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About us

ORLA.fm opened as Radio ORLA on 18 May 2006. Since then we have offered many varied shows and interviews and even broadcast live from the Positively Poland event at Kensington Olympia on 18 May 2008. What’s more many of these were firsts for a Polish radio station. But we are different to other Polish radio stations anyway. We are bi-lingual, Anglo-Polish, and we have opened up the Polish community to a much wider audience thanks to the foresight of broadcasting in two languages.

Since November 1, 2014 ORLA.fm has changed in a fundamental way. We no longer broadcast live “streaming as it is called”. The reason? We have discovered from our own analysis that most Poles don’t listen to Polonia radio stations in the UK. They tend to listen to home stations in Poland online and they increasingly tune into English radio stations on FM and DAB. To compete with this is pointless and deludes advertisers.

ORLA.fm has always been a pioneer, so we continue that by breaking away from live streaming and moving to podcasts. These are on-demand and mean that you get to hear the content you want and when you want.

Gradually, we will build our library of shows which span a decade and upload them for you to hear. And don’t worry…you don’t have to use the useful Search feature. If you sign up today to our newsletter The Listening Post you will receive updates from us any time that a new item (or a classic archive) is added to our website. So you will always find new things. Sign up for newsletters today from our home page. It’s free and easy.

Our History

As a pioneer we learned about the trends in Polish migration to the UK and Ireland, for whom we initially broadcast, and what listeners expected from us. As time went on we literally fine-tuned what we offer today and expanded our franchise to include those who are not of Polish descent but interested in the country’s culture, its past, present and future.

Here is more about how it all started…

After months of preparation following the decision of the BBC to close all its European language operations in December 2005, Radio ORLA began broadcasting on May 18, 2006 from London.

The station is unique and was the brainchild of George Matlock, born to Polish parents in London. A fluent speaker of both languages, George is a top news agency journalist and musician who has paired his two interests with his language skills to launch what has become known as “ORLA.fm”.

The station is the very first and to this day only bi-lingual Anglo-Polish radio station from the UK, and it launched bang on time. The date of launch was symbolic and important. Radio ORLA wanted to start with a positive date. We chose the birthdate of the recently departed Polish Pope John Paul II, without doubt the most unifying and influential Pole in history.

Over the next five years, the station broadcast live from Ealing in London, developing unique shows in Polish and in English. Many top guests from cinema, sport, politics, community, academia and of course music have since then walked through the studio door of ORLA.fm.

ORLA.fm celebrated five years at the Polish Embassy in London in November 2010, with whom it has had exceptionally good relations since the beginning.

Among other official endorsements, Lady Karolina Kaczorowska has since July 2010 been the honorary patron of ORLA.fm.

The station focuses on music and cultural news but also covers political and social news. ORLA.fm even teamed up with Polish Radio Warsaw Programme 1 “Jedynka”, the country’s best-known state broadcasting station for coverage. Jedynka has benefited from some of our exclusive content such as an interview with the late Polish Honorary Consul Mike Oborski, while ORLA.fm took Jedynka’s live stream from the state funeral following the Smolensk air disaster. ORLA.fm has also been media partner for three of Poland’s biggest news portals: Wirtualna Polska, Onet and Interia. It also worked with Capital FM’s owner Global Radio to produce podcasts in 2006. In a way, we are now going back to the “original and best”.

While our editorial coverage remains wide, since 2011, ORLA.fm has taken a decision to support only those events which are directly of relevance to its listeners, principally culture-related — such has been the deluge of requests from the Polish community for us to be involved as media patrons!

However, we still report on non-culture events. So please keep sending us your press releases!

Although still representing the community, ORLA.fm has developed into the broadcaster for the discerning listener, whether Polish, English or other. As a live radio streamer we were Radio With Class. And now as podcaster we are a Broadcaster With Class.

The station is funded by advertising targeted at Polish- and English-speaking listeners in the UK, Poland and Republic of Ireland.

Since November 2010, Radio ORLA has broadened its role, to include other enterprises related to the broadcaster. ORLASounds (www.orla.fm/orlasounds) provides third party corporate audio services, audiobooks, and podcasts and advises other radio stations on how to get up to speed with the latest technology.

ORLA – the innovator

ORLA.fm, which syndicates its shows to FM stations in the United Kingdom is, with ORLASounds, also an innovator. Radio ORLA is now the pioneer in many leading edge technologies online, and on mobile phones and tablets. We have APPs and our website is now HTML5-compliant – meaning it can be easily read even on a small smartphone screen.

We have also broadcast live from venues like the Olympia Exhibition Halls Earls Court. And we have a traditional London Routemaster Bus for broadcasting from top events like the Polish Arts Festival in Southend. We were even the first Polish media to add a QR to the back of our business cards to encourage people to visit our website from their mobile phones.

Radio ORLA has developed as the platform for people to sound off their opinions and change the community for the better.

Find out more as a listener or advertiser by visiting our Facebook page where thousands of others are already waiting to exchange their views with you. Big names have worked with us too. Among our advertisers are Asda, National Health Service, Ryanair, Lycamobile, top Polish band Zakopower and many others.

If you would like more information about our very competitive and flexible advertising packages that are amazingly affordable, please write to sales@orla.fm

Thank you for visiting our website.

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