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Radio: Report from the East

2 minute read

When the Japs came into Manila, Royal Arch Gunnison, Mutual Network war-caster, was still there. He had stayed on the air until U.S. Army engineers blew up the transmitting station and equipment a jump ahead of the Japs. As a result, 34-year-old Gunnison and his wife spent 17 months in Jap concentration camps outside Manila and Shanghai. They reached the U.S. last week on the Gripsholm, bringingfresh news about radio and the war in the Orient. Some of Gunnison’s observations:

>San Francisco’s powerful short-wave stations KWID(100,000-watt), KGEIand KWIX (50,000-watt each) send a clear signal into all parts of the Orient. They are avidly followed by thousands of clandestine listeners in China, Java, Malaysia, the Philippines and French Indo-China. Although the Jap has a single penalty (death) for the possession of a short-wave set, there are plenty around and “they’ll never find them.”

>When U.S. short-wave propaganda sticks to the facts about the war in the Far East, it is well received and widely distributed by grapevine. But when it brags about what the U.S. proposes to do, or about what pushovers the Japs are, the Chinese, in particular, lose faith because “they know that the Japs are doing all right in China.”

>Most flagrant example of stupid U.S. propaganda that Gunnison could recall was a broadcast by William Winter, Pacific Coast newscaster, who said that Tokyo had been bombed again that day, that the U.S. marksmen were so accurate that automobiles on one side of a street had not even been scratched. Then Winter added: “This Tokyo was laid on the Mojave Desert.”

>The Japanese people cannot be reached by foreign radio. Their long-wave sets have been sealed so they can scarcely hear farther than the Japanese radio. The few short-wave sets belong to the military, Government officials, big industrialists, et al.

>The Russian and French radio stations in Shanghai have grown bitter in their anti-Axis propaganda, though neither station mentions Japan by name.

Gunnison’s conclusion: “What they want to hear out there is factual stuff on production, how we’re going from island to island. . . .”

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