Coca-Colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War

By Reinhold Wagnleitner; Diana M. Wolf | Go to book overview

4
"Howling and Noise": United States Radio Politics in Austria

Pecos Bill, the King of Cowboys.

An interesting picture of the cowboy will be given to listeners during the American part of the Allied Hour. Folktales almost always have a grain of truth, and why should it not be so that the cowboy and his profession were invented overnight. And who really was the first cowboy? It was Pecos Bill, the adventurous orphan adopted and raised by a pack of prairie dogs, finding it very difficult to once again return to civilization and people. As a result of his animal-like intelligence, he invented the lasso to capture and herd cattle, and it is even said that cowboy songs can be traced back to him.

--Press release of the station Rot-Weiss-Rot for the program transmitted on May 21, 1949

Voice of America Will Tell Reds about Santa

U.S. plans to show Soviets what a fine season Christmas is in a land Russians are taught to hate. . . . Even Santa Claus is in on the conflict with Russia. Jolly St. Nick will play a leading role in the Voice of America broadcasts to the Russians this Christmas.

-- New York Sun, December 22, 1949

Not only was the propaganda Cold War fought with black ink, but the airwaves also were used in the information battle. Just as significant as U.S. press politics was the influence of U.S. radio officers on the development of radio in Austria.1 Already by the beginning of June 1945, the U.S. radio group Rot-Weiss-Rot (named after the colors of the Austrian flag) began transmissions from Salzburg (first in the Landestheater, then in the Franziskaner Cloister) and from Linz (in the provincial parliament). By July 1945, the Viennese radio studio (located in the Waldheim-Eberle Press) had also begun its broadcasts. Only in October 1946 were the headquarters of radio Rot-Weiss-Rot finally moved to Vienna from Salzburg, and this initial concentration in Salzburg was also a signal from U.S. radio reformers to regionalize and federalize Austrian radio. Even though the implementation of this initiative was hindered by the Austrian government during the occupation period, the development of strong stations in Salzburg and Linz set the course that finally led to a national radio plebiscite and the reorganization of Austrian Radio ( ORF).

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