1940s Radio Station Online

Saturday, 08 August 2020

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Wireless Broadcasts

1940s Radio OTR War Propaganda

Old-time wireless was a powerful tool during the war years, maintaining morale with regular broadcasts was essential..

Propaganda warfare was a new science, and one that would be used to its maximum potential by both sides.

It was no secret broadcasting was going to play a major part in communicating with the general public during the war.

The radio was the primary weapon of the Nazi propaganda war efforts that were pioneering the use of recent technology.

Shortly after the break out of World War II, the German propagandists were transmitting eleven hours a day.

By the summer of 1940s radio broadcasts towards the United States had become critical.

We were entering a new age of Propaganda Psychological Warfare, one that all sides would abuse to its maximum potential. 

Listening to BBC broadcast in occupied countries carried the death penalty and owning a receiver in Poland was outlawed.

A special Morse Code Service was transmitted for localized printed distribution.

BBC | OTR | Old Music | Wireless

Propaganda Broadcasts

BBC TV transmissions were suspended during the war leaving broadcasting as a primary media source helping to boost the nation’s morale by maintaining a regular schedule and current news source.

There were regular conflicts between the BBC and the Ministry of Information regarding content as you would expect in a fierce propaganda war which let to notable resignations at the BBC. 

Entertainers Enter the War of the Airways

You could write pages covering the contributions by celebrity entertainers during WW2, but we have picked out three we thought stood out to give you a cross-section.

Vintage singer Dame Vera Lynn

Dame Vera Lynn
CH DBE OStJ Born, 20 March 1917

Very much a part of the war machine, Dame Vera Lynn’s tireless efforts entertaining servicemen were a huge contribution to maintaining moral.

Her constant flow of timeless classics throughout the war was uplifting making the best of any situation.

Lord Haw-Haw AKA William Joyce

Lord Haw-Haw
(William Joyce) (24 April 1906 – 3 January 1946)

Germany had been hitting hard with Lord Haw-Haw who transmitted 1940s radio propaganda from 18 September 1939 and continued until 30 April 1945.

His shows were deliberately designed to discourage and demoralize the allies and proved to be quite popular with English listeners versus the more formal BBC transmissions.

Vintage singer Marlene Dietrich helped allies with propaganda broadcasts

Marie Magdalene "Marlene" Dietrich German
27 December 1901 – 6 May 1992

Marlene Dietrich turned down an invitation by the Nazi Party to return to Germany and teamed up with the allies.

Many of her recordings were very sad and deliberately aimed at demoralizing German troops who were thinking of home and loved ones.

Vintage OTR broadcast archivesRadio Drama Was Popular

Radio was hugely popular in the 1930s and with sets readily available to the masses through mass production listening figures were high.

Its influences were unmistakable after the famous Orson Welles’s broadcast, “War of the Worlds”, Halloween, 1938.

Late Tuners did not Hear the Disclaimer!

Orson Welles introduced an original adaptation of the classic science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, alien invasion “War of the Worlds”.

The adaptation started as normal but was interrupted by news reports of an alien invasion as per Orson Welles script.

Unfortunately for those listeners that had tuned in late and did not listen to the disclaimer, the reality was somewhat different and consequently mayhem ensued.

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