This Thursday is Radio Prague's 70th birthday. On August 31, the first ever programme in English was broadcast from Prague and the date is considered the birth of the international shortwave service in Czechoslovakia. On that occasion we spoke to Radio Prague's editor-in-chief Gerald Schubert who stresses that in 2006, Radio Prague is much more than a shortwave radio station.
"Of course, it is. For more that ten years we have offered webpages of Radio Prague, of course, in all the six languages we broadcast in. The development of these internet pages is, I think, very good. We have about half a million visitors every month."
Speaking of Radio Prague's website, it offers all the stories covered both in sound and text but also much more...
"What we now offer it the possibility to download podcasts. Podcasting is a technology which enables the computer to download automatically - actually you kind of teach the computer what you are interested in, you tell the computer what kind of audio files you want to have on your hard disc and the computer regularly does this download and then you can listen to that programme on your computer or your MP3 player. That means you can kind of create a made-to-measure programme for yourself and compose your own radio programme."
What are the plans for the near future, both in terms of technology and content of Radio Prague's broadcasts?
"Of course, podcasting is not the last step in the technical evolution. In the future we will have to find the right balance between the different platforms we present our programme on. We broadcast on shortwave, the internet and on satellite. Mainly between the broadcasting on shortwave and via the internet, there is some difference in how you create a story. You will write differently if you write for a radio programme or if you write for an internet webpage. So the question is always how far the internet pages should 'mirror' our radio programme, or whether we want to see it as a separate medium. So this is a current discussion, not only in Radio Prague, but actually in all the radio station in the world.
"Concerning the content, I would like to stress our international
co-production programmes. Radio Prague is part of a number of
international projects in different languages. For instance, in the
English version, there is something called Network Europe, maybe our
listeners know it. It is a cooperation between different English-language
programmes in Europe. Something similar exists in our German version and
our French version. And another big international programme where we could
maybe cover these three language versions in one big trilingual
international programme is maybe on the way. I think this is a very
interesting perspective for the future because in a globalised or
globalising world there should be some kind of, I would say, international