A SOUND POINT OF VIEW
Meet Agapios Georgiou
General Manager, ROCK FM
Agapios Georgiou was born and raised in Paphos. Only his military service, work and studies have ever taken him away from his home town. His career as a radio DJ started at a very young age in 1992, when he worked at a local Paphos radio station which was run by one of his teachers. He did a radio show from 6 – 8 pm with his friend Christos. As Agapios says, “we did it together for fun”. Those were the days before the Internet, and the studio was a social setting, regularly packed with their friends. After his military service, he went to Greece to study as a Sound Engineer. Today, he lives in Paphos with his wife and two children. In an interview with Rock FM DJ Agapios Georgiou, we asked him…
HOW DID YOU INITIALLY GET INTO RADIO?
When I was at school, I worked for one of my teachers at a local radio station. I loved it right from the start and realised at an early age that my future lay in broadcasting. When I went to Thessaloniki to study, I quickly began to work for another radio station called Aristera FM. I presented a show which played music using different types of vinyl. We also did local interviews with bands and promoted Thessaloniki, as in 1997, the city was the Cultural Capital of Europe. Throughout my degree, I worked for this station and helped set it up primarily from a sound point of view.
We created a great team whose main aim was to present the local vibe. I was delighted that this community continued to flourish even after I had left. Our main objective was to give a voice to the young students. In that age of no Internet and no mobiles, the radio was all the more important. It was the social media platform of the day.
Also, during that time, I worked for ERT3 which is a nationwide Greek Radio and TV station. I worked in sound engineering as part of my degree. After this, I returned to Paphos and worked for Radio Paphos, presenting a show with a friend called ‘Crazy Cows’. It was in Greek and made fun of everyday life.
YOU WORKED IN THE UK – WHAT DID THIS INVOLVE?
After returning to Paphos for one year, I then decided that I needed to do more specific studies in the UK. I did a course which covered audio, video, print and online production in Chichester. I specialised in video production and was honoured, during that time, to be included in a video archive with some of my work. My final months in the UK were spent working for the outside broadcasting team at BBC Radio 5 as a sound engineer. I then returned to Cyprus, where I worked for Antenna as a sound engineer in Nicosia. I worked for a 24-hour radio station and was involved in production and studio management, which was a huge responsibility for me. During that time in 2001, I also researched into creating a radio station which would offer something completely different.
HOW DID YOU START ROCK FM?
I teamed up with my business partner, Philippos Sophocleous. We have known each other since high school and both had the same vision to create something new together. With a lot of British citizens moving to Paphos, we had a good knowledge of this community and started Rock FM in 2002 in the English language, as we believed there was a demand for this type of radio. Since then, we have never looked back.
Right from the start, the whole idea was to be a community radio which is why we are involved today in the promotion of so many charity events. We try to help in any way we can. Before Rock FM there was nothing like it in English, and we were also selling advertising to the English-speaking market. Back then, there were two magazines in English, but nothing else for both the Cypriot and British nationalities. I used to do a programme which ran from 10 until noon. Some of today’s team have been with us since the very start; like Paul Harris, who still does our weekend show. We also used to work with a Russian colleague who had the biggest selection of CDs and types of vinyl in the world!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TEAM AT ROCK FM.
We are very fortunate in the sense that we have a very professional team at Rock FM. I would like to say a big thank you to all who have been involved over the years. We try our best to promote everyone in our own way, and we like to invest in our team. Originally, we broadcasted in Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca and Polis. After 2013, this changed to cover Limassol, Paphos and the west coast as well. We have been in operation for 17 years and we are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We never stop. Our listeners are primarily British expatriates who live here permanently. In 2017 we were delighted to be the No 1 nomination for the most listened to radio station in Cyprus.
WHY IS COMMUNITY AND CHARITY SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Because the community is really what matters and we have to support it. That is why we are always promoting charity events. We also arrange our own charity fundraisers. Back in 2014, we took a double-decker bus around Paphos and collected food and clothes for the charity, Solidarity. This was to help people in need. We also did the same in Larnaca with a food bank. At our annual Rock FM Christmas party, we always like to nominate a charity. Back in 2010, we did a 24-hour show which raised a lot of money so that the children’s ward in Paphos General Hospital could be refurbished.
Over the years, we have held many events in Paphos. We were the first to hold World Music Day and we were involved in the first Beer Festival in Cyprus. We also used to have a vast trailer which we would take around Paphos as a mobile disco to raise money for charity. Above all, it is the local charitable events that we have promoted that have had the most significant amounts raised. Letting our listeners know about an event will dramatically increase attendance.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
My chief pleasure is spending time with my family. We enjoy visiting Kathikas and Polis. When I am not listening to the radio, I enjoy listening to funk, jazz and soul music.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
To continue to be a healthy business and be here to support the local community. We always need to make changes and bring in new ideas. Competitions are a theme we are carrying forward from last year, when in December 2019 we held three games with the main prizes being 500 euros for each one. This year we are looking forward to creating events with other media in Cyprus.
For more information, please visit their website here or to see what Agapios was doing on lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic in Cyprus, read his Isolation Interview here. To start browsing our #InStyleBusinessNetwork, please click here.
By Sarah Coyne
Published May 2020 – Photography by Tolis Photography Studio