Czech Radio and City of Prague to Commemorate the Events of August 1968 with Special Broadcast and a Great Concert

August 21, 1968

August 21, 1968

For the fiftieth anniversary of the events of August 1968 Czech Radio has prepared special all-day broadcast and in cooperation with Prague’s Municipal Authority also a concert in Wenceslas Square. The concert will include the greatest hits of the 1960s, particularly of the fateful year 1968, performed by Czech and Slovak contemporary singers, such as Aneta Langerová, Vojta Dyk, Jana Kirschner and many others. They will be accompanied by Petr Malásek’s band and by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. The year 1968 will also be commemorated by a premiere of new radio play called Yesterday, on 20 August and by a multimedia mobile phone application.

“On the night between 20 and 21 August 1968 Czechoslovak Radio opened one of the most significant chapters in its history of ninety-five years. The free radio broadcast which it managed to carry on for several August days despite the country being occupied by Warsaw Pact armies was exceptionally important. The Radio played an indispensable role that we should never stop being proud of,” says René Zavoral, Czech Radio’s Director General

Czech Radio maintained the contact between the country’s legal leadership and the population. It helped to avert chaos and it possibly prevented more casualties. Through its international broadcast it also informed the world of the situation in Czechoslovakia. The August 1968 occupation claimed 25 lives in the area of the capital, with sixteen dead in the vicinity of the then Czechoslovak Radio. 

“It is necessary to keep commemorating the important events of our history, so I am glad that for the fiftieth anniversary of August 1968 Prague has joined forces with Czech Radio, which played an indispensable role back then,” says Adriana Krnáčová, Mayor of Prague. 

The special broadcast regarding the August 1968 events will begin on Czech Radio Radiožurnál at 9 p.m. on 20 August, only a few minutes before the first military aircraft appeared at Prague’s Ruzyně airport fifty years ago. For the following thirteen hours there will be live broadcast from the largest S1 studio in Vinohradská street, where presenters Jan Pokorný and Martin Veselovský, along with Czech Radio’s reporters and foreign correspondents, will go back in time to 1968 to report minutely on the historic events. 

After the end of the live broadcast, at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, all Czech radio stations will premiere a new radio drama Yesterday, on 20 August with Táňa Vilhelmová, Vojta Dyk, Miroslav Krobot and David Novotný in the title roles. The play was written by Petr Kazda and directed by Aleš Vrzák, Czech Radio Chief Director. 

The events of August 1968 will also be commemorated by a concert in Wenceslas Square at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Czech Radio Music Producer Petr Král and Petr Malásek, who has made new arrangements of songs like “Lady Carneval,” “Bratříčku, zavírej vrátka,” “Želva” or “Klaunova zpověď,” approached singers Marta Kubišová, Lucie Bílá, Marta Jandová, Tereza Černochová, Jana Kirschner, Aneta Langerová, Vojta Dyk, Matěj Ruppert, Xindl X and Honza Křížek. Besides Petr Malásek’s band they will be accompanied by Tam Tam Batucada drummers and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. 

The occupation of Czechoslovakia will also be commemorated by a multimedia mobile phone application which will enable users to immerse themselves in 1968 in a modern experiential way. It will provide an audio series based on real events and tailored to the digital environment. The listening will be complemented by Augmented Reality, which works with digital objects in a real environment and uses surround sound. The visitors to the Czech Radio building in Prague’s Vinohradská street will also have the unique opportunity to find themselves in the midst of the invasion through virtual reality based on the aforementioned story. 

Besides Czech Radio and Prague’s Municipal Authority, Project 1968 is being co-created by the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, the National Museum, National Film Archive, Czech Photo and many other organisations. 

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