Some history of the old Radio Free Asia, 1951-1953.

Posted: 13 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
"On September 4, 1951, at 6:30 a.m. local time, Radio Free Asia began live broadcasting on a test basis from a rented studio in the commercial radio station KNBC, downtown San Francisco (it was 10:30 p.m. in China). After the sound of a bronze gong being struck three times and music from Mahler’s 'Song of the Earth,' the first broadcast began with these words in Mandarin Chinese, 'This is Radio Free Asia...the voice of free men speaking to the people of Asia.' The initial programs of news and commentary were at first 90 minutes long and divided into three segments in Mandarin, Cantonese and English languages. They programs were broadcast via a leased wire RCA short-wave to Manila, Philippines and from there to China via a directional short wave antenna. John W. Elwood, the first director of Radio Free Asia was quoted by Time magazine on September 17, 1951, as saying 'Because we have no government ties, we can say anything we damn please.' Time told its readers, 'Like its sister organization, Radio Free Europe, R.F.A. was founded by a group of private U.S. citizens who feel that the Voice of America, though effective in its way, is sometimes hampered because of "good & sufficient reasons of national policy."'" Richard Cummings,, 13 April 2010. Except that it was, because it wasn't really founded private citizens. This Radio Free Asia, which existed from 1951 to 1953, is not connected to the present Radio Free Asia. Indeed, I don't think the people who created and named the present Radio Free Asia were familiar with this earlier Radio Free Asia.
     "50 years ago, Joseph Kovago, deposed mayor of Budapest, told a group of local business leaders about his first-hand experiences with Russian Communism and the importance of Radio Free Europe. Mr. Kovago's appearance at the Hotel Casey [Scranton, PA] was organized by Crusade for Freedom, the fundraising arm of Radio Free Europe." The Times-Tribune (Scranton, PA), 11 April 2010.