This Radio Station Crowdfunded €363,000 to Financial Stability

“Even the president of Estonia wanted to save us,” says Aleksi Pahkala, one of the producers at Radio Helsinki.  He isn’t kidding.  He works at one of the most beloved radio stations in the region.

Public radio is struggling globally, it seems.  Radio Helsinki, one of the largest Nordic radio stations (in terms of listeners — about 115,00 each week), faced its demise over a year ago.  Sanoma, a Helsinki-based media company that owns several leading newspapers, decided to stop funding Radio Helsinki, back in 2013.  The Helsinki Sanomat, the country’s most read newspaper, had featured Radio Helsinki in their Friday content every week; but that ended too, Pahkala says, when the company backed away.


Aleksi Pahkala, in front of Radio Helsinki HQ.  Photo Credit: Esha Chhabra

To raise money, Radio Helsinki did the rounds with investors who Pahkala says had no interest in reviving a dying media house.

“Big money people were laughing at us. Why would we buy it?  We are not going to get any profit from it,” he says, sitting in their eccentrically-decorated offices in Teurastamo, a trendy new area of Helsinki outside the city center.

What could have been another sad tale of death in media, miraculously, has became a success story and provides hope for independent journalism.  When the Sanomat dusted off Radio Helsinki, producers gave up on top-dollar investors and turned to crowdfunding to save the city’s iconic radio station, known for gutsy journalism and showcasing new musical talent.

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