Breaking dawn: National NRK morning program goes from chilly to hot in Longyearbyen hours before sun returns


3… 2… 1… ON AIR. It’s 6 a.m. at Svalbard Museum as the streaming of NRK’s “P3Morgen” starts Wednesday, energetically hosted by Ronny Aase, Silje Nordnes and Markus Neby.

At the beginning the cold audience surprises the hosts but, after asking if the locals if they are cold as the permafrost, the ice is broken.

This story is written by special contributor Andrea Ligabò.

The transmission (click to download MP3 podcast) takes place during biggest day of the annual Solfestuka celebration, just hours before the sun returns to the main part of Longyearbyen for the first time in four months. The hosts say they are stunned to see how important Solfestuka is for the locals; even the International Women’s Day on March 8 gets overshadowed by the joy of seeing the sun once again.

During the three-hour show many questions are received via various media from the listeners from all over Norway. The most-common question is “why the stairs, why there?” – referring to the festival’s main celebration taking place at the wooden steps from the pre-World War II hospital near Svalbard Church.

Much of the show is dedicated to interviews of “Svalbardians,” asking about their way of life, and their unique relationship with outdoor life and polar bears. The broadcast keeps up a lively pace, and a warm and sizable audience, until its very end.

The trio also hosted Thursday’s show (download podcast) from the musuem.