Among the recipients of the state awards handed out by President Miloš Zeman on October 28, was Karel Lánský – a legend of Czech Radio broadcasting. For eight dramatic days after the Soviet led-invasion of Czechoslovakia Lánský and his team kept independent Czechoslovak Radio on the airwaves, broadcasting from secret locations in Prague and running the operation from his flat close to the radio’s Vinohrady headquarters.
Oldřich Číp, a world renowned expert on short-wave radio has died at the age of 87. He was associated with radio since childhood - first as an amateur radio hobbyist and later as a staff member of Czechoslovak and Czech Radio in the departments of international broadcasting. He cooperated closely with Radio Prague for many years, presenting a popular show for DXers.
In the early years of Radio Free Europe, the U.S. station – although initially founded and largely secretly funded by the CIA – played a critical role in providing balanced, objective news to listeners in the Eastern Bloc, especially during turbulent periods of history. Having failed to live up its own standards when covering the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, RFE took a radically different approach to its coverage of the Prague Spring and Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, says former RFE director A. Ross Johnson.
From Wednesday Czech Radio is available on Alexa, a voice-activated smart device of the kind that may be seen in most homes in the future. To get Radio Prague’s news, for instance, all you need to do is issue a command and the headlines are playing a few second later. I discussed Alexa – which resembles a small round speaker – with Czech Radio new media specialist Adam Javůrek.
Radio Prague is on Wednesday celebrating the 80th anniversary of its first, shortwave broadcast, which was from outside Pardubice in East Bohemia on 31 August 1936. In connection with the anniversary the Foreign Czech of the Year Award, selected by Radio Prague and fellow Czech Radio station Vltava, was presented to doctor Karel Pacák. Radio Prague has six language sections, each of which produce a half-hour programme daily.
In this, the last programme in our series to mark Radio Prague’s 80th birthday, we travel eastwards looking at links between India and Czechoslovakia both before and after the Second World War as captured in our archives. In the 1920s and 30s cultural links were strong, despite the huge differences and distance between the two countries, and many of these links survived even in the time of the Cold War. David Vaughan has more.
This week in our series to mark Radio Prague’s 80th birthday we feature a recording made in the summer of 1946, when Radio Prague was exactly ten years old. A. J. P. Taylor was one of the best known and respected historians of mid-twentieth century Britain, and on a visit to Czechoslovakia he predicted a future for the country that would combine pluralist, parliamentary democracy with communism. David Vaughan has more.
In the first part of this series two weeks ago, we went back to 1932 with a recording of memories of Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk, the American wife of Czechoslovakia’s first president. A year later the political landscape of Europe and changed completely. Hitler had come to power in Germany, and suddenly Czechoslovakia’s position in Europe seemed perilous. It was in this atmosphere that Radio Prague was launched as the international service of Czechoslovak Radio in 1936. The aim was to counter German propaganda and remind the western democracies
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