Bulgarian National Radio
1040 Sofia 4, Dragan Tzankov Blvd.

Е-mail: archives@bnr.bg

Established in 1935, the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) remains the largest broadcaster in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian National Radio is a public independent informational and cultural institution, which is financed by state subsidy and advertising revenues. It covers the whole territory of Bulgaria via its two national channels – the informational leader Horizont and the cultural channel Hristo Botev, nine regional radio stations and a multimedia internet channel Binar.

BNR is the oldest electronic media in Bulgaria and ranks among the most prominent cultural institutions with its six musical ensembles, a museum of radio in Bulgaria and a rich audio archive. The Golden Archive of BNR is “the sound memory” of the whole nation. It comprises audio recordings of meaningful events of public interest in Bulgaria and around the world, the oldest one dating back to 1896.

BNR is the biggest producer of Bulgarian music and the only media in Bulgaria, which creates and broadcasts radio drama and children’s radio programs. The BNR website (bnr.bg) gives access to news and articles, online streaming and podcasts of all broadcast channels and of the world service Radio Bulgaria in 10 languages. Binar (binar.bg) is targeted to youth audiences. It offers a variety of online music, audio and video podcasts and video coverage of live events and concerts.

For over 82 years, the Bulgarian National Radio has been gathering, recording, broadcasting and preserving Bulgarian history and culture as they happen. The BNR maintains the richest historical sound archive in Bulgaria, which contains material presenting the oral history of the Bulgarian nation. The Radio Archive is an invaluable collection of sound documents, which can rightly be called as the sound memory of the nation. There are kept indefinitely sound documentation of all significant events of public life in Bulgaria and the world – political, economic, business, cultural, sports and more. The BNR sound archive has a very significant historical value that includes 750 000 sound records, that are equivalent to thousands recorded hours and that were located in thousands of square meters in linear shelves in the BNR Building in Sofia. This archive is part of the Bulgarian and European cultural heritage because it has oral testimonies, as well as broad recorded performances and concerts for the 20th century historical, cultural and society study. This archive is considered the most important audio archive in Bulgaria.

The BNR archives are constitutes from three parts: Radio Gold Archive, Reference Department, and the Phonotheque.
More than half a century BNR collects in its archive records and extensive reference materials. There are preserved effects and testimonies of significant events in the socio-political and cultural life of Bulgaria during the past 100 years – the voices of writers, poets, actors, directors, composers, singers, musicians, artists, public figures and politicians. All the meetings of the National Assembly, the statements of presidents and prime ministers of Bulgaria are stored in this sound archive. The oldest record is from 1897. It is „Traditional dance“ by Aloys Matzak (1857 – 1921), Czech bandmaster and composer of great merit in the development of Bulgarian military music.
The radio archives became available to listeners through all the programs of the BNR, the largest contribution to this show is „Selected by the Radio Gold Fund“ by Hristo Botev Channel. Since its inception in 1935, the Radio collects and stores valuable sound documents. Radio Gold Fund has the status of National Sound Archive, and for years is a member of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives IASA.

The Written Documentation Center or the Reference department is an operational archive of reference material to help radio journalists. Since 2007 it used database BNR-SIS, which serves informational the Radio Gold Fund and the Reference department. At present the electronic database amounts more than 80,000 records and is enriched with new 2000 records every month. The data base information is the basis for the preparation of specialized thematic newsletters and an annual calendar that is actively used by all programs of the Radio. Other products edited by the Reference department are:
– Provisional calendar for each semester;
– Monthly newsletter of the Radio Gold Fund, which presents all detailed record relating to people and events whose anniversaries are noted during the month (over 700 pages in total for 1 year).
The Radio Library is also in the process of creating an electronic database and digital archive.

The Phonotheque is devoted to sharing, promoting and preserving Bulgaria’s audio heritage. The Phonotheque’s collections consist of sound recordings and archives (radio archives, audio tapes, records and other media), documents (periodicals, files and monographs), and various types of sound-reproduction equipment. The Phonotheque is the link between the creative and technical radio teams. The Information is recorded on different media carriers: LPs, tapes, CDs and DAT tapes. Here is where every day is forming a new record production, documenting and controlling the use of the operating archive, preparing emissions for the national radio broadcasting and providing music and speech recordings for the programs. The work volume performed by the department has a daily average number of 650 units of sounds needed for the national wide broadcast.