Mailbox

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Today in Mailbox: changes affecting Radio Prague as of January 31, Czech centres abroad, the legendary Czech band Olympic. Listeners quoted: Bob Boundy, Lynda-Marie Hauptmann, Fred M.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox.

Today we begin on a rather serious note. We have an announcement to make that will answer the questions our listeners have been asking over this past year regarding the future of Radio Prague. For example, our long time listener Bob Boundy from New Zealand sent us this message only a couple of weeks ago.

“I’ve just heard from one of my radio friends here in New Zealand that Radio Prague is closing down on the 31st of December 2010. I am very disappointed as I have been a listener of Radio Prague since the 1960s and have visited Radio Prague twice in the 1990s. I am wondering if the website is going to be kept going? I guess it seems strange that the Radio Prague building was refurbished so why was this needed to be done?”

Radio Prague – the international service of Czech Radio – will cease broadcasting on shortwave after January 31, 2011, following a significant cut in our budget. The Czech Foreign Ministry, which finances Radio Prague, has reduced our funding for next year significantly, in line with the government’s austerity measures aimed at lowering the budget deficit. Final negotiations are still underway, but it is expected that Radio Prague will continue producing programmes in six languages, including English.

Czech Radio building in Prague
The internet will become Radio Prague’s main broadcasting platform, with shows also being broadcast in Europe via satellite. In addition, Radio Prague will cooperate with partner stations in re-broadcasting, and will continue its FM broadcasting in Prague in four languages: English, French, German and Russian. Changes to our programme, along with any new developments, will be announced in January. As regards the renovation of the building – Radio Prague is just a small part of the public service broadcaster Czech Radio, so it was not strictly speaking a Radio Prague building that was refurbished. Prior to the renovation our offices were located in the historic Czech Radio building but for over three years now both our studios and offices are in a modern building from the 1990s, adjoining the historic one.

Now onto your other letters. Lynda-Marie Hauptmann from the United States sent us this question concerning Czech centres abroad:

“I read about the cost cutting measures, namely closing the Czech cultural centers in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Košice, Slovakia. It is a sad day when a peaceful cultural exchange idea has to be shut down due to a bad economy. Are there any such cultural centers in the western US? I live in Washington State, and I would really like to find a Czech cultural center, because I have a lot of interest in my heritage, and so many questions.”

Bohemian National Hall in New York
I’m afraid the only Czech centre in the United States is in New York located at the Bohemian National Hall. You can find out more about its library and upcoming events at www.bohemiannationalhall.com

And finally, a listener who signed himself as Fred M. asks:

“I'm coming to Prague this coming Spring and want to see a performance by Olympic (if they are still around). Any ideas on schedules or opportunities?”

The legendary Czech band are indeed still around and their concert schedule can be found at www.bestia.cz/olympic/cs/koncerty-olympic.html

Before I say good-bye I need to repeat this month’s quiz question:

In December we would like to know the name of the Prague-born Austrian author and mathematician, who lived in Austria and Palestine and died in 1957 in the Austrian spa-town of Bad Ischl.

Please send us your answers by the end of the month to English@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Until next week, take care.