In 2014 radio in Belgium exists exactly 100 years. This centenary is celebrated with various events, broadcasts and exhibitions, as well as the publication of several books. Yesterday, the book ‘U luistert naar de radio’ (‘You listen to the radio’) was presented in Radiohouse R, in Leuven. Brecht Declercq, Digitization and Acquisition Manager at VIAA, wrote a chapter about the history of public broadcasting in Flanders.
'U luistert naar radio. Gebruik, functies en productie' ('You listen to the radio. Use, functions and production') is primarily a scientific work, with a focus on radio advertising, radio journalism and the listener’s experience, such as the community radio and new hybrid forms of radio and new media. But if one wants to know where radio now stands and how it will evolve, one can’t ignore its history. Lead Editors Leen d’Haenens and Elke Ichau (KU Leuven) therefore asked Brecht Declercq to write down the baselines.
The history of public broadcasting in Flanders reads like the essence of the medium itself: in waves up and down, not so visible but always present and influential. The overview addresses aspects of governance, content and technology, starting with the first experiments right before the First World War until the extensive digitization that characterizes radio today. By responding to the changing technology and audience in a flexible way, public broadcasting in Flanders still takes a very strong position and seems to be ready to handle challenges that await for another hundred years.