This is the first installment of “Frequencies,” a series dedicated to expat radio in The Netherlands. Here, we speak with Nikko Koulousios, owner of the first radio show for Greek expats, Hellas Pindakaas.
With the high current levels of worldwide mobility, diaspora communities are finding the need for cultural connection more important than ever. Digital platforms and radio programs run by immigrants are popping up everywhere, gaining followers and becoming increasingly professional in their production. As the international communities grow, in Amsterdam and around The Netherlands, radio stations are being created from just about every country you could imagine. Far away from home, expats and immigrants may often feel alone and not fully integrated in their adopted societies. With these media platforms becoming a day to day part of life, people living in another country are able to connect with relevant cultural topics and information, from both their native and adoptive homes.
For Netherlands based Greeks, Hellas Pindakaas plays this role. The program immerses listeners into Greek culture. This radio show went on air on April 1st, 2012, as the only Greek radio representation in The Netherlands. The program’s online page contains topics about culture and art, but also current affairs and relevant events concerning the Greek, Dutch, and international communities. The man behind all this is Nikkos Koulousios, an academic and editor, who we spoke with about the program and its role on the Dutch airwaves.
Why did you decide to start a radio show for Greeks in Amsterdam?
Before the Greek economic crisis, the number of Greeks in the Netherlands was around 2000. After the crisis, this number reached 25,000. It was time to establish a radio show in Amsterdam that could be an attraction and reference point for the Dutch and other expats. All this happened back in 2012. The reason why I decided to start this is that I wanted people to know more about Greek music and culture, but it took 2-3 years for the radio show to build up its audience. The program was firstly broadcast in Greek and from 2015 the show also started to broadcast in English, for people who can not understand and speak Greek. Now, the radio show is aired 50% in English and 50% in Greek. I run this show voluntarily, but I am happy to do that because I believe in it. Unfortunately, I have to pay a fee for the radio booth at Radio Salto the public radio station of Amsterdam, where the radio show broadcasts. However, the show is not profitable.
What kinds of topics are discussed on the radio show?
Most of the topics concern expat life. The majority of the listeners are Greek. Other topics include current affairs for all the expat communities. I also host artists from the Netherlands, Greece, UK, who are invited to the studio while on their European tours. Moreover, I have interviewed Greek people who are members of Dutch political parties here in The Netherlands and explained to listeners about the Dutch elections back on March 20th.
Where are the most listeners from? How did they know about your show?
Most listeners are from Greece. Nowadays, because the show is getting more and more of an audience, I use Google Analytics to watch where the listeners come from. After the Greeks come the Dutch, then USA, Germany, Canada, even Australia, and China. I made an alliance with Canada because they have a Greek radio too and they were searching for other Greek radio shows around the world. The medium I used to attract this audience was Facebook and even now I use Facebook regularly to make more collaborations. I also have a website which is both in English and Greek language, where visitors of the show have the ability to read more extensive details about each topic, events, and the radio.
Do you have any expectations for the future of your show?
My main expectation is to unite the Greek audience with the entire international one and create an expat family from all over the world. Another prospect I have is to establish a TV show, but in order to do that, I will need funds from sponsors and a team to set it up. Radio is a one-man show but TV needs more people. Furthermore, I want to create some more events too. Some problems I have to consider and cope with concern the language part because most people are used to listen to the show in Greek, and not in English. That is why I am trying to add more languages. I want to unite them with all the expats here and try to expand their horizons.