Jan Měkota (born Jan Douba), one of the first employess of Radio Free Europe as an announcer and then editor, died of a long illness on April 10, 2015, in Munich, Germany. Here is his short but interesting biography as translated from Czech Radio:
"Jan Douba was born April 11,1931 in Nova Pace, Czechoslovakia. He attended a commercial academy, but did not complete his study because at the age of eighteen, just before graduation, he escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1949 to the American occupation zone.
For three days, he was interrogated by American intelligence agency CIC, which examined the reasons that led him to escape Czechoslovakia.
Then Jan Douba was sent by train to a refugee camp in Munich. After the establishment of the Czech refugee camp near Ludwigsburg, he was moved there. He spent nearly two years in Ludwigsburg and, together with other Czech emigrants, founded Masaryk University College, where he taught academics among Czech emigrants.
In 1951, Jan was offered an Australian visa, but he refused, and thus remained without citizenship. For this reason, he was subsequently transferred to the German camp at Nuremberg. Here auditioned for the emerging Radio Free Europe and met with Paul Tigrid. Given that he has passed the test voice, he was given for the position announcer.
May 1, 1951, Jan Douba, under the pseudonym Jan Měkota, became the youngest staffer of the newly established radio. His earliest work was in RFE newsroom. From 1952 to 1960, he then worked in Lisbon, where Radio Free Europe broadcast on shortwave.
He returned to Munich after eight years because of his desire to do a musical show, which had become very popular. In his turn, he interviewed, for example Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong. and many other famous artists."
At left is a photo of Jan Mekota and Veleria Kaiml of RFE's Czechoslovak broadcast service interviewing jazz great Dave Brubeck in October 1964.
Both photos courtesy of the RFE/RL Collection, Hoover Institution, Stanford, California.