A week from today, French radio station France Culture will launch a new web portal geared at luring the next generation of listeners to the airwaves via the Internet.
"France Culture Plus" as the new site is called, will mix content from campus radio stations with original work created by students specifically for the web platform, selects from the station’s own academically relevant programming, and audio and video recordings of university lectures and events.
The cultural radio station, which celebrates its 50th birthday next year, is not the only heritage media outlet in France to be reaching out to students this fall. Today, national television station France Télévisions announced “francetvéducation,” a free educational platform targeted at students, parents and teachers. At the end of October, daily newspaper Le Figaro also launched a website dedicated to students, www.lefigaroetudiant.fr.
All of these media organisations are well aware that, in order to guarantee survival, appealing to young listeners is imperative. “Students represent the future audience of the France Culture brand, which is looking to extend the durability of its content,” Jean-Marie Guinebert, the Director of Communication at France Culture, told digital media and communication newsletter Satellinet. Young in the millennial sense, that is— “France Culture Plus targets students between 16 and 30, and even above,” continued Guinebert.
Like its television and newspaper counterparts, France Culture is not trying to target students through its flagship ‘old’ medium, but rather meeting them on their own digital turf. France Culture Plus will be run by the same team that is in charge of its main website, www.franculture.fr, which receives 2.8 million visitors each month (up 29 percent from October 2011).
The four elements of the new portal will be:
- “Campus Radio”: France Culture Plus will stream content from a network of 24 campus radio stations in three weekly shows, including “Starting Block” (a music programme), and “Univox” (a social programme).
- “France Culture Factory”: Original 2-15 minute programmes produced by and for students, especially for the website. Examples include “Radio Thésards” – a collection of interviews with doctoral students in the throes of composing their theses; “The World is a Campus” (in partnership with student visa-controlling body Campus France) – portraits and journeys of international students in France; and “Audition” – literary texts read aloud by drama students.
- “The France Culture Selection”: A curated selection of podcasts from France Culture’s programming that cover academic subjects, such as science, law, economics, history and philosophy.
- “The France Culture Campus”: The radio network has signed agreements with forty institutions to allow academic lectures, conferences, and events to be broadcast by the public radio station— a number that is expected to rise to 120 by mid-2013.
“All of the Nobel Prize winners come to France to give a lecture or a conference at its universities,” said Olivier Poivre D’Arvor, Director of France Culture. “If we aggregate these resources, it will produce an exceptional concentration of knowledge.”
This fits in well with the cultural radio station’s ethos as a people’s university. The end-goal, though, is to win students hearts: “We hope to gain listeners, and for students to get hooked on France Culture. That’s the idea,” explained Poivre D’Arvor.
Image of La Sorbonne courtesy of Flickr user jpgarnham