Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Czechnology, Radio Prague

Extract from my March 2013 LM&S Broadcast Matters column in Radio User 

From Leicestershire Denis Ironman has been in touch reminiscing on his favourite station Radio Prague. He visited their studios in the then Czechoslovakia in 1972 and 1976 where he was interviewed by the a female presenter by the name of Eva. Denis kindly sent me a Radio Prague fridge magnet, which complements the mini retro radio the station sent me last year for winning one of their monthly competitions. 

I plucked out the following section from the Radio Prague "On The Air" book which was published for their 65th anniversary. this section looks back at their 1970s heyday. “1972 saw the creation of Radio Prague Interprogram - a specialised multi-language programme aimed at Western Europe. The programme consisted of five hours of music, interrupted every 15 minutes by news in Czech/Slovak, German, French and English. Later the programme was extended and news in Russian added. Interprogram broadcast on short and medium wave, and from 1976 also on FM, so it was also easy to pick up inside Czechoslovakia. Because of its heavy music content, many Czechoslovaks listened as well, even though Interprogram was intended mainly for foreigners.”

Today the station broadcasts daily in English online and still issues QSL cards for reception reports. It seems somewhat bizarre to receive a QSL card from a station you hear online, but it’s a nice touch with their history. The 2013 series of eight QSL cards feature black and white photos of classic Czechoslovak aircraft. Starting with the 1911 JK-system Blériot aeroplane and the Bohemia B-5 which in 1919 became the first aircraft built in the newly established Czechoslovakia, and coming up to date over 100 years later with the L-410 Turbolet. This is currently the most commonly used Czechoslovak-made transport plane and is especially popular in Africa and South America.

Radio Prague is actually relayed on shortwave via WRMI (World Radio Miami International) on 9955kHz at 1000 UTC (Mondays to Saturdays). Although it's a poor substitute  you do often hear Radio Prague’s Rob Cameron also reporting for the BBC World Service on Czech matters. 

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