"Wavescan" is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave). Adrian Peterson is a highly regarded DXer and radio historian, and often includes features on radio history in his program. We are reproducing those features below, with Dr. Peterson's permission and assistance.
Wavescan 455, September 21, 2003
Radio Broadcasting by the League of Nations
The League of Nations in many ways was the forerunner of what we know today as the United Nations. The old League of Nations was formed in January 1920 in the aftermath of World War I with the intent of avoiding international conflicts and providing peace to the world. The headquarters for the League of Nations was in Geneva, Switzerland.
The first radio broadcast from the League of Nations was presented on an experimental basis, and it went on the air in February 1929. The programming was produced in a studio in Geneva, and it was fed by landline to the popular international station PCJ in Holland for worldwide dissemination on shortwave.
As a result of the success of the series of broadcasts from radio station PCJ, plans were laid for the construction of a radio station specifically for the broadcast of programming from the League of Nations. This new shortwave station was located at Prangins, near Geneva, and, when completed, it contained two shortwave transmitters at 20 kw.
One of these transmitters was obtained from the Marconi company
in England. and this unit was identified as HBL. The other
transmitter was made in France, and this unit was identified as
HBP. In addition, the League of Nations was also on the
air part-time from a 50 kw. mediumwave transmitter that was owned
by Swiss Radio and that was previously installed nearby.
Radio Nations was organized in 1929 and the new shortwave station was opened for communication traffic in February 1932. Seven months later, Radio Nations was taken into usage for regular program broadcasting, with coverage in Europe and North America. Subsequently, additional programming from Radio Nations was beamed to the Far East and Australia.
Initially the programming format was quite brief, consisting of short 15 minute segments in three or four of the major European languages just once a week, on Sundays. However, as time went by, program broadcasting became quite spasmodic, and was actually deleted for a period of time.
Early in the year 1939, the broadcast outreach on shortwave was revived with a presentation in the same format as was noted previously. The last broadcasts from Radio Nations that were reported in contemporary radio magazines were heard in December 1939.