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Mircea Carp turns 100

In his long career as a radio journalist, Mircea Carp has worked for both Radio Free Europe and The Voice of America.

Mircea Carp turns 100
Mircea Carp turns 100

, 06.02.2023, 14:00


We
dedicate this edition of the History Show to radio journalist Mircea
Carp, who used to work for the Romanian service of Radio Free Europe
and contributed to the huge prestige enjoyed by that station. Carp
turned 100 on 28th
January 2023, having lived through one of the most problematic
centuries in the history of mankind, including Romania: the century
of two world wars, fascism and communism. After fighting on the front
in the second world war, where he was wounded and decorated, Mircea
Carp emigrated to the West when the war was over. He was one of the
most recognizable voices on the radio and worked with the most
important free media institutions in the Romanian language after
1945, namely The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Together
with his colleagues, he stood by the Romanian people in all the
difficult moments they went through, both before 1989 and after. Those
who were around at the time will never forget the opening Radio Free
Europe’s broadcast, which played George Enescu’s First Romanian
Rhapsody and Mircea Carp’s announcement This is Radio Free
Europe, which was repeated four times.




In
1997, the Oral History Centre of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting
Corporation recorded Mircea Carp’s experience working for The Voice
of America. He was asked if the station knew about the tragedy of
political prisoners in Romania and how it covered this issue for the
Romanian public:





We covered the subject, but we had to be careful with the
information we would broadcast. In fact, the news broadcast by The
Voice of America, then and today, had to be verified by at least two
sources in order to be confirmed. You can imagine that we got all
sorts of information from Romania and had to consider if it was true.
We were very aware of the horrors taking place in the Romanian
prisons, at the Canal and in other places, but we had to be careful
when we named names, dates and places, because things might have been
exaggerated, or some people couldn’t remember exactly when the
events occurred or when exactly they met a certain person. So, in
this respect we were very, very careful not to make mistakes. Of
course, after we got the confirmation we needed, we would broadcast
the information, including interviews. In most cases, the persons we
interviewed wanted to remain anonymous, and rightly so, because they
still had families back in Romania and didn’t want to make their
situation unpleasant.





Carp
began working for Radio Free Europe in 1951 before moving to The
Voice of America where he became known to Romanian-language listeners
for the quality of his programmes. In 1978, he returned to Radio Free
Europe, where he infused more energy into the station’s Romanian
language broadcasts and where his foreign policy show called The
Political Programme was very popular with the public. Mircea Carp
explains:





Before
I joined Radio Free Europe, their broadcasts were a bit flat. Without
wanting to blow my own trumpet, I brought some American energy to
these broadcasts – shorter reports and interviews with people from
all corners of the world, including well-known Romanians living in
exile, in the free world. But apart from my own contribution, the
station itself, perhaps sensing that the collapse of the Iron Curtain
was near, intensified its campaign. The Romanian language department
increased its focus on programmes that scrutinised the situation in
Romania and revealed everything that was intolerable about this
situation. I’m speaking of the things that were not visible on the
surface, but which many people knew about, although not all in any
case. The fact that a foreign radio station shed light on the real
political, economic, cultural and military situation in Romania was
much appreciated by our listeners, who were themselves unable to
speak openly, to say what they were thinking or what they had heard
and who found their feelings echoed in the programmes of Radio Free
Europe.





The
Romanian radio journalist Mircea Carp turned 100. He is an integral
part of the history of free audiovisual media in Romania, alongside
the likes of Noel
Bernard, Monica
Lovinescu, Virgil Ierunca, Vlad Georgescu and
Neculai
Constantin Munteanu.

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