Blue Danube Network being the only USFA radio network in Austria had to cover a broad range of music styles. The BDN staff faced the difficult task of deciding which shows to present. They were guided in their choices by popularity ratings the shows earned in America plus periodic surveys of enlisted men serving in Austria. However, as a branch of the Army’s Training, Information and Education Section BDN also put on its share of programs with a message.
In this way the network was able to provide a type of programming unavailable to Austrian listeners on their stations. U.S. music especially was pleasing to a certain segment of the Austrian listeners -many learned to speak English by listening to the program.
Beneath sole music and news broadcasts also radio plays, which were later also produced on TV (as “Dragenet” for example) were part of the program. Being recorded on Transcription Discs, those plays usually lasted about 30 minutes.
Hit-parades, of course, were part of the service (e.g. the well known “Lucky Strike Hitparade”) and radio shows on famous artists and musicians (as on Duke Ellington for example – “Meet a Duke”) also contributed to the programs success. Some of those shows were specially produced by the AFRS in Los Angeles. But also shows from commercial stations and producers (tobacco companies often produced such shows – for example the “Chesterfield Show“) were adopted.
From time to time also Austrian musicians and bands appeared on the program (e.g. Heinz Neubrand (Neubrand & Capp)) and a man named Marcel Pravy taught German lessons on BDN – “German made easy”.
BDN’s staff—30 Army enlisted men, 14 Department of the Army civilians and 25 Austrian employees personally produced almost half the shows that were aired on BDN. These included everything from local sports broadcasts lo special events to serving as disc jockeys.
(Source: parts taken from the USFA Sentinel)