On Tuesday 19 December 2023, The University of Luxembourg announced that the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) at the University of Luxembourg, together with Samsa Film and the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA), have launched the transmedia project “Radio Luxembourg – The station that changed the world”. 

Researchers and partners are inviting communities and interested persons to participate in the project. Thanks to their memories and documentation, the history of Radio Luxembourg can be revived.

The project, launched and coordinated by Luxembourg film-maker and historian Dominique Santana, explores the fascinating saga of the most influential commercial radio station in Europe – some might say the world – and its impact on generations of listeners. Although Radio Luxembourg began in the 1920s, it was in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s that it left a lasting impact on popular culture with its spontaneous, offbeat broadcasts and line-up of international stars.

During those decades, Radio Luxembourg built up a following of fans in many corners of the world: Europe and the Eastern bloc, Canada, the United States, Africa and even Australia. This unprecedented international reach gave it considerable political resonance. By using entertainment as a means of cultural diplomacy, Radio Luxembourg shaped not only international pop culture but also European politics, history and identity.

A 360° transmedia project

The transmedia project will tell interconnected stories related to Radio Luxembourg from different perspectives by involving local and international communities. The stories will be narrated in a variety of different forms, including websites, documentaries, podcasts, interactive timelines, exhibitions, XR experiences, pedagogical kits and workshops, with the aim of reaching as many people as possible from different generations and communities. Villa Louvigny in Luxembourg City, the former headquarters of Radio Luxembourg, will also be part of the scenario. In 2024, researchers and partners will invite the public for an immersive installation at Villa Louvigny.

The research process has already begun, and a number of former radio hosts have already agreed to share their memories. A first series of interviews with Frank Elstner, Pete Murray, David “Kid” Jensen, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Pilo Fonck and other key figures is under way.

Call for testimonies and documents

The project is based on a series of private and public archives in Luxembourg – especially the collections held by the CNA, whose support is crucial – and abroad. To help build as clear a picture as possible of the history of Radio Luxembourg, a call for testimonies and previously unpublished archives has been launched.

Today the partners have unveiled the project website, https://www.radio.lu/, where one will be able to find all the latest information and content for the duration of the project. The website also contains an up-to-date research agenda. Anyone interested in the project can also find out more via social media with the hashtag #RadioLu.

Do you have information or documents about the history of Radio Luxembourg? Would you like to share your experience as a listener or employee of Radio Luxembourg? Were you a fan of the station? Go to https://www.radio.lu and take part by clicking on “Help us”!

Academic research and expertise in film and cinema

For this project led by Dominique Santana, whose previous project “A Colônia Luxemburguesa” (https://www.colonia.lu) received international recognition, the C²DH at the University of Luxembourg, Samsa Film and the CNA have once again pooled their knowledge and skills to develop a unique approach. The aim is to engage the public and make use of state-of-the-art digital methodologies and technologies. The project results will showcase Luxembourg’s knowledge and expertise not only among the research community but also with the international film industry and the general public. The partnership between the private and public sectors will be crucial for knowledge transfer and will underpin the success of the project.

The project is supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), Film Fund Luxembourg, the Canada Media Fund, the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (CNA) and the Canadian co-producer Helios Design Labs.

To participate, people can also contact the team at email: info@radio.lu.