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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.

Apr 8, 2012

On April 17th 2012, my late friend and former colleague Pete Myers would have been 73 years old. Sadly, this great broadcaster passed away all too soon on December 15th 1998. It still seems like yesterday and partly because the Media Network programme now only exists as a nostalgic collection on the Internet I thought it appropriate to add this documentary tribute I made with Luc Lucas in 1999 shortly after his passing. It is called A Talent to Amuse.

Pete Myers was a regular voice on many editions of Media Network. He made his name at the BBC External Services in Bush House with a programme called Good Morning Africa. He was one of the early presenters on BBC Radio 1 in 1967 and from 1976 onwards one of the regular producers on Radio Netherlands English Service. He was the engine behind many magazine programmes but also excelled at making radio documentaries. As we busy ourselves with Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat I just wanted to put this documentary tribute back on the web for everyone to enjoy.

Here are some of the memories sent in by listeners at the time.

Much of the joy and magic of shortwave radio was ignited by Pete. Mainstream Asia, Asiascan, Happy Station, the specials and a host of other programmes, they all sparked of creativity. That personal touch gave radio sparkle and vitality. It touched many of us here in Asia and rest of the world. His spirit of bringing so much heart and texture to his reports was both a pleasure and inspiration to us. He was more than a voice to me, more than a friend, more than just a broadcaster. Long live the excellence that Pete strived for.

Xavier Gomez, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Not only did he entertain and inform on radio he also kindly wrote me some extremely funny letters. He will be sadly missed.

Michelle Thompson, Australia

Listening in South Africa to the BBC Morning Show in the early seventies, I found Pete Myers an inspirational broadcaster. He ignited my lifelong passion for radio and for Africa. In particular, his programmes opened my eyes to the world north of the Limpopo River which white South Africa tried so hard to ignore in those days. Above all, he enjoyed that rare gift... the genuine ability to communicate with his listeners.

Peter Biles, London, UK

A year ago I returned from serving with the Peace Corps in Romania. One day I discovered Radio Netherlands via shortwave and delightedly, I sent an e-mail to Pete Myers telling him how much I loved R.N. He called me up and interviewed me. Later he sent me a tape of some of his interviews which I played for my classes. The tape exposed my students to stories and sounds the like of which they had never encountered.

Cynthia D. Earman, Washington DC, USA.

All of the troubles I may have had would gently step aside for the duration of Pete's time on the air. I miss him tremendously. He was a reason to get through another week.

Steve Talia, Eugene, Oregon, USA

For how many times, I don't know, I have been amazed at his presentation...December 15th for some unknown reason was missing from the diary and now suddenly you announced that he's gone...I just don't know what all this means!

Cui Litang Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, P.R.China

We lost a golden voice on the radio but his various documentaries will still be fresh in mind for all his numerous fans of the radio.

Alok Das Gupta, Calcutta, India

We needed him. We will always miss him...

Alexandre Mossiava Moscow, Russia

Pete was one the icons during my growing years. I'll miss him.

Kittu Chennai, India -

I always knew that when Pete was on the air, it was going to be something worth listening to.

Mike Conway Merced California, USA

We are all diminished by his passing, but were most uplifted by his work. Pete Myers has left a fine legacy. He will be missed by all of us, including those of us who were privileged to know him via the radio.

John A. Figliozzi Clifton Park, NY, USA

Pete as a broadcaster not only reached the pinnacle that all broadcasters silently wish to reach, but he will live on in the hearts of us who heard him and through the works of people that he inspired. He was the centre of any gathering and the laughter and good cheer that exploded from him. Even in sadness, his voice echoes and the sound of his laughter soothes our wounded hearts.

Victor Goonetilleke, Piliyandala, Sri Lanka

As someone who worked with Pete, I know how touched he would be to read these heartfelt messages from listeners around the world. Their wonderful sentiments are, of course, nothing less than the man deserves. He was a magnificent broadcaster. That rich deep voice of his so enveloping and warming. I am honoured to have known him, better for having learned from him, and proud that he was my friend.

Mike Bullen, former RN producer, writer of the award-winning TV series "Cold Feet", now resident in Australia.


Dheera Sujan
almost four years ago

Pete was my mentor and teacher at Radio Netherlands and the closest to a father I've ever had. 13 years after his death, I am still thinking of him, and stumbled upon this blog. Astonishing to read all these tributes to him so many years after he died, but nothing less than he deserved. Pete was unique and I'm so happy to have known him from up close for a decade. The comments here are just another confirmation of the love he inspired in his friends and listeners.