Radio Finland appears to have been the first European
international broadcaster to open an 800-line (toll free) in the US,
and later in Canada. Done in the very early 80s
the move had an expensive look, though the
cost actually was not that high. The
calls never reached Finland, but an answering system
at the office of John Berky, the YLE Radio
Finland audience and distribution representative in
near Hartford, CT, Mr Berky pursued his main career in
US public radio. He had been recruited by YLE originally
in 1973 to handle distribution of YLE
classical music and transcription tapes. In the
transcription service YLE English
programmes were made available to local stations in the US.
Radio Finland started creating a local
audience service presence in North America Mr Berky was a
rational choice. The
requests for schedules were serviced
on location in North America. Comments reached
Finland on cassettes.
From 1989 until 2002 Radio Finland appeared
in the annual FinnFest events arranged on
various locations in the US. Mr Berky usually
arranged the logistics for the displays Seen here (left)
during an event in Minot, North Danota, with journalist
Kimmo Wilska and secretary Pirjo Usenius.
Teri Schultz in an event at Norfolk, VA, in September 1991. This
was a general short wave listeners fair, attended by several European
broadcasters. The screen and VHS kept repeating an eight
minute promotional video produced in 1988, with versions both in
English and German. This photo was used for pr at the time. There
was a version there were people in abundance in front of the
table. As permissions to appear in publicity was not asked, that
was not published.
The German language service (relaunched in 1985)
pioneered events arranged abroad,
connected often with activities
arranged by Finnish expatriates in Germany
or events such as the Berliner Funkaustellung.
This picture is from Hamburg, in late 1990.
Seen from the left broadcaster Christiane
Winkelman, broadcaster Rasso Knoller and
producer Dieter Krause.
of the last events participated by Radio Finland in
North America was the Finnish Canadian Convention of
2002 in Calgary (Alberta). The background display
reflected the campaign directed towards Finnish tourists
and expatriates, about the world band radio as a cost
saving alternative to a mobile internet gadget. At the time of
the Calgar event word was already out that the
foreign language services would close and Radio
Finland focussed on Finnish and Swedish. - Seen
here talking to listeners technical coordinator Janne
Nieminen and journalist Salme Unkuri. Radio Finland
appeared also in events in Australia. From 1999 regional
caucus meetings of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament were
taped and broadcast later on Radio Finland in Finnish.
Simon Spanswick from the UK started arranging pr and publicity
services for the international broadcasting scene in the early
90s. The service later developed into the Association of
International Broadcasting. YLE Radio Finland was never a member.
We attended some early joint publicity ventures though, including
this (below) in Geneva during a Telecom Fair there. From the
right, Simon Spanswick, Caroline Gasmi (YLE French), Kimmo Wilska
(YLE English and German) and Juhani Niinistö.