Before Christmas, our English for journalism class visited Czech Radio in order to explore their English section. Our guide was Jan Velinger, deputy head of Czech Radio’s English desk.
Mr Velinger provided us with an introduction to the history and legacy of Czech Radio in general. Afterwards, he spoke about his own work and his personal story which led to him becoming a radio reporter. During the excursion, he showed us the studio where all the foreign language programs are created. At the end of our tour, there was an opportunity to talk with his colleagues, including Daniela Lazarová, head of the English section.
The visit was fascinating and inspiring. Despite all the information which I obtained during the excursion, I was wondering why there is English-language radio in our country. What is its purpose? Has the work of Jan Velinger and his colleagues had any impact in the Czech Republic? Is there anyone who listens to their programs here?
To be honest, I could not imagine that any Czechs listen to Radio Prague. I was convinced that this media outlet can be of some use to foreigners. But even they would probably prefer foreign media and news agencies such as BBC or Reuters.
I had a great deal of prejudice about Radio Prague before the excursion. I had not paid much attention to their work. I had acquired an opinion of them and I was satisfied with that.
Now I have to reconsider my point of view. I was terribly mistaken when I thought that Radio Prague serves primarily foreigners. I have discovered a very important aspect for the Czech listener: Radio Prague is a hidden treasure trove. Most people – the public, politicians and also celebrities – care mainly about the mainstream media, such as Czech Television or Czech Radio’s Radiožurnál. Radio Prague is different. Daniela Lazarova and her crew have their hands unchained – their creativity can develop, and the sky is the limit.
I was not aware of this specific character of Radio Prague before the excursion. With precision and resourcefulness, the reporters of the English section of Radio Prague comment on and report about important events in the Czech Republic, and, when there are some Czech connotations, also about the rest of the world. They offer a different viewpoint than our Czech language media. The slightly secluded position within Czech Radio gives freedom to build fascinating human interest stories, which might otherwise be ignored or forgotten. Not only do they concentrate on current political affairs, they also have regular categories dedicated to history, sport or culture. All of them are full of impressive and attractive stories. They are in many cases very personal and can be more informative than the reports of any other media. My favorite part of Radio Prague is their history programs. They concentrate on the history of the twentieth century (mainly on communism, World War II), on Czech relations with other countries and on the history of Czech Radio. From their current features, I recommend My Prague – reports by Ian Willoughby, who is trying to explore the capital city of the Czech Republic from various viewpoints. Every report is guided by a different personality, who talks about their favorite places and buildings in Prague.
It is possible to listen to Radio Prague on the Internet. Both text and audio are available on their website http://www.radio.cz/en.
I was very pleased when I found out what really dwells in the potential of Radio Prague. Daniela Lazarova, Jan Velinger, and their colleagues have obtained a new faithful listener in me, and the goal of this article has become to promote their excellent level of journalism among both Czechs and foreigners.
Text vznikl v rámci kurzu Angličtina pro žurnalisty Kabinetu jazykové přípravy.
Foto: Alena Prošková