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Media Network Vintage Vault 2019-2020

January 2019 - 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 515 editions of Media Network, representing just over half the episodes that we made and broadcast from the Radio Netherlands' studios in Hilversum.

As you may know, I currently work with all kinds of high-tech scale-ups working in photonics in many parts of Europe, but especially in the Eindhoven and Enschede regions of the Netherlands. I'm particularly fascinated because this country is where international broadcasting started in Europe and where the long-range properties of shortwave radio were first discovered in 1926/1927. In 2019, there will be events to celebrate 100 years of radio in The Netherlands. I hope that the contribution that international broadcasting made will not be forgotten. You can read more about it here

Reliving the 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 37 years since "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 the programme 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 867,896 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, when I am actively uploading, this site logs around 8500 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 our success.

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. We have opened an email address for this:

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

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.

There are still plans to relaunch a podcast version of Media Network. I have been very busy with all kinds of other distractions so far, but there is (slow) progress. I have succeeded in filming on my travels, including in Washington DC, Caversham, Vienna and Berlin. It is just finding the time to do the editing. Watch this space.

Dec 31, 2010

If the names Laslo Pinta and Charlie Coutts mean anything to you then this edition of Media Network recorded in Budapest, Hungary in 1991 will bring back memories. Budapest no longer has an external radio service like the one described in this programme. I am so glad that once Eastern European became more accessible at the start of the 1990's, I jumped in the car and drove to the places that had only been accessible until then via a shortwave radio. My only regret is not visiting Albania.  The voices in this programme tell some fascinating stories. Dennis Herner was the editor of the Radio Budapest SW Club and probably provided listeners in Eastern Europe with the only paper bulletin they were allowed to receive. Dennis also confirmed that one of the resistance radios in the black propaganda schemes run out of Woburn Abbey actually got through to the target area. It being wartime, there doesn't seem to be much evidence of listeners' letters ! the existence of wartime clandestine radio stations. The other voice in the programme, that of Charlie Coutts, was occasionally heard on BBC Local Radio giving football commentaries when a UK team played the Hungarians. I am glad I captured the stories he tells here about life running the English language department of Radio Budapest.  

can togay
two and a half years ago

i knew and loved charlie coutts

karen gillespie
almost four years ago

he is related to me

Ross Gillespie
almost four years ago

Charlie Coutts was a relation to me I think he would have been my great uncle. My grandad was Ronnie Taylor from Aberdeen, it would be really nice to get in contact with any of his family.

Ian Morrison
six and a half years ago

The lady you mention from Radio Tirana was June Taylor, originally from New Zealand.

over seven years ago

I Visited the studios of radio Budapest in the summer of 1962 and was surprised to see some of the studio equipment was made by Telefunken.I would have expected something manufactured to the East.Had the pleasure of being entertained by Dennis Herner and Rose Pataki.Dennis took me back to his flat to meet his family.Sadly,I did not keep in keep in contact after a couple of years and was sad to hear of his death.

jim jordan
over eight years ago


Please keep posting the ones about East Europe. They are really appreciated by those of us whose old cassette tapes have now turned to dust. It was great to hear the late Charlie Coutts again. He with Alan Ben Ami, the Geordie on Kol Israel, probably had the most easily recognizable voices that you would hear on SW in the '70's. Did anyone ever find out who the lady was on Radio Tirana who used to end their transmissions with the phrase "Goodbye dear listeners"?