On November 23, 1924 the first broadcast of the so-called radio newspaper was produced in Moscow on the Komintern radio station.
The first issue opened with hailing addresses from prominent political figures and people of art. The first words Moscow heard in the inaugural issue of the radio newspaper were, “Hello! Hello! Attention, Moscow calling! The radio newspaper # 1 is on air!” The appeal was followed by multiple greetings, news from the wires, science and technology updates, comic intermissions and advertisements.
The format of the first radio report was that of live broadcasts from the parades on the Red Square. Gradually, a special person was introduced, who actually did the commentary.
At first, the radio newspaper was broadcast four times a week, but soon it became a daily program with morning and evening issues. The content also expanded by adding economic news and a cultural section, alternated with limericks on burning topics, rhymes, and short stories.
One of the obvious advantages of such radio broadcasts was the timeliness of the information. Since the print media was not published on Mondays, the latest news could only be accessible through the radio, putting the radio ahead of the papers. The first editor-in-chief of the radio newspaper, B.G. Dansky, stated, “We are making the radio broadcast interesting by giving the burning material before it shows up in the printed press… what we would call ‘right off the hot frying pan’.”
During the years of WWII the Komintern radio towers were moved from their regular location in the Moscow region to the city of Ufa in the East of Russia. During the war the radio broadcast anti-Nazi propaganda to the occupied European territories and these broadcasts were conducted in 18 languages. The site was guarded 24/7 and only a few new about its true location to protect it from any subversive activity; the Nazis, though, failed to find it.
Once the number of the topics in the radio newspaper grew, it broke up into several separate programs, each targeted at a certain audience. Some programs talked about agriculture, others were devoted to younger listeners, while others covered military subjects.
The radio newspaper had become the major new resource for obtaining information, its major advantage being the presentation of the latest international and domestic news in a timely fashion. The extensive use of the experience accumulated in the printed media and attraction of professional journalists positively affected the quality of the programs and helped radio lay the foundation for mass broadcasting.