Adapting to change: 75 years of Radio Prague broadcasts

31-08-2011

In the 75 years of its existence, Radio Prague has seen many changes – among them, unfortunately, the end of our shortwave broadcasts. On Wednesday, the station presented some of its programs live from a tent in the heart of the city, in an effort to propagate the international service locally. Sarah Borufka was at the site and spoke to Miroslav Krupička, who has served as Radio Prague’s director since 1998. She asked him about the important changes he had witnessed over the years.

Miroslav Krupička, Sarah BorufkaMiroslav Krupička, Sarah Borufka “The biggest change that recent years have brought, unfortunately, is our shrinking budget. That has been our main problem over the past two or three years, and we have to make accommodations for that development, we have to take it into consideration. It’s quite unpleasant – we have to economize, we have to cut the budget everywhere, be it in the area of technology, or just about anywhere else. And when you ask what we have seen and what we have witnessed in the last few years, I would say it is the rise of new technologies, changes in the media overall.”

How are those technological advances changing the face of Radio Prague’s broadcasts, specifically?

“Very much, because the focus is shifting from shortwave to the internet, social networks, to what we sum up with the term new technologies. One of the results of the shrinking budget is the closure of our shortwave broadcasts, which happened earlier this year. And we have to somehow reach the audience in other ways; we have to replace the old technology with new ways of reaching listeners.

“Radio Prague’s internet site is quite well developed. I think we were one of the first Czech media to launch an internet site, back in 1994. We currently have one million visits a months on radio.cz, but there also are other technologies, for example the social networks. Radio Prague has been on Facebook for the past three years and developed a very nice group of active followers there. Two months ago, we joined Twitter, and so we reach a new group of people, younger people, and a totally different audience that we have been reaching through new technologies.”

There are two main groups of listeners: Those who live abroad, and foreigners living in the Czech Republic. How are we going to reach these groups in the future?

“For those living abroad, it is the platforms that I have already mentioned. The internet, social networks, and our partner re-broadcasters around the world. As for those listeners who live in the Czech Republic, we currently broadcast news in English, German and Russian on 92.6 FM in Prague, the regional station Regina. But in the globalizing world, people come to live here from all over, and so we want to strengthen our presence here in the Czech Republic and expand our FM presence here in Prague and in other regions as well.”

Our programs are being rebroadcast by around 30 radio stations worldwide. How has this cooperation gone so far, what is its potential?

“It is becoming more and more important, especially following the closure of shortwave. Again, they enable us to reach new audiences around the world. First, there are the Czech expat radios throughout Eastern Europe, Northern America, and Australia. And then there are small radio stations who simply like our program and re-broadcast what we offer to them. And we want to be more active and find new partners and strengthen our presence.”

31-08-2011