January 22, 2018 — 4 comments
…is a memorable walk through Swiss radio history between 1930 and 1980, reflecting the cultural styles in music, radio plays and sports. The 45 minute moderate hiking path is one of three hundred official Swiss culture routes dedicated to provide a glimpse into an important part of Swiss history.
The path starts by the impressive Stiftskirche St. Michael (collegiate church St. Michael) at 642 meters above sea level and leads past tidy single homes with children playing outdoors and robot lawnmowers cutting the grass at the edge of the quaint village of Beromünster. Leaving behind the last house, the path meanders in a gentle climb past green meadows with grazing cows before it plateaus at the forest cathedral – a lovely stretch of old growth – then continues through farmland until it reaches Blosenberg and the shut-down, but culturally protected Beromünster station and antenna at 805 meters of elevation.
On the way, interesting radio excerpts at each of the listening stops entertain in an enjoyable walk down memory lane. Each is about six minutes in length and all of them portray a different decade or theme. If you’ve lived in Switzerland at some point between the forties and nineties, you’ll recognize famous voices such as Ruedi Walter and events of yesteryear you didn’t know could evoke such comprehensive memories of times gone by!
Mid-way on the path lies Besenbeiz Tabakschüür. The rustic restaurant on the tobacco and berries farm of fourth generation farmer family Galliker-Frank is popular for their cheese and cold cut plates, and their home-made smoked sausages. The perfect fortification on the Beromünster radio path!
Above photos: Jakob & Monika Gallier-Frank
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!
Please share your memories of Swiss Radio and leave a comment below.
About Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust
Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass with friends. More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust » Follow Us on Facebook
Photos: Silvia Schoch and as marked
Above photo: wikipedia
Im Landessender Beromünster befindet sich einer der schrägsten Schweizer Kunstprojekte – schau mal unter https://www.kklb.ch nach. liebi Grüess us Züri
Danke für den Tipp, Urs! Werde ich mir ansehen, wenn ich wieder in der Region bin. Sah sehr interessant aus von aussen, war aber geschlossen, als ich da war. Gruss ins immer schöne Züri!
The mid day news of Radio Beromuenster were sacred to my father. During the broadcast we were forbidden to utter a sound and if anyone had the bad manners to telephone us at that time their call would be ignored!
It was exactly the same at our house! My sister and I returned home from school and our father from work to eat the hot lunch mother had cooked for us. At at 12:30 pm precisely, the radio got turned on and the rest of the meal was eaten in silence. Sounds like that must have played out thousands of times in Switzerland at the time! Probably not so much anymore though. Hope these articles create some good memories for you. Best wishes,