Radio Wien

May 14, 1933     10:20 a.m. – 11:05 a.m.

Radio Wien

From 10:20 to 11:05 a.m. on Sunday, May 14, 1933, Radio Wien broadcasts the speeches held at the "Turks Deliverance Celebration" (Türkenbefreiungsfeier) in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace

The speakers at the event, officially commemorating Vienna's liberation from the second Ottoman siege in 1683, are the Home Guard (Heimwehr) leader Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg, Security Minister Emil Fey, and Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss,  who says into the row of microphones: "Foreign spirit and foreign ideas are in our people, have infected our people, and wreaked evil havoc."  To combat this enemy ideology—namely, "red" and "brown" socialism—the Austrian government, which has taken an authoritarian course since March 1933, uses radio for its propaganda purposes. 

The live broadcast of the rally in Schönbrunn breached a taboo and prompted public protest. 

The Social Democratic Arbeiter-Zeitung reported on May 16, 1933, that more than 10,000 listeners had canceled their radio license, because "on Sunday the so-called 'Turks Deliverance Celebration' by the Austrian Homeland Protection [Heimatschutz] was transmitted, departing from the practice up to now of not broadcasting party-political events on the radio."  Since its foundation in 1924, the broadcasting company Radio Verkehrs AG (RAVAG) had been obliged to maintain political neutrality, which was monitored by an advisory board at weekly meetings.  The Federal Press Service within the chancellery did exert an influence over news programs; however, there ought to be no party-political speeches on Austrian radio.

The opposition now criticized that the government was abusing Radio Wien, whose headquarters were located at Johannesgasse 4, as its mouthpiece. 

Speeches that were politically desirable were broadcast while opposing voices were silenced.  As an example, the Arbeiter-Zeitung on the day of the "Turks Deliverance Celebration" cited a canceled program that had been scheduled for May 17, 1933. The Viennese District Councillor Kamilla Gross was to speak about the rights of domestic servants as part of the Chamber of Labor's program. Her lecture was taken off the schedule with the justification that a social legislation reform was currently underway and there had been "complaints from housewives" about such broadcasts. 

The gap between the radio program and the listeners' wishes in Austria was also shown in a study carried out in the early 1930s by the Wirtschaftspsychologische Forschungsstelle. 

The RAVAG had commissioned this Center of Economic-Psychological Research, headed by Paul Lazarsfeld, to run a statistical audience survey. It produced a questionnaire, which was included in radio magazines in November 1931 and was also available in tobacco shops.  The innovative aspect of the study, which presented its findings a year later, was not so much the quantitative measurement of listeners' wishes, but rather the fact that it provided information on the likes and dislikes of various social groups.  The questionnaire included a section on age, gender, profession, and place of residence. By correlating radio programs with social data, the RAVAG study broke the mass audience down into specific target groups.

timeline
0 h
24 h
May 13, 1933 – 2 p.m.
May 14, 1933 – 2 p.m.

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