Throughout the 1950s, the American propaganda radio station RIAS Berlin transformed women’s radio into an anti-communist medium designed to enlist German housewives into the Cold War. Based in West Berlin, RIAS—Radio in the American Sector—broadcast a full array of shows deep inside East Germany as part of the U.S. psychological war against communism. One of its key target audiences was German homemakers. Drawing upon scripts held in the German Radio Archives in Potsdam, Germany, this article analyzes the program Can You Spare 5 Minutes? (Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit?). It explores how RIAS inscribed the international contest between democracy and communism onto the domestic lives of women. The show built a sense of solidarity by treating typical “female” topics such as cosmetics, childcare, and recipes. In this way it forged a bond between its listeners that provided an opening for political messaging. Programs contrasted access to food, marriage rights, and educational policy in the rival Germanies to demonstrate the benefits of democracy and the need to resist the East German state. Women’s radio on RIAS, far from offering mere fluff, provided its female audience a political education.

On Christmas eve 1955, RIAS Berlin’s women’s division—called the Voice of the Woman—posed a familiar question to its female audience, one asked most mornings from 8:40 to 8:45:

Can you spare five minutes? asks the Voice of the Woman. I am afraid that not one of you has five minutes today—there are probably hundreds of things to do before this evening—but I just want to tell you something…maybe you can take a coffee or cigarette break!1

From 1955 through the early 1960s, Can You Spare 5 Minutes? (Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit?) invited housewives in West Berlin and across East Germany to set aside their work to hear about “women’s” topics: household management, childcare, marriage, even how to make cosmetics at home. Yet the program offered more than useful tips. It provided its female listeners a political education designed to fulfill the Cold War objectives of RIAS Berlin, the American propaganda radio station based in West Berlin. Can You Spare 5 Minutes? inscribed the international contest between democracy and communism onto the domestic, everyday lives of women. Programs focused on issues such as economies of prosperity and scarcity, marriage, and children’s education to draw a sharp contrast between women’s lived experiences in West Berlin and East Germany. The shows sought to undermine the legitimacy of the German communist regime by demonstrating to its female citizens that it worked against their interests as women. Can You Spare 5 Minutes? portrayed its listeners as rational, critical thinkers with the ability to question and even resist the communists’ infiltration of their homes. In five-minute episodes, RIAS transformed housewives into consumers, not of goods, but of political loyalties and ideas. This article analyzes women’s radio programming at RIAS in order to demonstrate how women’s radio—often overlooked and derided as mere fluff—did much more than just offer housewives a useful distraction. Can You Spare 5 Minutes? enlisted German women into the Cold War as supporters of democracy and combatants of communism.

Based in West Berlin, RIAS from its founding in 1946 through its closure at the end of 1993 operated as the primary US propaganda asset in East Germany. Its call letters stood for Radio in the American Sector (Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor), but RIAS—pronounced ree-ahs—quickly became a word in its own right. With typically four American officials overseeing broadcast production, some 600 Germans crafted honest news and entertaining programs designed to connect West Berliners and East Germans while defending democracy and combating communism. The station served as a physical and aural guarantee that the United States would not abandon West Berlin and assured East Germans that they had not been forgotten. The East German leadership regarded the station as a dangerous enemy. Despite intense media campaigns, jamming, and even show trials of listeners, as many as 80% of East Germans tuned in regularly during the 1950s. Broadcasting 24 hours a day over multiple frequencies, and with a second program (RIAS 2) that repeated popular shows in the evenings, the station created a Cold War soundscape that encompassed all of East Germany and Berlin.

Can You Spare 5 Minutes? represented just one piece of women’s programming at RIAS. However, its scripts compose the largest part of the microfilmed collection preserved at Deutschlandfunk Kultur, the successor station to RIAS.2 Because scripts for women’s radio tend to be rare, the collection provides unusual access to women’s radio programming over a relatively long time span. Here, I approach the scripts from Can You Spare 5 Minutes? and a few other programs from three interrelated angles of reading: content, gender construction, and presentational strategy. In terms of content and gender, I focus on recurring themes and styles of presentation: voice, narrative construction, and representations of the audience and speakers. I then use those as guides to identify the broadcast’s strategies and intent. As a propaganda radio station, RIAS and its staff consciously shaped the content in ways that could fulfill both the objectives of the women’s division and the station’s mission. In the absence of internal planning documents, the scripts reveal the strategies and goals of women’s programming. Such an approach helps to recover what Christine Ehrick has termed a “gendered soundscape,” an aurally constructed site upon and within which radio “represented, contested, and reinforced” women’s roles.3

Without any recordings, the soundscape created by the women’s division can be reconstructed solely through the remaining texts. However, this reconstruction offers three contributions to the field. First, the analysis of women’s programming at RIAS adds to recent scholarship on German women’s radio. Kate Lacey broke new ground with her study on women’s radio in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. She demonstrates the ways women’s radio penetrated the public sphere and analyzed the presentational styles used to appeal to female audiences. Lacey argues powerfully that gender needs to be treated as a constitutive element of radio broadcasting. Inge Marssolek, Adelheid von Saldern, Annegret Braun, and other scholars have shown how multilayered readings of scripts can be used to reveal the intersections between political hegemony, media communication, and daily life.4 Braun in particular argues that radio programs thematized women’s roles at the micro and macro levels. Her work enabled me to attend to the ways Can You Spare 5 Minutes? grafted larger political issues onto women’s daily lives as a propaganda strategy.5

Second, this analysis of women’s radio demonstrates that RIAS operated as a surrogate German radio station for its East German audiences, and arguably for West Berliners as well. This view, developed by Nicholas Schlosser in his work on RIAS news broadcasts, contradicts past interpretations of the station, which insist on its American identity.6 The key to RIAS’s success was that its broadcasts fulfilled both U.S. objectives and German listeners’ desires. The station’s American control officers and its German employees shared the common goals of defending West Berlin’s freedom and undermining the East German state. From the station’s earliest days, the German staff had a great deal of freedom in creating programs that would appeal to its Berliner and East German audience. The Germans and Americans at RIAS believed their programs would be accepted by listeners and effective in their messaging only by offering broadcasts “designed by Germans for Germans.”7 Indeed, RIAS’s authentically German “voice” likely played a vital role in assuring that it remained the favorite station in Berlin and across East Germany throughout the 1950s and beyond.

Thus, women’s radio at the station did promote U.S. propaganda objectives, first during the occupation and then throughout the Cold War. But women’s shows, like all RIAS broadcasts, also offered a way for Germans to communicate with each other about uniquely German concerns. Can You Spare 5 Minutes? did not promote American models of womanhood, nor did it ask its listeners to emulate American women. The program instead addressed women’s lives and their political status from a solely German perspective. In so doing, the show’s female staff did not simply translate U.S. foreign policy into the German language. They took German interests and concerns and aligned them to the “American” station’s Cold War mission. Lastly, with the exception of Petra Galle’s brief yet important analysis for the occupation era, no one has treated women’s radio at RIAS, a surprising gap in the literature.8

Because listeners understood RIAS as an authentically German station, its women’s division had a distinct advantage over its East German rivals by the mid-1950s. RIAS programs built on traditions of German women’s radio established before the war. The station believed female listeners wanted useful advice and a friendly voice that understood the pressures they faced. The shows also offered space for the individual to think for herself. By contrast, East German shows, especially before the late 1950s, failed to consider the audience’s desires. The SED—the Socialist Unity Party, the East German Communist Party—believed radio operated solely as a one-way transmission belt. The state broadcast what the listener needed to advance the socialist state, and the listener obeyed. As a result, shows emphasized women’s political duties with little attention to what the audience actually wanted to hear. Moreover, according to the SED, women in East Germany had secured legal and economic equality. Radio authorities thus saw no reason for shows that catered to specifically female interests. Indeed, between mid-1953 and mid-1955, they entirely eliminated programming designed for women. Listeners protested and women’s radio did return to the GDR (German Democratic Republic) airwaves, yet radio authorities never fully relinquished their doubts regarding the need for such programming. The East Germans’ failure to create programming designed to appeal to listeners created a vacuum RIAS could fill.9

RIAS regarded women as a key target audience for a number of reasons. Perhaps most importantly, in the wake of the war, women comprised the majority of its potential listener population. In 1950, for example, 323,000 more women than men resided in West Berlin, a ratio of just 70 men for every 100 women. In East Germany, women outnumbered men by 2,065,800, or 79 males for every 100 females. RIAS valued its female listeners highly because as wives and mothers they played a key role in shaping their families’ values. Moreover, East German housewives likely tuned in after the other members of the family had left for school or work. This meant they could listen to shows with little fear and no witnesses, important considerations because the East German state regarded listening to the station as a sign of political disloyalty, even sabotage. RIAS paid close attention to the size of the potential female audience as well as how women spent their time in order to structure programming effectively.10 The women’s shows enabled the station to foment anti-communist attitudes and appreciation for democratic values within a potentially huge audience.

Can You Spare 5 Minutes? provides insight to the ways RIAS conceived of its female audience and crafted programming that served both women’s interests and the station’s Cold War mission. After exploring the place of women and women’s radio at RIAS, this article argues the women’s division created a complex combination of traditional women’s programming and indirect and overt political messaging to educate its female listeners. Can You Spare 5 Minutes? urged women to consider their position within the political contexts of East Germany and West Berlin as well as the larger Cold War. The women’s division represented its listeners as political actors who had the ability to defend their interests and rights as women. At the same time, women’s radio at RIAS supported the station’s larger mission to combat communism by encouraging women to push back against the SED regime whenever possible.

Women and Women’s Radio at RIAS Berlin

Women’s radio at RIAS Berlin continued German radio practices established during the Weimar Republic. Stations created women’s programs as early as 1924, typically in a separate division called Frauenfunk (women’s radio). The shows spoke to a middle-class audience of women who did not work outside of the home. Topics included household and childcare advice, recipes, fashion, reports about leading women in society, and in some cases women’s political rights. Radio programming for women reflected the larger tensions that surrounded women’s changing roles in society. Programs represented women as wives and mothers as well as “citizens, voters, and even as intellects.” Despite the diversity of programs offered, women’s radio divisions shared “the conviction that broadcasting could change and improve women’s experience in the transitional space between public and private life.”11

During the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich, women’s and children’s radio divisions represented the most likely place for female employment in broadcasting, where women often worked as scriptwriters, presenters and division heads. Outside of these areas, female voices were rarely heard. Broadcasters assumed listeners preferred male voices to the higher-pitched female voices. The very idea of women employed as announcers, reporters, or presenters violated perceptions regarding the propriety of admitting women’s voices to the public realm. Relegating women to women’s radio maintained such propriety, with women speaking to women about appropriately “female” issues. As a result, fewer than ten women worked as radio announcers before 1933. The Nazi regime used women’s programs to infuse gender roles with racial content, and more women found employment in radio. In 1936, for example, out of 2,074 full-time radio employees 569 (25.5%) were female.12 Women loyal to the Third Reich headed the women’s radio divisions. After 1945, the Allies removed all of them as part of their efforts to de-Nazify radio in occupied Germany.13

RIAS established its women’s radio division at the station’s founding in early 1946. Given the shortage of women who had both experience in radio and non-Nazi backgrounds, the station had a very small pool of potential hires from which to draw. As a result, it both sought out women who had experience and hired young Germans who lacked experience and developed their skills on the job.14 Although it is unclear what proportion of the station’s German staff was female, women did work in a variety of positions, as typists, secretaries, reporters, announcers, and scriptwriters, as well as in technical positions. Based on information from the surviving scripts, women made up the vast majority of the editors, scriptwriters, and presenters in the women’s division. RIAS thus offered intelligent, educated women access to professional careers in radio.

Despite their own professional careers, the women’s division’s female staff directed their programming not at other career women but at German housewives. The vast majority of women in both Berlin and East Germany worked exclusively inside the home. It was only in 1956 that large numbers of East German women began to enter the workforce. In 1959, half of West Berlin women had no outside employment. Women’s occupation as housewives offered a potential bond that transcended Cold War political divisions. Moreover, East German women’s radio agitated for women to leave their homes for the factories in order to advance the state’s economic goals. Yet women on both sides of the political divide cherished their roles as homemakers. After years of economic crisis, war, and occupation, they longed for the sense of normalcy the role of homemaker represented. Scriptwriters for women’s shows at RIAS thus imagined an East German audience of housewives, alienated from their government’s demands, who shared their Western sisters’ pride in homemaking. Comprising 80% of the morning audience in East Germany, and likely similar numbers in West Berlin, housewives offered RIAS an audience eager for its messaging.15

RIAS’s women’s radio thus sought to articulate the interests of women who worked in the home, to interrogate their position in society and connect them to the larger world. Margot Mertens, the first head of women’s radio at the station, voiced the division’s abiding mission in its first broadcast on 7 February 1946, RIAS’s first day on the air. She began by obliquely referring to the dire, day-to-day conditions her Berlin audience faced and the lack of male attention to women’s struggles. She promised that the programs would appeal to all women, forging connections between them and the wider world. Mertens explained that women’s radio would enable its audience to travel together, to listen and speak to each other. And so, “We begin—and let’s talk about the woman who received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1945—Gabrielle [sic] Mistral.”16 By starting the show with an account of the Chilean poet Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, who wrote under the pseudonym of Gabriela Mistral, the station highlighted the prominent roles women played in society, a practice that soon became a routine part of the programming.17

Yet as part of RIAS, the women’s division had to fulfill American political objectives. This required a light touch. Because they aired over RIAS, all of the shows were by association and intent infused with political meaning. The scriptwriters had to modulate the political messages, especially for the station’s East German audience. Women’s radio in the GDR tended to favor strident calls for women to shoulder the triple burden of caring for their homes and children, creating a socialist family life, and working outside the home to rebuild and fulfill the five-year plans.18 By offering programs that did not always emphasize politics, RIAS hoped to win over an audience bored or put off by overt propaganda, especially after 12 years of the Nazis’ control over the airwaves.

The women’s division created a programming strategy that enabled it to offer varied, entertaining shows that served both female listeners’ desires and RIAS’s mission. The surviving scripts and time-schedule sheets (Fahrpläne) from Can You Spare 5 Minutes? suggest women’s programming can be plotted along a spectrum of topics that fall into three general categories. On one end of the spectrum, practical topics that appealed to all women predominated, such as cooking and household management tips, fashion, childcare, and family. Episodes that featured clearly political content occupied the opposite end of the spectrum. Political commentaries explained how communism and the East German state negatively affected women’s lives and at times recommended ways to resist. In between these two poles aired programs with more ambiguous messages. These treated typical “women’s” topics but provided space for the listener’s own, potentially political, interpretation. Recipes, for example, could be understood as merely friendly tips or as implied commentary on the abundance of food choices in West Berlin made possible by the free market that contrasted sharply with food scarcity in East Germany due to the command economy. The ambiguity contained in such shows reinforced RIAS’s strategy of letting the audience come to its own conclusions as rational, critical listeners, again in stark contrast to GDR radio’s repetitive propaganda.

Program titles and brief content descriptions suggest that this spectrum of programming existed from RIAS’s earliest years. A 1946 summary of programs designed for women included shows that offered practical advice, such as how to preserve food, prevent diseases, and combat vermin, all vital topics in postwar Berlin. Topics that could be understood as containing a potentially political subtext included modern art, formerly banned by the Nazis, and daily life in occupied Berlin. A radio play offered a discussion between a young couple who, “because of their hasty, war-time marriage” realized that they knew little about each other but resolved to move forward together. Programs in 1947 contained a similar mix of advice and issues that may have contained political messages. One show suggested recipes for cooking with ration cards. A series called “Current Events from the Woman’s Perspective” discussed matters related to postwar conditions and the occupation. The titles suggest that politics per se were not the primary feature; rather political meaning could be inferred according to the listener’s experiences and perspective.19

Because RIAS before 1948 served U.S. occupation goals to promote the concept of collective guilt and German reeducation, the overtly political programs explored topics that addressed the Nazi past and the war. Roundtable discussions treated the Nuremberg Trials and “Women of Today and Tomorrow.” The radio play “A Woman in Court” emphasized women’s responsibility for the Third Reich. Although the defendant’s husband and son served as witnesses in her defense, the program sought to illustrate “it is precisely the little every-day happenings which show that either consciously or unconsciously all German women share the guilt for what has happened.”20 After RIAS became the U.S. vehicle for fighting the Cold War, overtly political content no longer focused on reeducation and German guilt but instead highlighted the benefits of democracy, the dangers of communism, and issues surrounding women’s rights.

By the 1950s the women’s division, renamed the Voice of the Woman (die Stimme der Frau), had developed a rich array of programs that filled the morning hours of the broadcast day. German women’s radio had always dominated the hours before noon. RIAS continued this practice to ensure that as many women as possible could tune into the shows. The programs aired consistently at the same time and rarely changed. Since East German women lacked access to published Western radio schedules, RIAS valued regular programming as yet another way to secure a loyal listenership. Based on the scripts and weekly program schedules, women’s radio offerings consisted of four recurring shows:

The Voice of the Woman Programming, 1950s21

  • 8:40–8:45 a.m., Mon.–Sat.: Can You Spare 5 Minutes?

  • 9:40–10:00 a.m., every other Fri.: Our Family Doctor

  • 9:40–10:00 a.m., every other Fri.: Worthwhile Reads from Newspapers and Magazines

  • 11:30 a.m.–noon, Tues., Thurs., Sat.: The Bright Palette

Many of these shows continued into the 1960s, an indication that the station’s leadership believed they remained popular with the audience. By 1964, women’s radio programs aired over both RIAS Berlin and RIAS 2, a practice that likely started in the 1950s to ensure maximum access. Created in November 1953, RIAS 2 rebroadcast popular shows from RIAS Berlin over long, medium, and short wave in an attempt to thwart East German jamming of the primary RIAS frequencies.

RIAS Women’s Radio Broadcasts, 196422

  • 8.40–8:45 a.m., Mon., RIAS I and II: Gaby and Franz

  • 8:40–8:45 a.m., Tues.–Fri., RIAS I and II: Can You Spare 5 Minutes?

  • 11:30 a.m., Thurs., Sat., RIAS I and II: The Bright Palette

  • 11:35 a.m., Thurs., RIAS I and II: Little World, Large World

  • 2:15 p.m., every other Tues., RIAS I and II: Home and Family

  • 4:40 p.m., every other Sat., RIAS I and II: Voice of the Woman

  • 4:40 p.m., every other Sat., RIAS I and II: Our Family Doctor

That RIAS offered women’s shows over its second station indicates that it valued the programming as a vital tool for maintaining a connection with its female audience, especially since the Berlin Wall cut listeners off from physical contact with the West. The inclusion of later airtimes may reflect the station’s recognition that more women had entered the workforce, in both West Berlin and East Germany. However, as the program titles and airtimes indicate, housewives remained the key target audience for all women’s programming.

Just how the audience understood Can You Spare 5 Minutes? remains an open question. The station does not appear to have saved letters from the show’s audience, nor did it survey West Berliners in the later 1950s. However, RIAS did have listener surveys of its East German audience and these suggest that women tuned into the station regularly. The station contracted a West German public opinion company to interview East German visitors to West Berlin agricultural, industrial, and architectural fairs about their listening habits. While imperfect, these surveys offered valuable insights and one way for RIAS to hear from its audience behind the Iron Curtain. Typically, the surveys found that East German women listened to RIAS at higher rates and for more hours daily than men. In 1955, for example, 67% of female survey respondents reported that they listened to RIAS daily, compared to 54% of men. Fully 70% of housewives surveyed listened daily; 27% of women tuned in five hours or more, compared to just 16% of men. The majority of women (78%) rated RIAS as “very effective/fairly effective” at “refuting East German propaganda.” Only the 1957 surveys specifically asked about Can You Spare 5 Minutes? They found that between 36 and 40% of all RIAS listeners had heard the show at least once.23 Given that the show aired for at least eight years, the station clearly believed its target audience were tuning in regularly.

On Can You Spare 5 Minutes? recipes, household advice, and the like formed the bulk of the content. However, the scripts reveal that the show’s authors assumed full-time wives and mothers had political responsibilities and room for action, precisely because they were full-time wives and mothers. For RIAS, the private sphere of the home offered no refuge from the politically contested public realm of Cold War Germany. By transmitting its programs into the home, RIAS erased the borders between public and private and in the process created what Michael Meyen has described as the “small public sphere.” An alternative to and escape from the politically staged public realm controlled by the SED in East Germany, the small public sphere formed in private conversations between friends and families in which opinions and ideas could be shared and information sought. In Meyen’s view, these small public spheres were disconnected from any sort of information network and thus had a limited effect in the GDR.24 However, Nicholas Schlosser in his work convincingly demonstrated that new RIAS programs effectively created a rival public sphere in East Germany through the airwaves.25 The analysis of Can You Spare 5 Minutes? content illustrates that the women’s programs, too, created a small public of German housewives, connecting them to each other and to the larger world of Cold War politics through radio.

Crafting Solidarity Among Housewives

The majority of programs on Can You Spare 5 Minutes? offered nonpolitical content, yet they made up a key part of a decidedly political strategy. The pragmatic advice that addressed listeners’ routine concerns established a relationship between the show and its housewives. The programs respected housework as work, a necessary drudgery that, while ignored by husbands and children, ensured the happiness and well-being of the family. However, episodes also offered advice that reminded listeners they were more than housewives; they were women who had their own interests and needs. For example, Can You Spare 5 Minutes? offered a series that advised newlyweds on dealing with their marriages, jealousy, and mothers-in-law. Another series provided information about aging and how to mitigate its effects through exercise and homemade lotions, tonics, and cosmetics.26 Such tips instilled the habit of concentrated, focused listening for the duration of the five-minute show. Just as important, they established the level of trust needed to advance the show’s political objectives.

Can You Spare 5 Minutes? developed a “voice” for these nonpolitical episodes, a form of address also used in the political shows. Like women’s radio from the 1920s, the show replicated what was understood as women’s speech, a conversational, even intimate style of address that built a bond between the speaker and her audience.27 But unlike women’s radio programs at other stations, the producers of Can Your Spare 5 Minutes? did not build the show around a known radio personality. The show’s female speaker instead remained anonymous. The scripts never identified the speaker other than by indicating her gender, Sprecherin (female speaker). The speaker avoided Berlin dialect, which shaped her identity as a voice unattached to a specific region. The program’s voice also seems to have belonged to different presenters. Multiple speakers embodied a kind of everywoman personalized by the small details from her everyday life as a wife and mother. She mentioned her children by name, offered examples from friends and acquaintances who faced particular issues, and included asides to reassure listeners that she shared their concerns.

These intimate details frequently started the show’s narrative, setting up a framework within which the presenter offered useful advice. One show recommended listeners adopt a daily calendar to record events that mattered to them. The speaker explained how she started her own calendar one February evening. “[I]t had been a very hurried day, a day so full: I had not had a quiet minute to either think or to relax. You know what that is like: you are dead tired, you wanted now, deservedly, to have peace and sleep.” Yet she had the sense that she had forgotten something, but what? Then she remembered that “my little daughter had asked me a question that was very important to her, but I had neither the time—nor the desire—to really answer her. I saw her before me: dissatisfied, sad, she had left.” And so the speaker had made her first entry in the calendar, to be sure to talk to young Hanni and answer her question.28 This style of presentation accomplished a number of goals. Rather than represent herself as an all-knowing expert, the speaker instead positioned herself as an imperfect mother. She acknowledged that she, like her audience, was often worn down by her responsibilities. By sharing a strategy for dealing with her busy everyday life, she offered practical advice drawn from her own experiences rather than a childcare manual written by professionals.

Can You Spare 5 Minutes? tempered such intimate speech with signs of respect for the audience. The speaker addressed her listeners with the formal “you” (Sie) rather than the more informal Du. In her presentation, she moved easily from the individual “I” and “you” to the collective “we” and “our.” Such terms built a community of equals. The speaker frequently admitted that she, too, needed to take the advice about to be offered. “Do you know what I wish?” began one episode. “To always follow the good advice, that I give to you.…I would much rather provide no advice at all. I would rather take everything that I say to you, as instruction for myself.”29 This presentation style softened the authority of the speaker and placed her on an equal footing with her audience. Again, she was no expert but rather, like her listeners, a woman with her own flaws and problems to overcome. The speaker also represented her advice as empowering. One episode recommended listeners assess the time required to fulfill household tasks so that they could use their time rationally. By developing her own time schedule, the housewife would no longer start her day anxious about how she could possibly manage the day’s many tasks. “By the way,” the speaker added, “you have made your timetable, you can also change it if needed, you do not have to slavishly submit to it. Consider it just as a means of reconciling work and time. You’ll be surprised how good you will feel.”30

The speaker for Can You Spare 5 Minutes? always delivered a monologue, but the presentational style imitated speech patterns that replicated a conversation. The female voice engaged her listener in an imagined dialogue, as if a friend had stopped by at the usual time between 8:40 and 8:45 in the morning. She articulated questions she anticipated from her audience and engaged in a conversation that sounded improvised rather than scripted. The speaker referred to past programs, picking up where she left off last time or reminding listeners that an issue had been mentioned earlier. In this way, the program built a shared history with the individual listener and the larger female community the speaker evoked. Each episode moved along quickly, too. Typically four pages long, the scripts required a lively pace that never veered off topic. Editorial deletions and insertions indicate that editors valued clarity over cryptic phrases or excessive detail that might confuse the listener.

The authors of Can You Spare 5 Minutes? shaped this presentational style to elicit a particular kind of listening from its audience. Both contemporaries and scholars have observed that women tended to listen to the radio while doing other things that competed for their attention. They turned on the radio “to distract themselves from the stupid monotony of housework, it was a means to an end,” rather than an end unto itself.31 However, RIAS wanted its female audience to listen attentively. The five-minute format facilitated active listening with the woman setting aside her work to devote her full attention to the program’s content. Other German women’s radio programs adopted this format, suggesting that it was popular with listeners precisely because it recognized women’s time as a valued commodity.32 The show’s very title posed a question that offered listeners a choice they could freely make rather than an order to be followed. It thus empowered the listener in a small way that contrasted with East German women’s programming that emphasized women must shoulder their responsibilities to the East German state.

These advice shows avoided political content yet they were nonetheless politically motivated. The practical tips offered by Can You Spare 5 Minutes? forged a sense of solidarity between the show’s presenters and audience. The speakers represented themselves as fellow housewives who shared the same burdens as their listeners. They empowered women to take control over their lives by improving their competence as housewives and mothers. Whether they tuned in from West Berlin or East Germany, listeners could imagine that they belonged to a larger community of women, not divided by Cold War borders but united by their shared experiences as full-time German homemakers. These “conversations” conducted within the private sphere of the home forged a strong bond between the program and its listeners. Can You Spare 5 Minutes? leveraged pragmatic advice to build a loyal female audience who trusted the station as a reliable, useful partner. The advice shows established habits of focused listening. Taken together, these provided the necessary ingredients for the program’s other, key purpose: the consumption of a decidedly political education.

Political Content on Can You Spare 5 Minutes?

The political episodes that aired over Can You Spare 5 Minutes? fulfilled RIAS’s larger mission to promote democracy in West Berlin and undermine the legitimacy of the East German state. Because the station addressed two different housewife-audiences—West Berliners and East Germans—the more political shows had to find a way to appeal simultaneously to both. Typically delivered on Fridays, the political episodes consistently argued that the GDR—derisively referred to as “the Zone”—worked against wives’ and mothers’ interests. As residents of an illegitimate state, East German housewives needed to understand their oppression and resist when possible. However, West Berlin women also required a political education, one that showed democracy and free markets provided them the kind of prosperity their East German sisters could barely imagine. The programs did not offer abstract analysis of political ideologies but rather illustrated how democracy and communism shaped women’s daily lives for either good or ill. Topics such as food, marriage, divorce, and children’s education highlighted the contrasts between the two, rival, Cold War Germanies. By comparing women’s lives, Can You Spare 5 Minutes? enabled German women to overcome the artificial Cold War divisions that separated them. As one episode explained, the show served as “domestic East-West talks” between women.33

The political episodes adopted two presentational strategies to accomplish the program’s goals. One tactic, more oblique and suggestive, relied on women’s ability to think critically for themselves. Unlike East German women’s radio, RIAS created space for independent thought and action. In much of its programming, the station sought to develop critical thinking skills and offer at least the impression that the shows guided rather than directed listener behavior. The other presentational approach confronted women directly with content designed to persuade and convince. The political content of these programs was much more overt, yet the speakers softened the sound of what was obviously propaganda by appealing to women’s lived experiences rather than emphasizing ideology. RIAS regarded its female audience, as all of its listeners, as potential consumers of the political loyalties it sought to promote.

Can You Spare 5 Minutes? applied both approaches when making its most consistent political argument: the rival political systems of democracy and communism directly affected the housewife’s ability to feed her family. The show invited listeners to evaluate their states’ relative success or failure on the basis of their ability to provide women with access to food for nutritious and varied meals. Recipes included ingredients readily available in West Berlin but in short supply in the East, leaving the Eastern audience to wonder why they faced shortages their Western counterparts did not. Programs that discussed the growing need for (West) Germans to diet reinforced the image of Western plenty and Eastern scarcity.34

In 1956, Can You Spare 5 Minutes? used the ten-year anniversary of care packages to illustrate West Berlin’s food bounty. The speaker reminded her audience of the hunger they had once shared, and recalled how the Americans and their Western allies had pitched in to help feed Germans after the war. Back in 1946, when care packages helped ensure survival, could any German have imagined the possibility of the current “era of cutlets and cream” they now enjoyed, she asked. Indeed, observed the speaker, some Germans were now so fat that only three, not four, of them could fit on the benches in trains.

You see, dear listeners [Hörerinnen und Hörer], everything here has changed so quickly, and no one in the Federal Republic and West Berlin can really speak any more about misery in the sense of 1945 to 1949.…But even today there are still suffering people [Notleidende] and indeed right nearby.35

As members of the larger Western community, West Berlin women not only had access to food for themselves and their families—they enjoyed a surplus. They owed their prosperity to democracy and the market economy. The speaker did not directly state that the “suffering people” who lived “right nearby” were East Germans. Instead, she relied on her listeners to make the connection. Perhaps, suggested the speaker, listeners could repay the earlier Western aid by sending their own care packages to help the needy. She thus obliquely recommended West Berlin women take action and send aid to their Eastern brethren. She did not mention that her East German audience did not share in the new “era of cutlets and cream.” She assumed that the listeners could draw their own conclusions and take action if they chose to do so.36

Other programs directly leveraged the intersection between economies of scarcity and abundance to contrast women’s lives in West and East. At the end of 1955, for example, Friedrich Noppert used his biweekly political commentaries to contrast FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) and GDR economies. A well-known political commentator on RIAS news programs, Noppert was the only man who presented on Can You Spare 5 Minutes?; after 1956, women provided all political commentary. Because he was associated with news broadcasts, Noppert’s contributions might have been invested with a kind of truth value and male authority. He may also have signaled that men and RIAS as a whole took women’s concerns seriously.

In the first of two successive episodes, he offered a summary of West German economic success. Shaped with the female listener in mind, he compared 1955 in the FRG to “a sprightly, energetic woman” who had successfully managed her household budget. The West German government had invested in new housing; more families had both their own homes and full-time work. Food, though still expensive, was in plentiful supply. While Noppert acknowledged that these advances had not yet reached all West German households, he emphasized that they prepared the way for the extension of prosperity to all in the coming years.37

Two weeks later, Noppert turned his attention to 1955 in East Germany in a scathing critique of the first five-year plan that had just been concluded. He combined sarcasm, ridicule, and statistics to paint the most unflattering portrait possible of the SED’s economic policies. He contrasted the claims of the plan’s successes touted in the communist media with the lived experience of his female audience. According to East German media, the five-year plan had been an unqualified success. However, Noppert urged his female listeners to consider the constant shortages they faced. He noted that food was still rationed, despite the plan’s promise three years earlier that rationing would end. Prices supposedly had declined by 28%, but in fact they had not fallen by even 11%. Yet, for the housewife, such numbers barely mattered. Far more important to her was that “eleven years after the war,” she still had to contend with “the constant lack of food and ingredients even for the cheapest dishes, the lack of spices, vegetables, the lack of certain fruits or onions.” These and other shortages meant women faced “a constant and tormenting” round of improvisation and doing without.38

Noppert acknowledged here, as East German women’s radio never did, that the planned economy made women’s work inside the home incredibly difficult. He validated housewives’ struggles and blamed communism for them. Noppert crafted his script to lead the audience to share his righteous indignation that the GDR did not serve the interests of its own citizens. He asserted that his female listeners, like all East Germans, understood that the five-year plan “was not created for them, that it was not intended to improve their lives” but was instead an expression of illegitimate state power that “did not reflect the will or the needs of the people.” The economy in the Zone was no “sprightly, energetic woman” but instead a poor, wounded creature that “dragged itself arduously along on crutches” with no help from the East German government.39

As these programs illustrate, the writers for Can You Spare 5 Minutes? situated the contest between the West German market economy and the East German command economy within the most routine experience women faced: feeding their families. Women’s domestic lives were thus intimately tied to larger economic and political issues. The scriptwriters aligned the shows’ content with the reality of women’s lives. They appealed to their audience’s “lifestyles and horizons of interest, their habits and feelings” as a way to make economic and political arguments easier to absorb and accept.40 By approaching economic and political issues from the women’s own perspectives, the scripts made the Cold War relevant to the audience’s individual daily lives.

The women’s division applied the same tactic as it developed a narrative that represented the East German state as an enemy to marriage and the family, a trope common in Western, anti-communist discourse.41 These episodes argued that East German laws ensured marriage and divorce promoted the interests of the state over the needs of the couple. A 1955 episode offered a decidedly one-sided analysis of the newly passed Decree on Marriage (Eheverordnung). Among other provisions, the decree introduced no-fault divorce. In his political commentary, Friedrich Noppert ignored the fact that elimination of guilt from divorce proceedings could potentially serve women’s interests. Instead, he argued that by making it easier to divorce, the decree exposed the communist state’s disregard for marriage as a lifelong partnership that served the needs of the couple. Quoting from the decree, Noppert declared that in the Zone, marriage now promoted the “development of the spouses and the education of children in the spirit of democracy, socialism, patriotism and people’s friendship.” He explained, “We all know, my [female] listeners [Hörerinnen], how to translate that into German: marriage serves education to Communism.”42 The decree enabled the GDR to insinuate politics into a couple’s decision to either marry or divorce.

To substantiate this claim, Noppert offered a specific example from East German case law to demonstrate that courts granted divorce only when it served the state’s interests. A husband had recently sued for divorce on the grounds that his wife represented an obstacle to his political career as a Free German Youth official. She countered that he had been unfaithful, but she still wanted the marriage to continue. The husband then argued he had been driven into the arms of the other woman because his wife complained constantly that he left her alone in order to attend to his official duties. The court granted his petition for divorce. It ruled that the marriage had lost its “social-political value” not because of his infidelity but because of her “political misconduct.”43 She had dared to insist that the marriage took precedence over his service to the state. The program represented marriage in the Zone as an un-German institution that favored the political interests of the state and its male officials over the personal interests and well-being of wives.

A 1958 program devoted to divorce repeated the claim that an East German man could divorce his wife on the grounds that she interfered with his political career. The female presenter then contrasted West German protections for divorced women with East German discrimination against them by focusing on the issue of alimony. In West Germany, she explained, women typically had a claim to financial support from their husbands when the couple divorced. But in the Zone, she had no automatic right to a maintenance allowance. Moreover, marriage law limited alimony to just two years, even if the ex-wife had young children. Divorced women in the East, according to the speaker, thus faced material hardship and had no choice but to abandon their roles as full-time mothers and enter the workforce.44

Moreover, the state discriminated against women further. The speaker drew her audience’s attention to the fine print in paragraph 13, section 3 of the marriage decree. It required women to apply for alimony at the beginning of the divorce proceedings. If a wife contested the divorce and then lost, she could not apply for maintenance retroactively. The female presenter “urgently recommended” that all women apply for the maintenance allowance. She then provided the exact wording for such an application: “I request the dismissal of the divorce action, and, alternatively, in the event of divorce, I request…maintenance for a period of two years.” The speaker explained, too, that each party in a divorce action had to pay half of the court costs. She advised that the wife should be prepared to prove that such expenses would provide an economic hardship and request an exemption.45 According to Can You Spare 5 Minutes? West German marriage law provided security for divorced women. East German law favored men who used their political clout to abandon their wives and expose them to material hardship.

As this episode illustrates, Can You Spare 5 Minutes? offered specific, practical action women could take to defend themselves from the East German state. However, more often the program, and other RIAS shows as well, took a less direct approach. By offering instances that showed East Germans pushing back against the regime, RIAS hoped listeners would imitate such behavior. Can You Spare 5 Minutes? consistently represented the schools as sites for such potential resistance. Programs contrasted officials’ efforts to recruit students into the Young Pioneers—the communist youth organization for children aged 6 to 14—with parents’ refusal to allow their children to join. One episode reported that only one-third of parents had enrolled their children in the communist youth group. Despite public criticism by an official during parent–teacher conferences, the parents refused to give in. They merely struggled to hide their shared pleasure upon learning that their individual resistance had led to a positive, collective result.46 Other episodes noted that mothers routinely explained to their children that the socialist values they learned in school were for public consumption only. Within the home, a different set of values needed to be embraced. Can You Spare 5 Minutes? praised such actions. For years, parents’ experiences with communism had taught them to be ever more clever in coming up with ways to assert their opposition to the SED state.47 These programs did not direct specific action; instead, they offered examples to be emulated and tacitly suggested female resistance as a way to defend themselves and their families.

Taken together, both the more traditional women’s radio content and the political episodes on Can You Spare 5 Minutes? illustrate how RIAS built its case for democracy and against communism not through abstract political theories but instead based on the lived experience of its female audience. Such shows approached their audience as rational, critical thinkers who had the ability to take action in order to effect change, even if only minor change. The women’s political programs, like all RIAS shows, never represented their East German audience as helpless victims. The women who produced Can You Spare 5 Minutes? used issues related to food, marriage, divorce, and women’s rights to reveal how they fit into the larger struggle between communism and democracy. In the process, they transmitted an image of German women to their audience. Housewives and mothers, they argued, were not insulated from politics. As women, they had the duty to be educated, involved citizens who understood the political stakes in play. By airing programs directed toward a carefully cultivated audience, the women’s division helped ensure RIAS could infiltrate the private sphere of the home for political ends.

The program offered real-life examples that revealed the illegitimacy of the SED state and the success of the FRG. The small public sphere it created within the home engaged women in political conversations and offered suggestions for how they could participate. For RIAS, German housewives in West Berlin and East Germany needed to understand their place within the larger world, to be informed and active political consumers. In the East, women needed to understand how the GDR worked against their interests and to resist when possible. In West Berlin, they had two responsibilities. They needed to realize the benefits of democracy and to push to realize the full benefits democracy offered them. With each program RIAS inquired of its audience, can you spare five minutes—for a political education? The Voice of the Woman hoped to elicit a resounding “yes” from its audience.



“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (‘Christkinder’),” manuscript by U. Haucke, edited by G.v. Norman, 24 December 1955, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives, Berlin. All translations are my own.


Because the scripts are incomplete, it is possible that the show began before 1955. The microfilm cassettes include other women's shows but the vast majority are for Can You Spare 5 Minutes? See RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01 (6.12.1955–9.11.1956); Film 02 (9.3.1957–1.4.1958); Film 03 (1.8.1958–3.6.1959); Film 04 (8.9.1959–12.8.1960), all held at Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives, Berlin. Note that the dates are in the German format, so 6.12.1955 is 6 December 1955. When citing the scripts, I spell out the dates to avoid confusion. Unless otherwise noted, the dates provided for the shows indicate the broadcast date rather than the date they were recorded. Coversheets (Fahrpläne) and a few scripts can also be found in “Fahrpläne von Stimme der Frau/Frauenfunk, Fahrpläne 3322 vom 4.6.62–15.4.1969,” microfilm, A 404-01-08/0001, RIAS Depositum, Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv, Potsdam (hereafter RIAS Dep., DRA Potsdam).


C. Ehrick, Radio and the Gendered Soundscape: Women and Broadcasting in Argentina and Uruguay, 1930–1950 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 7.


K. Lacey, Feminine Frequencies: Gender, German Radio, and the Public Sphere, 1923–1945 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996); A. von Saldern and I. Marssolek, eds., Zuhören und Gehörtwerden I: Radio im Nationalsozialismus: Zwischen Lenkung und Ablenkung (Tübingen: Edition Diskord, 1998); idem, Zuhören und Gehörtwerden II: Radio in der DDR der fünfziger Jahre: Zwischen Lenkung und Ablenkung (Tübingen: Edition Diskord, 1998); A. Braun, “Frauenfunk und Frauenalltag von 1945 bis 1968: Zeitgeschichte aus der Perspektive von Frauen,” in Radiotage, Fernsehjahre: Studien zur Rundfunkgeschichte nach 1945, ed. M. Behmer and B. Hasselbring (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2006), 163–78; idem, Frauenalltag und Emanzipation: Der Frauenfunk des Bayerischen Rundfunks in kulturwissenschaftlicher Perspektive (1945–1968) (Münster: Waxmann, 2005). See also A. Dinghaus, “Hersels Jungmädchenstunde: Identifikationsangebote für junge Frauen?” in Radiozeiten: Herrschaft, Alltag, Gesellschaft (1924–1960), ed. I. Marssolek and A. von Saldern (Potsdam: Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, 1999), 233–50; and A. Badenoch, Voices in Ruins: West German Radio across the 1945 Divide (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).


Braun, “Frauenfunk und Frauenalltag von 1945 bis 1968,” 164.


N.J. Schlosser, Cold War on the Airwaves: The Radio Propaganda War against East Germany (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015).


See Schlosser, Cold War on the Airwaves, especially ch. 3, and for the quote, the in-house history of the station, “Die Geschichte des RIAS, August 1961,” unpublished typescript held in the Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives, 25.


P. Galle, RIAS Berlin und Berliner Rundfunk 1945–1949: Die Entwicklung ihrer Profile in Programm, Personal und Organisation vor dem Hintergrund des beginnenden Kalten Krieges (Berlin: LIT, 2003), 327–31.


For the competition between RIAS and Berlin Radio during the occupation, see P. Galle, RIAS Berlin und Berliner Rundfunk 1945–1949, 327–31. For East German women's radio, see especially D. Münkel, “Produktionssphäre,” in Zuhören und Gehörtwerden II: Radio in der DDR der fünfziger Jahre: Zwischen Lenkung und Ablenkung, ed. A. von Saldern and I. Marssolek (Tübingen: Edition Diskord, 1998), 149–58.


U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population of the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin, International Population Statistics Reports, Series P-90, No. 1 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1952), 51; Staatlichen Zentralverwaltung für Statistik, Statistisches Jahrbuch der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik 1955 (Berlin: Deutscher Zentralverlag, 1956), 9, 14.


K. Lacey, “From Plauderei to Propaganda: On Women's Radio in Germany 1924–35,” in Women and Radio: Airing Differences, ed. C. Mitchell (London: Routledge, 2000), 51.


A. von Saldern and I. Marssolek, “Das Radio als historisches und historiographisches Medium: Eine Einführung,” in Zuhören und GehörtwerdenI: Radio im Nationalsozialismus: Zwischen Lenkung und Ablenkung, ed. A. von Saldern and I. Marssolek (Tübingen: Edition Diskord, 1998), 74–81, 84–85; K. Lacey, “Driving the Message Home: Nazi Propaganda in the Private Sphere,” in Gender Relations in German History: Power, Agency, and Experience from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. L. Abrams and E. Harvey (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997), 189–210.


A. Badenoch, “Time Consuming: Women's Radio and the Reconstruction of National Narratives in Western Germany 1945–1948,” German History 25 (2007): 52.


Galle, RIAS Berlin und Berliner Rundfunk, 163–68.


Münkel, “Produktionssphäre,” 154–58; the West Berlin women’s employment data is from p. 10 of Kulturelles Wort, “Zusammenstellung einiger Unterlagen über Hörergewohnheiten,” 7 December 1959, Umschlag D-0328-K, RIAS Dokumenta 1959–1961, DRA, Potsdam.


“Drahtfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor Berlin, Frauenfunk, Eröffnungsansage: Mertens,” 7 February 1946, F 102-00-00/0003, RIAS Geschichte in den Anfangsjahren, 1947–65, RIAS Dep., DRA, Potsdam.


See “Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Gedenken zu Joan Fry),” manuscript by Otto Zarek, edited by GvNorman [sic], 7 December 1955, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01; “Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Aussenminister Golda Meir),” manuscript by Alfred-Joachim Fischer, edited by I. Spallek, 5 August 1958, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 03, both held in Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives; Galle, RIAS Berlin und Berliner Rundfunk 1945–1949, 331.


Münkel, “Produktionssphäre,” 149–58.


F.N. Leonard, Chief of Division, Office of Military Government, Berlin District, Information Control Division, to Director, Office of Military Government, Berlin District, “Present Programming of Drahtfunk,” 7 August 1946, B Rep, 036 (OMGUS), 4/11-2/18; F. N. Leonard, Chief of Branch, Office of Military Government, Berlin Sector, Information Control Branch, to Director, Office of Military Government, Berlin Sector, “Educational Programs of RIAS,” 8 October 1947, B Rep, 036 (OMGUS), 4/11-2/18, both held at the Landesarchiv Berlin; Galle, RIAS Berlin und Berliner Rundfunk, 331.


Leonard, “Present Programming of Drahtfunk.”


Compiled from scripts found in Film 01, Film 02, and Film 03, held at Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives. Gaby and Franz was a soap opera considered to be part of Can You Spare 5 Minutes?


Data, represented slightly differently, from RIAS Berlin, “Hörfunkprogramme, January 1964,” Umschlag D-0446-K, RIAS Dokumenta 1962–1970, DRA Potsdam.


Research Staff, Office of Public Affairs, “Some East Zone Radio Listening Habits—as Revealed by Visitors to the Berlin Trade Fair (September 24–October 9, 1955), Report No. 219, Series No. 2, October 28, 1955; Research Staff, Office of Public Affairs, American Embassy, “East Zone Opinion of RIAS Programming,” Report No. A-9, Series No. 3, 6 March 1957; Research Staff, United States Information Service, “Radio Listening in the GDR,” Report No. A-18, Series No. 3, 19 December 1957; Research Staff, United States Information Service, “Appendix to Report A-18, Radio Listening in the GDR (December 19, 1957),” American Embassy, Germany, 1957.


M. Meyen, Denver Clan und Neues Deutschland: Medianutzung in der DDR (Berlin: Links, 2003), 58–61. The best work on the relationship between the private and public spheres and women's radio within them is Lacey, Feminine Frequencies.


Schlosser, Cold War on the Airwaves.


“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Die junge Ehe), IX—Eifersucht,” manuscript by U. Haucke, edited by G.v. Norman, 2 January 1956; “Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (So pflegt man sich mit 30),” manuscript by R. Andreas-Fischer, edited by I. Spallek, 3 March 1956, both from RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01, Deutchlandfunk Kultur Archives.


Lacey, Feminine Frequencies.


“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Für einen Kalender?),” manuscript by D. Richert-Sander, edited by G.v. Norman, 27 December 1955, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.


“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Gut gepflegt hält länger),” manuscript by M. Hahn, edited by I. Spallek, 6 June 1957, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 02, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.


“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Für einen Stundenplan im Haushalt?),” manuscript by D. Richert-Sander, edited by I. Spallek, 5 July 1957, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 02, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.


U.C. Schmidt, “Radioaneignung,” in Zuhören und Gehörtwerden II. Radio in der DDR der fünfziger Jahre: Zwischen Lenkung und Ablenkung, ed. A. von Saldern and I. Marssolek (Tübingen: Edition Diskord, 1998), 323. See also A. Schildt, “Hegemon der häuslichen Freizeit: Rundfunk in den 50er Jahren,” in Modernisierung im Wiederaufbau: Die westdeutsche Gesellschaft der 50er Jahre, ed. A. Schildt and A. Sywottek (Bonn: J.H.W. Dietz, 1993), 458–76; Badenoch, Voices in Ruins.


For example, a 1950 listener survey found that NWDR's five-minute women's program was popular with audiences; see Badenoch, “Time Consuming,” 54, n. 32, and that same article for an in-depth discussion of women's time as a commodity. The East German show Fünf Minuten für die Mutter (Five Minutes for Mother), which aired just before 8 a.m., is briefly mentioned in Galle, RIAS Berlin und Berliner Rundfunk 1945–1949, 329.


“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Ihre Sorgen—unsere Sorgen, 1. Sendung),” manuscript by I. Spallek, 5 August 1958, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 03, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.


See, for example, “Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Tageskostpläne für Schulkinder),” manuscript by J. Bothor, edited by I. Spallek, 27 August 1958, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 03; “Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Hausfrau u. das Essen),” manuscript by D. Richert-Sander, edited by I. Spallek, 28 June 1957, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 02, all held in Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.


“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Etwas zum Care-Paket-Jubiläum),” manuscript by M. Riehl, edited by G. v. Norman, 9 May 1956, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.




“Haben Sie 5…? (Polit.Kommentar) [sic],” manuscript by Dr. F. Noppert, 30 December 1955, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.


“Haben Sie 5 Min. Zeit? (Polit.Kommentar),” manuscript by Dr. Friedr. Noppert, 13 January 1956, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.


“Haben Sie 5 Min. Zeit? (Polit. Kommentar),” 13 January 1955.


A. von Saldern and I. Marssolek, “Jawohl, der Deutsche Demokratische Rundfunk kann sich hören lassen,” in Zuhören und Gehörtwerden II: Radio in der DDR der fünfziger Jahre: Zwischen Lenkung und Ablenkung, ed. A. von Saldern and I. Marssolek (Tübingen: Edition Diskord, 1998), 20.


See, for example, D. Harsch, Revenge of the Domestic: Women, the Family, and Communism in the German Democratic Republic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 200.


“Haben Sie 5…?”, manuscript by F. Noppert, recorded on 8 December 1955, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives; all emphasis in the original. The case of the FDJ official, which was real, does not however seem to have been routine practice. See I. Markovits, “Marriage and the State: A Comparative Look at East and West German Family Law,” Stanford Law Review 24 (November 1971): 172, n. 381.


“Haben Sie 5…?”, manuscript by F. Noppert, recorded on 8 December 1955, emphasis in original.


“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Ihre Sorgen–unsere Sorgen: Unterhaltsanspruch der geschiedenen Ehefrau),” manuscript by C. Mühlen (Eckstein) [sic], revision by I. Spallek, 30 September 1958, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 03, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.




“Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Polit. Kommentar), manuscript likely by F. Noppert (he narrated), 16 December 1955, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 01, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.


Ibid.; and see “Haben Sie 5 Minuten Zeit? (Ihre Sorgen—unsere Sorgen, 1. Sendung),” 5 August 1958; “Haben Sie 5 Min. Zeit? (Übergang zur Oberschule in der Zone),” manuscript by I. Gerhartz, edited by I. Spallek, 2 September 1958, RIAS Berlin, Stimme der Frau, Film 03, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Archives.