M. Papaevagorou recalls known and unknown moments of almost 30 years of Kanali 6 radio station!

* NOTE: All the tributes of All About Limassol (as the Official Guide of Limassol) aim to ONLY highlight the special advantages of this wonderful city, so that everyone can be aware of the unique Experiences it offers. Under no circumstances do they have any promotional or nominal value, nor do they serve the interests of Companies, Municipalities, Organizations or Individuals.

On 30/9/1991, Kanali 6 broadcast its very first show in Limassol. This was a radio station that was soon to become an integral part of the everyday lives of residents of the city and of Cyprus as a whole, its identity inextricably linked to the historical city center. Though its journey first began on Agia Zonis Street, it soon found its home in a restored building from the 1890s on Eirinis Street, a historic street that has since evolved into one of the most picturesque locations in the city center.

Kanali 6 was launched by a group of people with a shared love for radio. While they may not have imagined that they would be creating what would eventually become a pancyprian station, they were nevertheless quite sure of what its identity would be. “We set very strict parameters for the operation of the station right from the start: on the one hand it would offer quality content, and on the other it would function towards the greater benefit of the city,” recalls Michalis Papaevagorou, the station manager since day one. The pancyprian radio station of Limassol has thus remained true to these principles 30 years on.

After the closure of Radio Super, Doros Ierodoulos turned to Michalis Papaevagorou (with whom he had collaborated for the founding of ETHAL, the Limassol Theater Development Company) with the idea of setting up a new station. Two additional team members, Pambos Zenios and Vasos Argyrides were also immediately recruited. Thus, with the support of investors who believed in the need for a radio station with its finger on the pulse of all that was happening in Limassol, the project began to take shape.

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Το διατηρητέο του 1890 στην οδό Ειρήνης είναι ένα από τα πρώτα που αναπαλαιώθηκαν στην περιοχή.

Michalis Papaevagorou remembers being involved in radio early on. “Around 1987, I participated in one of the first (bootleg at the time) movements for the creation of a ‘free radio station,’ (which eventually led to the creation of other private radio stations), with a base in Limassol". 

I was a fanatic radio listener as a child. Whether I was sleeping or walking, I would always have a radio glued to my ear, and my love for it just continued to grow,” Michalis Papaevagorou says, now being proud director of the second largest audience share in Cyprus.

Michalis responded eagerly to the calling and devoted himself fully to it. “When the station began its operations, people were ready to welcome something new in radio. After years of a state radio monopoly, people were eager for anything that would offer some variety. There is a tendency to react against anything that is a monopoly, which doesn’t offer alternative options, even if what is being offered is excellent in quality,” he explains.  

The first song the station aired was ‘Saranta Palikaria’ by Eirini Papa. 

What was Kanali 6 bringing to the table that was new and fresh?
So many things. Quality music and an immediate interaction with the listener. We started a meaningful dialogue with our listeners, mainly through our show ‘Microphone to the people,’ which continues to this day. We are implementing, in other words, what is known as ‘community radio.’ Through this show, citizens have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions and express their views.

We don’t claim to have reinvented the wheel, though this is what we thought at the time, as we didn’t know of any similar examples from abroad, and this endeavor was one that came to us very naturally and spontaneously.

Was this the reason behind the station’s move to the historical center?
When we bought the property on Eirinis Street in 1997, the historical center was still in a miserable state, forgotten and lacking in life. The decision to move to Eirinis Street was an extension of a romantic idea we had to bring the people of the city back to this area. The house we bought was in bad shape and was one of the first to be renovated in the area. Of course, it was only a matter of time before people returned to the historical center, as is the case all over the world.”

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The studio was built as an addition to the initial building, however, it was built using stones found in the courtyard of the house, from walls that had been previously demolished. 

“We have a space of about 450 square meters, including the garden, which fully covers the needs of the station, and it has been properly configured in order to accommodate modern studio facilities. There were difficulties, of course, during the restoration process, as we had to pass all the cables under the floor. The restoration process ran into some difficulties, as we had to design a modern, digital radio station without affecting the look of the building in any way.

Imagine – there are almost 20 kilometers of cables passed underneath the floorboards, so that we don’t alter the image of this restored building.

Did the radio station face any difficulties?
1996 was a particularly difficult period. The Ministry of Interior had ordered their demolition, and the support our station lent to those who opposed the demolition had ruffled some feathers, resulting in pressure being placed on the station shareholders, which affected their other financial activities. The shareholders thus decided to withdraw, and, in order for our station to survive, some of the employees purchased shares in the company and thus our journey continued.

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The space of the radio station is as cozy and welcoming as the old house that used to be.

How does the radio station participate n the affairs of the city?
From the very start, the station has organized social events and activities. We organize cultural events, as well as events to support the Cyprus Children’s Fund Foundation, which was founded in 1993 with proceeds gathered from an event we organized alongside Round Table 6. Its main aim is to cover the educational and social needs of children under the care of Welfare Services. Since then, approximately €1.300.000 has been raised for this purpose.

Also, we support actions for the development of the city. For instance, we were always of the opinion that Limassol must have the sea as its focal point. This is why we supported the creation of a pedestrian walkway and a cycling path all along the Akti Olymbion beach.

The demand for a University in Limassol was also something that Kanali 6 supported from early on. Initially, the community of Limassol could not comprehend what it would mean to have a University in the city. At first, there were proposals for upgrading the Conservatory, or transferring the Fine Arts School of the University of Cyprus to Limassol. We like to think that we influenced peoples’ thinking about the University, and helped shape the direction that was eventually taken. This does not mean, of course, that the development of the CUT is solely a result of our influence.

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Well-known artists, guests of Kanali 6.

How did the station eventually become island-wide?
Towards the end of the ‘90s, we discussed the further expansion of the station. Our two options were: either to launch a local television state, or to request a nationwide broadcast license. In the end, we decided to do what we knew and loved best, that is, radio. There was only one nationwide license available at the time, and we applied for it. And so, in 2001, we began broadcasting island-wide, and we changed our name from Kanali 9.86 to Kanali 6.

What has changed since then?
We had always said that Kanali 6 would remain a station ‘from Limassol for all of Cyprus.’ So, we kept the part of the programming that focused on Limassol and its activities, but added elements that related to Cyprus as well as the rest of the world. The identity of the station remained unchanged, and this is what attracts listeners’ interest, whether they are based in Limassol or in other cities. την Κύπρο.

The identity of the radio station remained the same and this is an element that make its interesting to the audience, either in Limassol or in other cities.

Is there an element of localism which stokes a sense of rivalry with Nicosia?
I don’t think such rivalry exists in reality. What does exist is a reaction against state bureaucracy, which is based in Nicosia, but is not necessarily a characteristic of the residents of Nicosia. Residents of the capital often face the same problems as their counterparts in Limassol. This is why the content of our programming is largely relevant to audiences all over Cyprus.

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The people have always been the soul of the radio station, in all of its moments.

Do mishaps happen often?
Certainly. Laughter is a common occurrence in our daily routine. One mishap we will never forget took place during a Fat Thursday (‘Tsiknopempti’) celebration. On that day, there is always music, food, and, of course,
drinks at the station.

During the merriment, we overheard one of the attendees on the phone, referring to a minister using a ‘colorful’ epithet.

It became a major issue at the time, and we had to speak to the minister himself, who understood that amidst the drinking and the merriment, something was said that was of no importance, and was not intended to go on the air anyway. And so, despite the upset, the matter ended amicably. Now, we can look back on it and laugh.

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Organizing cultural events has been among the main goals of the radio station since the very beginning.

Have there been any mistakes that you regret?
Mistakes happen. You always look back on something and realize it could have been done better. You learn from your mistakes and you move on. Nothing ever happened, however, that disgraced or exposed the identity of our station that would cause me regret.

We always wanted to feel proud of what Kanali 6 stands for, so that we could go out and meet our fellow citizens with our heads held high. I believe we have managed that.

For almost 20 years, the whole of Cyprus has been riding the wavelengths of Limassol, thanks to a radio station that chose to stay away from the pillars of power, away from what was fashionable or trendy at the time, often at the risk of being labeled a snob. But what nearly 30 years of existence has proven is that faith in dreams, honesty, and authenticity are always recognized and rewarded.

Today, Kanali 6 is a beloved radio station, instantly identifiable by most without even having to check the frequency. This is certainly reason enough to honor it with a tribute by the Official Guide of Limassol, All About Limassol Official. As Michalis Papaevagorou explains, radio is “like a great big variety show, and like any of the arts, must have rhythm, form, and content in order to communicate with the world.” This approach, which steers clear of pre-programmed playlists and commercialized models, combined with a love for Limassol, a bridging of the local with the ecumenical, and strong faith in a clear vision, have helped demonstrate that the city has what it takes to be a source of creativity.

* NOTE: The tributes of the Project "History of Limassol" present information that has emerged from historical research thus far. Any new data is embedded into the tributes, once it has been confirmed.