The International Service of Czech Radio celebrate its seventieth birthday later this summer. Kristy Ironside sat down with Director Mirek Krupicka to talk about station's evolution and what the future holds for Radio Prague, as well as about the anniversary.
"It's a good time to reflect on what we have done in the past and what the future hold for us. We are a small country in Europe so we are here to present the Czech Republic for the outside world, to be the voice of the Czech Republic abroad. We have got many listeners abroad. There are thousands of people who write to us. Last year, for instance in 2005, Radio Prague got 19,000 letters, and we feel obliged to work for them, to give them the information they need, be it news and current affairs, or historical information. They might be interested in history because they might be of Czech origins, for instance."
How has Radio Prague changed over the years, especially after 1989?
"It has changed a lot. Actually the most important was change was that the ideology, which dominated the content of the transmissions before 1989 was scrapped, so we became a normal democratic medium. Then there was of course, after 1989, there was a whole restructuration of Radio Prague, and the specific language departments such as English, Spanish, German and so on, were free to decide what is the topic for their target audience. They started composing their program freely. Then there was a change in technology, of course. In the past ten years technology has been changing rapidly. We are sticking with the good old short wave, as I call it; that's still probably the main medium for us to spread the programs of Radio Prague. But there are other complementary technologies. There's a digital technology DRM, digital radio mondiale, which is becoming sort of worldwide. When it becomes a sort of standard we'll definitely jump on the bandwagon and we'll join the radio stations broadcasting in DRM standard."
What other platforms are now available?
"There are various other platforms which we use and which were unknown before 1989, such as satellite radio. We are accessible via satellite in Europe and North America, for instance, in most of our languages. There is internet, the medium for future for everyone, so we'll be adding to our internet content. And, international cooperation is another way forward. Indeed Radio Prague's website doesn't contain just radio in text and audio, it contains much more information about the Czech Republic, for tourists. It's not just a reflection of what we do on the radio."
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