Today in Mailbox: As Radio Prague's last day on shortwave approaches we’ll hear from the head of Radio Prague Miroslav Krupička about the station’s immediate and long-term prospects.

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague’s weekly Mailbox – the last but one that you can hear on shortwave. As our regular audience knows, Radio Prague’s shortwave frequencies are falling silent on February 1st. And as the date approaches we’ll hear from the head of Radio Prague Miroslav Krupička about the station’s immediate and long-term prospects.

Hello Mirek and welcome to the studio – so tell us what exactly will change as of February 1st?

“Well, first I’d like to say that we’ve had very nice feedback from listeners which I appreciate very much. Of course, some listeners have been supporting us, some have been criticising us. Some have been complaining about the end of shortwave. Anyway, I’d like to thank all listeners for their support. It’s very nice to feel that we’ve got an active audience.

“Well, it was a decision – I mean to close down shortwave – that we were forced to make. The lack of funding is the main reason. I think it’s quite clear and we have somehow to cope with it. We have to face the new situation and make the best of the new situation. But I’d like to assure everybody that this is not the end of Radio Prague. We will carry on.

“Now, what happens on the first of February? Really nothing much except for the shortwave. Shortwave will be closed down, the shortwave transmitter in Litomyšl will remain silent as of the 1st of February and all the other platforms that we have been on will go on. We’ll stay on the internet – that will be the main platform for broadcasting both live and on-demand, we’ll stay on satellite, on Astra 3A and all the World Radio Network channels. We’ll be carried by re-broadcasters – unfortunately in English we don’t have any re-broadcasting partner stations but we’ve got them in various other languages, such as Russian, for instance, or Spanish. English stays on FM in Prague. For years, we have been on FM in Prague, 92.6 on the regional broadcast of Czech Radio. This is Monday to Friday and this goes on as usual. And we are looking into the possibilities of being present on mobile platforms. I think that’s quite nice because the world goes mobile these days.”

Will there be any changes to the length and structure of the programmes?

“Not exactly. There will be some small changes. The structure – the content of the thirty-minute broadcasts will remain basically as it is: news, packages, small interviews and features. There will be a little music at the end of each programme, at the end of each thirty-minute broadcast and there will be music on Sunday. We wanted to make the programme cheap and we’ll play music – Czech music on Sundays. Those are the main changes.”

Will Radio Prague continue to broadcast in six languages?

“Yes, we are staying on the six languages that people are used to.”

A listener from the US enquired about the possibility of utilizing the longwave transmitter at Topolna covering a large part of Europe for Radio Prague’s foreign language programs part of the day. Is anything like that being considered?

“Yes, I’ve been discussing this option with my colleagues within Czech Radio. It’s quite tough because currently, the longwave is allocated to domestic broadcasts, one of the domestic stations of Czech Radio broadcasts on longwave. But we’ve been discussing this anyway. But overall, longwave is being considered for closure as well, for budgetary reasons, for financial reasons, because to maintain longwave and well as shortwave is quite expensive and Czech Radio cannot afford that. So probably the days of longwave broadcasting are numbered within Czech Radio as well. So there is no long term prospect for Radio Prague being on longwave.”

What are the long term prospects for Radio Prague as such?

“Well, this is very hard to predict. Everybody knows that we are in a shaky, unstable situation. Not only Radio Prague – it applies to many other companies that depend on state money. But my personal feeling is that we will survive this turmoil and we’ll carry on and we’ll be here in one year’s time.”

Mirek, thank you very much for coming into the studio.

“You’re welcome.”

That was Radio Prague’s director Miroslav Krupička.

Just a reminder that the new broadcast schedule will be available both on our website and in the form of leaflets. Also, Radio Prague will be accepting your reception reports even after February 1st and sending out QSL cards. On the final day of our shortwave transmission, we will mark the QSL card with a special rubber stamp. That is all for today’s edition of Mailbox. But before I go let me just repeat our quiz question.

Our January mystery man was born in 1875 in Prague and died in 1926 in the Swiss city of Montreux. He is considered to be one of the most important German-language poets.

Please send us his name by the end of January to English@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, the Czech Republic. Until next week, take care.