Back during the late 60's/early 70's, when I was a young 'un, Radio Moscow offered a Russian course on the shortwave radio. I was an avid shortwave listener back then, and it was a great hobby, fetching in signals from all over the world.
During this time the Cold War was still going "full blast", and there was always talk of getting a "full blast" as a result of this situation. These were the years of Johnson/Nixon in the USA. Especially during the Nixon years, one never knew what was going to happen next. It was really psycho, not that things have improved any since then. 😦
Getting back to Radio Moscow. They had probably the strongest signal on the shortwave bands. It was no problem to hear them in the USA at any hour of the night or day. They were one of the BIG ONES on shortwave, along with the BBC, VOA, and several others. I've always had a curiosity about forbidden fruit. Just tell me "don't go there", and I immediately want to know more. The former USSR was definitely forbidden fruit here in the USA. For the average person, I think there was little information here about the USSR or its people. I'm sure this was a key part of the Cold War. The less you know about people, the easier it is to be enemies with them. By listening to Radio Moscow or the VOA, one is not going to learn very much truth about things anyway because propaganda is the business of these radio stations; nevertheless, it was fun to listen because sometimes real gems would come through about "our side" or the "forbidden fruit" side.
Radio Moscow was a master at many things, especially relations with the listeners. I was hearing about the Russian By Radio course. You could write the station to get free course materials and a lesson/program schedule. I wrote and my workbook came back in an amazing 1 1/2 weeks. The included schedule would tell you where to tune your radio to listen to the Russian lessons. You would follow along in your workbook, and this was crazy, there was homework in there! You could complete the language homework and mail it back to the station and they would grade it! I started doing this, and just like in school, your homework would come back marked with a red pen and a grade written on it. It you completed the course (I didn't), you would receive a certificate. This generated a lot of postal traffic between my mailbox and the USSR which drew the attention of my parents. I suppose it drew the attention of some government agencies, too, but at least they've been polite enough to never let me know about it. All my parents said was "Why are you getting so much mail from Moscow?" They knew I was a nut anyway. :happy:
Along with the Russian By Radio mailings, Radio Moscow would put you on their mailing list, always sending new schedules, little gifts like lapel pins, postcards, and pictures of Moscow. They were stuffing my mailbox with more shit than the Publishers Clearing House. It was amazing.
I did about 6 lessons of the Russian with a steadily declining grade on each one. It was fun, but I just wasn't THAT interested in it. Spanish was getting my attention more. At least Radio Moscow didn't suspend me from the course or write anything nasty on my homework. It was an amazing program actually.
What a strange world.