New Czech Radio programme promising in-depth news - and no music

If you listen to news programmes on national broadcaster Cesky Rozhlas (Czech Radio) you will frequently hear pop songs between the news bulletins, sports reports and so on. The format of one-hour, two-hour or longer news programmes, common in many English speaking countries, simply doesn't have an equivalent on prime-time national radio here in the Czech Republic. But that is about to change, with the launch on Friday of a programme called Radioforum, on Czech Radio's main station Radiozurnal.

The station's head of news, Petr Dudek, is the man behind the new programme - I asked him to outline what's going to be in it.

"We have an ambition to have a regular report, or package as it's called in English, every day. The rest will be regular talk or live talk."

One thing you won't have in your programme is music. I know many Czech Radio news programmes do include music - where does that tradition come from?

"I don't really know where it comes from, because it far as I remember, it definitely dates back to the 1960s and 70s, if not earlier. Speaking about changes, in this time slot between 18:00 and 19:00 there has been no music for quite a while.

"On the other hand, in the rest of the programme schedule of Czech Radio 1 [Radiozurnal] there are regular songs, and the listeners are probably used to that rhythm - some talk, some music, some talk, some music, which is I think quite different from the tradition in Britain, for example.

"But I think there should be an opportunity to have a 60-minute programme without music, and that's what we are going to prepare."

Before I came here I'd never heard of such a thing as pop music in a news programme - is it specifically Czech, do you think?

"I don't think so. When you travel in Central Europe you can hear it in Slovakia, I'm not quite sure about Poland now, but you can definitely hear it in Austria.

"It's something which is simply a custom I would say. People are used to listening to the radio for a longer time. They probably - and that's just my guess, because I like to listen to programmes which don't include popular music...I think that people are used to listening to radio for a longer time and they don't enjoy talk all the time. They want to have a rest - and then pop music is ideal."

Your programme goes out before the TV news, which starts at 7. Do you think it's possible for you to in some way compete with TV news?

"I'm convinced we can and we can definitely try. I know that there are very many people who are busy enough to have problems watching TV at 7. On the other hand they can do what they need while they are listening to the radio. So we want to offer them the news in detail, and then some analysis in our talks and packages - an hour earlier."

The programme is beginning on May 18 - why that particular date?

"It's not a coincidence. It's because 84 years ago Czechoslovak Radio started to broadcast. So on this date we can say that Czechoslovak and then Czech Radio is 84."