Cold War radio relic signs off for last time

23rd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 March 2006, PALS — A controlled explosion destroyed a complex of 13 radio antennas installed by the United States in 1955 to beam programmes to the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.

23 March 2006

PALS — A controlled explosion destroyed a complex of 13 radio antennas installed by the United States in 1955 to beam programmes to the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.

From a beach in Catalonia, those antennas - seven of them standing 165 meters (541 feet) tall and the rest just under half that size - relayed the signals of Radio Liberty.

Between 1955 and 2001, the Pals complex carried millions of news and opinion programmes that opened with the phrase "Govorit Radio Svoboda" (Radio Liberty Speaks).

The idea of building what was one of the most powerful broadcasting arrays operating in Europe in the second half of the 20th century emerged from the U.S. government-funded American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia.

The committee settled on the shoreline of this medieval village - then a farming community of some 500 residents - because it was far from a built-up or wooded area and close to the sea, a good reflector for shortwave-radio signals.

The U.S. government paid about EUR 41,436 to buy the 333,500 square meters (82 acres) where the antennas were put up.

Locals like to claim that former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was able to keep abreast of events during the abortive 1991 coup against his government by listening to Radio Liberty transmissions from Pals.

Radio Liberty, whose studios were in west-central Germany, was merged in 1973 with Munich-based Radio Free Europe. In 1995, the combined station relocated to Prague.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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