NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1923 __ First broadcast of the Berlin station
Comment : [...] The very first broadcast of the Berlin station, an hour-long transmission on the evening of 29 October 1923, consisted of vocal and instrumental selections by Mozart, Saint-Saens, Kreisler, Verdi, Schumann, Beethoven, and others. The program departed from the classical only at the end, when it concluded with a recording of a military band playing "Deutschland über Alles". The predominance of classical music continued through the first years of radio. In a report on the Radio Hour's cultural programming from 1923 to 1926, Friedrich Georg Knöpfke, that station's first director, listed with pride the twenty-three performances broadcast live from the Berlin State Opera between October 1924 and May 1926. In addition, thirty-six operas were aired from the Berlin studios, some of them repeatedly. On a lighter note, there were two operetta broadcasts from the State Opera and fourteen from the studio. And that was just the beginning, since "orchestra concerts played by far the most significant role in the program of the Radio Hour ... The most respected representatives of the entire literature, from the preclassical composers through the classics, the romantics, the neoromantics, up to the impressionists, were aired. There also were specialized evenings during which a single master was heard (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Lortzing, Wagner, Richard Strauss). Music was to remain the mainstay of Weimar radio: in 1928, for example, it occupied 63 percent of airtime on the Radio Hour. [...] Just as the organizers of German radio abhorred the idea of "das amerikanische System" -- a variety of privately financed, independent stations -- they deplored what they assumed to be the low cultural tone of American broadcasting, which supposedly catered to the debased tastes of the greatest number. To be sure, in 1925 Fred Smith, station manager of WCW in Cincinnati, published articles in "Der Deutsches Rundfunk" in which he attempted to counteract that prejudice. Stating that he was surprised to hear in Germany "that the radio programs in our countries consist merely of a little bit of music and a great amount of advertising", Smith noted the wealth of symphonic and operatic music on America's airwaves. He also touted Yankee values like freedom and competition, and contented that the American public heard exactly what it desired. [...] (. (Peter Jelavich)
Source : Jelavich, Peter (2006), "Berlin Alexanderplatz : radio, film, and the death of Weimar culture” University of California Press, 2006, pp. 66-68.

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