During the Cold War, young people in Eastern Europe were often seen as mere recipients and reproducers of Western popular culture. This article examines the role of musical programming in broadcasts by Radio Free Europe (RFE) to Czechoslovakia, focusing on the content, impact, and audience reactions. The article shows that the audience took an active part in the cultural exchange and helped shape the programming on RFE and other Western radio stations. Drawing on RFE's own records as well as archival collections in Prague, including former State Security files, plus memoirs and recollections of former RFE employees and their listeners, the article highlights RFE's impact over time in Soviet-bloc societies, as well as the shifts in thinking, cultural preferences, and behaviors of different strata or groups within these societies.

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