This is the Programming section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by:
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer

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Radio and the Cold War.

When the Second World War ended, the US and Russia - former allies in the war to destroy Hitler and Nazism - were now adversaries. It became of paramount interest to "advertise" their respective governmental systems and to discredit the other. Radio was a natural medium, for it could quickly and cheaply find its way into virtually any corner of the world.


In The History of International Broadcasting by James Wood, (published in England, 1992), we find (on 105 and 106), "In the cold war... the powerful radio transmitter became the major weapon of war and the real weapons of war were kept on a leash. Thus, from 1946, the art of propaganda broadcasting began to acquire a more overt status... [Although massive war debts had brought it] to the point of bankruptcy, Great Britain was still broadcasting 850 hours of propaganda per week in 45 different languages."

The author notes how during the Cold War, Russia would frequently jam the BBC broadcasts so as to prevent them from reaching the Soviet-bloc countries of eastern Europe. Also, by the late 1950s, there were 31 countries involved with international broadcasting, many of which were sending a variety of programming that might be construed as propaganda. In 1953, the USIA was formed and it took over the running of the Voice of America service. VOA began putting up transmitters at a number of foreign sites (in Okinawa, the Philippines, Greece, Liberia, etc) to expand their power and make jamming the signal more difficult.


Thanks to Donna Halper for this citation.