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Broadcast Policy in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia

Power Structures, Programming, Cooperation and Defiance at Czech Radio 1939-1945

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Peter Richard Pinard

Hitler’s regime invested heavily into radio as the most modern media of its era. First in Germany, later in Austria and the Sudetenland, Joseph Goebbels motivated his Volksgenossen to become active radio listeners. But what approach did the regime take to the first non-German people occupied – the Czechs? How would Czech Radio’s staff and listeners respond to Nazi-dominated programming? What strategies of defiance and what options for cooperation existed? What role did Nazism’s core theme of anti-Semitism play? Which Czech societal groups did the Nazis try to reach most? This book casts a spotlight on the effects of the occupation authorities’ policies on specific programming content, as well as on radio as a medium in the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
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6. 1941 – Scurla Tightens the Screws

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The New Year of 1941 was to witness some of the most radical changes that Czech Radio had encountered since the start of the occupation. On 11 March 1941, company founder Ladislav Šourek was sent into pension on the grounds that he had reached the official pension age of 60.487 The real reason was that Schneider had conspired to have Šourek removed after receiving information from Pěkný that Šourek was having their offices spied on.488 Undoubtedly, Šourek’s removal also played rather well into Scurla’s hands as it eliminated a Czech director with considerably more experience than Scurla himself had. From Maras’s and Schneider’s perspectives this also meant that their former boss, from pre-Munich days, was gone. Furthermore, it reduced the numbers on the company’s board to just two: Masařík and Scurla, as no replacement for Šourek took over this position.

Six weeks later, on 28 April 1941, it was these two remaining board members, Masařík and Scurla, who signed a contract with a cartel of seven recording companies binding Czech Radio to use these companies’ products for any recordings Czech Radio did not produce itself.489 The five Berlin-based companies in the cartel included well-known brands such as Deutsche Grammophon, Electrola and the Telefunkenplatte GmbH. Of the two Prague-based firms – Esta and Ultraphon – the latter was also the general representative of Telefunkenplatte for the Protectorate. Article 10 of the contract stipulated a minimum fee of RM60,000 (K600,000) regardless of the number of recordings Czech...

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