Radio Luxembourg, the station that changed our world

Marc Hoscheid – adapted for RTL Today | 27.12.2023

© University of Luxembourg

In collaboration with various partners and using digital media, the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History announced its newest research project on Radio Luxembourg.

Depending on how you look at it, Radio Luxembourg’s roots go back to 1924 – making next year RTL’s 100th birthday.

In light of the anniversary, academics have now launched a research project to examine the broadcaster’s history. Led by Dominique Santana from the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), the project will explore the role RTL Luxembourg played in shaping the broadcasting sector of the twentieth century.

“I, like many other people of my generation, often have witnessed the connections made with Radio Luxembourg when I tell people abroad where I come from. I always asked myself why people abroad listen to RTL at all? That inspired me to do a bit of research until I realised that Radio Luxembourg was a true pioneer in the media landscape of the 20th century.”

© Marc Hoscheid

This is partly explained by the fact that RTL has been broadcasting to an audience of millions in different languages for decades.

The online platform radio.lu was created to analyse the history of the station. The project also uses oral history, which is based on contemporary witnesses telling their personal stories. The aim is to tell a narrative as unfiltered as possible, which is why listeners and former employees are now being asked to take part. So far, the whole project is going well.

“We haven’t had any difficulties so far, so we’ve already started numerating collections in the digital history lab. We are currently working on numerating the archives of Gust Graas and Barry Alldis from the English broadcaster. We have also already received material from Frank Elstner.”

Bernard Michaux, Dominique Santana, Frank Elstner (v.l.n.r.). / © Centre for Contemporary and Digital History

On 23 June, for example, a meeting was organised at the Luxembourg Embassy in London with around 20 former DJs from the English station and their family members. The C²DH received a few boxes of archive material from them that will be digitised and stored as part of the project.

© Centre for Contemporary and Digital History

But as already mentioned, ordinary citizens are also encouraged to tell their stories by sending either sound files or gadgets such as pens, posters or items of clothing. The role of the individual is not only that of the supplier of memorabilia, but also one of interpretation.

There is also a so-called research diary on the online platform, in which important stages of the project are recorded at regular intervals.

On top of the website, the project will be launching a podcast series with the help of students from the “Digital and Public History” master’s programme, which starts next year.

Dominique Santana is also expecting the recording of a documentary film, as well as an augmented reality exhibition on Villa Louvigny as a broadcasting centre. The latter is planned to later be shown in Luxembourg embassies worldwide.


© RTL Today website – December 27, 2023

This material remains © RTL Luxembourg and is only to be used for non-commercial personal or research use. Any other use requires permission of the copyright holder.

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