thumbnail of Report from Russia; Dr. William Howell
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Report from Russia E-W Zeebox dean of the summer session at the University of Minnesota and 10 other university faculty members recently completed a 30 day 9000 mile trip to the Soviet Union. The trip was financed by a grant from the Hill family foundation of St. Paul. While in Russia Dean Ziebart interviewed his colleagues and obtained their first hand impressions for this program. Now here is Dean Z by. Our reporting from here could be in Siberia. Our guest today is Dr. William a professor and chairman of the department of beat at the University of Minnesota. Who had done a great deal of research and study in the area of international communication and propaganda with a whole emphasis on the work done by Radio Moscow. We hear it here. Siberia some 3000 miles from Moscow. I've been listening to the broadcast for domestic broadcaster Radio Moscow. We thought it might be interesting
for us to chat about that operation from their somewhat improbable sounding point record. How did you become interested in international communication and critically at Radio Moscow. As you know easy subject. In this general area a couple of them argumentation and many years ago I decided that a great deal of persuasion was taking place in short wave radio. So I started listening. About eight years ago I became interested in radio Moscow's not American service. These are the programs beamed into us in English to influence our thinking about the Soviet Union. So for eight years I listened closely to this persuasion I made recordings of their broadcasts. When I came to the Soviet Union I wanted very much to go to Radio Moscow and to see the source of all this material. That's very interesting you referred to persuasion implying that the persuasive process actively takes place and I may come back and get you up in a moment
how much they played. But before doing so I actually listen to Radio Moscow. I would think so the first imitation of the number of shortwave receivers. Another limitation in my opinion that the shortwave broadcaster very much interested in politics with a conversation more interested in what his wife was doing in the afternoon. So I think there are two limitations a small number of receivers and a probable lack of political interest on the part of the people who have them support generalization that you've made to the extent and the quality and the quality of the listening is another matter. Talk about the radio
and the general effectiveness operation in a moment. Had any real difficult to study radio actually get together and talk with some of the people. Some difficulty getting to Radio Moscow North America and the anticipation was real. I spent literally and figuratively and finally the thing that opened it was an interview with Alexander Mr. Alexander the director of English broadcasting in Radio Moscow. We had an interview for something over an hour one afternoon with Mr. Alexander and the people operating is not an American service and the door very
nicely in effect Mr. Alexander instructed. Let me see what I wanted to see and they're. Able to get the information which you would hope the United States or other information is inaccessible. But the program production and quite a bit about this propaganda activity by talking to members of the staff Fortunately speak excellent English communication with them was no problem. I did not find an answer to my question about the amount of fan mail that they get from state. I wanted very much to get an accurate estimate of the numbers of letters coming in from United States with no satisfaction at all on that I wanted to find out more about their sources of information about the United States. They continually amazed me quoting
from newspapers all over the United States on the day the newspapers are printed. I would like to find out how they get that information. But I was unsuccessful in getting an answer to that question also question the fair one which is the United States as well as elsewhere. We got a great deal from history and one of the leaders in the station was getting hundreds of letters and I said in a week or a month and he said probably in a week. Now coming back to the objective again the service which is of special interest to you because the form of persuasion attempted persuasion about the objectives of the road they clearly defined by the people of Radio Moscow itself. I can only answer that by giving. Which represents of course the Moscow Radio point of view. He said
there are two objectives for this operation at the present time. One is too and the objective is to get to the people in the United States up to date reliable information about people in the Soviet Union and about the Soviet Union itself. And the second objective which he said was less important. Was to do it in the USSR and its people in the minds of American the. Objective the objective of a mic stand Radio Free Europe. I believe these are objective. Maybe any such international broadcasting. I think it would cover Voice of America. Of America have any substantial listenership here. I think some of my most interesting conversations with Radio Moscow Steff were about Voice of America as you might expect slight
hostility toward the Voice of America broadcasts. Of course they listened to them for information purposes. They. Said it is a little bit to propaganda a little and it's propaganda. They cited specifically the attempt to create dissatisfaction among the Russian people dissatisfaction with the government the indifferent and accurate report. Incidentally it's difficult for me in the situation I should explain that one of the major had an opportunity and many questions about the cover. Everyone under 40 with whom I've been able to talk leave an adequate sample to be sure but it represents a great geographic.
Across the union I have discovered that generally there seems to be action by the BBC than for Voice of America. The majority of the Russians with whom I have been able to talk at least. A little more objective a little less heavy handed a little less likely to try to direct and open a present government in the Soviet Union Square with the observation that I would like to second the observation about music USA one of the surprising things that keeps coming up in conversation with the Russian people is. Very favorable reception of the universal Listening To Music USA to the programme of a great many missions with respect to the BBC that seems among the people I talk to to be accorded a great measure of respect. They say the BBC is objective. And the
news broadcast very subtly. I guess that in the minds of rational propagandists for being objective at least if not objective reasonably effective. I think so. I think so. Now Specter studio is about getting equipment specifically and if so how does it compare with the broadcast equipment in your opinion. Technically I spent practically complete broadcast days in the Radio Moscow studios Radio Moscow goes on the air here at 2am five o'clock in the afternoon Central Standard Time in the United States. The programs however are not broadcast live during those hours but are stacked up on their own. But on the very end effect of tape recorders and the program making takes place in the evening. People come to work about 7:30 and finish up about
1:30 or 2:00 when they're recording. I was able to be in the studios to inspect the equipment to see it in action. Their studios are very much like they're on the plane or the building housing Radio Moscow is not to the radio building the studios are somewhat makeshift but the equipment is of high quality and the manipulation of the equipment is exceptionally good. That's interesting and I'm sure something of a surprise. Incidentally you mentioned a moment ago that the performers and executives as well as the North Atlantic service spoke English. Do they think British English which we hear so often here are the kind of American English which would be acceptable in the United States. I should mention that Moscow operates in 39 languages every day and they also operate in several varieties of English when they get to Britain we have a British accent. But getting to the United States we have a Middle Western American accent
and the people I talked to sounded very much to my neighbors next door and my lack of. Mention I think as we began. About radio before leaving the United States a long and intensive study by some of your graduate students as well in a general way your visit here to support and how good were you before you came how accurate were you how valid were your assumptions. A rather difficult question to answer. Need to think over conversations with the Radio America people before and sure very much before I came to the Soviet Union made certain assumptions about serving in the United States. I thought I would find some
clue as to their studies. People listening to Radio Moscow in our country. I don't believe those studies exist and. The people at Radio Moscow are not at all anxious to discuss the size of their American listening audience. Do you think it's not an American question. I'm getting sort of an end to this but it seems to me that the members of North American service staff have been very pleasant. They have a vested interest in keeping true information about the listening audience in the United States from reaching the ears of the people they work. Quick question and can clear the basis of the study in the United States that international broadcasting probably pays off. Would you be willing to generalize about I would have no basis for such generalization. A
final comment I would like to make is on the trend of a scene in Radio Moscow over the past eight years in which was one assumption of my talks with the staff observation of their work over the years at least Radio Moscow has become increasingly an information getting agency very slightly but gradually and steadily the propaganda which used to be there but calling us names and they used to in words give us interesting information about the Soviet Union and its people. I told people that this trend would continue that it still had a long way to go. Van Dam monitor here bikers should be innovative program we are broadcasting in criteria military by Radio thanks for coming here. You heard the E-W Zeebox dean of the summer session at the University of Minnesota in
Report from Russia
Dr. William Howell
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-q52fct7m).
Episode Description
E.W. Ziebarth speaks to Dr. William Howell about the time he has spent in the Soviet Union.
Series Description
E.W. Ziebarth, Dean of the summer session at University of Minnesota, and ten other faculty members embarked upon a month-long trip through the Soviet Union. Ziebarth interviewed his peers about their thoughts on the trip.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Public Affairs
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Host: Ziebarth, E. W. (Elmer William), 1910-
Interviewee: Howell, William
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-17-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:56
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Report from Russia; Dr. William Howell,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 31, 2023,
MLA: “Report from Russia; Dr. William Howell.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 31, 2023. <>.
APA: Report from Russia; Dr. William Howell. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from