Czech Radio is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year. The Czech national radio broadcaster has come a long way since its pioneering days. Today it is the biggest radio broadcaster in the country with 9 channels, manned not only by its Prague staff but 14 regional branches providing news and reports from around the country. The station’s buildings are also an important part of its history. On the occasion of Czech Radio’s 95th anniversary we have prepared a photo gallery of its buildings, some of them valuable architectural landmarks.
Many people don’t know that the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest leading Czech orchestras. It was founded only three years after the creation of Czech Radio in 1923 and it is currently celebrating its 91st season. I talked to Jakub Čížek, the Director of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra about their ongoing season and began by asking him about the orchestra’s mission.
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.
Czech politicians have sharply rejected the idea that the country’s
public broadcasters –Czech Radio and Czech Television – should be
nationalized. The suggestion was made by the head of the Party of Freedom
and Direct Democracy Tomio Okamura in an interview for Czech Radio, when he
claimed that the financing of the two institutions was intransparent and
they should be under national supervision. He said his party was in favour
of scrapping license fees and making the public broadcasters entirely
dependent on state support.
Politicians from the ANO party, the Pirates party, the Christian Democrats, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents slammed the idea saying they would never support censorship or take any measure that would undermined the independence of the country’s public broadcasters.
The head of Czech Radio Rene Zavoral said Czech Radio regularly presents reports on spending to the lower house of Parliament and argued that nationalizing the public broadcaster would be in violation of the basic principles of democracy.
Czech Radio’s Prague headquarters was very much the focal point for the Prague uprising against Nazi rule at the end of WWII. And today’s top state personalities assembled on Friday outside the radio building to pay homage to the hundreds who fell at the barricades in Prague and in scattered skirmishes across the country.
Czech leaders marked the 72nd anniversary of the Prague Uprising at the Czech Radio building on Friday, a focal point of the uprising in which Czechs took up arms against the Nazis. The radio station itself became a beacon for resistance when the call went out in a broadcast for the rising to start and for citizens to come and help defend the radio building against German attempts to retake it. Among those attending Friday’s memorial event were the heads of both Czech house of parliament, Milan Štěch and Jan Hamáček, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová.
Czech Radio has just launched Zhasni!, or Turn the Lights Out!, the station’s first dedicated podcast series. The move is aimed at boosting Czech listeners’ usage of podcasts, a delivery system particularly popular in the US via which subscribers automatically receive audio files – including, of course, radio shows – on their smartphones or other devices. To find out more about this drive I spoke to Edita Kudláčová and Robert Candra from Czech Radio’s Creative Hub group. My first question: What is Zhasni! and how did it come about?