On the Brno Wave

Hundred Years of Radio Broadcasting from Brno


You are welcome to take a little walk through the Brno Radio – an institution that connects history, present and future, and reflects the traditions of Moravia, its cultural and social life.

And you can also see at least some of the people who were, are and will be behind all of this, because they dedicated their lives to the phenomenon called radio.


Photo captions

  1. Exhibition of Contemporary Culture, public listening to the radio programme in front of the Radio Pavilion, 1928; Czech Radio Archive



London, Prague, Brno!

In 1922, the BBC started broadcasting in London, in 1923, the Radiojournal in Prague, and in 1924, regular radio broadcasting from Brno began. Although radio was already also known in America at that time, Moravia was still one of the first places in the world with regular radio broadcasts.

Already at the beginning of 1922, test broadcasts from Brno were also heard in Italy and Denmark. Apparently, they were folk songs playing from a gramophone right in the transmitter building. The first "voice on the air" belonged to Anton Máčel, the administrator of the transmitter. But only Jan Čermák became a true "radio man". The man with typical moustache selected his colleagues and successors.

It went quickly: in May 1924 a regular broadcasting test, in July regular stock market news and on 1 September 1924, regular broadcast from the "radio studio" in the turret on the corner of the Provincial House (Zemský dům) building, today the South Moravian Regional Council.

Broadcasts were aired several hours a week, and the programme only gradually became extended in proportion to the increasing number of receivers. After all, the first radio producers simultaneously performed their regular jobs.

Whole radio genres were born in Moravia, which inspired producers all over the world. But the studio on the roof was not enough for this, as it was plagued by cramped conditions and the vagaries of the weather. Even so, it experienced, for example, the first radio plays in the form of readings from texts, but the main development did not begin until 1925 after moving to the premises of today’s Brno City Theatre and then, after 1929, in the Stadium in Kounicova Street or in the nearby Hussite Church building.

Already during the First Czechoslovak Republic, morning exercise, sports events (including football and races on the Masaryk circuit) or Sunday services were broadcasted from Brno. A typical part of the Brno programme was folklore or humour. The latter was brought since 1925 by the actor and singer Valentin Šindler, who has performed on radio as uncle Křópal from Břochovany with his "prattles".

The educational programme encompassed already from the beginning almost all disciplines, including the Esperanto, French or Morse code teaching. There were live broadcasts from the National Theatre in Brno as well as from the Theatre at the Exhibition Centre. It wasn’t just about culture, the first sports broadcasts also date back to 1926.

In May 1930, Brno broadcasted the first real report – a walk through the Neumark textile factory entitled Od ovčí vlny k vlněné látce (From sheep’s wool to woollen cloth). The Brno Radio school, i.e. the group creating new formats including documentaries (Dalibor Chalupa, Josef Bezdíček and František Kožík) was even included in the textbooks.

And let us not forget the music. At the end of his life, the composer Leoš Janáček was able to listen to the creative work of Brno Radio. And there was much to listen to. Representatives of the Brno Conservatory, the Brno Quartet as well as individual musicians performed in front of the microphone right from the very beginning. The Brno Radio Orchestra, conducted by Břetislav Bakala, was established almost at the same time as the radio.

Thanks to Jan Janota, broadcasts from theatres were added to the music, and Professor Vladimír Helfert introduced music from all over the world. The radio sheet music archive already at that time included tens of thousands of items.


Photo captions

  1. Jan Čermák, the first administrator of the Brno Radio station; Moravian Museum – Department of History
  2. Announcer Jan Liška. Brno was the only radio station where "Liška (Eng. Fox) said goodnight"; Czech Radio Archive
  3. Esperanto meeting, in the picture are Antonín Fiala, Karel Höger, Vladimír Leraus, Zdena Švabíková, Jiří Vítězslav Šamla, František Šlégr and Antonín Slavík, 2 September 1935; Czech Radio Archive
  4. The first regular musicians at the Brno Radio, in the picture are Břetislav Bakala, Jindřich Polášek, Jan Janota, Josef Křenek, Hynek Wolf, 1928; Czech Radio Archive
  5. The Křópal family, represented by Valentin Šindler, Ludmila Janulíková and Václav Šindler; Czech Radio Archive


Oldřich Nový (1899–1983)

The actor and director became one of the forefathers of broadcasting from Brno at the time he was living and working in Brno. He was a member of the Brno theatre between 1919 and 1935, among other things, as the head of the operetta.

Thanks to the use of gramophone records, he was the author of the first radio song shows. He thus connected the worlds of theatre and music. He was also one of the participants in the radio broadcast from the Exhibition of Contemporary Culture at the Brno Exhibition Centre.

Even years later, he remembered his first broadcasts from the roof of the Provincial House (Zemský dům). "Somewhere over there my youth is running about", he pointed upwards.


Karel Höger (1909–1977)

The native of the then independent town of Královo Pole was one of the prominent Czech actors long before he joined the National Theatre in Prague. He lived and worked in Brno until he was 31 years old, and what has brought him together with radio was his friendship with František Kožík, among other things.

His voice is heard from a number of recordings of plays and other shows. We can regret that those from the time of the First Czechoslovak Republic, when there was no effective way of recording, are missing. For example, Karel Höger took part in the Esperanto broadcast, which regularly resounded from Brno to the world for several hours a month. Together with other artists at Brno Radio, he created the artistic group TRAKT (Teatro- kaj Radioaktoroj), which taught and promoted Esperanto. Among its members were František Kožík and his wife Zdeňka Švabíková-Kožíková, as well as Vladimír Leraus, Josef Bezdíček, František Šlégr, Jarmila Kurandová and others.


Dalibor Chalupa (1900–1983)

The native of Letovice was truly a jack of all trades. He wrote, composed, performed. He is the co‑founder of the literary magazine Host, and he was a promoter of Esperanto, which was one of the extraordinary radio achievements.

Thanks to him, the first major radio interviews were conducted (among others with Alfons Mucha) and his programme Na tom našem dvoře čili Dvorní pěvci (In our courtyard: Court singers) from 1930 is often referred to as the first Czech radio feature.

When Chalupa became the regular radio programme director in 1932, he created, together with František Kožík and Josef Bezdíček, the famous Brno Radio school with extensive creative production. After World War II, he connected his life with Prague Radio.


František Kožík (1909–1997)

Writer, playwright, lyricist – another extraordinary talent that stood at the beginning of broadcasting from Brno. He was also one of the enthusiastic Esperantists in the Brno Radio, who contributed to broadcasting in this language during the First Czechoslovak Republic.

A significant achievement in the development of radio play and direction became the presentation of František Kožík’s play Cristobal Colón on 12 April 1934. This radio epic used prose, poetry, music, choral recitations and reportage.

Before he moved to Prague, he connected his work in Brno with regular visits to the Dagmar Children’s Home, thus contributing to the popularity of the ‘Christmas Tree of the Republic’ collections, founded in Brno by Rudolf Těsnohlídek in 1924.


Břetislav Bakala (1897–1958)

Musician, conductor, but also composer, choirmaster and pianist. Disciple of Leoš Janáček. As early as 1926, he became the conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra, which later evolved into the Brno Philharmonic.

He also founded the tradition of symphonic concerts of the radio orchestra, he was at the birth of the Brno Radio collection of sheet music.

Thanks to him, recordings of a number of personalities were made in Brno, among others, Soňa Červená performed there many times.


Photo captions

  1. Radio cabaret ensemble in front of the microphone, second from left is the actor Oldřich Nový, 1920s‒1930s; Moravian Museum – Department of History
  2. Karel Höger during a radio reading, 1940; Czech Radio Archive
  3. František Kožík visited the Dagmar Children's Home every year on Christmas Eve. In the photo, he is pictured with Naděnka, the daughter of a police officer who fell in the line of duty, 1920s–1930s; Czech Radio Archive
  4. Working session, in the picture are Dr. Karel Vetterl, Ing. Antonín Slavík, Dalibor Chalupa, Dr. František Kožík and Břetislav Bakala, 1920s‒1930s; Czech Radio Archive
  5. Broadcasting from the bottom of the Macocha Abyss, in the picture are Ing. Ondroušek, Ing. Brandstätter, Dalibor Chalupa (with microphone) and Mr. Válka, 1936; Czech Radio Archive




Radio in difficult times

World War II dealt a blow not only to Brno Radio. Of course, German resounded on its airwaves even during the First Czechoslovak Republic, because southern Moravia was the home to a significant German minority. Nevertheless, the war reversed the roles. And it brought with it a strict censorship.

For a number of radio personalities, the fight for freedom became fatal. Let us remember one for all: Antonín Slavík. As if his fate would mirror the wartime radio history.

The broadcast of the lyrical novel Stříbrný vítr (Silvery Wind) by Fráňa Šrámek on 22 May 1939 remains symbolic as the last quiver of defiance. Then there only was what the censorship allowed to broadcast. After the battlefront has passed by, smashed studios were left, but also the determination to start broadcasting again.

In the post-war period, everyone and everything took a deep breath. In 1946, Brno Radio was at the birth of the folklore festivals in Strážnice, and a year later it began broadcasting reports from the famous travels of Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund. The duo of Vladimír Konupka and Karel Kosina continued the tradition of pre-war cabarets.

The musical department followed up on the avant-garde of the 1930s. The broadcast included symphonic, vocal, chamber and opera music. The Radio Symphony Orchestra became the foundation of the Brno Philharmonic in 1956, but it already had its successors within the studio. The reform of the Small Radio Orchestra in 1951 gave rise to the Brno Radio Pops Orchestra (BERO). In 1963, it split into the Large String Orchestra of the Czechoslovak Radio with conductors Miloš Machek and Jiří Hudec, and the Brno Radio Dance Orchestra conducted by Erik Knirsch.

We must also not forget the legendary Gustav Brom Orchestra (the prize awarded by Brno Radio in the field of ​​jazz also bears the name of Gustav Brom) and the brass music shows that were prepared by Ladislav Kozderka (his daughter Laďka, after all, also premiered on the radio in Brno) and since 1974 by Josef Růžička.

And the sports tradition of the radio also fully developed. Since 1952, it was associated with the name of Lev Vašíček, who unrepeatably recorded, for example, the Grand Prix of road motorcycles.

In 1953, the poet Jan Skácel joined Brno Radio for ten years, and three years later he replaced another great, Oldřich Mikulášek, as the head of the literary and dramatic department. While the regime persecuted its opponents, a group of authors met at the Brno Radio station: Olga Zezulová, Karel Tachovský, Vlastimil Pantůček, Vladimír Fux and many others, including Antonín Přidal.

In 1953, the folk song programme Na pěknú notečku (On a beautiful chord) began to be broadcasted from Brno. Radio producers from Brno have mapped out folklore throughout Moravia. Anyone who has meant and means something to folklore had dealings with Brno Radio – as an employee, performer, collaborator of the broadcast or the Brno Radio Orchestra of Folk Instruments (BROLN), which was founded in 1952 under the direction of Jaroslav Jurášek. Among these personalities were, for example, Dušan and Luboš Holý, Božena Šebetovská, Jožka Severin, Jarmila Šuláková and many others.

The long-time artistic director of BROLN, Bohumil Smejkal, also inspired a number of composers, including Josef Berg and Miloš Štědroň, to collaborate. Folklore, not only Moravian, and its mapping on the radio are also associated with another name – Jaromír Nečas.


Photo captions

  1. Lev Vašíček, Czechoslovakian Grand Prix, 1962; Brno City Museum Collections
  2. BERO – Brno Radio Pops Orchestra, 1950s; Czech Radio Archive
  3. Recording of the dramatized novel Pohádka máje (The Tale of May), in the picture are Olga Zezulová (director) and Blažena Holišová, 1958; Czech Radio Archive
  4. Gustav Brom Orchestra, 1950s; Brno City Museum Collections
  5. Poet Jan Skácel; Brno City Museum Collections


Antonín Slavík (1893–1942)

The qualified military radiotelegrapher joined Brno Radio in 1925 and became its director in 1928.

He understood the principles of radio, among other things, that the radio plays are not just recitations of theatre plays, which was also helped by his (unfinished) philosophy studies. He mastered seven languages, was a member of the physical education movement Sokol, and an active amateur radio operator.

After the occupation in March 1939, he became part of the anti-Nazi resistance. As a member of the Defence of the Nation organization, he was arrested and imprisoned first in Brno and subsequently in Germany, where he was executed in 1942.


Jiří Štuchal (1912–1979)

In today’s language an entertainer, who simultaneously worked in cabarets and the circus, was a presenter and a folk storyteller. He was one of the most popular radio producers in the 1950s and 1960s.

He joined the Brno Radio in 1944, but he already worked for it part time before the war. His cabaret S úsměvem pod knírem letíme vesmírem (Laughing up our sleeve, we fly through space) was an irony on what was happening in Germany. After joining the radio station, he was first a reporter, then a speaker and host of entertainment programmes. In 1953, he moved to Prague, but regularly returned to Brno.

He is often referred to as one of the kings of radio humour, his anecdotes formed entire cascades. His entertaining and informative programme for motorists, Šťastnou cestu (Have a safe journey), was very popular.


Jaromír Nečas (1922–2015)

The leading expert in folklore, but also a musician, joined Brno Radio in 1952. He worked in many fields, including education, in several ensembles, and was member of the board of the folklore festival in Strážnice.

He witnessed the rise of the Ulrych siblings, Jiří Pavlica and other musicians.

He died at the age of 93, but remained active until the last moments of his life. Since 2024, the concert show Barevný zpívající svět Jaromíra Nečase (The colourful singing world of Jaromír Nečas) bears his name.


Antonín Přidal (1935–2017)

The translator, dramatist, poet and publicist already during his university studies collaborated with the then literary-dramatic group.

He joined radio in 1960 and brought news with him. For example, he created the character of a "radio glove puppet" named Pan Hlava (Mr. Head) for the programme Na shledanou v sobotu (See you on Saturday). He helped present radio plays, but the Královská sonáta (Royal sonata), in the creation of which he participated, was not broadcast until more than twenty years later in 1990. The reason was that he had to quit the job on radio in 1970.

After returning to cooperation with the radio after 1989, he participated, for example, in presenting the adaptation of his own translation of the book O Kaplan! My Kaplan! (Pan Kaplan má stále třídu rád), in which he involved M. Donutil, L. Lakomý and others. And his collaboration on the presentation of M. Kundera’s works is also extraordinary.


Photo captions

  1. Ing. Antonín Slavík, the first director of the Brno Studio, appointed in 1928; Czech Radio Archive
  2. Jiří Štuchal; Czech Radio Archive
  3.  Jaromír Nečas; Czech Radio Archive
  4. Antonín Přidal during recording of the popular programme “Na shledanou v sobotu” (See you on Saturday), 1965; Czech Radio Archive



Descendants of radio: theatre and electroacoustic music

From the 1950s, shortly after the abolition of the historical Czech lands, the broadcasting system changed. Brno began to help fill the then nationwide channels, from which the regional studios were separated only at specified times. Brno thus, for example, participated in creation of the programmes Ze světa vědy a techniky (From the world of science and technology), Pionýrská jitřenka (Pioneer’s morning star) and many others.

Among those who joined the radio at the time was also Přemysl Matula, who is behind a number of exceptional projects. One of them is the programme entitled Srdce Petra Bělousova (The heart of Petr Belousov), one of the most famous documentaries in the history of Czechoslovak Radio at all. It was not created outside, but directly in the operating theatre during cardiac surgery. Radio recorded the ninth heart operation in the country in history, where the operating surgeon was the now already legendary Brno professor Jan Navrátil. And listeners could hear the authentic sounds of an operated heart.

While the “children” of Brno Radio included the folklore festival in Strážnice in the 1940s and the Brno Philharmonic in the 1950s, in the 1960s it was another legend: Satirické divadlo Večerní Brno (Evening Brno Satirical Theatre). Already in 1959, members of the literary department of Brno Radio participated in the programme Večerní Brno (Evening Brno), which started the career of the mentioned theatre.

The year 1961 is associated with a "national" figure that everyone knows – Rozhlasový Hajaja (the bedtime storyteller, radio dwarf Hajaja). It was spoken by actor Vlastimil Brodský for the first time on 2 January 1961, and from the beginning, the staff of Brno Radio participated in the creation of bedtime stories.

The Brno Radio production was still dedicated to music – for several years, after being separated from the Brno Radio Pops Orchestra (BERO), the Large String Orchestra of the Czechoslovak Radio and the Brno Radio Dance Orchestra have been operating here. But most importantly – the Brno electronic studio was established, which used electroacoustic music in the creation of programmes. The year 1965 is associated with the beginning of experimental stereophonic broadcasting. In addition, the Prix Musical de Radio Brno competition (1967 to 1998) began to be organized.

In 1966, the Sunday one-hour programme Potulky knihami a hudbou (Wandering around books and music) started under the guarantee of Antonín Přidal. The tradition of serialized reading also continued. From November 1966, the Brněnské kolo (Brno’s Wheel) programme began, which was also televised.

But then came 1968 and the arrival of the Warsaw Pact troops. Radio in Brno had the advantage of several buildings and studios in theatres and sports grounds, for example, the literary department met in Barvič’s bookshop, and the management in the headquarters of the Red Cross. However, even the Brno Radio had to fall silent, and there came a time when many of its employees had to leave.


Photo captions

  1. The coverage of Srdce Petra Bělousova (The Heart of Petr Belousov), transmitted by Přemysl Matula directly from the operating theatre, 1957; Czech Radio Archive
  2. Antonín Přidal during recording of the programme Potulky knihami a hudbou (Wandering around books and music), 1967; Czech Radio Archive
  3. Monthly "Vyšší dívčí" (High school for girls), in the picture are Jana Lukešová, Jana Tomková, Věra Šusteková and director Bohdan Denk, 1965; Czech Radio Archive
  4. The first days of the occupation at the radio building in Beethovenova St., 29 August 1968; Czech Radio Archive


Přemysl Matula (1926–2012)

He got a taste of working as a journalist already in the army, then he made a short stop in Ostrava and finally headed to Brno. At first, he was in charge of technology and agrobiology in the education department, and learned the reportage techniques and work for children under the guidance of Miloš Kocourek and Vladimír Simanov.

For example, he broadcasted from trade fairs, but he also liked historical topics, reported on the work of archaeologists and experts on the Battle of Austerlitz. He liked to create for children, devoted himself to gardening topics as well as the medical environment.

In addition to the report from the human heart surgery, his live broadcast from the diving of Karel Tunál Divíšek in the river Punkva is also legendary.


Jaroslav Jurášek (1925–2005)

Musician, playwright and ethnographer, he was the author of the programmes of the folklore festival in Strážnice and a member of its programme board. He was the founder, artistic director and dramaturge of the Brno Radio Orchestra of Folk Instruments (BROLN), a member of the Slovácký krúžek (Moravian Slovakia Circle) in Brno, the Valašský krúžek (Moravian Wallachia Circle), and the founder of the Friends of Folk Art Club.

He worked at Brno Radio not only as a dramaturge, but also became its director in 1967 to 1970. He was also active in the Military Song and Dance Ensemble Jánošík (later Military Art Ensemble Ondráš).

He also participated in the documentation of Roma culture, including the programme "Roma plays – Roma dances – Roma sings".


Max Wittmann (1941–2011)

A jazz music journalist, but also a conductor, composer, editor and long-time head of the Brno Radio musical department, he was also the dramaturge of the Gustav Brom Orchestra and, after the Velvet Revolution, also of the Brno Studio Orchestra.

He returned to Brno after 1969 and joined radio as an editor of small music genres, as well as a pianist in the orchestra of the Satirické divadlo Večerní Brno (Evening Brno Satirical Theatre), where he worked for three seasons. He helped the Ulrych siblings, the Elefteriadu sisters, Bob Frídl and many others, including, for example, Věra Martinová and Stanislav Hložek.

His name is associated with the programmes Noční vlna jazzu (Night wave of jazz), Písničky pro duši (Songs for the soul), Jazz club live or Čas ke snění (Time to dream).

In 1996, he initiated the awarding of the Gustav Brom Prize, which is announced by the Czech Radio Brno upon the recommendation of music experts.


Photo captions

  1. Přemysl Matula, head of the school department / children and youth department, 1984; Czech Radio Archive
  2. Jaroslav Jurášek; Czech Radio Archive
  3. Max Wittmann, music editor, receiving an award at the Radio's 60th anniversary meeting, 11 May 1989; Czech Radio Archive



Normalization, but also A Ballad for a Bandit

The events of August 1968 started purges on the radio. In the entire country, roughly a third of the employees had to leave the institution even for the smallest reason. Both full-time employees and part-time collaborators thus left the radio. For example, the performances in 1968 were fateful for Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund.

People from the Brno Radio, namely František Jurča, Jiřina Menšíková, Alena Tučková and Irena Večeřová, were put on the so-called black list (officially called the Unified Central Register of Representatives, Exponents and Bearers of Right-Wing Opportunism, Organizers of Anti-Party, Anti-Socialist and Anti-Soviet Campaigns and Events). Those who remained on the radio were in a much more difficult situation. The binding role of self-censorship also began to be evident.

Nevertheless, the 1970s and 1980s brought new possibilities to the Brno Radio. In 1970, the nationwide station Hvězda began broadcasting, with programmes from Brno, such as the folklore series Barevný zpívající svět (Colourful singing world) and the works by Ludvík Kundera, making a significant contribution to its broadcasts. In the mid-1970s, a recording of Balada pro banditu (A ballad for a bandit) was sent to the communist leader Alois Indra, who, paradoxically, did not have it banned, but instructed that it be made in stereo instead of the then usual mono mode. So, this was officially the first radio play recorded stereophonically in the Brno Studio.

An entertainment department headed by Eva Šimková was also established in Brno, which brought the Brno cabaret back on the air. The travel series Trasa (Route), prepared by Alena Šimůnková, was followed by the national history series Šipka (Arrow), in which a number of producers participated, including Zdena Sedláková (Dufková) and Josef Veselý.

Since 1972, the Brno Radio has also been preparing the broadcast of Mikrofórum and other programmes. A number of personalities are documented thanks to Věra Rudolfová, Jaromír Ostrý, Josef Veselý, Marcela Vandrová and Marcela Antošová, as well as Eva Řehořová. After the previous forced vacation, the literary department was gradually filled by new personalities: Tomáš Sedláček, Ludvík Němec, Alena Blažejovská, Svatava Růžičková.

Brno Radio has also employed personalities who later shined in Prague. For example, Jan Tůma, who in 1965 became the director of the Brno Radio studio focused on experimental work, headed to Prague less than twenty years later. Before that, however, he recorded a series of fairy tales Dobrý večer, děti (Good evening, children), for which he used folklore elements.

Cooperation with the Brno Philharmonic also continued, with a number of recordings made with František Jílek as the conductor. The Brno Studio Orchestra was continuously working, its conductors commented on their own recordings in the popular programme Pozor, natáčíme! (Quiet please, recording in progress!). And other producers were also dedicated to music, for example, Jiří Pavlica.

The arrival of 1989 was also reflected on the radio. Not only by the dynamics of events and their content, personnel changes, or the return of some former producers, but also downsizing, among other things, connected with the limitation of music production.


Photo captions

  1. Introduction of Josef Merunka (right) as the new director of Brno Radio, in the photo with Otakar Hubáček from the Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, 1975; Czech Radio Archive
  2. Director Eva Řehořová, 1984; Czech Radio Archive
  3. Prix Musical de Radio Brno, 1980; Czech Radio Archive
  4. Marcela Vandrová, editor of the children and youth department, 1983; Czech Radio Archive

Erik Knirsch (1928–2018)

The bandleader, arranger and composer founded his first band while studying at the Brno Conservatory. Singers like Eva Pilarová (he composed the song Starý lampář for her in 1958), Milan Chladil and others started their career with his orchestra. In 1965, Knirsch became the conductor of the Brno Studio Orchestra and performed the job for 27 years.


Jiřina Menšíková (1929–2014)

In March 1950, she joined the Brno Radio as a correspondent (that is, an administrative worker), three years later she became an "editor-in-waiting" and then a regular editor for industry. In 1968, as a news editor, she participated in crisis broadcasting. In the period after August 1968, she recorded the reactions of population and delegates of the so-called Vysočany Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, which adopted a resolution condemning the occupation of Czechoslovakia and sought to strengthen the reform wing of the party. She then worked in menial jobs, and did not return to her profession even after 1989 on the grounds that many people who, in her view, did not meet the moral requirements remained in the profession.



Gustav Brom (1921–1995)

A man of many musical professions – conductor, bandleader, saxophonist, lyricist, singer and composer – he was above all the central figure of the orchestra that still bears his name today. He helped discover a number of talents. He made a large part of the recordings in one of the radio studios, be it in Brno, Ostrava or Bratislava. Many people perceive his Big Band as part of the radio – however, it only became a resident ensemble under the name Gustav Brom Radio Big Band in 1993.


Zdeněk Vlk (1940–2008)

This sports fan was also an active basketball player, he participated in the European Champions Cup. He started collaborating with the radio when he was working as a technician in the Zbrojovka factory. In 1972, he joined Brno Radio full-time as a reporter and sports commentator. He commented on football and hockey matches, but also, for example, the International Tennis Championship in Italy.


Tomáš Sedláček (1950–2019)

Literary scholar, university pedagogue, but above all radio editor and long-time head of the literary and dramatic department of Czech Radio. He joined radio in the 1980s and participated in the adaptation of a number of literary works and features. He was also one of the few journalists with whom Milan Kundera communicated and gave interviews.


Bohumil Smejkal (1935–2009)

A violinist, conductor and concertmaster, he worked in the Brno Radio Orchestra of Folk Instruments from 1956, and was its artistic director in 1969–1973. At the same time, he was member of the Janáček Quartet and other musical ensembles, he was also a professor at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (and dean of the Faculty of Music there).



Photo captions

  1. Erik Knirsch, conductor of the Brno Studio Orchestra, 1980s; Czech Radio Archive
  2. Gustav Brom Orchestra at Špilberk Castle; Private archive
  3. Zdeněk Vlk, sports editor; Czech Radio Archive
  4. Brno Radio Orchestra of Folk Instruments (BROLN), in the foreground are Jožka Černý and Bohumil Smejkal; Czech Radio Archive



The time of great changes

The events of 1989 affected radio not only as their direct participant. That is, as a medium that followed up on its own importance in the fateful years of 1945 and 1968. Radio once again brought information, gave people food for thought. And it also recalled those who remained on the black list for years.

The Brno Studio helped banned works return to broadcasting, and even aired those that were not yet realized. People who previously were not allowed to appear in front of the microphone spoke from the airwaves again. People in leading positions at the Brno Studio also changed, for example the writer Ivan Kříž or his successor Ludvík Němec took the director’s chair.

The Brno announcer school also continued in these years. Announcers such as Jan Křapa or Jarmila Černocká became guides in Brno even for those who otherwise do not tune in to the radio – their voices were heard when announcing stops on trams, trolleybuses and buses.

However, the period after 1989 is also related to the transformation into a public service medium. With the dissolution of the federal state, Czechoslovak Radio turned into Czech Radio. And it tried to find ways to fulfil its new function. The programme has been extended and the number of broadcast stations was growing, the original several channels were supplemented by independent regional broadcasts and gradually also by a number of other nationwide stations.

After the Velvet Revolution, on the other hand, musicians left the ranks of radio workers, and radio orchestras ceased to exist – even though, for example, the Brno Radio Orchestra of Folk Instruments returned years later in a different form.

However, the musical work still continued, followed by Gustav Brom and his orchestra or by editor Josef Růžička with his Brněnská dvanáctka (The Brno Twelve). Names like Jiří Plocek, Max Wittmann or Jiří Pavlica are of vital importance.

Music editor Josef Prudil, in addition to collaborating with the Poutníci band or the cymbalom player Dalibor Štrunc, founded an unconventional genre of gastro-ethnofolk – sung recipes on the Brno Radio.

Editors and other producers in Brno fully developed their ideas. New programmes were created with the involvement of, for example, Marcela Antošová, Marcela Vandrová, Zdena Dufková, Olga Jeřábková, Zuzana Ledererová, Věra Rudolfová, Hana Šráčková, Luboš Ondráček, Jaromír Ostrý or Josef Veselý and many others.

These programmes include Apetýt (Appetite) or the legendary Toulky českou minulostí (Wandering through the Czech past), of which 1,218 episodes have been broadcasted since 1995, and have become the most heard radio series ever.

With the development of technology, radio has gradually shifted to digital broadcasting. In Brno, it concentrated its activities in the building in Beethovenova Street.

And the younger generation also entered the stage, represented by many other people and fates, which would fill up several exhibitions. As in human life, pleasant and sad or tragic events alternated (for example, the death of three radio personalities including the then director Tomáš Vencálek in a car accident in 1997). Other names were also heard from the airwaves – Milan Noha, Monika Brindzáková, Jiří Kokmotos, director Zdeněk Kozák or representatives of musical genres. And what is important, Brno Radio participated in the broadcasting of most other stations by law.


Photo captions

  1. Musical department, pictured are from left to right Josef Prudil, Jan Šimáček, Max Wittmann and Marek Zouhar; Czech Radio Archive
  2. Producers of the programme Toulky českou minulostí (Wandering through the Czech past), pictured are from left to right Igor Bareš, Josef Veselý, Jaromír Ostrý, Ivana Valešová and František Derfler; Czech Radio Archive
  3. Recording with Ladislav Lakomý, in the picture are Ladislav Lakomý and Jaromír Ostrý; Czech Radio Archive
  4. Literary department, pictured are from left to right Alena Blažejovská, Tomáš Sedláček and Olga Jeřábková; Czech Radio Archive


List of Directores of Czech radio station (with year of start):

1924 Jan Čermák

1926 Antonín František Slavík

1941 Karel Vetterl (director in charge)

1942 Emil Stepan

1945 Vladimír Pachl (director in charge)

1945 František Konečný

1949 Bohumil Pavlinec

1951 Josef Věromír Pleva

1953 Vladimír Simanov

1953 Vladimír Kovařík

1954 Josef Burjanek

1960 Miloš Kocourek

1964 Arnošt Silan

1967 Jaroslav Jurášek

1971 Antonín Neubauer

1975 Josef Merunka

1987 Václav Němec

1990 Miroslav Hofmann

1990 Magda Katolická (director in charge)

1990 Ivan Kříž

1992 Ludvík Němec

1994 Tomáš Vencálek (director in charge)

1995 Ivo Kučera

1995 Tomáš Vencálek

1997 Bohuslav Coufal director in charge)

1998 Ruzbeh Oweyssi

1998 Ludvík Němec

2013 Jaromír Ostrý

2018 Jiří Kokmotos (director in charge)

2018 Hana Ondryášová

2023 Pavel Kozler

2023 Josef Podstata


Photo captions

  1. A postcard with employees of the Czech Radio Brno, advertising material; Brno City Museum Collections

A hundred years is just the beginning

The most successful regional station of the Czech Radio, which surpasses even most of the nationwide ones. This is Czech Radio Brno. With the use of the most modern technologies, programmes are also created here for nationwide radio broadcasting. All this in a building whose reconstruction is attracting international admiration.

Most broadcasts from Brno are aired between five in the morning and half past seven in the evening. For the rest of the day, listeners of Czech Radio Brno hear a programme prepared alternately by regional Czech Radio stations across the country (again including the station in Brno).

Getting up in the morning is traditionally accompanied by Dobré ráno, Moravo! (Good morning, Moravia!). Srdcovky Zdeňka Junáka (Zdeňek Junák's matters of the heart) is a hit broadcast every weekday after 9 a.m. This is followed by the morning Apetýt (Appetite) bringing a selection of recipes, practical advices as well as an hour-long interview. At noon (and then again after 6 p.m.) on weekdays, the programme Morava, krásná zem (Moravia, beautiful land) is aired – and on the weekend then Blahopřání s písničkou (Congratulation with a song).

After 1 p.m., interviews with interesting guests are broadcasted. Following is the programme VVV – Vysíláme vesele i vážně (VVV – We broadcast both cheerfully and seriously) with competitions, the Brno dialect called “hantec”, a lot of news and interesting information. At 4 p.m., there is another reason to have fun with Humoriáda (Humour variety).

At 5 p.m., the programme Den na Moravě (A day in Moravia) resounds – an hour of news and journalistic reports for those who like new information, interesting facts and attractive interviews. On Fridays, the original programme Brněnská jedenáctka (The Brno Eleven) is also aired. And the time after 7 p.m. belongs to folklore and the related music in the programme Na pěknú notečku (On a beautiful chord).

The weekend is then associated with more relaxed programmes. The Saturday’s Srdcovky Zdeňka Junáka (Zdeněk Junák’s matters of the heart) are connected with a competition for quiz lovers, the afternoon abbreviation VVV this time stands for Vesele i vážně o víkendu (Cheerfully and seriously on the weekend).

The weekend is also associated with programmes like the culinary show Pochoutkový rok (A year of delicacies) or Rendez-vous and Tajuplný ostrov (The mysterious island).

And all this interspersed with news.

Brno Radio also produces more demanding literary, dramatic, musical and journalistic programmes. For example, the Brno programme Zelný rynk (Cabbage market). A number of radio plays and other programmes are also created here, such as Souzvuk (Consonance), Svět poezie (World of poetry), Eseje (Essays), documentaries, fairy tales, Hajaja (bedtime stories).

Journalistic reports on science, religious topics, but also personalities in the programmes Mezi nebem a zemí (Between Heaven and Earth), Vertikála (Vertical) and Magazín Leonardo are also worth mentioning.

We cannot forget the music either. Musical dramaturges prepare programmes such as Partitury (Scores), Soudobá hudba (Contemporary music) and Odpolední concert (Afternoon concert) as well as productions of classical music, but also gladly "pop out" to popular music and jazz. They record and document concerts of musicians from Brno and South Moravia.


A number of prestigious radio awards have gone to Brno – Prix Bohemia Radio, Neviditelný herec (Invisible Actor), Média na pomoc památkám (Media helping monuments), Report and others. In addition, many radio producers were awarded the Brno City Prize and the South Moravian Region Prize.


Photo captions

  1. Employees of the Czech Radio Brno, 2023; Czech Radio Archive




Who can be heard on the waves of Brno Radio


Josef Podstata, director

Julie Kalodová, program director

Zuzana Kopuletá, editor

Miloš Šenkýř, editor

Karolina Antlová, presenter

Karel Hegner, presenter

Jiří Helán, presenter

Zdeněk Junák, presenter

Borek Kapitančik, presenter

Pavel Kašpar, presenter

Jana Kobylinská, presenter

Květa Navrátilová, presenter

Jiřina Ostrá, presenter

Hana Pregrtová, presenter

Ivana Slabáková, presenter

Zdeněk Truhlář, presenter

Josef Veselý, presenter

Jarka Vykoupilová, presenter

Alena Blažejovská, verbal dramaturg and editor

Jan Dalecký, musical dramaturge

Jaroslav Kneisl, folklore music editor and dramaturg

Barbora Turčanová, folklore music editor

Marek Zouhar, musical dramaturge

Vlasta Gajdošíková, editor

Tomáš Kremr, editor


...and in addition, a number of colleagues from the other Czech Radio studios, including the presenters of the joint regional broadcast, people who make up the background at Brno Radio (sound engineers, production managers and representatives of other professions), but also regular collaborators (including the sportsman Jaromír Meixner, meteorologists, guests of counselling sessions, commentators, members of the Czech Tourist Club and others).


A number of names are listed on the panels of this exhibition, but many names have also been left out – this is no expression of disrespect, but the exhibition is just a small insight into the rich history, present and future of the Brno Radio. And just as the radio proverb says that the most beautiful princess is the one on the radio, the most popular radio producer is the one chosen by the audience. During the existence of Brno Radio, there were hundreds, even thousands of them. And there will definitely be more!




Radio and its journey through Brno

The scene of the very first attempts at radio broadcasting in Brno was the transmitter station in Komárov (today the Ráječek farm in Brněnské Ivanovice). It was from here that the test broadcast in 1922 and the first stock market news in the spring of 1924 resounded, which were a kind of test for regular broadcasting.

However, the actual broadcast had a much more representative space at its disposal – a turret on the corner of the Provincial House (Zemský dům), directly above the present-day office of the president of the South Moravian Regional Council. But such facilities were enough for a few hours of broadcasting per week.

Radio received the first acoustically adapted studio at its disposal on 14 November 1925. It operated in a former apartment in the Nová (Lidická) Street No. 18, i.e. on the premises of ​​today’s Brno City Theatre. In March 1927, the radio moved again, but only to the neighbouring house No. 16.

However, evening transmissions and broadcasts were often associated with noise – and thus disturbance of the surroundings. So, the Brno Radio moved again, this time to custom-made premises – to the Stadium in Kounicova Street. This happened at the end of 1929.

It was in the Stadium building that famous recordings were made, and it was the scene of wartime events. Radio operated there and broadcasted from there for 83 years, i.e. even at the time when it already had its headquarters in the building in Beethovenova Street.

So, the Stadium has always been just one of the venues. Other studios and broadcasting stations were established in 1936, for example in the Hussite Church building in Botanická Street and in other places. Auxiliary units operated in places of frequent broadcasts – for example at the Ice Rink (cubicle for sports broadcasts) and in the Janáček Theatre (for musical events).

Today, the radio is housed in a building in Beethovenova Street, in which there are eight radio studios offering facilities not only for live broadcasting, but also for the creation of individual episodes, recording and editing of artistic programmes including radio plays, book readings or concerts. The building is also the venue for a number of cultural activities.

Brno Radio is the largest and most listened to regional station of the Czech Radio. It not only has its own broadcast (Český rozhlas Brno station), but participates in the broadcasts of most other Czech Radio stations.


Photo captions

  1. Official start of operation of the Brno transmitter in Komárov, 1926; Czech Radio Archive
  2. The first broadcasting studio on the roof of the Provincial House (Zemský dům), 1924; Czech Radio Archive
  3.  Reconstructed radio building in Beethovenova Street, view of the street facade, 2015; Photo by Bořivoj Čapák
  4. Large concert studio No. 1 at the Stadium in Kounicova Street, 1932; Czech Radio Archive
  5. Waiting room of the new premises in Nová (Lidická) Street, around 1925; Moravian Museum – Department of History


A mute witness to the first attempts

Although the antenna systems of former transmitter station in Komárov have disappeared, another visible part still stands there today – a brick house with a giant sculpture of the coat of arms of former Czechoslovakia above the entrance. It houses the Ráječek farm.

Compared to the beginnings of radio broadcasting, the building has been completed, but its style faithfully recalls the pioneer times.

The Komárov transmitter (designated as such despite its location on the cadastre of Brněnské Ivanovice) served the broadcasting purpose until the end of April 2004. The demolition of the last mast took place on 22 January 2013.


The relocated Radio Pavilion

One of the buildings of the Brno Radio was also a wooden Radio Pavilion (Radiopavilon), which was built at the Brno Exhibition Centre during the legendary Exhibition of Contemporary Culture in 1928.

The building was designed by Karel Tausenau and Václav Pavelka. It stood next to the then main entrance to the Exhibition Centre, and during the exhibition it was used for live broadcasting, including concerts.

For a long time, it was considered destroyed, just like the other wooden pavilions. Nevertheless, it continued to function, albeit elsewhere and for different purposes. Today, the relocated building stands like a torso at Sportovní Street in Brno, where it served cynologists for years.


Wiesner’s Union Bank

After the nationalization of the banks after World War II, the radio received at its disposal its current headquarters in the former Bohemian Union Bank in Beethovenova Street (completed in 1925). Radio moved into the building in 1950.

The major reconstruction, completed in 2022, received several awards for returning to the original ideas of the spiritual father of the building, architect Ernst Wiesner. The building now combines modern technologies with the nobleness of the First Czechoslovak Republic.


A secret studio under the New Town Hall

There was one more radio studio in Brno, and it served the cable radio. This was a radio that operated via cable distribution, which allowed only one station to be played at a time from a simple receiver. This was a combination of broadcasts from the relevant cable radio studio (usually controlled by the relevant national committee – later the town hall) and the Czechoslovak, later Czech Radio.

Cable radio broadcasted in our country from approximately 1953 to 1999.

The cable radio studio in Brno was located in the basement of the New Town Hall. From there, it provided broadcasting, for example, in 1968, when Czechoslovak Radio already had to go silent. Broadcasting "via cable" could not be localized.


Voskovec and Werich on the radio

Radio also used facilities in other buildings, including sports venues or theatres. One of them was the Theatre at the Exhibition Centre. It was from here that the play “Ostrov Dynamit” (The Dynamite Island) by Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich was broadcasted on the Brno airwaves in 1930. It was the very first such performance of the protagonists of the Liberated Theatre (Osvobozené divadlo) in front of the microphones. Since then, the radio has broadcasted every V+W play.


Photo captions

  1. General view of the transmitter station in Komárov, 1924; Moravian Museum – Department of History
  2.  Exhibition of Contemporary Culture, Veselé večery Brno (Merry evenings Brno) performed by the Orchestra of the Brno branch of Radiojournal, 1928; Czech Radio Archive
  3. View of the entrance, radio building in Beethovenova Street, 2021‒2022; Photo by Bořivoj Čapák
  4. Roof terrace with skylight, radio building in Beethovenova Street, 2021‒2022; Photo by Bořivoj Čapák
  5. Upward view of the main staircase, radio building in Beethovenova Street, 2021‒2022; Photo by Bořivoj Čapák
  6. Passage from the 1st to the 2nd courtyard of the New Town Hall, 1950s; Brno City Museum Collections