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Nehru and Louis Armstrong World Radio Day and some blasts from the past

Teaser Louis Armstrong
(swissinfo.ch, Keystone)

Today, on World Radio Day, we celebrate the power of radio and its role in bringing people together. It is also an occasion to look back at how swissinfo.ch began... with radio.

Beginning in 1935, special programmes for the Swiss abroad were broadcast over short wave. 

In 1939, the Short Wave Service got its own antenna, located at Schwarzenberg in canton Bern.

Here is a sample programme from May 3, 1949, with a speech in Switzerland by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

And in this interview from 1958, we hear from legendary jazz trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong in relaxed mood.

In 1978, the Short Wave Service was renamed Swiss Radio International (SRI).

The radio broadcasts destined for a foreign audience reached their golden age during the Cold War. With programmes in eight languages, SRI reached an estimated five to ten million listeners around the world. 

The decline of short wave began at the end of the 1980s. Political changes, such as the end of the Cold War, and technological advancements including satellite transmissions and the emergence of the internet, called into question the need to continue short wave broadcasts.

SRI broadcast its last radio programmes in 2004. From that point, the mandate to provide news about Switzerland to a foreign audience was the sole responsibility of its online service, swissinfo.ch.

 


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