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Listen: The First Broadcasts Of RFE's Czechoslovak Service


Document On RFE First Czech Broadcast 1

Czechoslovak Service

On July 4, 1950 RFE broadcast a 30-minute message to audiences in Czechoslovakia, announcing its first-time presence -- anywhere -- on the air.

The announcement, in Czech and Slovak, was transmitted from New York to a 7.5-kilowatt transmitter on the back of a flatbed truck at Lampertheim, just north of the city of Mannheim in West Germany. It was brief, informing listeners that regular RFE broadcasts would begin on July 14.

Transcripts of RFE first broadcasts to communist Czechoslovakia, July 1950. Transcripts were obtained from the files of Czech Security Services (StB), which monitored RFE reports.
Transcripts of RFE first broadcasts to communist Czechoslovakia, July 1950. Transcripts were obtained from the files of Czech Security Services (StB), which monitored RFE reports.

These initial broadcasts would end just under a year later on May 1, 1951. On that day at 11:00am on medium wave from new offices in Munich, legendary Czech journalist and first RFE Czechoslovak Service Director Ferdinand Peroutka announced, "This is Radio Free Europe calling." RFE's mission to signal hope and freedom to audiences behind the Iron Curtain had begun.

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