Academic journal article Journalism History

Radio Hole-in-the-Head/Radio Liberty: An Insider's Story of Cold War Broadcasting

Academic journal article Journalism History

Radio Hole-in-the-Head/Radio Liberty: An Insider's Story of Cold War Broadcasting

Article excerpt

Critchlow, James. Radio Hole-in-the-Head/Radio Liberty: An Insider's Story of Cold War Broading. Washington, D.C.: American University Press, 1995. 192 pp. $21.95. Radio Liberty, created in 1951 as a step-sister to Radio Free Europe, beamed news, music, and American propaganda to listeners in the Soviet Union from its base in Munich, Germany. Funded by the CIA for more than twenty years, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were often under attack by critics of American foreign policy-Radio Liberty was dubbed "Radio hole-in-the-head," for example. In 1973, after CIA funding was publicly acknowledged, Congress established the Board of International Broadcasting (BIB), which resulted in both stations being merged into a single corporation.

With the Cold War rapidly fading into memory, a book on the activities of Radio Liberty is clearly needed to provide insight into the history of radio, propaganda, and the Cold War. James Critchlow, who worked at Radio Liberty for twenty years before leaving to join the USIA, has written a memoir of his experiences.

Unfortunately, he is not interested in a history of Radio Liberty or telling his readers what type of programming it broadcast into the Soviet Union. Left unsaid is what sort of policy debates took place inside the operation or what was effective programming. Critchlow notes why he does little with broadcasting history: "Decades after these events, it is impossible to recall all the details of RL's early broadcasts. If copies are in storage in some obscure archive, I am unaware of it. …

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