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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.

Mar 23, 2010

Part Two of this documentary about black clandestine propaganda from the UK towards Nazi occupied Europe. The late Harold Robin explains why Canadian soldiers dug a hole in one of hills near Crowborough, Sussex and how the high power mediumwave transmitter sent from the US was buried underground. George Jacobs explains the mysterious Glenn Miller Jazz programmes made for German soldiers. Aspidistra, as the transmitter was called, could change frequency quite quickly and did more than broadcast fake German forces radio programmes.

After the war, the transmitter was handed over to the BBC and later sent to Orfordness, Suffolk. Bits of the original transmitter survive in the transmission hall of that site. The original transmitter site in Sussex is now a police training ground. The photo shows the transmitter shortly after installation. The bunker was designed by an architect who built cinemas before the war.


Kurt Ringel
seven and a half years ago

Jonathan, thank you for making this material available on the internet. Here is part of what I wrote to you on Dec 17, 1988:

\"It is not true that the truck mounted transmitters had a standard broadcast power of 100 kW. Each transmitter had a power of only 20 kW. Up to 3 transmitters could be combined, resulting in a transmitting power of 60 kW.

Information on German mobile transmitters is available in the following book:
Buchbender/Hauschild, Geheimsender gegen Frankreich: Die Täuschungsoperation Radio Humanité 1940, published by Mittler in Herford in 1984 - ISBN 3-8132-0191-0

This book also repudiates the widespread assumption that Radio Humanité started its programmes in 1940. In reality the station went on the air on December 16, 1939.

You also said that the New British Broadcasting Station (NBBS) later became Workers\' Challenge. In fact both stations were different operations. NBBS was a shortwave operation lasting until April 1945. Workers Challenge was broadcast on 213 m medium-wave by the mobile transmitter \'A\', located at the Schelde estuary. The \'Loch Lomond\' song was used by the NBBS at sign on, not by Workers Challenge.\"

My comment was read out on the air in one of the following broadcasts.

Jonathan Marks
seven and a half years ago

Hi Kurt,

Yes I remember your comments now. Have ordered the book from a bookseller in Germany and look forward to reading more about those German clandestine stations. May be the reason the British missed the start of Radio Humanite was that they were rather late in starting a monitoring service. I wonder if the author, Mittler, is still alive?