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Radio Bulgaria used to have true listeners in Africa

Photo: library

Looking back at the rich archives of the Bulgarian National Radio, we find curious facts related to the multilingual service- Radio Bulgaria. In 2012, Radio Bulgaria seized short-wave and medium-wave broadcasts. Until then, Radio Bulgaria’s programmes, prepared in different European languages, were reaching almost every corner of the world.

Next, we are to tell you about the Bulgarian National Radio’s “Africa” service. It launched its first broadcasts back in 1961. The foreign section used to prepare daily twenty-minute programmes in French and English.

According to a publication kept at the BNR’s Reference Department, in the 1970’s “Africa” service was already broadcasting a sixty-minute daily programme with a thirty-minute rebroadcast in English and a twenty five-minute rebroadcast in French. The journalists from “Africa” service preferred to fill their daily programmes with interviews and live talks. Almost all articles were presented in the form of dialogues with the participation of editors, correspondents and assistants of the foreign-language service. The broadcasts targeted to young listeners and the time for listeners’ questions and answers earned the highest rating. Scientists and experts from various fields used to participate at the broadcast entitled “You Name the Topic”. They also answered listener’s questions. A special part of the programme of “Africa” service was dedicated to the “Friends of Bulgaria” clubs established in Africa. Their members were extremely active and used to organize various events, including literary readings, evenings dedicated to Bulgarian traditions, life, culture and cuisine.

People listened to Radio Bulgaria’s broadcasts on a regular basis. They recorded programmes on audio cassettes and sent them, together with their letters, to Sofia. We conducted an extremely intense correspondence with listeners around the globe. We used to receive at least 100 letters a day, journalist Silvia Nikolova from the Bulgarian section recalls.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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