This is a fun and worthwhile outdoor activity for individuals and families alike. For history buffs, the radio information is enlightening! Sitting benches are strategically located at gorgeous viewpoints and there is a campfire site for barbecuing at the top. Open 24/7 and free of charge.
Interesting Radio Beromünster History
Television didn’t really come into the picture until the sixties and looking from today’s vantage point, radio was culturally very strong and broad-based in Switzerland.
Increasing popularity for AM (Mittelwelle) radio in the 1920ies lead Swiss postal & telephone agency PTT to search for suitable locations for three broadcast towers that would supply radio programming across Switzerland.
Sotton in French-speaking Switzerland, Monte Ceneri in the Italian-speaking Ticino and in German speaking Switzerland Beromünster were the three locations selected. Except that the site of the broadcast tower Beromünster was actually in Gunzwil; but the powers-in-charge decided that name just didn’t have the same ring as Beromünster in the neighbouring community.
On June 11, 1931, the first broadcast is transmitted with the announcement “Schweizerischer Landes-Sender Beromünster” for just a few hours each day. You may remember the few bars of twinkling music that preceded the announcements, accompanied by the rustling sounds of the announcer’s paperwork in the live-studios.
Installation of Beromünster antenna
In 1937, shortly before WWII, the decision is taken to massively increase broadcast power to improve reception within Switzerland and to also expand transmission beyond the borders. The newly installed 217 meter tall, self-broadcasting antenna on top of Blosenberg is one of the strongest within Europe. Particularly during World War II, neutral Switzerland’s broadcasts of “Weltchronik” by historian Dr. von Salis were widely sought after across the continent for its military and political situation reports.
During the mid-fifties, the new FM bandwidth technology is increasingly replacing medium-wave, and the importance of Beromünster starts to wane. In the late ’60ies, Radio Beromünster becomes Schweizer Radio, then Radio DRS and finally toady’s Radio SRF.
In a considerable radius around the antenna, broadcasts could be received without equipment. Local farmers today still remember how in their youth “…we only needed to put our heads out the window in the attic to have perfect reception of the live soccer matches coming through the gutter”. Or “…to hear the announcer out of the old stove top burners in the kitchen”.
Bauer Fritz, whom I’m staying with at his and his wife Jannine’s delightful organic farm B&B on the other side of the valley, confirms that over the years, they had farm guests who still very gratefully remember the Radio Beromünster broadcasts in Germany and other countries during WWII.
With the words “Leb’ wohl, liebs Beromünster”, followed by one last playing of the Swiss national anthem – the usual closure of the day’s broadcasts at midnight for the past seventy-seven years – Landes-Sender Beromünster is turned off. The date is December 28, 2008.
Three days after the shut-down, on January 1, 2009, Gunzwil merged with neighbouring Beromünster and the architecturally protected antenna and the broadcast station are now finally located in Beromünster!