Karel Mastný, originally a teacher, worked in radio since 1962. In the former Czechoslovak Radio, he started in a program for children and youth called Pionýrská jitřenka. Mastný remembered the first independent program If All the Children of the World with the words “it was propaganda”. In addition to Mikrofor, Mastný is responsible for the creation of the programs Kolotoč and Dobré jitro, but the program Zelená vlna is best remembered by drivers.
Czech (at the time, of course, Czechoslovak) radio’s traffic news was broadcast for the first time on a trial basis on September 22, 1974, i.e. still “to the wall”. It did not appear fully on the air until Sunday, September 29, 1974.
“Originally, it was a request from members of the traffic police, specifically Colonel Šmolík at the time, that Rozhlas somehow help manage recreational traffic on Fridays and Sundays,” recalled Leo Kustoš, one of the first editors of the show.
As the Green Wave grew in popularity, it acquired a medium wave transmitter. The signal from Zbraslav covered a radius of roughly 80 kilometers around Prague. From Friday 26 March 1976 it began broadcasting every day.
A great benefit of the program is the listeners themselves, who call their traffic news directly from the road. These Green Wave reporters, most often drivers by profession, help warn other listeners about pitfalls and snags on Czech roads. To this day, over 10,000 of them are registered, other occasional contributors call into the program even without registration.
The service has undergone a number of improvements over the decades, for example, since 2003 a motorcycle patrol has been on the streets, i.e. a specialized editor cruising the country every weekday behind the handlebars of a motorcycle, since September 2013 Radiožurnál has been broadcasting Zelené vlny traffic news non-stop 24 hours a day, and since 2016 a specialized dispatch on the toll-free line 800 553 553. The latest innovation is the Zprávodaj Zelené vlany mobile application (available on Google Play and the Apple App Store) facilitating the sending of reports and their playback.
Green Wave has therefore, for almost five decades of its broadcasting, advocated for increased safety on Czech roads. And we owe a large part to Karl Mastný for its creation. Thank you and we will never forget!