A hundred years is just the beginning. Czech Radio celebrates its centennial
Czech Radio celebrates a significant anniversary this year. 18 May 2023 marks exactly 100 years since the start of regular radio broadcasting in the Czech Republic, then Czechoslovakia, when the private company Radiojournal began broadcasting from a humble scout tent in Prague's Kbely.
For the occasion of its monumental jubilee, Czech Radio has prepared a rich programme for the public, new broadcasting highlights and a unique exhibition at the National Technical Museum. Celebrations throughout the year will illustrate the remarkable journey of the most trusted public service media in the Czech Republic.
“Czech Radio will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the start of regular broadcasting. It is an honour for me to be at the helm of this public institution at a time when we are recapitulating important past moments, revisiting our history and remembering outstanding radio personalities. But this extraordinary anniversary is also an opportunity for us to show that 100 years of radio broadcasting is only the beginning. We are ready to launch the next century of our existence with new programming projects and technological innovations. The entire project of our anniversary celebrations aims to support the position of Czech Radio on the media market and also to show that it is an important partner for other institutions. I believe that with an imaginative programme we will not only delight current listeners, but also attract new ones,” said René Zavoral, Director General.
The celebrations will officially commence on 10 March with a formal ball at the Municipal House in Prague, where the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gustav Brom Radio Big Band and musical guests Ewa Farna, Mirai, Dara Rolins and No Name will perform.
On the day of its 100th birthday, Czech Radio will hold a grand concert in the Riegrovy Sady park for listeners and the general public. The concert will include performances by the band Chinaski, as well as musicians Aneta Langerová, Mirai Navrátil and Marek Ztracený, who will be the first performer broadcast on Czech Radio in its second century of existence.
The anniversary will also be commemorated by an exhibition at the National Technical Museum, which will present not only the rich history of radio broadcasting and radio technology development, but also important moments when Czechoslovak, later Czech Radio stood on the side of the public and informed, educated and entertained listeners. The exhibition entitled “100 Years is Just the Beginning” will be open to the public from 17 May to 31 December 2023.
Another celebration of this key anniversary will be director Jiří Mádl’s new film, Waves, which will tell the story of Czechoslovak Radio's broadcasts during the Prague Spring of 1968. Furthermore, a six-part television series will be co-produced by TV Prima, Radio and Television Slovakia and Czech Radio: A Thousand Voices will tell the story of the historical beginnings of radio broadcasting intertwined with the personal lives of radio editors.
The century-old tradition of literary and dramatic radio production will be commemorated by the Invisible Actor of the Century poll. An expert jury nominated 10 actors and 10 actresses, from among whom the public will choose the winners of the title Invisible Actor and Actress. The announcement ceremony will take place at the New Stage of the National Theatre on 12 April at 8 pm and will also be broadcast on Czech Radio.
On the occasion of its 100th birthday, Czech Radio will broadcast on its Dvojka station the premiere of a three-part series Caught in the Ether about the founders of Czech Radio (then Radiojournal) from 15 to 17 May. The play by playwright and director Petr Vodička tells the story of the thorny road to the first broadcast on 18 May 2023 and the events that followed. The main roles of the “fathers” of Czech Radio will be played by actors Jaroslav Plesl and Martin Finger.
This year, Czech Radio will also be the main co-organiser of Radiodays Europe 2023, the largest pan-European conference for professionals in the fields of radio, podcasting and audio content production. The conference will take place on 26-28 March at the Prague Congress Centre and will be attended by more than a thousand representatives of public service media and commercial radios, as well as independent audio content creators from all over the world.
While Czech Radio celebrates 100 years, its spoken word station Czech Radio Plus celebrates 10 years of broadcasting. To commemorate its first decade, Plus will host an international conference on public service media and their role in the war in Ukraine on 22 June. The conference will highlight the key role of public radio as one of the most trusted sources of information and will feature in-depth discussions with international experts. The programme will also feature a debate between the directors general of Czech Radio, Radio and Television Slovakia and Ukrainian Radio.
The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra will join the centennial celebrations with several wonderful concerts at this year's music festivals. Exactly on the day of the anniversary, 18 May, the Orchestra will perform at the Prague Spring Festival and, together with the leading German conductor Cornelius Meister and one of the best Czech violinists Jan Mráček, will present music by two Czech greats – Dvořák and Martinů. On 18 and 20 June, the Orchestra will perform Arnold Schönberg's magnificent cantata “Songs of Gurre” at concerts in Litomyšl and Prague. The final concert of this year's Dvořák Prague Festival will also be dedicated to Czech Radio’s anniversary and to all its past and present symphony players. Both the “Songs of Gurre” and the final Dvořák Prague Festival concert will be performed under the baton of Peter Popelka, chief conductor of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Listeners can also look forward to sound graphics accompanying the entire centennial celebrations throughout the year. The official voices of the radio anniversary are actors Jana Stryková and Ivan Trojan.
For more information on the programme of Czech Radio’s centennial, see stoletrozhlasu.cz