This is the International Section of
The Broadcast Archive
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Last Update 8/20/02
- Station Identifications
Finnish Broadcast History:
Finland was one of the pioneering countries in radio, as Russian
scientist Alexander Popov experimented in year 1900 with his equipment in
archipelago near Kotka, Finland, then a part of Russian Empire.
Broadcasting began in Finland in 1923 in Tampere by a veteran radio
amateur Mr. Arvi Hauvonen. His station Tampereen Radio (Radio of Tampere)
operated 1923-1930, with power of 10 - 150 watts.
Pioneer broadcasting stations
Tampere - Tampere Radio Society 1923-1930
Helsinki - Army Signal Batallion 1923-1930
Helsinki - Radiola 1924
Helsinki - Finnish Home Guard 1925-1926 (500 W transmitter was purchased
from USA in 1923)
Hanko - Hanko Bisquit Factory Radio 1924-1925
Rauma - Rauma Radio Club 1924-1927
Jyväskylä - Radio Society of Central Finland 1925-1927
Pori - Pori Radio Society 1925-1927
Mikkeli - Mikkeli Radio Society 1925-1928
Lahti - Lahti Radio Hobbyists 1925-1927
Viipuri - Viipuri Radio Society 1926-1928
Turku - Radio Society of Turku 1926-1935 (500 W transmitter was purchased
Pietarsaari - Radio Society of Central Botnia 1926-1935
Kuopio - irregular transmissions in winter 1926-1927
The National Broadcasting Company, called Yleisradio (General Broadcaster) was
founded in 1926. The first transmissions were sent from the Home Guard
radio station, later from Army Signal Batallion station, both in Helsinki.
Radio clubs and societies all over the Finland began to relay
Yleisradio programmes, but the quality of reception was far from satisfactory.
The reception problem was solved by building a big 25 kW station in Lahti in
1928, designed by German Telefunken. By 1929 power was increased to 40 kW.
Meanwhile, Yleisradio built a chain of transmitters in the largest cities: 1930
- Helsinki 10 kW; 1931 - Viipuri 10 kW; 1931 - Oulu 1 kW; 1931 - Tampere 1
kW; 1933 - Pori 1 kW; 1934 - Sortavala 0.25 kW.
By the year 1935 all the equipment of the remaining private radio
clubs were purchased by Yleisradio. From 1929-1933 Lahti used 167 kHz. In 1934
in Geneve the frequency was corrected to 166 kHz despite French attempts to
"kidnap" that frequency for Paris.
Since 1935 Lahti has had an unfortunate neighbor - the strongest
station of the world - 500 kW Moscow Komintern on 172 kHz. Lahti was jammed by
Moscow as soon as the "Winter War" began. In 1939 before the war the
power of Yleisradio network had been increased on every station so that Lahti
was using 150 kW, Turku 40 kW, and Viipuri 20 kW. Since 1943 Kuopio has used 30
kW, and Rovaniemi, where German troops had founded their own station and
broadcast in Finnish too, joined the network with 15 kW station.
Occasionally the Russian propaganda in Finnish and Finnish programme
from Helsinki fought their own war on dial around the frequency of Lahti as
furiously as the men in the front. In Lahti there was assembled a system that
changed the frequency as soon as the counter-programme was detected, but on the
frontline the effect wasn't welcomed, because the signal faded too much. (After
the war Russian delegation arrived and demanded to know how the change from
nominal frequency was made possible. When they saw the equipment; old phonograph
player, a couple of switches and some cables, they didn't want to make any
After the war, Finland (as a loser in the war) - had to give up the
frequency and Lahti was ordered to share 160 kHz with Romanian Brasov. 166 kHz
was allocated to BBC in Ottringham. From 1950 Lahti was thrown to the other end
of the dial, to 254 kHz, and there the station operated till it was closed down
in 1990's. Masts and buildings have survived. The transmitter building has now a
Radio & TV Museum inside.
The Finnish Broadcasting Company ordered four SW transmitters from
Marconi in England before 1940 Olympic Games, but due to wartime circumstances,
those transmitters as well as Olympic Games were never seen. Instead, Lahti
operated on shortwave to North America during all the years of war. The initial
English broadcast to North America took place in 1st January 1939, the programme
included "Andante Festivo" conducted by Dr. Jean Sibelius, which is
the only surviving recording of Sibelius himself playing or conducting an
orchestra. The wartime foreign broadcasts were merely newscasts in the most
important European languages and in Estonian. The main target audience in North
America were the Finnish immigrants and their descendants.
In the archives of the Lahti Radio & TV Museum there are many
fascinating reception reports from 1920's to 1940's. Unique, colourful reception
report forms from various clubs and individuals make colourful and interesting
reading. The farthest-away authentic looking reception appears to have come from
the Tufts Radio College Society in Boston, Massachusetts, during the winter
1939-1940. On the other hand, the infamous Ollie Ross, a man who claimed that he
had heard every radio station in the world, has gracefully "reported"
Lahti on LW in the 1930's, in clear daytime in distant California, on a
frequency Lahti has never used, providing details that may fit well into the
programming of any station on earth.
Early regulation of broadcasting in Finland:
The current regulatory body is the Viestintävirasto
(Tele Administration Office).
Our sincere appreciation to Jari Lehtinen
for his kindness in sharing the information on this page.