A former general director of Czech Radio, Václav Kasík, has died at the age of 65. After first working at what was then Czechoslovak Radio as a freelancer in the 1980s, Mr. Kasík headed the station from 1999 to 2009, when he was dismissed, partly in connection with a renovation of its main building on Prague’s Vinohradská St that was over-budget. Originally a musician, he was named director of the Czech Philharmonic in 2010, a position he only held for three months.
There are more than two million Czechs and their Czech-speaking descendants living outside their homeland, or working abroad indefinitely, and Czech Radio and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs undertakes a number of activities – partly through Radio Prague – to support those communities, to keep their connections with this country strong and to help them spread knowledge about the Czech Republic.
For a few weeks just after the fall of communism, Radio Prague went silent. Its days as a tool in the Cold War were over. After huge staff cuts, and with the old communist managers gone, Radio Prague went back on air early in 1990. A new era began for the English Section, and with so many sweeping social and economic changes under way, there was plenty to report about.
This week the Czech capital is hosting a gathering of Czech expats. People of all ages and professions scattered the world over who maintain close links to their native country are here to exchange ideas, forge new ties and help overcome a lingering legacy of the communist past –the yawning crevice between Czechs at home and Czechs abroad. This year’s St. Wenceslas Day on September 28th is dedicated to Czechs living abroad and Czech Radio helped co-organize a week-long festival of expat events leading up to the holiday. I asked Miroslav Krupička,
September 28th is St. Wenceslas’ Day or the Day of Czech Statehood and this year it is dedicated to Czechs living abroad. To mark the occasion Czech Radio, Czech Television and the Czech Foreign Ministry are co-hosting a project called “Czechs abroad” which aims to bring more insight into the life of Czechs who have settled abroad and made their mark there while maintaining strong links to their native country. The head of Radio Prague Miroslav Krupička explains the idea behind the project.
Czechs marked the 44th anniversary of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. A number of high-ranking politicians attended a remembrance ceremony on Tuesday at the main Czech Radio building in Prague, including speakers of both the upper and lower house and Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda. At least 15 people perished in front of the building as they tried to prevent Soviet troops from entering after the invasion on August 21, 1968. More than 100 people were killed across the country during the tragic days that followed the invasion.
Moravian folklore musician Jan Rokyta died on Sunday at the age of 74, the news agency ČTK reported. Jan Rokyta, a native of Jasenná near Vizovice, in the east of the country, founded the cimbalom band Technik in 1958. He collaborated with Czech Radio for several decades, and organized a number of festivals and folklore events. His band recorded more than 40 albums including Pěsničky, or Songs, sung by the writer and former dissident Ludvík Vaculík.
Who is the greatest Czech living abroad? As part of the “Czechs abroad” project, the Foreign Ministry, together with Czech Radio and Czech TV, is finding the answer to that question. The ambitious initiative also seeks to paint a more vivid picture of those Czechs who do not live in their native country – through reports, conferences and discussions. Sarah Borufka has more.