Category Archives: Broadcasters

95th anniversary of Czech radio’s first broadcasts

Czech Radio’s main headquarters in Vinohradská street in the centre of Prague, photo: Lenka Žižková

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who shares the following news items from Radio Prague regarding the 95th anniversary of Czech Radio’s first broadcasts:

Listening Sessions at a Prague Cinema: Czech Radio’s First Broadcasts Recalled, 95 Years Later

A historic moment occurred at 20:15 on Saturday May 18, 1923 when the first ever broadcast by Czechoslovak Radio was made from a tent at a military air base in Prague’s Kbely district.

After the United Kingdom, Czechoslovakia was the second country in Europe to launch regular radio broadcasting.

Zuzana Foglarová is communications manager at today’s Czech Radio. Speaking at a new exhibition of radio technology at the station, she describes the scene in May 1923.

“Above all it was very simple. There was one tent, which had been borrowed from the scouts. On the floor in the tent was a piano and stool. There was also a table for the presenter, technicians and so on. There was only one microphone, and the story goes that if somebody was playing the piano and somebody else was singing, the latter had to sit under the piano so the microphone could pick up all the sounds.”

Many of the first listeners 95 years ago were waiting to hear the signal come through at a cinema just off Prague’s Wenceslas Square.[…]

Click here to download recording.

Click here to read the full article at Radio Prague.

The spectacular Rudgers?v Palace built in the Neo-Classicist style is home to Czech Radio’s Ostrava studios, photo: Daniel Martínek, Czech Radio (Source: Radio Praha)

Past and Present: A Gallery of Czech´s Radio Buildings

Czech Radio is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year. The Czech national radio broadcaster has come a long way since its pioneering days. Today it is the biggest radio broadcaster in the country with 9 channels, manned not only by its Prague staff but 14 regional branches providing news and reports from around the country. The station’s buildings are also an important part of its history. On the occasion of Czech Radio’s 95th anniversary we have prepared a photo gallery of its buildings, some of them valuable architectural landmarks.

Click here to view the photo gallery at Radio Prague.

ABC hit with major budget cuts

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who shares the following links to articles regard cuts faced by the Aaustralian Broadcasting Corporation and other Australian media news:

Regarding the cuts to the ABC, note this email from an ABC Director Regional:

(Source: Radioinfo.com.au)

ABC Radio ‘extremely disappointed’ at cuts

A staff email responds to the federal budget.

A staff email from ABC Director Regional and Local Michael Mason has expressed disappointment at the federal budget funding cuts to the ABC announced this week.

[…]The email reads:

Following the Managing Director’s message regarding more cuts to the ABC’s funding, announced in last night’s Budget, I wanted to add my comments.

Like Michelle, I am extremely disappointed in the Government’s decision to freeze the corporation’s annual funding indexation. And I also share the MD’s concern. This move represents a loss of $84 million in funding over three years starting in the next Financial Year in July 2019.

This comes at a time when the ABC is preparing its submission for its next Triennial funding period, which will also start in July 2019. This means our next funding bid takes on even more importance and significance.

We have 12 months to try and reverse that decision and position the organisation as strongly as possible as Australia’s most trusted media organisation and one that is able to meet all its charter obligations.

In Regional & Local we have consistently delivered high quality programming against a falling trend in funding that the ABC has had to work with over the past five years.

I know that everyone, from our stakeholders in Canberra, to the ABC Executive Leadership Group, to our viewers, listeners and on-line audiences, have all been hugely impressed with the work you have done. Our regional and local content is at the heart of what the ABC does and that won’t change.

Once again, we find ourselves in the situation of defending the importance and relevance of our work in order to safeguard its future. I have every confidence that, given the talent and quality in our team, we will meet the challenge, but to do that effectively, we must do it as one.

I will be talking to you more in coming weeks about what is required from R&L to support the ABC’s opposition to this decision and how best we can contribute to the 2019 Triennial Funding bid.

Read more at: https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/abc-radio-extremely-disappointed-cuts © Radioinfo.com.au

Deutsche Welle’s 65th anniversary

(Source: Deutsche Welle)

Deutsche Welle marks 65th anniversary

For six-and-a-half decades, Germany’s international public broadcaster has been providing the world with news and information. Deutsche Welle’s offerings are more diverse and widely used than ever before.

“Dear listeners in faraway countries” — with these words from German President Theodor Heuss, Deutsche Welle (DW) began broadcasting on May 3, 1953. Germany’s foreign public radio station was charged with providing audiences abroad with a political, economic, and cultural picture of the country.

DW broadcast via shortwave and initially only in German. The first foreign languages were added in 1954. In 1992, DW expanded into television and, shortly thereafter, the internet.

“Of course the days of just shortwave were easier,” says Deutsche Welle Director General Peter Limbourg. “But thanks to the internet, social media, and our network of partners, we now have the chance to reach significantly more people than we used to. We offer a mix of news, background, and think pieces, presented in a modern fashion and oriented around the interests of our diverse and often very young target audiences.”

Limbourg has been DW’s director general for the past four and a half years.[…]

Click here to read the full article at Deutsche Welle.

Dan shares photos from journalist trip to Zanzibar in 1986

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

Here’s a blast from the past that might be interesting reading for the SWLing Post.

Back in 1986, just before ending my three year tour as VOA East Africa bureau chief, I had an opportunity to visit Zanzibar, with a group of journalists. Back then, Zanzibar was still under the socialist government in charge at the time, and was still attached to Tanzania’s socialist government.

Zanzibar town was full of old structures, and clay/stucco type buildings [see photo at top of page]–it was a wonderfully exotic place, with pristine beaches. The main hotel at the time was in poor condition — this was way before any of the extensive hotel development that the island has seen in recent decades.

One day we were traveling across the island, but I made a point of stopping at what was then still Radio Tanzania/Zanzibar. This was of course years before that station would become ZBC, which remains on the air today, and that time the power was still far lower than the station we know today that serves some fairly wide sections of East Africa and up into the Gulf region.

I hadn’t remembered snapping this photo, but found it recently while going through some old prints. This is what I believe to be Radio Tanzania/Zanzibar as it looked back in 1986 [see below].

Another photo [below] shows old Zanzibar town (shot taken from just off the shore).

Two other shots [below] show a graveyard on Grave Island, off Zanzibar, with one of the stones belonging to someone named Henry Bodley Carpenter (click here for more info) who served on the H.M.S. Briton and died in 1873.

Thanks so much, Dan, for taking the time to share these photos of Zanzibar with us. I imagine your work with the Voice of America took you to many corners of our wonderful planet!

I still get a small thrill when I put Zanzibar in the logs! Thank you again.

The history of Deutsche Welle’s interval signal and signature tune

(Source: Deutsche Welle via Mike Hansgen)

Beethoven on the air: the DW signature tune

When Deutsche Welle went on the air 65 years ago, the broadcaster opted for a melody from “Fidelio” for its signature tune. Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera is about an act of liberation.

A political prisoner is starved and nearly tortured to death because the prison’s military governor knows that the prisoner could incriminate him. The incarcerated man’s wife masquerades as a young man and, thus camoflaged, makes her way into the dungeon. When the governor attempts to stab the prisoner, the woman jumps between them and pulls out a pistol. At that very moment, trumpets sound out and the Minister, a higher authority, enters the scene. A friend of the prisoner, he recognizes what has been going on and sets the political prisoners free.

At this happy ending of the opera “Fidelio” by Ludwig van Beethoven, Minister Fernando sings the words “Es sucht der Bruder seine Brüder” (The brother seeks his brothers), and continues: “Und kann er helfen, hilft er gern” (And if he can help, he does so gladly.)

The melody to the words is anything but catchy; it is nearly ungainly in fact. Nonetheless, it was chosen as the signature tune when Germany’s international broadcaster began its shortwave radio transmissions on May 3, 1953.

The symbolism in the words

The choice not only had to do with the musical motif, but was also based on the symbolism in the words. Only eight years after World War II’s end, building new friendships and international relationships was no easy task for the new Federal Republic of Germany.

One sought to proceed in a “brotherly” manner with listeners and partners abroad through friendly exchange. Trust was to be built in a fair and impartial sharing of information.

For many years, the melody, played on a celesta keyboard, penetrated the constant ebb and flow of interference noise on the shortwave radio spectrum. It thus made its way to the speakers of shortwave radio sets around the world – often in endless repetitions leading up to the news at the top of the hour.

Click here to download a clip of the DW interval signal recorded on February 22,1982 at 1400 UTC. (Source: IntervalSignal Database)

The broadcaster then had its headquarters in Cologne, and the Beethovenfest classical music festival took place only sporadically in Bonn, 30 kilometers upstream the Rhine.

The move from Cologne to Bonn, and the media partnership with the re-established and much bigger music festival, had to wait until the new millennium. Then it seemed only fitting that Deutsche Welle should once again associate itself with Beethoven.[…]

Continue reading and listen to a number of “Fidelio” variations at Deutsche Welle.