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MAKING IT IN SWEDEN

MEDIA

Marcus Carter: radio owner walking on air

Radio Andra, a new English-language radio station based in Gothenburg, will begin broadcasting live on October 1st. The Local caught up with station owner Marcus Carter to find out more.

Marcus Carter: radio owner walking on air

“Starting a radio station was never something I dreamed of as a child,” explains Marcus Carter, a British man with a university background in radio production.

On October 1st his new radio station – Radio Andra – will be officially launched; a channel he believes will fill a gap in the Swedish FM market.

“People are always coming out to Gothenburg for music festivals, and I realized that there was no radio station that reflected these people’s tastes. I was always waiting for someone to come along and make one,” he tells The Local.

“But it never happened. So I did it.”

The station, according to Carter, will feature a mix of new, known and underground artists, with classics, indie, and alternative music being the key focus.

“Of course, we won’t forget your Springsteen, Cohen, Cash and The Smiths, but we also play a lot the new Swedish music that’s not on the charts, as well as live club mixes on Friday and Saturday nights ” he explains.

Furthermore, the station will be transmitted in English some 90 percent of the time.

With the official launch just days away, the channel is looking for sponsors and advertisers as they already look towards expansion.

“We want to be useful for the expat community and for those that don’t speak Swedish. We’ll have news and traffic reports in English – initially just relating to Gothenburg but we’re already looking further.”

Carter arrived in Sweden ten years ago after he met a Swedish woman in England and abandoned his studies. He confesses to “going down the wrong path like an idiot”, becoming a media and English teacher in Gothenburg.

However, it wasn’t long before he noticed that life can be tough for foreigners who don’t speak Swedish – an issue he hopes to alleviate for others in the same situation.

“Hopefully people will recognize that we’re doing something good with our station. I know what it’s like to move to Sweden and not understand a word. You need to know Swedish to get by fully,” he admits.

“I remember the first time I tried to fill up my car at an unmanned petrol station. I didn’t understand a word of Swedish and there was no one around to help me. I had no idea what I was doing and that’s a feeling that a lot of people experience here. You miss out on a lot of things. Access to information really helps.”

When it comes to making it in Sweden, Carter is confident that the best advice is the simplest.

“Just go for it! There’s a lot of support for ideas in Sweden. I find that people here are rarely negative to a new idea and they love supporting people who dare to do something different,” he tells The Local.

“When I first came here I was really doubtful about how I would make a career for myself, but I quickly found that if you go out there and try, you will succeed.”

Radio Andra is currently streaming online at www.radioandra.se and will begin live transmission from 103.1FM at 7am on October 1st.

For more information, including dates and venues for the upcoming gigs during the launch week, check out their official site and Facebook page below.

MAKING IT IN SWEDEN is a recurring series whereby The Local highlights the stories of foreigners who have come to Sweden later in life and succeeded in carving out a niche for themselves in their adopted homeland.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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SWEDISH HISTORY

Why is Gothenburg known as Sweden’s ‘Little London’?

With ties to Britain dating back more than 200 years, the city of Gothenburg has long been known as Sweden’s Little London.

Why is Gothenburg known as Sweden’s 'Little London'?

Grey skies, rainy days, a wide-mouthed river, and a love for English pubs. At first glance, it’s no wonder that Gothenburg has long held the nickname of Sweden’s own “Little London”, or Lilla London

But what are the origins of this British title?

“The nickname ‘Little London’ was first used in a newspaper in 1766,” explains Håkan Strömberg, educational officer at the Museum of Gothenburg.

“The Brits were the largest immigration group during the 1700s and early 1800s, mainly because Sweden was a country close by, it was economically underdeveloped compared to England and Scotland and had a lot of raw materials. To put it simply, could make some money here.”

The city’s reputation as a British enclave dates back to the 1700s when trade brought many foreign influences to the Västra Götaland region.

As merchants and shipbuilders like Charles Chapman, David Carnegie, and James Dickson moved to the area, local residents began to notice a growing list of similarities between the Swedish port city and the British capital.

Indeed, even one of Sweden’s most renowned scientists, Carl Von Linné, is said to have commented on the similarities between the two cities when he visited Gothenburg in the 1700s.

 “Being a group of upper-class immigrants, the British merchants made sure they had access to all the good things from their home country. But the feeling of Gothenburg as a Little London was most likely something the Swedish citizens had, rather than the Brits,” adds Strömberg. 

The historical roots that connect the UK and Gothenburg are still evident today, with many spots in the city still alluding to British names, like Chalmers University – founded by the son of a wealthy Scottish industrialist, or Chapmans Torgnamed after a family of sailors and shipbuilders once well-established in the area. 

Catriona Chaplin, a British expat turned Gothenburger, only began to see the similarities and know of the nickname after relocating to the region for work. Growing up in Leicestershire, central England, she’d never heard of London’s Swedish sibling city.

“We came to Gothenburg 17 years ago. We’d never heard about [the nickname] until we moved here, but there is a bar on Avenyn called Lilla London, so that’s when we started to know about it,” she says.

Today, as the membership secretary of the British Club of Gothenburg, she brings a taste of the British Isles to life in Gothenburg.

The Club, which organises social events like concerts, quiz nights, and theatre performances, has a membership base of nearly 200 families. And although less than 0.5 percent of Gothenburg’s population today was born in the UK, the club welcomes members from a range of nationalities.

In fact, the only membership requirement is having some kind of interest in the UK, be it from a cultural standpoint, a past tourist experience, or a love of the language. 

“People come to the British Club just to socialise in their native language. It’s also about the culture, like the banter, the jokes and playing on words,” she says. 

Although the city’s British roots run deep, questions remain about modern-day Gothenburg’s status as “Little London”.

To some, the west-coast maritime hub’s industrial legacy, strong working-class culture, and amiable nature are reminiscent of a different English city. “They ought to call it ‘Little Liverpool’!” says Chaplin, with a smile. 

Lasting Landmarks

Evidence of Gothenburg’s British connections can be found in many of its landmarks, shops, and of course, pubs. Some of the historical hotspots still apparent today include:

Haga – The British ‘hood 

The area of Haga, just outside the old city, was once considered a slum, but changed character thanks to British philanthropist Robert Dickson (1782-1858), who built public baths, a library, and other landmarks with the typical red bricks found in Britain at the time.

St Andrew’s Church 

A key part of the British community is the Anglican church of Saint Andrew’s, also in Haga. Dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland, it was built and to date funded by ‘The British Factory’, a British society founded in the 1700s to help expats in Gothenburg that remains active even today.

The Victorian gothic style of the church is in line with the architectural trend in Britain at the time. 

John Scott – a legend among Gothenburgers

One of Gothenburg’s most well-loved establishments is John Scott’s, a local pub chain named after Pastor John Henry Scott, an Englishman and prominent landowner in 18th century Gothenburg. 

The “English quarter”

The square of buildings delineated by Teatergatan, Storgatan, Kungsportsavenyn and Vasagatan was once known as the city’s English Quarter. The buildings in this neighbourhood are influenced by British design, and the original landowners were in fact English pastor John Henry Scott and his wife, Jacobina.

By Alexander Maxia, Lisa Ostrowski and Sanna Sailer

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