|29 October 1929|
Radio Moscow (Russian: Pадио Москва, tr. Radio Moskva), also known as Radio Moscow World Service, was the official international broadcasting station of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. At its peak, Radio Moscow broadcast in over 70 languages using transmitters in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Cuba. All programmes (except for short newsbreaks) had to be cleared by a "Programming Directorate", a form of censorship that was only removed in 1991.
Its first emission in a foreign language was in German on 29 October 1929, and later in English and French. 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 Cold War years
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.
Changes late 1970s–1980s
In the late 1970s its English language service was renamed Radio Moscow World Service. The project was launched and supervised by a long-time Radio Moscow journalist and manager Alexander Evstafiev. Later a North American service, African service and even a "UK & Ireland" service (all in English) operated for a few hours per day alongside the regular (24 Hour) English World Service as well as services in other languages, the "Radio Peace and Progress" service and a small number of programmes from some of the USSR republics.
Radio Moscow's shortwave (SW) transmission network has never been equalled in its transmission power, directivity and reach. During the station's peak in the 1980s the same programmes could often be heard on anything up to forty frequencies on the (heavily overcrowded) shortwave bands although the station never published its complete time/frequency schedule as radio frequencies were regarded as state secrets by the Soviet government.
One of the most popular programmes on air in the 1980s, due to its informal presentation that contrasted with most other shows, was the 'Listeners’ Request Club' hosted by prominent radio presenter Vasily Strelnikov. Another popular feature which began on Radio Moscow was Moscow Mailbag, which answered listeners' questions in English about the Soviet Union. Since 1957, the programme was presented by Joe Adamov, who was known for his command of the English language and his good humour.
USSR Shortwave broadcasting innovations
The USSR pioneered the use of HRS 8/8/1 antennas (horizontal dipole curtain, eight columns, eight rows, with electrically steerable pattern) for highly targeted shortwave broadcasting long before HRS 12/6/1 technology became available in the west. HRS 8/8/1 curtain arrays create a 10-degree beam of shortwave energy, and can provide a highly audible signal to a target area some 7,000 km away.
- Eastern Bloc information dissemination
- Radio Wolga - radio station for Soviet Soldiers in former East Germany, until 1990.