Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor


Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor

RIAS ("Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor"; "Broadcasting in the American Sector") was a radio and television station in the American Sector of Berlin during the Cold War. It was founded by the US occupational authorities after World War II in 1946 to provide the German population in and around Berlin with unbiased news and political reporting. and was initially only broadcast on cable in the American sector of Berlin. The station's importance was magnified during the 1948 Berlin blockade, when it carried the message of Allied determination to resist Soviet intimidation. After the Berlin blockade, RIAS (by now carried on terrestrial mediumwave and later FM transmitters) evovled into a surrogate home service for East Germans, as it broadcast news, commentary, and cultural programs that were unavailable in the controlled media of the German Democratic Republic. Eventually RIAS was jointly funded and managed by the United States and West Germany. The station was staffed almost entirely with Germans, who worked under a small American management team. It maintained a large research component during the Cold War, and interviewed travellers from East Germany and compiled material from the East German Communist media, and broadcasted programs for specific groups in East Germany, such as youths, women, farmers, even border guards. RIAS had a huge audience in East Germany and was the most popular foreign radio service. The audience began to shrink only when West German television became widely available to the East German audience. [Puddington, Arch, "Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty" (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2003): 13-14.]

Listening to it in Soviet-controlled East Germany was discouraged. After the workers' riots in East Germany in 1953, which were the end result of the government's raising of food prices and factory production quotas, the Communist government blamed the incident on the RIAS and the CIA.

The orchestra also established by the US forces, called RIAS Symphonie Orchester, exists still under the name Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, as well as the RIAS-Kammerchor (a professional chamber choir).

Its most important transmitter was the transmitter Berlin-Britz. Later a second transmitter in Hof, Bavaria was added to improve reception in the southern parts of East Germany, While the transmitter in Berlin-Britz is still in use, now transmitting the program of RIAS successor DeutschlandRadio Berlin (now known as Deutschlandradio Kultur), the RIAS transmitter in Hof no longer exists.

Television

RIAS-TV, began broadcasting from West Berlin in August 1988. Prior to this there were no Western television broadcasts "specifically" targetted at East Germany although many of the domestic West German TV networks (particularly ARD) had high power transmitters along the border and could be received throughout most of East where many of their programmes attracted a larger audience than the official East German domestic broadcasters.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and German reunification the following year meant that RIAS-TV was short lived. In 1992 Deutsche Welle (Germanys International broadcaster) inherited the RIAS-TV broadcast facilities, using them to start a German and English language television channel broadcast via satellite [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE2DD103EF933A15756C0A964958260&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss]

See also

* Broadcasting in East Germany
* Radio Free Europe
* Voice of America

References


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