Radio Berlin International
|Dissolved||2 October 1990|
Radio Berlin International (RBI) started in May 1959 to counter Deutsche Welle, the West German international broadcaster. Much of its output was news reports and information about the GDR. It offered a state-sponsored view on life in a socialist country. It distributed large quantities of colorful and professionally produced publicity material about life in the GDR to its listeners.
RBI used transmitters at Leipzig, Königs-Wusterhausen, and Nauen. In 1964, RBI's system at Nauen built by the state enterprises VEB Funkwerk Berlin Köpenick and VEB Industrieprojekte featured rotatable tiltable antennas under remote control and able to handle 200 KW of power, making RBI the second most powerful shortwave service in the Soviet bloc.
The broadcaster ceased operations on 2 October 1990 just before German reunification. The final broadcast was noted for the bitterness among some RBI staff about its "takeover", rather than "unification" with Deutsche Welle. The last words were, "Take care and good luck." Some of the reporters publicly apologized on air for reporting false information, stating that they were forced to in order to keep their jobs.
Radio Berlin International broadcast in many languages, with many of its announcers at the different services — such as English, French, and Danish, coming from their country's respective communist parties. It was one of the major international broadcasters of the Cold War era.
RBI revival rumours
In August 2012, Taiwan-based PCJ Radio reported in its syndicated program Media Network Plus of a publicity campaign for a new station with the name "Radio Berlin International". A website and e-mails claimed that a group was preparing test transmissions and intended eventually to broadcast programmes on technology and education via the internet and on shortwave from the former RBI's engineering site at Nauen, which had been transferred in 1990 to Deutsche Welle. PCJ producer Keith Perron and a journalist colleague contacted the organization with questions about its programming plans and funding. Both received vague replies. The organization's web site disappeared later that month.
- Jerome S. Berg (2008). Broadcasting On The Short Waves, 1945 To Today. McFarland. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-7864-3674-3.
- James Wood (2000). History of International Broadcasting, Volume 2. IET. p. 58.
- "RBI-Radio-Berlin-International is back and begins broadcasting . .". Bruno Barth. 2 August 2012.
- Keith Perron and Paulette MacQuarrie (25 August 2012). Media Network Plus. Taipei, Taiwan: PCJ Media. 35-54 minutes in.
- RBI final English broadcast - Part 1
- RBI final English broadcast - Part 2
- Affectionate history blog of RBI
- Media Network Plus program of 25 August 2012