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Listening to the radio

From the crossroads of history

In the period between 1952 and 1982, thanks to the initiative and fatigueless efforts by Nikola Kosic, Major of the Royal Yugoslav Army who had come to the US after having been a prisoner of war in the World War II, the Serbian radio program was being broadcasted in Milwaukee. Having worked as a teacher in military schools, Mr. Kosic was familiar with the power of spoken words, especially those expressed through radio broadcast. When he felt that interests and needs of the new generation of Serbian population established in the US after the World War II were different from those of the "old settlers" – our compatriots who had come there in earlier years – he created a special radio program in our language. This radio program was supposed to broadcast news not only about what was happening in the country, but also about the reactions of the free world to the impact of actions of communist regimes in our country and in other countries of Eastern Europe.

An interesting half-hour documentary show by Dragoslav Simic, composed of archive recordings, has given the outlines of the Serbian radio program in the US. We could listen to certain news recordings, usually read by Milan Radovic, Pavle Jovanovic, Borislav Popovic and others, followed by the speech by Professor Radoje Knezevic, editor of the "Voice of Canadian Serbs" ("Glas kanadskih Srba"), as well as an Easter address of the Serbian Holly Assembly of Bishops (Srpski arhijerejski sabor) read by the Patriarch German.

The Serbian radio program in Milwaukee was cultivating the tradition: it was deeply moving to listen to a certain Ms. Vuletic reciting the folk epic poem "The Death of Jugovics' Mother" ("Smrt majke Jugovića"), first in our language and then in English. The Serbian radio program had also had some short drama forms, mostly sketches such as "The Cult of Personality" ("Kult ličnosti") and "The Two Generations" ("Dve generacije"), broadcasted after Tito's death.

Having understood, quite unmistakably, that testimonies about the past years are not necessarily limited to written or printed sources, but could also be found in audio recordings, photographs or film footage, Dragoslav Simic has been creating, since several years, a unique audio documentation. Well composed and edited, his show about recently departed Nikola Kosic is not only an expression of posthumous homage to a creator dedicated to the radio, but also a precious radiophonic testimony about the crossroads of the history, which enable us to hear voices of an entire community of American Serbs and get a partial insight into the structure of the former Serbian radio broadcast in Milwaukee.

(Radio Belgrade 2, November 22nd).

Rasko B. Jovanovic, Professor
Radio critic of the oldest Belgrade daily newspaper "Politika"

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