Wolfgang Schlag on Public Radio

Wolfgang Schlag talks about the history of radio broadcasting, his involvement as a journalist for Ö1 and some current issues and how he sees the development of radio currently and in the future.

In 1920 the first radio station went on air, which was KDKA in Pittsburgh, USA. Soon many more stations popped up in the USA, which already back in those days had music, literature, educational broadcasts and commercials in their program.

The first Austrian radio started in 1924 with the same topics. It was overtaken by the national socialists in 1934, who also built the ORF Funkhaus in Vienna in 1939.

The history of modern radio in Austria started in 1967 with Ö3, a pop radio station, following the example of Radio Luxemburg, which already played pop music before. Those were very interesting times, known for the Beatles, Woodstock, etc. Also, in the countryside radio was very important for young people, as record stores were not easily accessible for everyone.

Ö1 (cultural radio) started being broadcast in the same year (1967) with classical music, political information and educational content. Political short short news have already been common since the second world war.

Wolfgang Schlag was very involved in the radio magazine “Musicbox”. Later he moved to television and made reportages for arte and others. But eventually he went back to Ö1 because he is so fascinated by that broadcasting job. One of the reasons he is so excited about it is the simplicity. You just need a laptop and a good microphone to produce a radio show. Television and movies are much more complicated. During the corona lockdown all the broadcasters even made their productions in their home office.

For the future he predicts that radio will survive even though the internet takes over more and more of the classical media market shares. He says “You can create a special world with radio”.

I agree with Mr. Schlag. Radio is still a medium that plays a significant role nowadays. It is very accessible for getting updated on current affairs, zap thorugh some fresh music or just being entertained while cooking or driving. I also like turning on the radio when I am in another country to get an impression of their language and culture.