Radio Free Europe 1956 on the air again

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For three weeks, minute by minute, we can listen to what was on air on Radio Free Europe in 1956 – as it is reported on the website of First University Radio of the city of Pest “SZER56”. (SZER standing for Radio Free Europe, RFE) The broadcasts transmitted at the time on shortwave frequency, via foreign broadcasting stations, will be on air 24 hours a day from October 19 until November 12, 2019. Each and every program will be broadcast at the very same time when it was broadcast 63 years ago. The recordings have been digitized and restored, program by program, by the Collection of Historical Interviews of National Széchényi Library (NSZL). They were first published on, and later the First University Radio of the city of Pest (Első Pesti Egyetemi Rádió, EPER) restored them, also restoring the original course of the broadcasts.

The “repetition” also covers the four days preceding the revolution. This is the only surviving recording of a broadcast stream that has preserved the "weekday" broadcasts of the 1950s. Broadcasts on air between October 19 and 21, 2019 will be available to the general public for the first time. In addition to political broadcasts, the programs include audio dramas, musical compilations and quizzes.

First University Radio of the city of Pest recalls that the Hungarian broadcasts of Radio Free Europe in 1956 were recorded on transmitter stations, and that they could only survive due to the investigation launched by the German government after the revolution. The aim of the investigation was to find out what kind of role Radio Free Europe had played in the revolution, and to this end, they requested broadcast recordings which had been recorded continuously. When the investigation was closed down, the West German Foreign Office seeking secure storage deposited the recordings in the Federal German Archives in Koblenz, where they remained forgotten for decades. The material consisting of 60 tapes was finally discovered in the 1990s; then they were dubbed on cassettes, and later they were digitized. As part of the “SZER56” audio memory project of First University Radio of the city of Pest, we can listen to these adventurous recordings – for the first or second time.