Seventy five years ago today, at 10 AM on August 31, 1936, the foreign service of Czechoslovak Radio went on air for the first time ever. Today, Radio Prague is an independent broadcaster although it is still funded entirely by the Czech Foreign Ministry. Following severe budget cuts in recent years, some good news came on Wednesday from the Foreign Ministry which promises no further cuts for 2012. Radio Prague spoke to the head of the ministry’s public diplomacy department, Jan Bondy.
“First of all, let me congratulate all the staff of Radio Prague, and thank you for your cooperation. Since 1936, the role of Radio Prague has changed, and grown immensely; it now plays an important part in promoting the Czech Republic, in informing about its economic situation, and also in attracting businesspeople and tourists to the country.”
Is the Foreign Ministry satisfied with Radio Prague’s output?
“As I said earlier today at a press conference about Radio Prague and its anniversary, we are satisfied with the work of Radio Prague. We would like to use the international service as a tool in promoting all the various activities of Czech embassies abroad, so maybe this is an opportunity for the future.”
We now broadcast in six languages – which regions would the Foreign Ministry like to focus on, geographically speaking?
“We focus on people who are interested in the Czech Republic, its language and culture. But our budget is limited so we cannot cover all the countries of the world but we would like to focus on emerging and dynamically developing countries such in Asia, South America, and of course Europe.”
Radio Prague suffered severe budget cuts in recent years, including one of over 40 percent. What are the outlooks for the future?
“It’s true that the cuts were enormous, but they affected the whole ministry, not just Radio Prague; we had to close some embassies and so on. But it looks like there should be no budget cuts for at least next year.”