On 2 September 1945, Ho Chi Minh purportedly read the Declaration of Independence on Vietnamese radio. One week later a new station under the direction of the Communist Party was established: "This is the Voice of Vietnam, broadcasting from Hanoi, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam."
The station rapidly became the central media tool for communication with the public. Political narratives were interspersed between triumphant music with propagandistic messages during times of war. Programming was diversified after the unification of Vietnam in 1976 and again following economic liberalisation policies from the 1980s onwards.
Now accessible to over 90% of the population, the station broadcasts on multiple radio, television and Internet based channels to listeners throughout Vietnam. Debates on key regional issues, such as tensions in the South China Sea and the merits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, are framed with the latest popular hits and oldies from the mid-twentieth century.
The last remaining early employees of the station are in the latter stages of their lives, and broadcast recordings, diaries, notes and photographs are in danger of being lost forever.
Using interview data, participant-observation fieldwork and archival research, this research project examines the history of musical media and concepts of citizenship in Vietnam and French Indochina with a particular focus on state-funded broadcasters such as the Voice of Vietnam Radio and its colonial precursors.