(VOV) – Sixty-eight years ago today a special live radio broadcast was made at Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square where President Ho Chi Minh read the Independence Declaration proclaiming the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
Though it is was a trial broadcast, it marked the coming into being of Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) five days later.
August 22, 1945 was a special day for a propaganda vanguard group who were assigned to establish a national radio station under a President Ho directive.
The group was led by Tran Lam, an excellent law student, who showed interest in revolutionary activity. Lam was required to listen to foreign radio broadcasts, sort out news items and write stories and pamphlets to be distributed across Hanoi in support of Viet Minh (the Liberation Army).
Lam, together with Tran Kim Xuyen and Chu Van Tich – two of his friends, worked hard to prepare for the inauguration ceremony of the national radio.
Nobody in the group knew exactly what a radio station was, and they basically had to start it up from nothing with their own bare hands.
As the first National Day celebration was drawing near, Tran Lam and his colleagues decided to make a trial live broadcast at Ba Dinh Square on September 2, 1945.
They asked a radio frequency technician to invent a 300w transmitter from an out-dated morse machine.
For safety reasons, the group borrowed two transmitters from the Bach Mai radio signal station and installed them inside a building on No4 Dinh Le street in front of Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword) lake.
Tests were conducted and they proved successful. But at the last minute they were told to return the two machines to the Radio Department to prepare for the National Day celebration at Ba Dinh.
The group had no choice but to use the invented 300w transmitter to broadcast President Ho’s speech. This low-capacity transmitter was again placed on the Dinh Le building and broadcast President Ho’s speech live from Ba Dinh Square through an antenna installed on the rooftop of the building.
“I was happy because local people could hear President Ho’s voice, but I was also anxious about the quality of the trial broadcast due to the low capacity of the transmitter,” recalled Tran Cung, who invented the 300w transmitter.
The successful trial broadcast inspired the group to accelerate preparations for the establishment of the national radio.
In the first real broadcast on September 7, 1945, presenters read President Ho’s Independence Declaration again.