“It’s a special occasion”: Czech Radio readies for centenary

Czech radio - A hundred years is just the beginning

Czech Radio is currently gearing up to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the station’s foundation in May. The public broadcaster, of which Radio Prague International is part, is running several projects and events in connection with the centenary. I spoke to the station’s director general, René Zavoral, at a special presentation on Thursday.

René Zavoral | Photo: Andrea Filičková,  Czech Radio

“It’s a special occasion, I think.

“It’s an opportunity how to reach a new audience, of course – by offering not only our content, but also showing the new distribution platforms, the new habits of our listeners, and so on.

“And of course we’d like to reach the young audience – that’s a big task for us.”

What will be some of the main projects celebrating the centenary of the Radio?

“There are a lot of events, a lot of special programmes concerning this celebration.

“I’d like to underline, for example, an exhibition at the National Technical Museum in Prague. It will be open, I think, in the middle of May.

“There will also be a very nice concert open to Prague citizens and our fans and listeners at Riegrovy sady in Prague [on May 18, the actual anniversary].

“I’d also like to underline a special book, whose name in Czech is ‘Rozhlasto’, which means something like ‘To Broadcast’ in English.

“It will be a special book describing the one-hundred-year history of Czech Radio, not only in photographs but also in some stories.”

Timothy Snyder | Photo: Ot,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

You were saying during the news conference just now that there will be a special conference in Prague with Timothy Snyder and others. Could you elaborate on that, please?

“Yes, we plan to organise a special international conference in June.

“The topic will be very clear, and very important especially in this period; it’s about the role of public service radio, public service media, in emergency cases – in war conflict and so on.

“We would like to invite a lot of historians, politicians and specialists in this field.

“Timothy Snyder will be one of the speakers.

“We would like to invite, for example, Zhana Nemtsova, the daughter of Boris Nemtsov, the opposition politician who was killed in Moscow several years ago.

“We plan to broadcast this special conference on Radiožurnál and also Czech Radio Plus, our news and current affairs station.”

Czech Post Fleet | Photo: Peugeot

I understand also that other Czech institutions will also be helping to celebrate the centenary of Czech Radio, including the postal service?

“Yes, Czech Post will issue a new stamp commemorating this anniversary.

“There is also the Czech National Bank, which is planning to issue a special commemorative coin for this celebration.

“That’s their contribution to this anniversary.”

Tram stop Italská next to the historical Czech Radio building | Photo: mapy.cz

And you would also like to have the name of the tram stop here in front of Czech Radio changed from the current Italská?

“Yes, the name is Italská, I don’t know why [laughs] but that’s the way it is.

“I think it could be very nice to have a new name of this tram stop next to the historical Czech Radio building.

“We plan to change it to By the Radio or Next to the Radio [U Rozhlasu].

“But it’s about very hard and difficult negotiations with the Prague transport company – so we will see the result.”