A unique radio station will hit the Swiss airwaves in June aimed at uniting football fans from all the countries participating in the Euro 2008 tournament.This content was published on February 8, 2008 - 08:14
Radio 11 will run only during the competition, offering a diverse mix of music from the 16 nations and tips for supporters on where to go and what to do to get the most out of their stay in Switzerland.
The station's "Rhythm of Football" motto hopes to set the tone among fans attending the European championship, co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria from June 7-29.
"We are attempting to set up a radio network that will unite all the Swiss fans with the supporters from other countries," program director Andrej Voina told swissinfo.
Radio 11 will be broadcast in English, French and German, but guest moderators will also take to the airwaves in other languages on match days. The music selection will also reflect whichever countries are playing on particular days.
"We will broadcast information in the fans' languages to inform them of where to go after the matches and where they can find compatriot communities in the Swiss cities," Voina said.
Roving reporters will also mingle with supporters outside the stadiums and in fan zones, while expert football analysts will provide their views on air.
One area Radio 11 will not cover is the matches themselves as the airwaves will already be saturated with reports from a host of other stations.
"We will focus on the music, lifestyle and atmosphere of the tournament and report on what is happening around the games," Voina said.
The station was the brainchild of Oliver Scotoni, the founder of another music radio station in Zurich eight years ago, and television director Miguel Alvarez.
"We want to give the Euro a rhythm in keeping with our motto 'rhythm of football'," Scotoni said.
Radio 11 was given a license to broadcast from the Swiss authorities in January. It will rely on private sponsorship for funding, but the city of Zurich has also dipped into its pocket to support the project with an undisclosed sum.
The music content will be available online from the middle of February, but the radio frequencies from June 1 in the host cities of Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva are not yet decided.
Another fan is the Swiss government's Euro 2008 ambassador Benedikt Weibel. "Guests who feel welcome are happy guests," he said at the announcement of the station.
Weibel has been at the forefront of a charm offensive campaign to boost Switzerland's image as a hospitable and friendly country.
swissinfo, Matthew Allen with agencies
Co-hosts Switzerland and Austria qualified automatically for the tournament, which takes place from June 7-29, 2008.
The 31 games will be played in four cities in Switzerland (Basel, Bern, Geneva and Zurich) and four cities in Austria (Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Vienna). The final will be held in Vienna on June 29. Switzerland will play its three qualifying matches in Basel.
The finals will be broadcast in 170 countries and should be watched by some eight billion TV viewers.
Up to 5.4 million football fans are expected to follow the tournament in Switzerland, including 1.4 million from abroad.
European football's governing body, Uefa, says it has received eight million requests for the 1.05 million tickets that have gone on sale.
According to a study published on Sunday by the credit card specialists MasterCard, the tournament will generate more than €1.4 billion (SFr2.3 billion) for the European economy.
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