (Mi-Soul), Xanthe Fuller, Head of Community at Mixcloud, Martyn Ware  founder of The Human League and Heaven 17 and many more. View full conference program here:

The remaining 3 days of the event continued to welcome radio stations from around the world broadcasting a wide variety of shows live from Malta including; Love Radio (China), Jazz FM (UK), Ibiza Sonica (Spain), The Big Time (USA), Sound of India winner RJ Devaki from Red FM, Mi-Soul (UK), Kiss FM (Australia), BBC 1XTra (UK), Mouv’ (France), Fun Kids the UK’s radio station for children and their families m2o Radio (Italy) plus the BBC’s up-and-coming hosts, Alix Fox and Riyadh Khalaf presenting their Unexpected Fluids show, Radio 1’s outrageous new sex podcast. View the full list of radio shows here:

Other highlights included a pop event by local promoter district with Ibiza Sonica at the Sky Bar and a Medieval Banquet at The Maritime Museum to sample the history and flavours of Malta.

Listen again to all the shows online via Mixcloud here:

Listen to how the world sounds.

The International Radio Festival
The International Radio Festival (IRF) is all about Music Radio Content. The IRF was founded in 2010 to specifically celebrate radio’s on-air influencers and their production teams who command the trust and loyal “ear” of billions of listeners around the globe, and is unique in that the conference format offers invited radio stations the opportunity to showcase their chosen programme formats to attendees whilst simultaneously broadcasting said programmes live-on-air from the conference back to their home audiences, thus reaching millions of global listeners and making the IRF the largest media event of its kind.

Malta Tourism Authority
With superbly sunny weather, fantastic Mediterranean food, a thriving nightlife and events calendar and 5,000 years of intriguing history, the Maltese archipelago attracts visitors from all around the world all year long. The island country has a plenitude of exciting landscapes, sport activities, historical spots, events, family entertainment programmes, restaurants, and much more to discover and to be cherished. The Malta Tourist Authority helps you to make your visit truly unforgettable – for pleasure or for business.


Nikki McNeill | Global Publicity