The Czech Radio Council has elected acting director Peter Duhan to head the institution. Mr Duhan, who has run Czech Radio since the resignation of the previous director in March of last year, was chosen from three final candidates, receiving the minimum six of nine votes in the third round of the election. The 64-year-old native of Slovakia has promised a wide-ranging reorganisation of the public radio broadcaster that will include four primary stations and a decrease in the number of employees over the next four years.
In last week’s From the Archives, we heard how German troops marched into Prague on March 15 1939. The next day, Edvard Beneš, who had resigned as Czechoslovakia’s president in the wake of the Munich Agreement, and was in exile in London, told Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain that from now on, he would be leading the resistance against the German occupation. Five months later, war broke out and at the end of 1939 the BBC began its broadcasts in Czech.
Last Thursday, Czech Radio lost one of its most esteemed colleagues and the Czech Republic one of the major figures in modern music with the death of Ladislav Simon at the age of 82. His music has been a staple of television, radio and contemporary classical music for more than half a century and he was tirelessly involved in the artistic management of some of the country’s leading cultural institutions, such as the National Theatre, and the founding of Czech Television and the Prague Philharmonia.
Czech Radio is marking the 60th anniversary of the launch of Radio Free Europe broadcasts with a series of special events held in cooperation with RFE, Charles University, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and the Czech Senate. The events, which cover the stations 60-year-long history, will be attended by former RFE journalists who were with the station from the outset, broadcasting from its headquarters in Munich. The public has been invited to attend workshops and lectures on freedom of speech and the role of Radio Free Europe in helping to topple the communist regime in central and Eastern Europe. Other events include an exhibition entitled “Freely” on the grounds of the Czech Senate and a concert by Czech Radio’s Symphonic Orchestra. On Wednesday a mass was celebrated in St. Ludmila’s Church in Prague in memory of deceased RFE employees.
A now famous appeal broadcast from the Czech Radio building on May 5, 1945, sparked the Prague Uprising. After hearing it on the air, thousands of people took to the streets to fight the Nazi oppressors. On Thursday, several events were held to mark the 66th anniversary of the start of the Prague Uprising, including a ceremony in front of the Czech Radio building.
The theme tune for this series is from a song called Aesop and the Ant, and it was composed by one of the legends of twentieth century Czech music. Jaroslav Ježek died in wartime exile in New York at the age of just 35. He is best known for the songs he composed for the famous pre-war satirical cabaret, the Liberated Theatre, and he was also one of the pioneers of Czech jazz, fearlessly crossing the borders between popular and classical music. In November 1934, the young composer – he was 28 at the time - came into the radio and talked about
In the 1930s Prague was a modern city, with a passion for innovation. New buildings were springing up, celebrating the technology of steel, chrome and glass, jazz and swing were playing on the radio, and despite the impact of the world economic crisis, the Czech love of the motor-car was growing fast. One of the gems in our pre-war archives is a report from 1st January 1936 on the city's first traffic light. The intrepid reporter is standing at a busy Prague crossroads, and we hear the traffic roaring around him.
Over the next six months we'll be looking at some of the most fascinating recordings to be found down in the Czech Radio basement. Czech - and previously Czechoslovak - Radio has been archiving its material since way back in the 1920s, and has built up one of the richest radio archives in the world, surviving war, invasion and even a German aerial torpedo in May 1945. We start the series with our very earliest recording, the first Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, talking 79 years ago, on 28th October 1928. President Masaryk was born
With the following special presentation, Radio Prague ends 75 years of shortwave radio service. As many of you know by now, austerity measures across Czech governmental ministries have forced budget cuts in many sectors, and public broadcasting is one of them. For most of the last century our signal has gone out to six continents, carrying news and information about Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic to listeners all over the world.
The head of the Roman Catholic church in the Czech Republic is to have his own regular programme on Czech Radio’s main station Radiožurnál. The Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka, will have a slot at 8:20 every Sunday morning, a spokesperson for the station said on Friday. The prelate was appointed in February this year.