Media Network - Behind the Berlin Wall November 1990 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 and . 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: 4:05pm CEST

Media Network: A Voice from Across the Water

This was actually my first attempt at making a mini radio documentary, being 23 at the time. Joined Radio Netherlands (Radio Nederland as it was then called) the year before.

In July 1981 I got an interview with the late Professor Lou de Jong (he died in 2005), who worked at Radio Oranje in London during the war. Alongside the BBC Dutch Service broadcasts, there was time allotted to governments in exile. Before doing the interview, I did quite a bit of research into what happened at the offices in Stratton Street.  Lou de Jong was a bit stiff to start with. He was testing me to see if I had really done my homework or just wanted a sound clip for something else. I told him I was fascinated in broadcasting history and really wanted to find out what it was like to be a broadcaster in those difficult times, especially working for the Dutch government in exile. So, after a while, he began to really enjoy telling the story even though it must have been the hundredth time.

The Dutch government had a 15 minute slot in which they could beam their message back to occupied Holland, but also, as it turned out by looking at the schedule, to the Dutch East and West Indies. The entire scripts of the transmissions were in the archives of Radio Netherlands building (since the station grew into Radio Netherlands in 1947) before being donated to the National Archives. The original programme was broadcast in two parts, which explains the strange length. More details on the Dutch Institute for War Documentation is here.

Direct download: MN.1981.RadioOranje.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:14pm CEST

Vukovar, Bangui, Congo, David's radio story continues There was quite a bit of reaction to the interview segments I posted with David Smith, Director of Okapi Consulting. I first met David when he worked as a current affairs producer at Radio Netherlands. An earlier video talks about how he got involved in the re-launch of Capital Radio, Transkei in the mid-nineties. In a video segment posted at , he recalls how he ended up with UN Radio and how he developed radio networks in conflict areas. Though a series of fascinating anecdotes, he explains what works in the field - and what doesn't. I have a lot of respect for David and how he seems to get things going under very difficult conditions. A true radio professional. His company, Okapi Consulting, is named after the Okapi - a close relative to the giraffe. . I'm sure those with an understanding of radio - and what it can do, will find this interesting.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:23pm CEST

AFN Europe: Frankfurt & Shape Rolled into one This is a show that aired in early 1990, looking at the consequences for Forces Radio in Germany following German reunification. It turns out this is an old building, but it is the one I remember visiting in Frankfurt. And the site at the end of this post some fantastic pictures of studios with rotary faders in them. You were not operating a studio - you were driving a finely-tuned machine! This picture of the old AFN Headquarters comes from this site run by C. Park Seward. Do visit his site to listen to more vintage AFN.
Direct download: MN.AFNProfile.1990.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:55pm CEST

Media Network now in the Lounge I am pleased to announce that if you're using a Pure Internet radio, like the Evoke, then these Vintage radio podcasts are all available through The Lounge ( Just select the Lounge on your radio and search for Media Network. Sounds great! It is a shame that the other Internet brands like Reciva have let their databases get so full of duplicates and mistakes. I use both - but definitely prefer Pure.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:11pm CEST

MN.16.07.1986: From Aruba, thru BBC Monitoring to Asia Turn the clock back 24 years and join us for a radio profile of what radio sounded like on the Caribbean island of Aruba. The World Cup in Mexico had just finished...and Pete Myers reports on what the ABU wants to do about radio in South Asia, Alan du Pre tells us how a UK commercial station is broadcasting DX news at just after midnight and the Media Network book review is 'Assigned to Listen' being the memoirs of those who worked at BBC Monitoring. Wierd that many of those same items come back in the news as though nothing has changed.
Direct download: MN.16.07.1986aruba.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:28pm CEST

MN.02.04.1987: Vintage Radio with Gerald Wells Part 2

This is a follow-up to the visit to the Vintage Radio Wireless Museum in London. More great stories from Gerald Wells. I particularly love the stories about Bakelite and the Philips V7U radio which was a nightmare to repair. It was built without a chassis! The programme also looks at the work in the Netherlands on AM stereo developed by the late Professor Jan Geluk. I recall that Holland was successful in pushing for the 19 kHz pilot tone as a worldwide standard for FM stereo. Ken Mason Junior explains the US scene. Gerald Wells discusses the onion tube used in early televisions. We also review the Woody Allen film "Radio Days".

Direct download: MN.02.04.1984.vintageradio2B.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:38am CEST

MN.30.10.1986: Vintage Radio with Gerald Wells Part 1

I remember visiting the UK's Vintage Radio Wireless Museum in Dulwich, South London as though it were yesterday. It's just an ordinary terraced house from the outside, but inside its a celebration of the tube (Valve) radio, especially in the era 1920-1950. What's more, Gerald Wells, who passed away in December 2014, was one of the world's experts on valves - and had a flood of stories about the famous names I heard second-hand as a child. Did you know that Vidor Batteries were named after the manufacturers two daughters? And what were the better brands of radios. Enthusiasts in the UK have since made a DVD about Gerald which I can recommend. Part Two of this programme I made in Dulwich one year later has also been released further. BBC World Service commissioned and broadcast an excellent portrait of Gerald on August 20th 2010. I am sure you could have visited Gerald 1000 times and still take away new and different stories about this era of broadcasting. Anyone restoring early iPods?

Direct download: MN.30.10.1986.VintageRadio1.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:43am CEST

MN.10.July.1987: Virgin Crash and Clandestine Radio In this edition of Media Network from July 1987 we were covering the crash of the Virgin Balloon and how it was possible to monitor the rescue of Richard Branson on shortwave. Piece by Mike Bullen (who later went on to write the series Cold Feet and now lives in Australia) on the Voice of Tamil Eelam. Results of a direction finding survey on the stations targeting Cuba. Professor John Campbell (pictured in this entry, but more recently than this show) who discusses Indonesia and Irish stations. Gary Newman's single called Radio Heart is discussed by Lou Josephs. Wolf Harranth reviews a shortwave log program called Swiss Log. We also tested a double notch filter to get rid of whistles and RTTY signals. We also look at clandestine stations in Africa. Propagation from Mike Bird.
Direct download: MN.10.07.1987.Virgincrash.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:42pm CEST

MN.20.March.1987 - Ireland Calling on Shortwave Ireland once had its own shortwave transmitter in Athlone, long before RTE rented airtime on shortwave to broadcast programmes from its broadcast centre just outside Dublin. In 1987, we visited Dublin and met up with colleagues at RTE who had unearthed the (short) history of Ireland on shortwave. (Prof John Campbell later took up the stories of the Irish pirates, but that's for another edition).
Direct download: MN.20.03.1987.Irelandcalling.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:26pm CEST






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