‘The EU? Everyone’s tired of it!’ But not him. The penny dropped for Antoine Lheureux when he was in London hosting a morning show on French Radio London: The future of Europe is decided by Europe! So, he comes up with a programme aimed at 18 – 45 year olds, the ‘Erasmus generation’, whose pioneers first crossed their borders in 1987 and today have access to positions of responsibility. Consequently, four initial shows were broadcast on the waves of French Radio London at the beginning of 2013. Antoine subsequently decides to take his suitcases and sound equipment to Berlin. With the support of the RFI (Radio France Internationale) correspondent, he records two new editions. Taking advantage of this, he sets off to report from Eastern Europe. His journey has now led him to Brussels, where the next show is being put together.
Cafébabel: Tell us about the concept of this show, ‘Europa Bazaar.’
Antoine Lheureux: The show is 45 minutes long with reports, features, quizzes and a guest. At the moment it is quite classic, but I am refining the editorial line and the ‘electronic and bouncing’ sound identity from show to show. I talk about the Erasmus generation, but there’s more to it than that. The European Union is a great cornerstone, but it seems like everyone has had enough, especially since the reality is far from perfect. On the contrary, I think that the EU is a real way to bring the citizens closer. The young people who have gone on Erasmus keep in contact with the other Europeans they meet, especially nowadays thanks to social networks. I'm also using these tools to carry this voice.
cafébabel : You also define 'Europa Bazaar' as a participative and community-based platform. How does that work?
A.L. : I want to develop a community of internet users on the Facebook page and invite them to propose topics and react to the reports we broadcast.
cafébabel : What topics do you cover in your show?
A.L. : In the most recent show, the 6th edition, I touch upon the impact of the NSA surveillance on Europe with my guest Ulrike Guérot, an essayist and European analyst. In his feature, Luke Tudge, a social psychologist, analyses stereotypes of Europeans. This time, he asks 'why do the French have a reputation for being arrogant?' The main story concerns the pratice of Catholicism in Poland. There are also ‘history’ and ‘tourism’ features, as well as quizzes on the cultural aspects of each country. Finally, since I love electro music, I want to help younger people discover this kind of music with the help of a French blogger who lives in Berlin. I have also recorded a report on the Plötzlich am Meer festival in Poland.
cafébabel : How did your particular interest in Europe come to be?
A.L.: Initially it was not a concern for me. After my journalism training, I hosted news bulletins on local stations in the Lyon area, where I’m from. Then I left for England, because I wanted to learn how to make ‘English-style’ radio. In London I evolved in an international environment, and that’s where I became interested in European identity.
cafébabel : Who is supporting you in your initiative? How is a project such as this financed?
A.L. : The support comes from meeting people. French Radio London and Pascal Thibaud, RFI’s correspondent in Berlin, have helped me record the shows in a studio. I have several reporters and journalists who enrich the show with their vision. For now, it’s more about getting things done on a shoestring. I just bought a digital recording device at my own expense. In the near future I will move to Brussels, primarily in order to truly return to the core of the subject, by being at the heart of the institutions, but also to find real sponsors.
cafébabel : What are your upcoming projects?
A.L. : Once I have moved to Brussels, I shall put the finishing touches to the 7th edition, due in February. I hope to make one show per month, before returning to France a few months from now, the last step of my journey. The idea is to be in a position to put my concept forward for the summertime radio schedules, which often make space for new shows. I would also like to successfully create a multilingual programme, that would be great and it would match the very spirit of the European grand bazaar!