Jana Kománková: The first few years of Radio 1 were a party in the studio

Photo: Ian Willoughby, Radio Prague International

Set up by eager but wholly inexperienced young music fans, Prague’s Radio 1 was the first non-state station in Czechoslovakia after the fall of communism. Decades later, the story of the station – which is still going strong – is the subject of a colourful new book, Radio 1: Life in the Ether, by Jana Kománková, one of its longest serving DJs. We spoke on the eve of its publication.

What is your own association with the station? When did you start working for Radio 1?

“I started in 1993. I was working for a music magazine that had a guest show each week on the air, and I was really happy to be able to go there. I think the others were sort of tired going to the Radio, so they happily let me go.

“And once I was in I sort of got some shifts covering somebody else’s shift and I just stayed.”

When was the station first set up? It was the first ever non-state radio station in Prague after the fall of communism?

“It began in 1990. First it was a pirate station. A bunch of students got hold of some equipment for broadcasting and they asked for the possibility to broadcast legally, but since it was very shortly after the Velvet Revolution there wasn’t a law that would enable the starting of a radio station.

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Author: Ian Willoughby