Thursday, 13 December 2007

Polskie Radio

Here's one I've been keeping an eye on for a couple of months, but that seems to have opened without my noticing: Polskie Radio. This may not be the first Polish island in Second Life, but it's certainly the first one I've seen in some time. My last visit to Poland in SL was Second Krakow, back in August.

Polskie Radio is Poland's public radio station, their equivalent of BBC Radio I suppose, and has been broadcasting since 1925. Actually I'm not sure, given Poland's troubled history, how continuous this has been - but it appears to be thriving today. It is odd to think that 10 years ago radio was all but dead, killed off by TV and home entertainment systems, yet the media enrichment of the internet has led to a great resurgence. Polskie Radio today has 4 main channels:

  • Jedynka - information and easy listening music
  • Dwójka - culture and classical music
  • Trójka - alternative, jazz, rock and all other music
  • Bis - youth oriented, educational
All of these are represented in the Second Life site, which is divided into a number of smaller islands, one for each channel. The theme is tropical, and certainly not typically Polish! Each of the smaller islands is easily identified by the station ident and has an arrival zone, a venue or large meeting area, together with a number of smaller seating areas where a few people can get together and chat. The Bis island also has a motocross track which you can attempt using the quadbikes provided. Each station's arrival zone provides free drinks along with extensive information about the channel - or at least I assume it does, as it is all written in Polish, yet another of the World's languages in which I have absolutely no proficiency. There seems to be a general lack of weblinks or other information here. If your Polish is good, there is an information blimp which will take you on a tour of the sim.

I tried a little light Googling to see if I could spot a press release for this sim, but drew a blank. This could be lack of patience on my part, or it could indicate a "soft launch" - a quiet opening to test the waters. Feeling in a generous mood, I will go with the latter interpretation. The sim is missing a schedule of events and, as I already mentioned, links to websites, podcasts or other sources of non-SL content. However, I rather like the build itself. They have crammed a lot into the sim, and yet it feels airy, relaxed and intimate. All of the meeting areas and auditoria are outdoors, and built to a human scale - no grand sweeping tower blocks full of almost useless office spaces. But it also feels like a place that is waiting for something to happen.

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