Media Network Vintage Vault 2014-2015
Re-live international shortwave radio between 1980-2000 through a radio show that pioneered producing narratives with its listeners. Over 400 complete programmes posted here to enjoy all over again. This is a non-commercial service to media historians done at the initiative of host, Jonathan Marks.

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.  

Direct download: MN.week19.1991Hungary.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:46 PM
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This show starts with the news that money troubles are affecting the BBC World TV, Wolf Harranth reports that James Blades who played the drums on the BBC's Victory V campaign passed away. And Bavaria's BR decides to upgrade its 49 metreband channel. (I guess it was one of the last European broadcasters to do so).

This programme was broadcast at a time when independent radio in India still wasn't fully commercialised. Only 13 Indians per thousand had access to the telephone, let alone the Internet.  In those days the Star TV network was losing money. We also reviewed a book by Bob Padula - The Shortwave Guide to South Asia. 

We also got a great contribution to the Memories of the Millennium contest in this edition. including some rare VOA English bloopers and recordings from the BBC World Service when Big Ben was playing up. Jammin' Oldies was the hot format of the day. There's also a flashback to Radio Free Grenada. 

Direct download: MN.wk.28.1999.India.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:23 PM
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I picked this recording out of the archives because it has a nice capsule summary of the major media stories from 1982. The highlight was, of course, the Falklands-Malvinas "conflict". But it was also the last programme in which Wim van Amstel appeared as RNW Frequency Manager. It was certainly not the last time he was heard on the programme, though. Again it is striking to hear some of the predictions - and how they were spot on. The call with Arthur Cushen in New Zealand is rather like making contact with the moon. Cannot believe how fast time has flown. At the time of publishing this podcast, I was also sad to hear of the passing of BBC correspondent and broadcaster Brian Hanrahan, who famous line when broadcasting under censorship from the Falklands Fleet was brilliant. Unable to reveal how many British aircraft had been involved in the conflict, he reported that after one sortie he "counted them all out and I counted them all back."  

Direct download: MN.23.12.1982.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:00 PM
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Love this programme about the UK Radio Interference service, especially with hindsight. In the 1980's, perhaps stimulated by the offshore stations, the FM band in London was full of pirates. Those were the days when the police also operated in the top end of the FM dial - but in AM mode so it was more difficult to follow what was being said. Also, on the 49 metre short-wave band, just above 6200 kHz, hobby pirates operated with just a few watts on holidays and Sunday mornings. In this programme, we also talked to Michiel Schaay about his hobby of RTTY listening. Richard Ginbey gave an interesting overview of the history of broadcasting in Angola and we talked to Maurice Tainton of the BBC Club in London who explained how staff would celebrate the 50th anniversary of BBC External broadcasting, despite the demise of the BBC's World Radio Club programme.

Direct download: MN.03.12.1982Angola.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:14 PM
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This was a news edition of the programme including a portrait of the battle for English language radio on the French Riveria. I remember visiting the studios of Radio Riveria a few years later and discovering it was built by the Germans during the 2nd World War. They had hired space in the studios of Radio Monte Carlo, one of the periphery commercial stations that beamed back into France from border areas to break the monopoly of Radio France. (You may remember Europe No.1, RTL, and Radio Andorra were part of the game too). I remember the studios of RMC had extremely thick walls and the transmitter site up on the hill behind (on French territory) was designed to beam Goebbel's propaganda directly into North Africa. Never went to transmitter site. I was told you could imagine where the Nazi swastika banners had once fluttered. 

Direct download: MN.week7.1992.France.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:12 PM
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In the summer of 1992, if you tuned up and down a shortwave radio in many parts of the world you could hear what sounded like a Yoga meditation class on several dozen frequencies. At this time, the Russian authorities were hiring out shortwave airtime to anyone who wanted to pay for it. Radio Moscow World Service, the Russian external broadcaster had been downsized well before it became the Voice of Russia. As a result, many shortwave transmitters were lying idle. Aum Shinrikyo bought a major amount of airtime....42 simultaneous transmitters. The movement was founded by Shoko Asahara in his one-bedroom apartment in Shibuya, Tokyo as a meditation class known as Aum-no-kai ("Aum club") and began steadily growing in the years that followed. It gained the official status as a religious organization in 1989. Because it attracted such a considerable number of young graduates from Japan's elite universities that it was dubbed a "religion for the elite". The Wikipedia entry goes on to explain that at the end of 1989 there were rumours that some public figures who criticized the "religion of truth" were being eliminated. At the end of 1993, the cult started secretly manufacturing Sarin nerve gas nerve and VX (nerve agent) Aum tested their sarin on sheep in remote parts of Western Australia. Both sarin and VX were then used in several assassinations (and attempted assassinations) in the course of 1994. The most notable was on the night of 27 June 1994, when the cult carried out the world's first use of a chemical weapon in a terrorist attack against civilians when they released sarin in the central Japanese city of Matsumoto, Nagano. The gas killed eight and harmed 200 others. However, police investigations focused only on an innocent local resident and failed to implicate the cult at that point. Flashback to 1992, when enquiries that we did in Moscow revealed that the cult hadn't made much in the way of new programming. All these transmitters were being fed from a DAT recorder put into a continuous playback loop the central transmission control centre in Moscow. It played Side A for 57 minutes then switched over to side B. Little did we realise that these rather poor presented programmes were fueled by such cruel actions. Note that the group reformed in the early parts of this century and the chapter on this Japanese cult is far from closed, even though they are no longer in the headlines.
Direct download: MN.25.06.1992.aumshin.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:46 PM
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This programme includes news about jamming in Sudan. What's curious is that in 2010 the jamming transmitter in Sudan would seem to be back on the air, this time jamming the station Radio Debanga aimed at Dafur. We also looked at radio tourism. Jan Taner decided to visit 1548 kHz Radio St Helena and helped to start the Radio St Helena Day. The frequency of 11092.5 kHz Upper Sideband has become synonymous with Radio St Helena - at least if you Google that number you'll find it. They have been several St Helena days since, always on the same frequency. We also looked at cheap shortwave portables like the DAK Industries DMR3000. Reposted 12 December 2010 because of broken link complaints. Seems to work now.
Direct download: MN.13.08.1992helena.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:58 PM
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This was a very consumer conscious edition of the show, in which Jonathan and Diana find out why some leading scientists expect the peak in the solar cycle 22 to cause more damage that the millennium bug. We’ll also be exploring why the world’s first terrestrial digital TV service in the UK (the forerunner to Freeview) has more bugs in it than a tropical rain forest.
Direct download: MN.18.02.1999.solarstorms.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:04 PM
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In late September 1998, we broadcast a news edition of the programme at a moment when the revelations about President Clinton were threatening to overload the Internet. Sam Younger stepped down from the BBC World Service and Mark Byford announced some changes to the UK external broadcasting service. We talked to the Internet department at CNN to find out how audio and video downloads were going and Kim Andrew Elliott, Audience Researcher at VOA has some interesting comments to share. And we did a remarkably silly sign-off. What fascinates me is how international broadcasting got stuck in a time warp since then..
Direct download: MN.Sept.1998.Younger.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:05 PM
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In this first Media Network of April 1998 , we kick off a brand new summer season of our weekly communications programme by staring into space. Can a company that has created a virtual country in space deliver a worldwide phone system by the end of the 1998? Iridium thought it could. This programme also has news of a new Democracy Radio station announced by the Clinton Administration (which took VOA by surprise) as well as portrait of the Hague music station Arrow Classic Rock and its fight for a commercial licence.
Direct download: MN.02.04.1998Iridium.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:47 PM
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I find Northern California to be steeped in fascinating broadcast history. There's the Marconi transmission and receiving centre in Tomales Bay. Check out this link. Then you there is the mission control centre for the This Week in Tech network in Petaluma, with Chief twit Leo Laporte. The photo shows the cottage which I visited in February 2010 and posted this video. But so much for the present... In 1998 Diana Janssen and I visited San Franscisco where we met Brian Cooley who was heading up CNET radio at the time. 11 years later, Brian is still with CNET but doing video. The radio bulletins are over. This show marked Media Network's 17th anniversary since it hit the airwaves in 1981 and to celebrate we decided to visit a radio station that hadn’t got a transmitter but it has got a beautiful view of the San Francisco bay area. There are not many studio windows that look out on the famous island of Alcatraz. This programme formed part of a trip to examine what was happening in Silicon Valley.
Direct download: MN.wk.19.1998.cnet.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:47 PM
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In this edition of the show we were messing about in boats. For instance, Light Vessel 18, the former Trinity House lightship was nearly ready for her new role as a floating Radio Station to help celebrate the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's 175th anniversary. Radio Northsea International was planning to be heard over in the area of the English county of Essex and beyond starting on 3rd August 1999 on 190 metres medium wave, that is, 1575 kiloHertz. This revivial was only for the month of August. This programme also updated the story about Quality Radio 1224 kHz and quashed the rumour that AFN was planning to close down its Frankfurt transmitter on AM. I also like the preview of the Funkausstellung 1999 from the late Bob Tomalski. He was brilliant - still sadly missed. And he was spot on in his predictions. The photo is taken in Lemmer, one of the harbours on the Ijsselmeer lake
Direct download: MN.29.07.1999.Boats.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00 AM
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I have always been struck by the connection between radio and transport, especially trains. Many of my friends in broadcasting have an interest in trains - especially steam. So while at a conference in Canada in 1998 I took the tour of the CBC English service in Ottawa, and learned how trains have been important to the start of national radio in that part of North America. It turned out to be important to me too. I went out to the airport to catch the KLM flight back to the Netherlands. I then discovered that there was no plane. It was a bus to Montreal. Where did the bus leave from? The Canadian National railway station opposite my hotel. This show also contains news on the book series about the great manufacturer of portable radios - Zenith.

Direct download: MN.wk.24.1998.cbcottawa.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:51 PM
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So who remembers the radio stations that operated from the Forts in the 1960's? They were trying to break the monopoly of the BBC but choosing to use abandoned WWII anti-aircraft defenses built in the North Sea rather than the ships used by Radio Veronica and Caroline. The answer is that plenty of people still remember those broadcast pioneers, as I discovered at the Radioday.nl in the Casa400 hotel in Amsterdam on November 13th 2010. That lead to a request to dig up this show from August 13th 1998 in which we reviewed a new CD about the Forts, containing interviews from those involved. I see those CDs are still around - judging from the displays of offshore memorabilia. This show also included a great opening from Jim Cutler hinting at the crowded shortwave bands. Rocus de Joode was in the frequency coordination meeting in KL. Frederick Noronha submitted a piece about community radio in India. It is a shame that it didn't take off as fast as the commercial FM. The programme ends with the review of the double CD about screaming Lord Sutch and his fort adventures.
Direct download: MN.wk.33.1998.Sutch.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:10 PM
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Enjoyed saying hello to several listeners to this podcast. You gave me several useful suggestions about which editions of Media Network they'd like me to upload from the archive. I am always surprised about which editions people remember and to hear how people in Eastern Europe took enormous risks to listen in. The Radioday was held on November 13th at the spanking new Casa400 hotel in Amsterdam. It was packed with passionate people. I think it works because those there realise that offshore radio was a unique era. Many people had enormous fun working on the ships and made friendships that have lasted more than 40 years. There aren't many industries that can attract people to come to a nostalgia day - and I haven't seen as many people smiling about radio in a long time. The next radio day will be November 12th 2011.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:07 PM
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In 1998 we remade a documentary on Tokyo Rose in the light of new recordings and websites that were springing up. This was before Wikipedia of course. I think it interesting to contrast this story about Tokyo Rose (it was more than one person) with that of American actress Mildred Gillars who broadcast from Berlin to North America. I see that she is the subject of a new book by Richard Lucas called 'Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany". There are recordings of her in the US Library of Congress. The original programme is also on this website.
Direct download: MN.wk.21.1998.tokyorose2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:05 AM
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This was a regular edition of Media Network which aired on my birthday in 1999. In this week we included an interview with Quentin Howard, then the boss at the UK Digital radio network Digital One. Interesting to hear how the debate about digital radio seems to have moved forward rather slowly since then - although there are far more receivers on the market than 11 years ago. The UK is now facing a first-mover challenge with so many DAB radios in the market. Countries like Australia that now adopting digital radio are leapfrogging to DAB+ which uses the codec that Quentin believed back then was not robust enough. The programme also dipped into the archives to hear a profile on broadcasting in Congo compiled by Richard Ginbey. I find those off-air recordings conjure up a completely different world when radios like the one shown here were state of the art. It was the Sony ICF5900W - crystal controlled if I remember rightly.
Direct download: MN.12.08.1999.congo.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:49 PM
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This edition was recorded in a small village just outside Geneva, Switzerland. Hirondelle, the Swiss media foundation which had been running several post-conflict media projects organised a symposium. It focussed on what broadcasters could do to restore the peace in places like Burundi and Liberia. Hirondelle is still going, having since got the contract to build and maintain the Radio Okapi network in Congo. Once again, I believe that most of the sentiments in this programme are still valid today, even though the programme was compiled in July 1998. For a time there was also a hate media website maintained by Radio Netherlands which is referred to in the programme. We discovered that this site was also used as one of the references for researchers on the film Hotel Rwanda. I see the man at the centre of the film, Paul Rusesabagina, is still involved in a bitter feud with Rwanda's President, Paul Kagam. Allegations flared up again in October 2010.
Direct download: MN.wk.28.1998.hatemedia.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:01 PM
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In this edition, let's head back to the 1980's. The late Richard Ginbey was a keen shortwave radio listener who did more than most to document African broadcasting. He lived in South Africa, Namibia, and New Zealand for much of his life, working as a radio presenter for a number of music radio stations. He was one of the few people making audio recordings of the stations he heard. In the 1970's he was heard with his own radio programme on Radio Portugal (then known as the Voice of the West) and a publication called the World Radio Bulletin. By the time I joined Radio Netherlands, he was already contributing a monthly spot for that station. I encouraged him to give us more profiles and less lists - and he duly obliged. Sadly, Richard was killed in a road traffic accident. I tried to find out what happened to his priceless collection of cassette recordings, but my letters were never answered. This programme from June 1983 includes a contribution from Professor John Campbell on the Irish pirates, a promo for ANARC 1983 with Dan Robinson (now with VOA News), and an update on Basicode 2, a universal language for home computers broadcast by the Dutch domestic channel NOS in a programme called Hobbyscoop.
Direct download: MN.09.06.1983ginbeyBasicode.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:41 PM
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We only really started to get an idea of what broadcasting was like during the Cold War towards the end of the 1990's. I remember we had a visit from Estelle Winters, who is still a regular presenter on the Voice of Russia, the station that took over from Radio Moscow World Service. I remember when we finally saw pictures of the studios of Radio Moscow and realised why the station always had a signature sound - no matter what language, you could often identify the station on a crowded short-wave dial because of the modulation. The studios had two microphones pointing towards the presenter, giving it a characteristic echo since there is a phase difference between the sound captured by the mikes. This show originally aired on 22nd January 1998.
Direct download: MN.wk.04.1998.Moscow.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:07 AM
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This is a very early Media Network from December 1982 when distance still had a certain magic. There was no wikipedia to get a briefing on far away places. Phone lines were prohibitive expensive (6 Euros a minute to the Pacific) and awful quality. Via a complicated method of simultaneous recording (two tape recorders running at the same time in different locations), I managed to link up with Martin Hadlow, at that time working for in the Solomon Islands. Hearing the station was virtually impossible outside the Pacific, even though they had a short-wave transmitter. Martin later when on to do some fascinating projects for UNESCO in Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan. The photo illustrating this podcast was taken in 2005 when Martin was stationed at UNESCO HQ in Paris. He is now a professor in Brisbane, Australia. This same broadcast includes a review of a book called "Let Truth be Told" written by the late Gerard Mansell, one of the directors of BBC External Services in the early 1980's. BBC External Services was celebrating 50 years on the air. Richard Ginbey also shares some recordings from Malawi made from his listening post in South Africa. I wonder what the show would have sounded like if we had Skype and multi-track recording facilities. We only had razor blades and splicing tape. (I know about a few short glitches in this copy of the recording during the Mansell book review).
Direct download: MN.04.12.1982.solomons.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:41 AM
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Towards the end of May 1998, 150 international broadcasters got together at a hotel golf resort just outside Ottawa for a conference on the future of international broadcasting. It was organised by Radio Canada International together with 6 Canadian Universities and it was the fifth in a series of meetings, all of which have focussed on the future of international broadcasting. Even then, the writing was on the wall for shortwave international broadcasting. Radio Prague in the Czech Republic, for instance, had decided to invest 10% of its programme budget into “new media”. They said they were better able to reach Czechs living abroad using e-mail than their limited shortwave facilities. On the other hand some stations in Asia are actually putting new transmitters on the air although these aren’t being designed in such a way that they could be digitised later. But in the light of the recent decision in October 2010 to fund the BBC World Service in a different way, its interesting to listen to Frits Groothuys who, back in 1998, was responsible for BBC strategy at the World Service in London. He drew a fascinating comparison between international broadcasting and sailing ships like the Cutty Sark. He could not have predicted that the tea clipper he was talking about would catch fire 9 years later, but I think he did forsee that digital shortwave was invented too late.
Direct download: MN.wk22.1998.ottawa.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:02 PM
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During the Cold War there were several clandestine stations that popped up from Eastern Europe, being the voice of the communist party in exile. One was Radio Independent Spain which got airtime from Radio Prague. This was one of the memories towards the end of this show recorded in 1999. This edition also carried news of HCJB in Quito which was having challenges with a nearby volcano. Broadcast September 30th 1999.
Direct download: mn.wk.39.1999.independentspainhcjb.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00 AM
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I remember listening to a jingle of the Voice of Lebanon, a shortwave radio station that operated well outside the conventional 49 metre short-wave band. So even though it had a low power, it didn't have competition from higher powered stations and would propagate into Northern Europe most evenings. But I had to visit the station, and hum the tune of the jingle before I realised that, for the locals, the music had a very different significance. When I visited Beirut in June 1998 to take part in a training course for journalists, the country was on a lift. From current reports, it seems to have become very polarised again. And that could not be more dangerous. The cafes in the hills around Beirut are still fantastic - and you could see why artists and singers preferred to work there than in dusty Cairo or the heat of the Gulf. Thanks to Sorgul for the photo. Mine still have to be digitized. Like the show? Leave a comment.
Direct download: MN.26.06.1988.lebanon.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:48 AM
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There used to be a great round-table discussion about radio content organised by the EBU and Spanish National Radio RNE. It was held every two years in Torremolinos. The venue in the Malaga conference centre was great because the room was like a football stadium. It worked because everyone could see each other which is essential if you want to get people talking whose native language is not English. I went to one of the events in 1999 and got a glimpse of what people where thinking about the future of radio 11 years ago. I think it was a pity they were discontinued. Perhaps that's because the venues they chose later were more like a classroom. So who got it right and who was well off the mark? Listen back to this Media Network spring safari and let me know what you think. If you are interested in more great photos of Torremolinos as it is today, check out this Flickr stream from William Helsen. Photo used under creative commons licence.
Direct download: MN.May.1999.Torremolinos.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:50 PM
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This edition was a mixed bag....no single theme. Strange going's on in London as reported by Nic Newman (Suitcase TV), African Media News from Richard Ginbey, a visit to the VERON Dutch Amateur Radio station PA0AA located in the Sikkens Paint Factory just off the A44 on the way to Noordwijk and John Campbell had some interesting comments on La Voz del CID, a station targeting Cuba. Time travel back 25 years. The photo, by the way, comes from the old Marconi transmitter located in the grounds of the Vatican..but that's another story.
Direct download: MN.09.May.1985.CID.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:45 PM
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In 1986 I attended an ANARC convention and gave a slide show about European and Asian radio. I dragged two Kodak Caroussel projectors across the Atlantic and a device that synchronised them with an audio from a cassette. I must have been mad. I remember having to take two suitcases. In fact, the tape lasted longer than the projectors. It is really radio with pictures, a sort of early Slideshare I'd say. Give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world, or at least the world as we saw it in 1986. Never broadcast as far as I can remember. Mike Bird free.
Direct download: MN.EarlySlideshare.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:04 AM
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This programme covers three media wars going on in the middle of 1999. One was in Kosovo, there was increased tension in the Koreas (nothing has changed) and problems in the Solomon Islands.There's also an interview with Jerry Berg who wrote an excellent book on the early days of shortwave broadcasting. In June 1999, one of the Radio Netherlands transmitters began carrying a daily programme of just under 2 hours produced by the journalists of Radio 21. If you've been following our coverage of the media situation in Kosovo, you may recall that Radio 21 was a Web-only radio station based in Pristina, serving the Albanian community. In the disputed waters off the coast of Korea, north and south Korean naval vessels became involved in yet another incident in which two North Korean ships were sunk. The political tension between north and South Korea has of course been high ever since the Korean war, and the airwaves of that region are full of propaganda from both sides. Jerry Berg is a well-known and highly respected short wave listener. He is on the Executive Council of the North American Shortwave Association and is chairperson of the Committee to Preserve Radio Verifications. He is also the author of a new case-bound book called On The Shortwaves 1923-1945. It tells the story of shortwave broadcasting from the earliest days up to the end of World War II. It’s surprising that nobody has tackled this subject in depth before. Probably the reason is the difficulty of finding relevant material. But researching information must be second nature to Jerry Berg, as he's an attorney by profession. Photo by unnamed Radio Netherlands reporter who reported from there in 2004.
Direct download: MN.17.06.1999.PrestinaBerg.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:30 AM
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In 1998 I had the chance to go to Shanghai to take part in an Asian Broadcasting Union meeting. Frankly, the topics for discussion were mind numbing - political more than practical. But it gave me a great opportunity to tour some of the radio stations in the city and keep a kind of audio diary. We experimented with sending files over the web - and it didn't sound too bad. Certainly good enough for shortwave. Remember that China is roughly the same size as the United States, except it has 5 times the population. ABU meetings have a reputation of doing things on a grand scale, in-fact a scale of grandeur that has long since died out in Europe. And because many of the stations have government connections, including this year's hosts, the Radio and TV of the Peoples' Republic of China, there's an official reception desk waiting behind passport control. A young girl in a white jacket spots my briefcase with the Radio Netherlands sticker. Yes, I am Mr Marks, but for the next few days, I'm better known as delegate 157 - please hang this large name badge around you neck. Just in time, I remember to hand out my business card with two hands, English characters face side up, but with a hopefully accurate Chinese translation on the back.
Direct download: MN.26.11.1998.shanghai.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:00 AM
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Looking back through old radio magazines of about 25 years ago, you see some very strange articles. Speakers at international radio conferences like ANARC and the European DX Council proudly talked about short-wave turning to single-sideband by the year 2015 and that satellites would not play a significant role before the end of the century. They seemed to have totally misjudged the competition from commercial TV broadcasters like CNN, or the growing demand from the consumer for better quality audio and more choice. Another denial, this time from BBC World Service. They were reacting to an article in the Sunday Times of London which claimed on the 26th September that BBC’s external service is about to shut some language services. (history is repeating itself in 2010). BBC’s German service, which has just celebrated 60 years on the air, was supposedly to close together with transmissions to Nepal, Portuguese speaking Africa, Slovakia and Hungary. BBC told us that a decision on how to bridge a 5.7 million pound shortfall had not been taken. We also spoke with former RNW programme Director Frans Suasso, who had just returned from a trip to Kazakhstan to examine the media scene there.
Direct download: MN.01.10.1998.Kazakhstan.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:00 AM
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I remember this edition of Media Network because it had a superb story from China as part of the Memory of the Millennium. The author explained how radio had been a friend and foe in his life, especially to his father. It is only when you visit other countries where listening to foreign radio stations is discouraged that you realise the risks people took in the past, and (in some countries like Burma) risks that they still take today. This edition also contains a chat with the late Bob Tomalski on recordable DVD's (what a standards mess that was) and we hear from a listener in the UK who believes the BBC is trying to do too much. This edition was recorded at a time when BBC German was amongst a number of language sections threatened with closure. We also did film reviews: Henry Stokes writes from Green Bay Wisconsin. I remember in the dim distant past, Media Network ran a series of features about Motion Picture musings, a sort of film review section where the idea was to spotlight films that somehow involved radio in their plot. It seems incredible that films such as Good Morning Vietnam are now well over a decade old. Since then a few James Bond films have had a radio connection with fights on radio telescopes for instance, but these days’ secret agents are sent abroad to blow up satellite TV stations not clandestine radio transmitters. I live in an area with quite a lot of people from Polish origin and there has been some considerable discussion about a new film by Robin Williams called Jakob the Liar. It is actually a remake of an East German film from 1974 with the same name, although the new version gets more treatment from Hollywood special effects. This is a holocaust drama about a Jewish concentration camp. The critics have panned it because of the rather forced Polish accents by the American actors, especially Allen Arkin. It also disappeared from the cinema circuits here very quickly and I’m not sure whether it has been released yet in Europe, I doubt it. My reason for bringing it up is that it the star of the film, Jakob, is a lonely widower in 1945 who starts to become popular when he listens to allied broadcasts from the BBC and then relays the information to the others in the Polish concentration camp. Excited by the news that the Russians are on their way, he gives a lot of people hope in the midst of their despair. But since the news isn’t always want they want to hear, he starts embellishing. He also claims to own a transmitter so he can get secret news in and out. I enjoyed the way they portrayed short-wave broadcasting at the time. The rest of the film was only fair. The photo was taken at the entrance to the Shanghai metro in the days when being asked not to take explosives onto the metro was really quite funny. How times have changed.
Direct download: MN.11.11.1999.LettersChina.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:27 PM
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Diana Janssen sent the following postcard on her holiday which we published on the web, asking you to identify where she'd been. I thought it was Albania. Others suggested Ukraine. No-one got this one right. But there was some more offshore news as Radio 10 celebrated an anniversary and Merlin Communications started to broadcast other programmes than the BBC out of Orfordness, Suffolk. We also spoke with Mike Kelly, who had refitted VOA's Master Control and had now started a satellite business. BVN-TV was later broadcast to North America through Kelly's system.
Direct download: MN.03.09.1998.OffshoreRadio10.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:26 PM
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A news programme reporting on a remarkable number of closedowns and mysteries. You can see that several stations are starting to play with the web, though no-one is really sure about what they are doing. Radio Netherlands tests 7130 from an undisclosed location, the Nozema Christmas Tree, Radio Luxemburg ends shortwave analogue broadcasts, Victor Goonetilleke reports on protests to VOA transmitter site in Chilaw, Ethiopia being heard again, RIAS switched off shortwave, DW expands Nauen near Berlin, Austria pulls the plug on medium, Pete Costello launches a links lists. The URL's were so new we thought http:// was important enough to mention on the air :-). REE joins the web, alongside RTE in Ireland. Bethany gets a new life in Ohio. Chris Greenway at BBC Monitoring, reports on a longwave transmitter from Oslo remains on the air. Estonian radio puts mediumwave back on the air and Georgia has LW plans too. The show closes with Mike Bird’s propagation survey.

Direct download: MN.05.01.1995.AustriaMW.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:09 PM
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Today’s radio feature says bravo for bakelite, an early form of plastic which brought radio to the people. When radios were first manufactured in the first twenty years of this century, they looked more like an experiment in a physics laboratory than something which was designed to entertain. Then some firms started using a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin for their cases, formed from an elimination reaction of phenol with formaldehyde, usually with a wood flour filler. It was developed in 1907–1909 by Belgian chemist Dr. Leo Baekeland. Wikipedia has more here. In this programme, broadcast on the Queens Day holiday in 1998, we visit the home of Willem Bos who has scoured the flea markets in the Netherlands is search of his passion for bakelite. Thanks too to Scott MacLeod Liddle for his terrific photo on Flickr.
Direct download: MN.wk.18.1998.bakelite.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:38 AM
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First broadcast in 1984, this programme looks in some detail at a mystery that took decades to solve. Light and radio waves travel 7 times around the world in one second. So how can you explain some echoes noted on early shortwave broadcasts from PCJ, sometimes of several seconds? Did the ionosphere have a memory? Was the sun part of the equation? Unashamedly specialist this one. But we got good response from those interested in the technical aspects of shortwave radio.

Direct download: MN.28.06.1984.Longdelayed.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:29 AM
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Buenos Aires is a truly amazing city, a mixture of Paris, Madrid and London all rolled into one. The Brits built the communications infrastructure in the country during the first part of the last century. That explains the UK style phone and postboxes. Each time I have visited, I have dropped by at the studios of Argentine National Radio tucked away in the heart of the city. I found the tour to be fascinating because although it is very old, it seems to work. One floor houses the external service and in this edition of Media Network, broadcast in February 2000, we compiled a portrait of the English service of RAE as it was then. They are still on the air in English, with a broadcast to Europe at 3 PM (BA time - 18 hrs UTC) on 9690 and 15345 kHz. Actually, I listen on a Pure Evoke wifi radio and get much better reception. The website hides a lot of the history of what's going on. The city oozes music, poetry, dance, and mystery. I can spend hours wandering around, soaking it up. Having followed the Falklands-Malvinas "conflict", I confess a fascination for the English Tower, which for many years rang out with the Westminster Chimes. Not anymore, of course. Today the tower is closed, there is graffitti at the base, and the monument to the Argentines killed in the war stares at the tower from across the road. I have done video interviews at the station, as well as some of the local stations in the city. Let me know if I should put these up.

Direct download: MN.10.02.2000.Argentina.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:51 PM
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At one time, Radio Canada International hosted some very interesting discussions on the future of international broadcasting. If you're interested in what stations thought would have happened by now, this edition of Media Network may prove interesting. In fact the future turned out to be very different, partly because stations didn't do enough to measure and grow their audiences. There is also another edition avaiilable recorded in Ottawa two years earlier. Search under the uploads in October 2010 for Cutty Sark.
Direct download: MN.26.05.2000challenges.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:50 PM
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If you tuned a shortwave radio a decade ago, one of the more exotic catches in Europe was Radio For Peace International. So when I had a chance to go out to a meeting at the University of Peace in Costa Rica, I persuaded the colleagues travelling with me that it was worth a short detour. As well as a look around, there's an interview with one of the station owners, James Latham. The tribute website is still up at rfpi.org. The video of the visit is over on the Video Vault.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:10 PM
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This wireless show came from Wales when the Radio Academy decided to hold its annual conference in the Welsh capital. I remember flying over with Dan-Air in what must have been an ancient Hawker Siddeley aircraft which had incandescent lights in the cockpit. It was like a flying underground train - and the flight from Amsterdam took two hours. But I digress. This show was really a commentary on the state of UK radio at the start of the new Millennium. What concerns me is that 11 years later a lot of what is discussed here is only just happening. Nice to rediscover the old recordings of Kenny Everett at the Beeb. The programme also features interviews with Howard Rose, then editor of the Radio Magazine, and Quentin Howard talking about DAB.
Direct download: MN.22.07.1999.Cardiff.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:08 AM
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There are still hundreds of clandestine radio stations operating in the world. Some are part of psychological warfare campaigns organised by the military. Others are exile voices intended to overthrow the government of another country. Some of them use FM and can only be heard a few kilometres from the transmitter. Others use short-wave (although there numbers are dwindling in 2010), and thanks to the way the ionosphere works, these clandestine operations can be heard well outside the region. Such was the case throughout the 1980s in Central America. But when the conflict is over, the voices disappear. Sometimes it is possible to find and interview those who were responsible. And that was the purpose of this occasional series. It was 1981 when Radio Venceremos appeared on the air waves in El Salvador. The station’s first broadcast on the 10th of January coincided with the beginning of the war in that Central American nation. Many Salvadorians had felt for some time that the only way to break the oligarchy’s grip on power, thus bringing about social and economic changes was to take up arms. So rebels, calling themselves the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, or FMLN for short, launched an offensive against the government. They knew that part of the battle was to persuade the local population this was the only way forward. They needed a radio station, and the FMLN knew that to get the message they needed Carlos Enrique Conzalvi, who, even today, is still known by his war-time pseudonym: Santiago. There are also videos of the station up on Youtube which appear genuine (the voice is the one I remember hearing on shortwave and we were right about the use of modified ham radio gear as the transmitter). Look about 1 minute into the video. There is another one here.
Direct download: MN.wk.03.1999.elsalvador.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:00 AM
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This is the complete edition of a documentary called Truth Shall Prevail, the engaging story of Radio Prague in 1945 and 1968. I discovered a rather large set of recordings in Dutch archives in 1988 because, it seems, there was an agricultural conference going on in Prague at the time when the Russians invaded in August 1968. I have also managed to do a video interview with Peter Skala, the frequency manager of Radio Prague and the founder of the Radio Prague Monitor Club. He is just fascinating. He confirmed that many of the educated guesses we made at the time in 1988 were correct. If you're interested in more of this, check out the interviews I made with Wolf Harranth, former DX editor at the ORF in Vienna. He followed those eventful days very closely, being so close to the Czechoslovak border.
Direct download: MN.18.08.1988.Prague.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:00 AM
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A safari to South Africa at the start of the Millennium, including an interview towards the end with the father of community radio, Zane Ibrahim (photo). I think what he says about radio in South Africa still applies a decade later. The programme contains a lot of historical stuff about the early days of Radio 702 from the late Frits Greveling who presented DX Juke Box before going back to South Africa in 1980. An interesting show, but absolutely no Vuvuzelas
Direct download: MN.wk13.2000.southafrica.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00 PM
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This programme examines the boarding of Radio New York International , which broadcast from a radio ship anchored in international waters just off Jones Beach, Long Island New York in 1987 and 1988. I seem to recall that the authorities said one of the reasons for the boarding was that it is illegal to broadcast from a ship. Except that the Voice of America did exactly that off the coast of Greece in the 1950's. The "Courier 410" was fitted out with 150 kW diesel generators by RCA and transmitters designed to put a shortwave signal out via a tethered balloon. The good old Interwebs has plenty of photos here and here. - nothing like that when we made the programme. From 7th September 1952 till May 1964 the USCGC Courier broadcast Voice of America programs in 16 languages to Communist bloc countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, transmitting these programs 10 hours each day. During these tense years, USCGC Courier, operating as a sea station, was constantly alert to crisis, with the ability to move to a "hot spot” and begin broadcasting in a matter of hours. They had two Collins 207B 35 kW short-wave transmitters on board coupled to the folded Discone antennas, up front at starboard a higher frequency MW antenna and at port a lower frequency MW antenna. They also had an RCA MW transmitter with 150 kW. output. Originally it was planned to have six additional ships but due to the high cost, only the Courier was put into service. According to the German offshore radio site, "the ship was not allowed to broadcast on the high seas and was only permitted to operate within the territorial waters of a country when granted permission. The local population viewed the ship and its crew with mixed emotions. Rhodes was under Italian domain from 1812 to the end of WW2 and now they were back under the Greek Flag and Queen Fredrica. After a period of adjustment, the Americans were generally accepted into the Greek community. For the first year or so the main antenna was carried aloft by a barrage balloon. The ballon was 69 x 35 feet in size and held 150.000 cubic feet of helium. It was held by means of a winch-operated line to float 900 feet in the air to support the medium-wave antennas. The ballooon was lost a couple of times, and it ended up in Turkey. Then a VOA engineer, Ivan Boor, designed an inverted delta antenna that fitted between the masts. There was a slight loss in signal output but being free of the balloon problems proved to be well worth the loss. A receiving site was constructed on the highest point of Monti Smith, a hill south of the city of Rhodes. A VHF link was set up to send the program material sent from Washington DC on tape and via SSB link down to the ship. Many innovative antennas were designed and implemented to thwart Russian jamming and natural phenomena such as selective fading. There was a very large impedance matching device under the flight deck. Oh, and the rest of the programme reports on the launch of Music Television into Europe. Enjoy.
Direct download: MN.30.08.1987RNYI.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:04 PM
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This show looks at vintage radio copies. And following a tip from Tony Barratt we recall how Harold Robin chose a transmitter site in Oman from a plane and Bob Tomalski ponders why certain Japanese companies see a future for tape. If you're interested in shortwave transmitter sites, I highly recommend joining the transmitter group that has plotted all these sites on Google Earth. Masirah is Oman's largest island, located some 15 km from the coast of Al Wusta in Central Oman, just south of the Wahiba Sands and east of Bar Al Hikman. It has an hour-glass shape with a width varying between 6 and 18 km. It is a real a Desert Island, with a rocky east coast facing the strong northwestern winds and a protected western coast with large bays and muddy sabkha's (salt-flats). The main income is from the fishery (a vivid trade with the Emirates) and the military base in the North. The BBC Eastern Relay station is still visible on Google Maps. The only account of the island in English that I have seen can be found here. As we reported here, BBC Masirah was closed in 2002.
Direct download: MN.16.03.2000masirah.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:00 AM
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Don't let the opening music mislead you. This show contains another indepth safari, this time in the form of an in-depth interview with Janet Anderson. She used to work for Radio Netherlands in the late 1990's before moving to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Its strange listening to this programme now because I have just visited Tanzania and other parts of East Africa myself to compare the changes in the media scene. The phone companies have developed much faster than the broadcasters. I drove by the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation HQ and was astonished to find them building a new extension for digital terrestrial television broadcasts. This is strange because the commercial competition is on satellite, so it seems to be a rather expensive way of reaching such a huge country. If you'd like to see video of that trip, then leave a message below. This edition also look at the state of the Freeplay Clockwork Radio, four years after launch and the late Bob Tomalski had news about a trick being played by commercial stations with RDS.
Direct download: MN.20.01.2000.Tanzania.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:54 PM
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I have been getting some nice reaction to a video that's sitting in my video vault over on Vimeo. It is part of a series of interviews I have been doing looking back on the age of international broadcasting via shortwave in the second half of the 20th century. Margaret Howard is best known the UK for presenting Pick of the Week on the BBC Radio 4 as well as several great programmes she made for Classic FM. Internationally, though, I first recall her as the host of LetterBox on BBC World Service. I first met her at the ANARC radio convention in Montreal, Canada and remembered why she left the World Service in the 60's. While passing through London a few months back, I dropped by to capture some of her memories of working for the shortwave wireless. Here's part of our conversation. http://www.vimeo.com/12542380 After our chat, she made me a superb cup of tea.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:38 PM
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I remember listening to Peter Homfray on an R-107 communications receiver back in the early 1970s. They boomed in the mornings in a era when distance had magic. Visiting Melbourne was a far-off dream. With hindsight, I would say Radio Australia in the 1970's was one of the first social media stations - there was a lot of entertainment and personalised style programming in an era where there was no FM, no Internet and an international call was beyond the reach of most people. They entertained and informed with a truly personal touch. It had a sort of Facebook group feel to it all. Radio Australia is now in its 70th year and has opened up a website to discuss and celebrate the past. That prompted me to find ways to copy a DVCAM interview I made with Peter in 2004, in which we discussed Christmas Island and how a Brit ended up managing Australia's overseas radio service for 18 years. It is a very personal view on his time at RA. The superb Radio Heritage site has a lot more details on the transmitters used in the early days. Peter also revealed some of the work he did in India and Burma during the 2nd World War. He was part of a unit involved in deceiving the Japanese in Burma, helping to support the Chindits. What a fascinating man! Hope you enjoy our chat. It's over on vimeo here.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:51 AM
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It has gone rather quiet media wise in Angola, though since this programme was made the country has had to do a lot to recover from decades of civil war. Oil money is flowing again - but Angola remains low in the country list of press freedom. In 1999, a colleague in the Portuguese dept of Radio Netherlands left to do extensive training in the region and we interviewed him on his return. It was a chance to dip into the Richard Ginbey collection of rare African radio recordings. Between 1998-2000, we did a lot of Safaris on the programme and I've found it fascinating to revisit these shows after just over a decade. What amazes me is how international broadcasting has virtual stood still since 2000, stuck in a time warp with nothing but future plans.
Direct download: MN.Angolaprofile.1999.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:10 AM
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August seemed to be the month when we frequently looked at off-shore radio. This edition was crafted together with a big contribution from Nic Newman, at that time working for Radio Netherlands before going on to do great things at the BBC's Interactive Departments.

Nic went out to the ship on one of the boats - pretty brave since we had some pretty dreadful storms in the summer of 1985. He talks to the DJ's on Laser 558 including Charlie Wolf, now a political commentator living in the UK. The show also looked at communications with the Space Shuttle and there are tuning tips from Arthur Cushen, Victor Goonetilleke and Sarath Weerakoon. I know that off-shore radio editions seem to score as some of the highest in the download figures, so let's see what this one does. Enjoy.

Direct download: MN.01.08.1985CarolineShuttle.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:26 PM
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This podcast is actually two Media Network programmes rolled into one. We originated the show from Berlin on November 8th and 15th 1990, a year after the fall of the wall. I was keen to visit Radio Berlin International, the voice of the GDR, located in a former furniture factory on the Nalepastrasse. Because of its former owner, the building had huge empty hallways where the furniture was built and rather smaller offices alongside. The English section had mostly been dispanded by then, but there was familiar GDR propaganda material lying around in the office. If you want to understand more about the media situation in the GDR before the wall came down, check out the fabulous interview with Wolf Harranth who runs the radio documentation project in Vienna. Those videos are to found here http://www.vimeo.com/10320815 and http://www.vimeo.com/10320815 . What amazed me was realising that the RBI staff could see the wall from their office windows and that some of the presenters, like commentator John Peet, had gone across the wall the other way.
Direct download: MN.08.11.1990RBIpodcast.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:05 PM
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