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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 14, 2014

This is a re-issue of a file first published in 2012, but which was buried on the site. Following comments on Facebook, I have re-released it.

This is what you get if you take three production CDs that I used in the Media Network studio from 1995-2000 and fire them off one by one. It turns into 85 minutes of nostalgia with the daft jingles and promos we made to parody international broadcasting in the nineties. Ised the Dalet Workstation to make most of these - because it was the only way to do multirack mixes at Radio Netherlands. Before that we made jingles in the studio using complicated mixes of bit of tapes spliced together using razor blades. Was it efficient? No. Was it fun. Yes.

Radio Netherlands had a broadcast licence to use commercial music, so that made it possible to make these kind of jingles. We weren't trying to make any money out of the montages. We tended to use new music, the idea being that new music would pop up on commercial stations later and that might trigger some people to ask "Where have I heard that before?". My thanks to the voice talents of Jim Cutler, Lou Josephs, Diana Janssen, Dennis Powell, Peter Barsby, Peter Spinks, George Wood, Gene Reich, the late Paul Holmes (before he was famous in New Zealand), Spike Milligan (who was trapped in a studio during a news bulletin), Pete Myers, and Kenny Everett (broadcasters prayer). I wrote the other scripts. Enjoy. 


Roger Lake
almost two years ago

Frabjous joy. Thursdays at 13.51hrs were the highlight of my week in the eighties. And how I regretted not winning one of the CDs of the MN Jingle Collection. So much, I thought about tracking down the named winners and begging for a copy.

At last I have my own - thanks JM. The imaging (as they might call it nowadays) still sounds fresh, witty and vibrant. Superb choice of music and V.O. artists that made the prog zip along and bolstered its authority.

Now, time to apply some 90's tech to slice it all up into the original parts for casual random listening. Mini-disc anyone?

Rob Kievit
almost four years ago

I only just discovered this, and enjoyed it hugely. Hearing this marvellous collection brings back memories of night shifts in RNW's Cell 4. As a presenter I listened to many MN editions more than once, and learnt a lot. Thank you for the mix, Jonathan.

Ruud de Groot
over five years ago

Really enjoyed listening to this !
Thank you, again..