History of Radio Prague

Immediately after the end of the war the international service resumed in earnest. In the beginning there were programmes in English, Czech, German, French and Italian. 1946 saw a significant increase in programming. The schedule clearly shows the extent of the international service in early 1947.

The information in the schedule shows that in early 1947 programmes were broadcast in 18 languages (Bulgarian, French, Serbo-Croat, Slovene, Sorbian, German, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, Italian, English, Esperanto and Czech/Slovak). From the text we learn that the half-hour programmes were shortened to 15 minutes. For the next two years this remained unchanged, only the total transmission time was extended. In 1947 there was an average of 6.7 hours of programmes a day, compared to 7.9 in 1948. It is also clear from the schedule that programmes were broadcast on longwave as well as shortwave. Each language section had two journalists/translators. This was also the beginning of the "central editorial department". The department produced commentaries in Czech, which were then translated for the various language services.

The most important change was that approximately half of the broadcasts were now directed to countries in the Soviet sphere: Poland, (eastern) Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia; there were even broadcasts in Sorbian - the language of the ethnic Slavs living in eastern Germany. Great emphasis was placed on the country of destination. For example there were differences between the German broadcasts to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Some countries received programmes in different languages. Esperanto became a Radio Prague language in its own right.

Czechoslovak Radio Director Bohuslav Lastovicka provides an explanation of the post-war orientation of the international service and Czechoslovak Radio as a whole, in comments made in 1946: "Last year saw the growth of a new branch in program- ming activities - the international service. Czechoslovak Radio created this service by itself, and it remains exceptionally important for our country. Despite having just one far-from-perfect shortwave transmitter, today we can be proud to say that in a relatively short time we have received a substantial reaction from abroad for the quality of our broadcasts, something that can be seen in the ever increasing number of letters. I doubt even the state officials responsible for this area realise what a huge contribution the radio has made to the country and how effective it has been in fending off various wild rumours and campaigns circulating about our country abroad, and how it has provoked sympathy for our country. It will be necessary to increase these broadcasts even further, and also improve the facilities for making programmes."

The programmes themselves underwent significant change after the war. Unlike the pre-war years, spoken word now formed the backbone of programming; 90 percent of broadcasts were made up of news or comment, the rest was music. The 15-minute programmes consisted of news, followed by reports, interviews and features. The features included programmes called "Women's Voice", "Voice of the Unions", "Youth Voice" and "Political Commentary". The surviving scripts are full of references to the Koice governmental programme, fulfilling the economic plan, promotion of the Czechoslovak people's social achievements and so on. The political nature of the programmes suggests that Czechoslovak Radio fully embraced the post-war division of the world and the country's orientation towards the Soviet Union.

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