Sunday, April 1, 2018

Voice of Russia Retrospective

One of my first QSL cards was from Radio Moscow. It was such an easy catch. At the time my only trepidation  was should I contact this communist country -- the Cold War enemy of the US. This was the political climate and rationale of a 13...14 year old American in the late 1960s.

Radio Moscow was widely heard up and down the short-wave dial. Throughout the 60s and 70s when I logged Radio Moscow their interval tuning signal,“Wide Is My Motherland”, was unmistakable. Later in a break with the Soviet era -- around 1993 -- the station was renamed The Voice of Russia. The interval changed as well to "Majestic" chorus from Pictures at an Exhibition -- "Great Gate of Kiev", composed Modest Mussorgsky.

Truth be told, I was never a big fan of Radio Moscow's programming, but I did occasionally listen to Joe Adamov, who was known for his command of American English and good humour. He hosted "Moscow Mailbag", which answered (usually American) listeners' questions about life in the Soviet Union. Another popular proramme, some years later, was "Listeners’ Request Club" hosted by prominent radio presenter (also with an American inflected accent) and wild man Vasily Strelnikov. 

About this same period I had a college course in Semantics. For my thesis I analysed the pragmatics behind the programming of Radio Moscow and the Voice of America. This project involved recording the news, commentaries and feature programmes, all on the same day, from these Cold War rivals. The juxtaposition allowed me to comment on their respective differences, audiences and perspectives. The end project was a 10 or 15 minute recording which I scripted, mixed and voiced. It was packaged in such a way that one could easily have interpreted the project as propaganda or a medium whereby one could influence and/or support the thinking of a particular audience. The cassette tape of this over 40 year project may be sitting in storage ready to be digitised.

Around 2010, I tuned the radio to the Voice of Russia -- the first time in almost 30 years.  Some of the news and commentaries on world events had an alternate spin to what the mainstream media often reported. Their cultural programmes, however, on Russian literature, music, history and tourist attractions was superb, and I did enjoy these from time to time.

Reception was never a problem, as the Voice of Russia transmitted their programming from sites around the country and neighbouring countries, many of which I received and was fortunate to QSL. Most of the QSLs I received until the demise of Voice of Russia in 2014 featured a series of cards depicting the 50th Anniversary of the Soviet Manned Space Missions. Elena Osipova, in the Letters Department of the World Service of the Voice of Russia, was always good to promptly follow up with email promising their QSL. Verifications included transmissions from the following transmitter sites: 


(Baoji Xinjie)


(St. Petersburg)
(Novosibirsk - Oyash)

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