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United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany. Information Services Division / RIAS, Berlin

Background on RIAS,   pp. 2-5 PDF (1.5 MB)

Page 2

RIAS, the official radio station of the Office of the United States
High Commissioner for Germany, was established to provide a mass medium
of expression for the democratic West in Berlin and the Soviet Zone.
In the fall of 1945, when it became apparent at the outset of quadri-
partite relations that the Soviets would not relinquish unilateral control
of Radio Berlin, the Americans decided to establish their own radio service.
This service went into operation on February 7, 1946, utilizing the wired
radio method of transmitting a daily schedule of seven hours of programs
over the Berlin ci ty telephone network. The programs presenting to the
listeners in the American Sector objective newscasts and Western-type
public service features such as equal .air time for all authorized poli-
tical parties, were in sharp contrast with the output of Soviet-controlled
Radio Berlin.
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The new American station, Drahtfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor (Ylired
Radio in the American S'ector) was used by TUS radio officials to pressure
the Soviet to relinquish control of Radio Berlin. Each stage' of further
development of the station was accompanied by US warnings to the Soviets
that unless Radio Berlin was turned over to quadripartite control the US
station would be further expanded. After several months of Drahtfunk ope-
ration it was found that the programs were not readily available to a
large audience. It also appeared that the Soviets did not recognize the
danger of competition for Radio Berlin. Accordingly, on September 5, 1946,
the station changed its name to Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor (Radio
in the American Sector), using the call l'etters "RIAStI with transmissions
on a 1000 watt broadcast transmitter.
The signal of the 1000 watt transmitter was weak compared to the
100,000 watt signal of Radio Berlin and also because of the nonavailabi-
lity of a good frequency. The technical equipment consisted of an old US
Army mobile transmitter that had originally been issued to a psychological
warfare unit. A modest but vitally necessary power boost was an obvious
liecessity and a new  2,500 watt 'German transmitter was ordered.
This new transmitter was put into operation on M.arch 7, 1947, at which
time the lmericans sent notice to the Soviets that unless they.relin-
quished unilateral control over Radio Berlin, it would be.necessary

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