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 are posted here to enjoy all over again. This is a non-commercial service to media historians done at the initiative of host, Jonathan Marks.
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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