Media Network Vintage Vault 2014
Re-live international shortwave radio between 1980-2000 through a radio show that pioneered producing narratives with its listeners. Over 370 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
Comments[3]

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
Comments[1]

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
Comments[9]

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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