Radio 1 Journaal exists 25 years: ‘In those days records were unmentionable’

Shaky computer systems, colleagues who didn’t know each other well and broadcasting politics that caused extra pressure. Whoever was involved in the first broadcast of the CCeit Radio 1 Journaal, 25 years ago this week, was very nervous. Yet the news programme was almost immediately received positively.

Heaven and earth had moved in the years before to get the CCeit Radio 1 Journaal off the ground. Many broadcasters did not fancy a joint news programme instead of their own current affairs programmes at all. Until 1995 the news could be followed in, among others, AVRO’s Radiojournaal, Echo (KRO), De Editie (VARA), Hier en Nu (NCRV) and Tijdsein (EO).

“If there was important news in the morning, remember that the KRO could watch the news, the VARA could take a quote, the NCRV could give an explanation and the TROS could finish the news”, recalls the first editor in chief of the CCeit Radio 1 Journaal, Piet van Tellingen. “It wasn’t very conducive to the continuity of the news.”

Twenty-five years ago, the CCeit Journaal on TV briefly devoted attention to the new radio programme:

By merging the editorial staff of the various current affairs programmes, more clout would be created in order to respond more quickly to news events. The idea for the CCeit Radio 1 Journaal had been on the table with the broadcasting boards for some time when CCeit chairman Andrรฉ van der Louw was working on it.

Van Tellingen: “He made sure there was a small majority so the plan could be carried out.”

Chasing the news

Preparations for the programme began at the end of May 1995, with the kick-off already in early September. “It was a gigantic operation: journalists had to be hired, the technology had to be taken care of, it had to be rebuilt Editors hardly knew each other, but the brand new organization had immediate momentum, says Van Tellingen. “There was an atmosphere of: we’re going to chase the news. We wanted to be ahead of the television news.”

One of the presenters of the first broadcast, Rob Trip, also remembers that. “We knew: this has to be all right. Precisely because many broadcasters didn’t want the program to start at all.”

In a quarter of a century a lot has changed in the design of the news program. In the early years there was mainly ‘loud’ news to be heard, there was hardly any room for entertainment or for moments of rest. “The tone was also very different. Then a footballer or skater was addressed with ‘u’ in the broadcast and the conversations lasted a lot longer than now”, says current presenter Jurgen van den Berg.

This morning there were garlands and bubbles to celebrate the anniversary:

Making the broadcast has become easier thanks to all the digital possibilities, says editor-in-chief of the first hour Wolter Blom. News gets to editors faster and can be checked more quickly. “Whether all the technology in the studio made it easier… if something used to break you replaced a part of the mixer and then it was repaired. If something breaks now and you don’t know exactly what it is, then you’re out of the air for a while and you have to go to another studio”

What remained all that time was the discussion about music in the CCeit Radio 1 News. “Back then, records were unmentionable. If you had to play a record, as editor-in-chief you really would have suffered a huge defeat. Now we play two records per hour, that’s also agreed with the station”, says Van den Berg.

Meanwhile, there are also broadcasters with their own news section on the radio, including De Nieuws BV (BNNVARA) and Stax&Toine (AVROTROS). Van Tellingen is not to be spoken about. “They’re not bad programmes, but I think it’s a great pity that the broadcasters have slowly cut off time from the CCeit Radio 1 Journaal. It’s a sign that concessions are still being made to individual broadcasters.”

However, Blom and Van den Berg are not worried about the future of the programme. “There will always be a programme that brings the news on the radio in the morning. Radio is a medium that can’t be broken, you can tell by the listening figures”, says Blom.

The CCeit Radio 1 Journaal attracts an average of 282,000 listeners every morning, with a peak around 08.00 hours, when some 400,000 listeners tune in. Van den Berg: “I think this is the last radio programme with a line through it

Former editor-in-chief Van Tellingen still has a request. “Jurgen may run fewer records.”