Category Archives: Radio History

LRA36 and Radio Kuching QSL Cards

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Schreiber, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

After reading recent SWLing Post articles on LRA36 and Radio Kuching, thought I’d send along these images of QSL cards from both stations – dating back to 1981 and 1977 respectively.

I lived in Colorado at the time and heard both Kuching, Sarawak, and Argentine Antarctica from time to time and was fortunate enough to receive QSL’s.

You’ll notice on the envelope the special postmark of the Esperanza Army Base in Argentine Antarctica. In those days the covers were often as interesting as the cards.

73

Thanks for sharing those QSL cards, Richard! I think this is the first time I’ve seen an LRA36 QSL from the early 80s. Those cars are to be treasured!


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Short film about RIAS (Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gerhart, who shares links to this short 1994 film, produced by Deutsche Welle TV, about the West Berlin radio station, RIAS:

Part 1:

Part 2:

I’m curious if any SWLing Post readers ever listened to or logged RIAS while living or travelling in West/East Berlin during the Cold War years. Please comment!

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BBC World Service documentary about Radio Berlin International Service to Africa


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Kris and Ed who both note a fascinating BBC World Service documentary. Ed writes:

Hey Thomas,

SWLing Post readers will surely enjoy this brilliant BBC World Service documentary about Radio Berlin International Service to Africa. “Comrade Africa” offers a 53-minute fascinating blast from the cold-war past with many nostalgic RBI airchecks and programming analyses.

-Ed

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct036t

Comrade Africa

The Documentary

How Communist East Germany tried to influence Africa via radio, during the Cold War. The West often saw the GDR as a grim and grey place, so it’s something of a surprise to find a radio station based in East Berlin playing swinging African tunes. Yet Radio Berlin International (RBI), the ‘voice of the German Democratic Republic’, made it all happen over the many years it broadcast to Africa. It built on the little known strong bonds between East Germany and several large states in Africa such as Tanzania and Angola during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Dr Emily Oliver, a historian of postwar Germany from Warwick University, finds out why multicultural Radio Berlin International was a special place within East Germany and what happened behind the scenes. The government set tight reporting restrictions on output. Staff faced the dilemma of following the rules while competing with the likes of the BBC World Service. They were also conscious of the output of the station’s main direct rival, West Germany’s Deutsche Welle, which portrayed the world quite differently. And how did RBI employees coming from nations like Tanzania cope with working for the oppressive East German regime?

Emily hears how RBI appealed to listeners in Africa, reveals how East Germans and Angolans made friends over coffee and tractors, and discovers how the Cold War played out in Africa at a time when many African states were fighting for independence.

Presenter: Emily Oliver
Producer: Sabine Schereck
Researcher: Balthazar Kitundu
Editor: Hugh Levinson
Readers: Neil McCaul, Leone Ouedraogo (podcast only), Ian Conningham and Adam Courting
The Two Comrades: Will Kirk and Greg Jones

Click here to listen on the BBC World Service website.

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“The BBC and the Cold War”

A vintage radio from Kim Andre Elliott’s collection.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who writes:

With Saturday being the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC OnLine has posted this to commemorate the anniversary:

https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/100-voices/coldwar

The Cold War was the defining global conflict of the second half of the Twentieth Century. Fought across multiple terrains, the “soft power” of international broadcasting placed the BBC on the frontline of the information war.To commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we explore the role the BBC played in communicating our understanding and experience of the Cold War, with the help of newly-released oral history interviews with those involved.

Click here to view this collection of stories and memories at the BBC.

Thanks so much for sharing this, Kris!

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BBC Witness History: “Britain’s secret propaganda war”

Check out this brilliant BBC Witness History piece regarding the British propaganda effort during WWII:

How sex, jazz and ‘fake news’ were used to undermine the Nazis in World War Two. In 1941, the UK created a top secret propaganda department, the Political Warfare Executive to wage psychological warfare on the German war machine. It was responsible for spreading rumours, generating fake news, leaflet drops and creating fake clandestine German radio stations to spread misinformation and erode enemy morale. We hear archive recordings of those involved and speak to professor Jo Fox of the Institute of Historical Research about the secret history of British “black propaganda”.

Click here to listen to this program via the BBC Witness History website.

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BBC Program: “London Calling: Cold War Letters”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David (G4EDR), who writes:

Looking forward to this documentary TV programme tonight. Looks like it will be about the BBC WS during the cold war.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000b1h0

Thanks for the tip, David!

Readers, my post is a bit late–David sent this two days ago. Still, the program is on the BBC website for a few more weeks, however it is very much geo-blocked so you’ll need a work-around if viewing from outside the UK.

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The Netherlands celebrates 100 years of radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gérard Koopal, who writes:

Dear Thomas, on November 6 it is exactly 100 years ago that Hans Idzerda transmitted the first radio broadcast in the Hague, the Netherlands.

To commemorate this event, the VRZA has a special broadcast using the original Zeedijk studio from radio Veronica and historical NOS/NRU studios. The broadcast is from 10.00 till 21.00 hours CET and there is an internet stream available.

Also rebroadcasting through some lpam stations. For more information see this website (in Dutch):

www.hollandspalet.nl

Greetings, Gérard Koopal

Thank you for sharing this, Gérard!

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