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Media Network Vintage Vault 2017-2018


September 2017 - A message from Jonathan Marks

Welcome. I'm Jonathan Marks. If this is the first time you've visited the vault, then I'm glad you dropped by! There are over 485 editions of Media Network, representing about half the episodes that we made and broadcast from Hilversum.

As you may know, I currently work with all kinds of high-tech scale-ups in many parts of Europe, but especially in the Eindhoven region. I'm particularly fascinated because this region is where international broadcasting started in Europe and where the long-range properties of shortwave radio were first discovered in 1926/1927.


Reliving Mainstream broadcast heritage

In early February 2010, I began an online experiment here on Libsyn with podcasting to understand how the distribution system works and see whether we could rebuild an audience. We wanted to recreate a place to listen to vintage editions of the Media Network programme as broadcast on short-wave by Radio Netherlands in the period 1981-2000. It is over 35 years since the Media Network was launched as the name of the media show on Radio Netherlands, building on the rich heritage of programmes that went before it.

We ran on the shortwave wireless from May 7th 1981 until the end of October 2000 with more than 1000 editions of the show. Many of the features are gradually making their way onto this website as a celebration of international broadcasting's second Golden Age.

Radio Netherlands no longer exists as a radio station in English in the way that we knew it. (They signed off at the end of June 2012 as documented on this site). The RN Classical Music station was around for a short while after, but that too had been yanked from the Interwebs. Join me in raising a glass to the great days of analogue adventures!

We have now reached more than 738,409 downloads, numbers being boosted by interest in the programmes about China, North Korea and several documentaries about propaganda, during the Second World War and later. On average, this site logs around 11000 downloaded episodes a month, which isn't bad for vintage material.

First of its kind

Media Network was one of the first international communications magazines of its time. I hosted and produced the programme, but a lot of the content was made by a network of volunteer monitors, reporters and researchers located all over the globe. Diana Janssen also joined me as co-host during the last 5 years of the programme. She made a considerable contribution to the programme.

Where do these shows come from?

I kept copies of most of the show, especially those that dealt with specific issues or were connected to current events in that period. Since leaving Radio Netherlands in 2003, I have gradually digitized the tapes as part of my research into international broadcasting and where it might go after shortwave. Personally, I find it amazing to relive this era, especially as most of it was pre-Web, pre-Skype, pre-YouTube, pre-email, when most people thought twice about picking up the phone to call a radio station in another country. There is also a lot to be learned from what worked and what failed. Too many recent media ventures could have learned a lot from those who went before them. 

I am always interested in your reactions, especially from people who may be discovering this material for the first time. It will encourage me to post more. Looking at the site stats, it would seem that around 13% of the subscribers are downloading via iTunes. The rest do so directly from the site or using 3rd party apps. Please tell friends about the vault and encourage them to subscribe. 

There are also radio related videos which I made more recently over on my video vault.

Finding a show 

This is a new form of the website now that Libsyn has updated the style of the podcast feeds. You can also subscribe in iTunes by searching for "Media Network Vintage". As each "new" edition is published, it will download automatically to your MP3-player of choice. I personally find the Downcast app to be the best for IOS. But other podcast apps are available.

I know some of the material here is niche stuff to many broadcasters - but I also know that people interested in international communications and broadcasting are very passionate people. Because of the politics, it provided a constant wave of stories. I also believe that we developed one of the first collaborative formats on international radio, where individuals could do some detective work, report their results, and share experiences with those with a similar passion.

As you may know, I currently work with all kinds of high-tech photonics scale-ups in many parts of Europe, but especially in the Eindhoven region. I'm particularly fascinated because this region is where international broadcasting started in Europe and where the long-range properties of shortwave radio were first discovered in 1926/1927.

There are still plans to relaunch a podcast version of Media Network later in 2017. I have been very busy with all kinds of other projects so far, but there is progress. Watch this space.

Jul 10, 2016

Very sad to learn that my colleague and friend, Lou Josephs, has passed away much too soon. He died after a short illness at 6:13 am Sunday July 10th 2016 at a house on Merritt Island, Florida close to his beloved Cape Canaveral. He was 65. My condolences to his life-long partner Susan Koonin who was by his side. There will be funeral in Washington DC on Wednesday July 13th.

Jim Cutler and Vasily Strelnikov sent their thoughts and best wishes when they knew he was ill. I delved into this Media Network archive to pick some of the contributions which stick in my memory - but it is a fraction of what Lou contributed behind the scenes. 

Lou was one of the first Media Network listeners in the 1980's to step forward and help us develop the programme into a serious media magazine on Radio Netherlands. He made hundreds of contributions to the programme over a period of 15 years, including this great portrait of commercial international broadcaster WNYW, New York. That documentary is one of the most popular editions in the current archive.

 

I think you'll agree that was Lou at his finest. Some of the other recollections about WNYW are also still online.

From Radio Specialist to Internet Expert

I first got to know Lou when he worked as a programme director at music station WROR in Boston. He was using very advanced audience research methods to understand the music mix that his audience wanted - and it made the station a market leader in an era when FM stations had big breakfast talent (Joe and Andy I seem to recall). Lou was always ahead of the game, got out of radio when automation took over, and then moved to Washington DC to work for one of the first US Internet companies. But he never lost his interest in broadcasting - championing on-line listening.

 

As others have pointed out, the Media Network programme in 1992 was actually a remake of a profile Lou originally made in 1985. As a kid living in New York, Lou got a Saturday job working at WNYW, Radio New York Worldwide and (thankfully) made some unique off the air studio recordings,

 

Space

Lou's first love was space - he was an authority on all the missions and found ways to follow launches from the early days. He was delighted at the success of the NASA Juno Jupiter mission and was hoping to witness the SpaceX launch this week.

 

Lou's second love was radio and in my Skype conversations with him over the last few days,  I've been reminiscing about how his predictions about digital AM, on-line audio and satellite television were spot on. I know of few other people who were so well read on the global media, yet willing to share their knowledge and expertise with friends and colleagues around the world. And he competed with our Australian propagation specialist Mike Bird knowing his California wines like no other.

 

Lou was not on Facebook or other social media platforms. But over the last few days, I did manage to pass on greetings from those who reacted to an earlier post on FB. Susan says those thoughts made him so happy. So long, Lou, and thanks for your being a great friend to many people around the world.

 

Other tributes from former MN contributors:

 

Many best wishes came in over the last few days, all of which were read to him by Susan. This included: 


Victor Goonetilleke in Sri Lanka writes: I enjoyed the clever jingles he made but also the many contributions to Media Network on changes to digital radio. I was happy to meet him in Washington DC after an SWLFEST and Lou helped me fulfill a teenage DX dream as I listened to VOA and JFKs final rites in 1963; To visit the Eternal Flame at Arlington National Cemetery. Lou took me there and then gave me a fantastic tour of DC. We always remember great friends like that with great affection. It is friends like Lou who make the hobby (?) of DXing, SWLing so fine..the highlight is not only in the signals that come through sitting alone in your shack. Take care Lou and all the very best my friend.

 

Tom Sundstrom in New Jersey: I am very sorry to hear of Lou's illness and I hope he recovers quickly. Lou and I often exchanged phone calls and notes while we were both associated with MN. The MN work was fun and interesting. I can't believe so many years have intervened. Space interests me too; the JUNO precision orbit insertion was bloody amazing!

 

Richard Cuff: I remember Lou joining us for an SWL Fest in Pennsylvania in the mid-2000s, where he presented a great retrospective on WRUL / WNYW, the commercial shortwave station with its heyday in the 1960s. And, of course, I remember him very well from Media Network. Lou, hope you get well soon!

 

John Figliozzi: Lou, I too recall with great fondness the presentation you gave at the Winter SWL Fest now several years ago about WNYW--Radio New York Worldwide. It was one of the first shortwave stations I tuned in on my then brand new Heathkit GR-54 receiver. I listened to the station regularly and it was great to experience such a thorough history and background of the station that only you were able to provide. It was clear that we shared a love for that broadcaster. It was great to meet you then and to link a face with a voice that I heard regularly on Radio Netherlands' Media Network. I am sorry to hear of your health issues and hope that this small message of support can help in some tiny but significant and ultimately successful way. Godspeed.