Thursday, 10 March 2011

Radio - Television, Potsdam

I wonder how many people who purchased a radio or a television set from that grey East German shop tuned in to forbidden broadcasts from the West? In parts of East Germany the authorities could easily spot who was listening to or watching West German or RIAS (Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor - the US radio and, from 1988, television broadcaster based in West Berlin) programmes by checking the direction their antenna was pointing to. However in Potsdam that was impossible as West Berlin stood between the town and the transmitters located in East Berlin of both Rundfunk der DDR and Deutscher Fernsehfunk (the East German radio and television broadcasters respectively). Following the construction of the Berlin Wall, the East German authorities tried for a short while to jam the RIAS and Western signals but doing so effectively would have disrupted signals within West Germany, their own services, and those of Radio Wolga, the station of the Soviet armed forces based in the GDR. Thus the authorities often relied on nosy neighbours or relatives to denounce those listening to and watching "enemy" programmes and adverts.
West German radio and TV waves didn't cover the entire territory of the former GDR though: the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, the eastern part of Mecklenburg and Vorpommern, all in the northeastern corner of the GDR, together with the valley of the Elbe around Dresden in the southeastern corner of the country were out of reach. As a consequence the latter was sometimes referred to as "Tal der Ahnungslosen" or "Valley of the Clueless."

Radio - Fernsehen
[Radio - Television]

Location: Lindenstraße, Potsdam, Brandenburg / Picture taken on: 11/11/2008

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