MN.10.02.2000: RAE Argentine International Radio Profile

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: 3:51pm CEST

MN.26.05.2000: Challenges for Change 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: 2:50pm CEST

Radio For Peace International Revisited 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 The video of the visit is over on the Video Vault.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:10pm CEST

MN.22.07.1999: Cardiff Calling the Radio Academy 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: 4:08am CEST

MN.21.01.1999: Radio Venceremos - 18 Years On 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: 7:00am CEST

MN 18.08.1988 - Prague Truth Shall Prevail 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: 6:00am CEST

MN South African Safari March 2000 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: 3:00pm CEST

MN.30.07.1987: Radio New York International & MTV 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: 1:04am CEST

MN.16.03.2000 - Masirah Moves & Victor drops by. 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: 7:00am CEST

Media Network 20.01.2000 - Tanzania Safari 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: 7:54pm CEST

Margaret Howard Interview 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. After our chat, she made me a superb cup of tea.
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:38pm CEST

Peter Homfray, Radio Australia 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: 2:51am CEST

Media Network Angola profile 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: 2:10am CEST

MN 01.08.1985. Laser 558, Caroline & Space Shuttle

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: 9:26pm CEST






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