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October 7, 1947 – Radio Moscow in one of their daily broadcasts to English speaking listeners all over the world. Although the Propaganda wars would heat up dramatically starting in the 1950s, these broadcasts from the 1940s, just after the end of World War 2, offer some insights as to the nature of the rift between East and West during a time when the Soviet Bloc was taking shape. The nature of broadcasting during this period was largely limited to what you could hear on your shortwave radio – and not everybody had one. The broadcasts are faint and noisy – and to some, offer a crystal clear memory of twisting dials and listening for familiar sounds; the beeps, the sign-ons and the theme music each broadcaster used.
Radio Moscow’s first foreign language was made in German on the 29th of October, 1929; English and French soon followed. Previously, Radio Moscow broadcast in 1922 with a transmitter station RV-1 in the Moscow region, and a second broadcasting centre came on air at Leningrad in 1925. By 1939, Radio Moscow was broadcasting (on mediumwave and shortwave) in English, French, Indonesian, German, Italian and Arabic. Radio Moscow did express concern over the rise of German dictator Adolf Hitler during the 1930s, and its Italian mediumwave service specifically was jammed by an order of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini during the late 1930s.
The U.S. was first targeted by Radio Moscow during the early 1950s, with transmitters in the Moscow region. Later Western North America was targeted by the newly constructed Vladivostok and Magadan relay stations.
The first broadcasts to Africa went on the air in the late 1950s in English and French.
In 1961 Radio Moscow for the first time spoke in three African languages: Amharic, Swahili and Hausa. Over time, listeners in Africa got a chance to tune into Radio Moscow in another eight African languages.
The first centralized news bulletin went on the air in August 1963 and reached out to listeners all over the world. In the years of the Cold War most news reports and commentaries focused on the relations between the United States and Soviet Union.
In the 1970s the cream of Radio Moscow’s commentator teams united in a radio journal, called “News and Views”. Taking part in the ambitious project were Viktor Glazunov, Leonid Rassadin, Yuri Shalygin, Alexander Kushnir, Yuri Solton and Vladislav Chernukha. Over the years the journal grew into a major information and analytical program of the Radio Moscow foreign service.
To get a taste of what the state of Propaganda was during the Postwar period, here is a broadcast from Radio Moscow, as it was beamed to the U.S. on October 7, 1947.