Media Network Vintage Vault 2015 - 2016
Re-live international shortwave radio between 1980-2000 through a radio show that pioneered producing narratives with its listeners. Over 470 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.

A very early Media Network just a few months after being relaunched under a new name. The music from DX Juke Box has gone and we're starting to train the correspondents to write and present their own pieces. Richard Ginbey is the first to really compile features about broadcasting in Southern Africa, this time it focuses on Capital Radio 604 in the Transkei. There was also a scandal at VOA after some rather confusing statements by a politician on the station's real role. Robbert Boschart also explains the strange situation about broadcasting in Andorra, locked between Spain and France. You can hear that phone lines were kinda rough in 1981 in the calls to Andy Sennitt and Dan Robinson. Wish we had access Skype in those days. Wim van Amstel reports back on his trip to Oman.

Direct download: MN.19.11.1981.TranskeiVOA.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:00 AM

This programme was broadcast just before Christmas as rumours started emerging that the Soviet Union was about to stop jamming Western broadcasters like the Voice of America. Richard Ginbey reports on what he could hear from a listening post in Johannesburg, South Africa. The EDXC convention was to be held in Helsinki 1987. We tested the Kenwood R-5000 communications receiver, Andy Sennitt reports from WRTH editorial office and John Campbell discussed how to contact clandestine radio stations. Pete Myers also looked at an automatic car starter launched in Japan in time for Christmas.

Direct download: MN.18.12.1986.SovietJamming.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00 AM

This programme looked at the launch of Cable One, a precursor to Sky Radio, started by two Dutch entrpreneurs and record producers. Although it launched, legal problems with the Dutch broadcasting law at the time put an end to the plans. Those were made up jingles by the way - Carl Josephs did the voice-over. The programme also included a piece by the late Dave Rosenthal on solar eclipses, Richard Ginbey has a nice crop of catches which sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. We also managed to visit the Funkausstellung in Berlin thanks to Hans G Janssen and Wolfgang Schulz who wandered around on our behalf. DAT recorders were the talk of the show. John Campbell reports on novelty clandestine stations like Radio Duck. Mike Bird rounds off the show with propagation conditions. Work has started on the Radio Netherlands extension.

Direct download: MN.10.09.1987.CableOne.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:52 PM

This programme starts with a report on the clandestine station, Radio Free Suriname which was backed by opposition groups in the Netherlands. The principal backer was the late Johnny Kamperveen, who's father Andre started ABC Radio in Paramaribo, but was killed in the December murders. Johnny later returned to Suriname to start the station in 1993 and passed away ten years later. There's also news of the sale of the ship Laser 558. The Admiralty says it will look at the buyer. John Campbell reports that shortwave conditions are improving, just in time to observe the Irish pirates. We also look at brief shortwave broadcasts from Hong Kong during the boat race and talk to Bob Grove about Monitoring Times and the Ten Tec 535. 

Direct download: MN.21.03.1986.RadioFreeSuriname.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:00 PM

Europa TV was a rather disasterous attempt at pan-European satellite television by a group of ex-public service managers working in Hilversum. They underestimated the cultural differences across Europe, wasting a lot of money in the early part of the project. It started off as Olympus TV. The team seemed shocked when Olympus cameras of Japan took out a court injuction to stop them using the name (after all the logos, bumpers, jingles had been produced). They also realised the hard way that live voice-overs in feature programming doesn't work because languages vary in how long it takes to say the same thing. Very quickly dubbed as "Europeless TV". The exception was the music programme "Countdown" hosted by Adam Curry which became very popular in Southern Europe, especially Portugal. Veronica TV was able to get better acts to the Netherlands because of the European exposure the programme gave to international talent. But in general Europa TV was a perfect example of public broadcasters trying to be commercial entrpreneurs with license-fee money. 

The programme also reviews the popular Sangean ATS-803 shortwave radio, which was the Taiwanese company's answer to the Sony ICF2001D.

Direct download: MN.24.04.1986.EuropaATS803.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:57 PM

In the mid 1980's it was always extremely difficult to balance the programme bearing in mind the varying listener interests. Most of the feedback came from South Asia, North America, Europe and the Pacific, so compiling an edition to interest someone in Bombay as well as Boston was challenging. Following my trip to Victor Goonetilleke in 1985, we experimented with some special Asian editions of the programme which were only broadcast to Asia at 1430 UTC. They had very different content, focussing mainly on South Asia. The programmes brought mixed response. Some said they liked the fact that we highlighted issues affecting South-Asian listeners. But there was an equally strong lobby that said the reason for tuning in to a European station was to find out what new technologies were being used there. They thought we should not single out a particular area as being a special case.

In the end, we limited the number of special opt-out programmes, prefering to do "media safaris" to various regions of the world and making the programmes available to all target areas. 

In this edition we looked at the different approaches taken by foreign radio manufacturers in India. Philips set up Philips of India and made radios locally to match the buying power of that market. The Japanese, on the other hand, did not share their technology and would only build screw-driver assembly plants in India using components shipped from Japan. In the end, the Indian engineers had the last laugh. They quickly became the engineering entrpreneurs in the Middle East, South-East Asia and Silicon Valley leaving the Europeans very much in the shade. On later visits to Delhi it was obvious that operations like TV Today and NDTV didn't need any help from "developed countries". They were well ahead already. Only Indian state TV and radio remains firmly stuck in the 1960's, strangled by its own bureacracy. When was the last time you listened to All India Radio?

Direct download: MN.03.04.1986.Asianspecial.RMC.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:32 PM

There have been plenty of fantasy stations on short and mediumwave. Today we'd call them hype or vapourware. Back in the 80's, if someone started advertising the existance of a station in the World Radio TV Handbook (page 45, 1986 edition), then you tended to assume that it looked serious. In fact, NDXE very quickly became a standing joke in the international broadcasting business, boasting that it was going to broadcast in stereo, printing a list of fantasy programmes that were never comissioned and starting a listeners club before it had acquired a shortwave transmitter. By the middle of 1986, the project was falling apart and it was time to expose the nonsense that was Dixon Norman. 

Direct download: MN.27.06.1986.NDXEEnds.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:05 AM

Towards the end of October 1987, around 70,000 headed for PalExpo in Geneva, Switzerland, an exhibition centre right next door to the airport. The event was organised by the ITU, so despite efforts to attract international broadcasters, it was really aimed at the government controlled phone companies of the day - and information ministers on a junket trip to the Swiss capital. Companies spent millions on making their stands look rather like the motor show held annually in the same building. I mixed a visit to the city with a look around the EBU and a visit to a musical box museum. This show was the result.

Direct download: MN.30.10.1987.Telecom.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:56 PM

This was a fun show to end 1992, catching up on the media news that was current on the last day of that year. It was a rather momentus day for Radio Luxembourg because they closed down their English service, playing many of their jingles in full so enthusiasts could tape them. But the majority of the show is devoted to a collection of radio mistakes which seemed funny at the time. Remember a lot of international broadcasting was pre-recorded in those days, so many of the fluffs were retaken. Sometimes though, people forgot to edit them out.

Direct download: MN.31.12.1992.Bloopers.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:43 PM

Satellites helped Radio Netherlands become far more topical in the 1980's. Before that, feature programmes like Media Network were recorded three weeks in advance and then shipped to Madagascar and Bonaire for playback at the transmitter site. By the time I arrived at the station, the programmes were being fed by satellite. But old habits die hard and it took me a while to persuafe the studio booking department that I wanted to record the programme as close to transmission time as possible, i.e. Wednesday evening rather than Monday afternoon. So much could happen. And in January 1986 it did, with the explosion and loss of seven NASA astronauts about the Space Shuttle Challenger. This was certainly a radio moment, since it was possible to follow the recovery operation if you knew where to search on the shortwave dial. As it happened, the feature that I'd prepared that week was on air-traffic control and the use of shortwave by planes. 

Direct download: MN.30.01.1986.ShuttleChallenger.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00 AM

Much of this programme is devoted to looking at World War 2 receivers and visits two Dutch collectors who have turned their houses into workshops to restore old receivers. One collects the old German equipment, the other material from the Allies. I remember this programme well having recorded both interviews in Amsterdam on a very wet day and getting absolutely soaked on public transport (was carrying a UHER tape recorder, which is now a collectors item in itself). The photo is from the dial of the famous AR-88 shortwave receiver made by RCA and found in many military surplus outlets in the mid-eighties. 

Direct download: MN.20.06.1986.Militarysurplus.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:00 AM

This edition starts with a clip of a Radio Netherlands programme I discovered in the archives from 1963 when everything sounded much more dramatic than it really was. We then switch to developments on mediumwave 675 kHz is no longer used by public broadcasters in the Netherlands but an announcement on the frequency by Erik de Zwaart seems to have lead people to jump to the wrong conclusions. Virgin Radio starts testing on the old BBC Radio 3 frequencies and Radio Fax tries to get a shortwave licence again. There's a new guide to Indian broadcasting and John Wilson of Lowe Electronics announces some changes to the proposed HF-250 shortwave communications receiver. The picture is that of the reserve MW mast at the Northern end of the Lopik transmitter site which I watched being dismanted ten years after this show was made. Plenty of calls to the Radio Netherlands - including the new Channel Africa, the new name for Radio RSA. The FCC is trying to decide which system to choose for advanced television standards, to replace NTSC. There's also news from the Society for the Eradication of Televison!

Direct download: MN.11.03.1993.MW675.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00 AM

This is an interesting mix of radio news and reportages dating back to April 1986. We started with news about the clandestine radio station Radio Truth which targeted Zimbabwe from a transmitter base in South Africa. There was much speculation at the time as to who was behind it. It broadcast on shortwave, picking a frequency very near to the ZBC. The show encourage listener participation from the start and this programme is yet another example. Engineer and radio enthusiast Trevor Brook took a trip out to the radio station Laser 558 and recorded the experience for us. There was a satellite update on the broadcast satellite TVSAT (what a lemon that turned out to be) and Mike Bullen sent us a profile of changes at Radio Peking. Mike later left Radio Netherlands to become a writer, authoring the very successful comedy series Cold Feet. He now lives in Australia.

Direct download: MN.10.04.1986.Laser558.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:03 PM

Just found a clean clear copy of this documentary that Andy Sennitt and I made one Saturday afternoon in August 1987 at the Radio Netherlands studio centre at Witte Kruislaan 55 in Hilversum. It had been a busy week, so no time to prepare clips for what would be a nostalgic look back at the offshore era. So we took all kinds of records and tapes into the office and spent most of the day just messing about and putting the extracts into some form of logical order. Andy recalls a cleaner asking us towards the end of the afternoon what we were doing in the building at the weekends. I retorted that this wasn't working it was the best fun in a long time. Thanks to Hans Knot (still going strong as one of the main organisers of the RadioDay each year) as well as the late Buster Pearson. I am glad these clips survived quite well. Hans has published countless books and newsletters since this programme was made. If the nostalgia of that era still brings back memories of adventure, then I recommend checking out his site.

Direct download: MN.13.08.1987.Offshoredocumentary.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:00 PM

This was the first show of the New Year 1986, when the talk of the day was John Campbell's report on political clandestines radio stations in Europe, and Marcel Rommerts calls to observe a "numbers station"in the middle of the 49 metre shortwave band. This was probably a switching error by a transmitter site which put out both broadcasts and spy number stations. Later in the programme, Taher Aftab, a listener from Pakistan, explains the shortwave scene in that country, where HF was still used for domestic broadcasts. Andy Sennitt reports on a crackly line from Copenhagen about the plans that Radio Earth (Jeff White) has to build a transmitter in the Netherlands Antilles and Roland Paget does a pitch for the EDXC Conference to be held in Paris. 

Direct download: MN.02.01.1986.KVOH.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:44 AM

This regular show from January 1993 focused on financial problems facing Radio Sweden, changes to BBC Management structure, and Richard Measham from BBC Monitoring updates us on the clandestine station, the Voice of Free Iraq. On a lighthearted note we looked at the problems of printing QSL cards for Radio Netherlands Russian relay.

Direct download: MN.21.01.1993Sweden.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:27 AM

Found another box of reel to reel tapes in the attic, this one dating from December 1992 when Eric Beauchemin was just back from a visit to Zagreb in Croatia. The radio in that part of the Balkans played a crucial role in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. And CNN takes night-sensitive cameras to Somalia to watch the landings of US troops for an operation in the Horn Of Africa. How little has changed. Radio Czechoslovakia International was to be dissolved with the split of the country into Czech Republic and Slovakia and Radio Norway International ponders the future of its foreign service. Enjoy.

Direct download: MN.17.12.1992.Zagreb.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:04 PM

Since you've found this page, you might be interested to attend the RadioDays nostalgia radio convention. It's a one day celebration of radio, especially offshore radio. and traditionally it's been well attended. Although held in Amsterdam, it's a great mix of people from both the UK and Dutch offshore stations, as well as fans from Germany and Scandinavia. Entrance is a mere 14 Euro, you just need to turn up, and more details are posted at . If you can make it for 11.00, then you might be interested in a chat by Andy Sennitt and myself about the Media Network era 1980-2000 and what we think the wireless show achieved in understanding the international radio audience as well as celebrating radio in the last half of the 20th century. May be I should tape it and put the recording here?

Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:37 AM

The review of the Sony ICF1000T is still on line though not at Radio Netherlands. In this edition of the programme you can hear us review it on air. I suppose now it seems silly to review equipment over the radio to the level of detail we did back in 1996. But there was no Internet to speak of and most of the audience didn't have access to independent consumer reviews. We spent a lot of time and effort compiling receiver guides and reviewing publications, but it I think it was worth it.

The programme also includes updates on what the BBC was doing to restore services after a hurricane hit Antigua, home of one of the shortwave relay stations (since closed down). And there's a celebration of Arthur Cushen's 30 years of service to the media shows on Radio Netherlands.

Direct download: MN.11.01.1996Sony.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:32 PM

A news show with contributions from Andy Sennitt, Victor Goonetilleke, and Arthur Cushen reports hearing Radio Alma Ata from Kazakstan. We interview an old friend of the programme who we last spoke to when he was in the Solomon Islands. Martin Hadlow is now in Central Asia for UNESCO. It is interesting that the radio and TV stations in the area have changed little in the last 15 years since this programme was made, although they seem to be on the verge of making heavy investments in digital television. The TV stations were using consumer video formats of Sony's Hi-8 and Panasonic's SuperVHS. Radio was suffering back then. There's a second chance to enter the Media Network Car Route to visit 12 international stations.

There were also major refurbishment to Radio Netherlands entrance hall! I remember that well - an early attempt to explain the mission to the general public. I think it worked rather well - but then I was involved in pushing for the change to building. The inside of RN was deliberately austere, because the idea was that all the walls were grey or dark green. The people would bring the colour into the building it was thought, at least by the architects at the end of the 1950's.  

Direct download: MN.week3.1996.CentralAsia.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:00 PM

In a regular edition of the programme, we hear about the start of the CBC Overnight service in Canada which relayed various international broadcasters while CBC programmes were off the air. 

The KNVB decides to launch Sport 7. It would cost an extra 12 Euro a year on a cable subscription. Lou Josephs looks at the Telecommunications Reform Bill which removed restrictions on ownership. One company spent a billion dollars acquiring 52 radio stations.

DW ceases from facilities in Malta. Radio Mediterranean also leaves the airwaves, a joint Maltese-Libyan operation. We had 500 pages on the WWW ! All those http's. Arthur Cushen reports Radio North Solomans has been reactivated.

Direct download: MN.08.02.1996.CBCOvernight.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:00 PM

By the time 1996 started, Diana Janssen (see photo) was firmly established as the co-host of Media Network. Had enormous fun putting the show together each Wednesday evening. This was one of the few editions where Jonathan didn't present. But the programme was in capable hands. Smart Lady.

This edition covers modifications to the Baygen clockwork radio in a interview with Trevor Baylis. There is also the first airing of Media Race 1996. Radio Vilnius hires a radio transmitter in Juelich, Germany. HCJB and Radio Norway announce expansion and VOA tests its new site in Sao Tome.

America 1 signed a joint venture agreement to distribute public radio across Europe - remember this is well before Internet audio is good quality was available to the public.

Direct download: MN.04.01.1996.JanssenSolo.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:30 PM

A pre-Christmas show in which the news of the week was the appearance of religious station TWR from Albania (the old 1 MW transmitter of Radio Tirana) on 1395 kHz. This caused problems to Veronica News Radio on the same frequency. Interesting to hear the old budgets stations had in those days for news production. Radio 1 had 50 million dollars for the network. Veronica was trying to run a news service with no less than 60 journalists. I believe that Business News Radio in the Netherlands currently runs the distant successor to Veronica News Radio with a staff of 36. Adam Curry, now co-host of No Agenda. Talk Radio announced plans for the old BBC Radio One mediumwave network. Transmissions will start in early 1995. 

There's news about "strawberry radio" in Bosnia, the nickname for Radio Nederland. Rick Lansig has a go at Mike Bird on his propagation.  The call of the Fish Eagle used to be the only voice out of Zambia. Now Christian Voice has added a 100 kW transmitter on 6065 kHz.

Andrew Huddleston a British born singer living in Denmark has released a record called Seek You. We also heard about Radio Free Somalia operated by Sam Voron. Arthur Cushen recalls the frequencies.

Direct download: MN.05.12.1994.Veronica.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:58 AM

This was a documentary I made in 1993 looking back at the floods in the Netherlands in the winter of 1953 and what had happened since. It contains many broadcast extracts from broadcasters that used the station's facilities to broadcast to the US. UK listeners may recognise the voice of Brian Matthew, who worked for Radio Netherlands in the 1950's and then went on to a career at BBC Radio 2. The documentary won a prize at an Asian Broadcasting Union meeting a year later. Bearing in mind the floods that affected New York and New Jersey in late October 2012, I am beginning to wonder whether we have learned all the lessons from these tradgedies. Yes, we have understood how to build barriers. But we don't know how to communicate disaster preparedness. Wrote this blog post with more information.

Direct download: RevengeoftheTide1993.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 8:12 PM

A Media Network news edition edition from early October 1995 in which we were concerned with the extension of the mediumwave band in the US. Chris Greenway from BBC M looks at news out of Yugoslavia, including a swap with China Radio International. We also lift the lid on DVB and find out how Victor Goonetilleke got into shortwave listening. The photo shown is the mediumwave mast on the Flevopolder used for 747 and 1008 kHz. In those days both the signals were from the public broadcasters in the Netherlands.

Direct download: MN.05.10.1995.LouonMW.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:36 PM

This edition is tinged with sadness because the DXer featured in the programme, Bernt Erfjord, passed away in June 2004. The photo is from happier times at NRK Sørlandet, the regional station belonging to the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. In this programme Bernt explains about the student station in Trondheim.

He also reported many times to the Media Network programme on events in the Baltic states which he could hear from this vantage point in Norway. Great guy, still missed.

Direct download: MN.12.10.1995.Trondheim.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:00 PM

Media Network was famous for doing documentaries about broadcasting during the second world war and using recordings you don't normally hear in UK documentaries. To celebrate 750 editions of Media Network in May 1995, we took a look back at the station that predated Radio Netherlands, Radio Herrijzend Nederland. The station became RNW in 1947, with studios in the Bothalaan in Hilversum (see photo).

Direct download: MN.04.05.1995.750editionwartime.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00 AM

I got a chance to visit Tehran, Iran as part of a delegation to the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union meeting taking place there in October 1995. It remains one of the most amazing trips of my life. Nothing could prepare me for the visit as a CIP - a commercially important person. The programme includes off air recordings I made in the hotel of what IRIB sounded like in those days on FM. The language lessons were decidedly different. In those days listening to foreign stations was discouraged - there was a giant poster to that effect at the airport. But looking out on the rooftops outside my hotel there was nothing but a forest of dishes.

Direct download: MN.26.10.1995.Iranexpedition.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:58 PM

Remember Trevor Baylis and the wind-up radio? I organised a conference for Radio Netherlands at the International Broadcasting Convention IBC between September 11-14th 1995. We decided to celebrate the fact that we were 5 years away from a new Millennium by looking at the technologies that would carry us forward. That included a look at different codings for DAB, a reality check on radio by Sri Lankan broadcaster Victor Goonetilleke and a special performance about the Clockwork Radio from Trevor Baylis, the British inventor who turned up in Amsterdam and charmed the audience with his frank, funny and brilliant introduction to the concept of wind-up radios. A few weeks after the conference we produced a special CD for those who took part. This is a copy for those who missed it. It's double the length of a normal Media Network, just over an hour.

Direct download: towards2000plus.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:13 PM

Andy Sennitt has some media news updates from the WRTH, the Lowe HF-250 has started to appear in the UK and here in The Netherlands this past week. Kevin Whitehead is the general manager of Lowe Production in Matlock Derbyshire England. Jonathan Marks had a preview of the radio before we do our own test on it to find out more about the philosophy behind the new set and, to the point, what it is made of.

There’s a feature on the rather curious Turkish Police Radio and we review an excellent book about Zenith Shortwave Radios produced by the Radio Professors of P.O. Box 592, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 74076, USA. The ISBN number is: 0-88740-708-0. The authors were John H. Bryant and Harold N. Cones and the title of the book is “The Zenith Trans-Oceanic, the Royalty of Radios” It was published by Schiffer Publishing in 1995. Photo is one I took in Istanbul back in 2004. 

Direct download: MN.11.09.1995.TurkishPolice.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:18 PM

So here it is then, the sixth and final installment of the HitchHikers Guide to DXing, broadcast a full year after the last episode. The references to a monitoring service not unlike one in Caversham in the early 1980's are purely coincidental.

Just a note to say that the popularity of this 30 year old radio parody has been more than I could have expected. I had more than 5500 recorded downloads in the course of July.

Thanks for the feedback on the material so far. I an very curious to know which epiosde you enjoyed most. It was blast then, and it's a blast now.

Direct download: HHGTDXPart6Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:38 AM

Oliver and Drisopholis escape in a van carrying white books to Geneva. They weasle their way into the auction where frequencies are bought and sold to the highest bidder. At the time the "white book" of frequency registrations was only a guide to what had been registered by stations. There was no guarantee that stations actually used the channels they claimed. The ITU is still based in Geneva, opposiite the UN HQ in Geneva. 

Direct download: HHGTDXPart5Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 6:30 AM

In this episode, Oliver Pass and Drisopholis escape to the jamming shed in the grounds of Radio Polizania. They meet the head of jamming and discover how the noise is really generated. The episode also includes clips from Radio Daddy LongLegs, the pirate station with all the latest closedown news complete with home-made jingles. They also get a tour of the QSL verification department where "word-processors"are helping to reduce the workload (Radio Netherlands had no computers in those days),

Direct download: HHGTDXPart4Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:00 PM

The introduction to this episode was a story in itself. I discovered that Peter Jones, the actor who narrated the original HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy was appearing with Arthur Lowe in a TV drama being filmed at the NOS, a short walk from Radio Netherlands. I quickly typed out some copy from the HHGuidetoDXing and ran over to the studio at lunchtime with a UHER tape recorder. Explaining I was a great fan of the original I asked Peter if he'd be willing to record a few lines of text for my little wireless show. He agreed. What a nice man!

In this episode our two heroes are still trapped inside Radio Politzania. This time they visit the advertising department and hear the recording of a DXTel advert with Graham Gill. Thanks to Surge Forward for the make-up. 

Direct download: HHGTDXPart3Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00 AM

In this episode, Oliver Pass and Drisopholis discover the secrets behind how DX programmes are made as they explore inside Radio Politzania. How are stations really broadcast on shortwave? And why do DX shows keep interviewing each other? Thanks to George Wood of Radio Sweden and Ian McFarland, formerly of Radio Canada International for agreeing to play along. This episode was originally broadcast on April 30th 1981.

Direct download: HHGTDXPart2Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:30 PM

It is thirty years ago since I wrote a rather silly parody on both international radio broadcasting based on my favorite radio series at the time, the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. There seemed to be so much to make fun of at the time...the boring propaganda at the height of the Cold War, jamming, the waste of energy shouting from one country to another, and the variable quality of reaction from listeners. I don't think it was the listeners's fault that most of the feedback was very technical, to do with signal strength and QSL cards rather than comments on the programme. May be people were being too polite. My father would often answer the door to religious groups by apologizing that he couldn't continue the conversation because we were "drisopholia"in this house. It was years later that I looked it up and understood the wry smile on his face as he closed the door. It seems like an excellent name for a character in this fantasy visit to Radio Politzania, the place where all shortwave signals really come from.

There wasn't much time to write radio drama on the second floor of the Radio Netherlands building. And there was no budget to hire actors. So I just rattled it off on a typewriter and asked colleagues to come and read their parts in a lunchtime recording session. This was all two track material, sliced together with a chinagraph pencil and a razor blade. In total we made 5 in 1981 to fit the 5th Thursday in the month, and then one more in 1982 as a Christmas special.

Listening to it now, I find it strange that we managed to predict Freeview, that all the DX programmes would be gone by 2022, and that flash memory would replace tape. It is great hearing the voices of Pete Myers, Harry Kliphuis, Neville Gray, who are sadly no longer with us. But there are plenty of people who went off to do great things elsewhere. Ian de Staines went to Tokyo to become Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce, responsible for public affairs, Roger Broadbent climbed the ranks in Melbourne with Radio Australia, Bob Chaundy went back to the UK and specialised in writing detailed obituaries for the BBC and Guardian, Mike Bullen, co-presenter of AsiaScan later wrote the comedy series Cold Feet, and so the list goes on.

Listen to this for what it was. A bit of fun in the studio when times were very different to now. The series was repeated in 1984 by request. I have also had comments to this archive asking me to put them on line. So, they will all go up one by one in sequence.


Direct download: HHGTDXPart1Final.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:15 PM

This is one of several bloopers shows I made at Radio Netherlands in the 1980's at a time when a lot of material was pre-recorded and making a mistake on air was frowned upon. Sense of humour has changed a lot in over 30 years. But some of the slips still raise a smile. Enjoy

Direct download: MN.BurstoftheWorst.1983..mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:00 PM

This programme contains a profile of Radio Austria International in Vienna. That station holds fond memories for me since I worked at the station briefly 1976-1980 in the days when the shortwave service was part of the ORF Zentrum out in the 23rd district. They subsequently moved back to the Argentinerstrasse across the road for the Funkhaus. Several listeners called and e-mailed after monitoring announcements at the weekend on Radio Austria International. The station is just putting the finishing touches to a new 100 kw shortwave transmitter at its Moosbrun transmission centre. But as Roland Machatschke, director of Radio Austria International, explained to us, it looks as though shortwave output from Moosbrun will be cut by 50%. 5.5 million dollars won’t leave much left over for programming. We also reported on the launch of the Sirius satellite radio system and noted that cassette holders were disappearing from shops, which is usually a signal that a format is coming to an end. We were still trying to work out whether to put old shows onto CD's for listeners before we realised we would never have the budget! 

Direct download: MN.week27.2000.Austria.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 2:38 PM

This second part of the series Inside Story broadcast in 1983 explores the broadcasters who joined the public broadcasting system in the 1960's like TROS and Veronica. Another new broadcaster was the evangelical EO. Amazing that it took 50 minutes to explain Holland's Unique Broadcasting system. No wonder it remains unique. The photo was taken on the Dutch media park in Hilversum very near to the new Media experience building Beeld en Geluid.

Direct download: MN.21.07.1983.InsideStory2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:00 AM

More time travel for you. This programme was an attempt to explain the extremely complex Dutch broadcasting system to a foreign audience. Remember it is 1983! By today's standards, broadcasting still sounds very formal and scripted (because it was!). People still talk about radio, whereas today the political discussion is purely about TV.

In this first episode, we looked at the original public broadcasters AVRO, VARA, NCRV and KRO. The photo shows the KRO building on the Emmastraat in Hilversum. Radio Netherlands used to hire one of the studios for "Ship of the Week" in the 1950's before it had its own studio that could accommodate an audience. I went past the old KRO building in July 2015 on the bus and it seems to be abandoned. There was a plan to convert the place into apartments, but I don't believe that has happened. You can also see it on Google Earth if you use Streetview. The re-release of this programme in 2014/2015 is timely as Dutch public broadcasting goes through a major reorganisation as a result of new legislation going through the Dutch parliament.

There are other episodes in this series.

Episode 2 is here

Episode 3 is here.


Direct download: MN.14.07.1983.InsideStory1.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:00 PM

This was a "regular"edition of the programme first broadcast at the start of 1993. This week the news is that veteran DXer Adrian Peterson of AWR has been hearing strange harmonics in Costa Rica and the VOA Brazilian Branch has a new lease of life thanks to take-up by Brazilan radio stations of its satellite signal. Shortwave to Brazil was already written off as being no longer viable! Adrian continues with a commentary of what's happening to shortwave services in Central America. Canadian commercial station CKFX, plans a comeback with a low-power transmitter on 49 metres using a single vertical array. We visit Gijs Pappot, then the Chief engineer at Radio Netherlands, who explains how the signal gets to Moscow for the recently started broadcasts to Asia. Victor Goonetilleke has some great recordings of Radio Iraq International plus some other tuning suggestions.

Direct download: MN.04.02.1993.VOABrazil.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:15 PM

It's ten years since Radio Netherlands organised a "short wave" of publicity stunt targeting English speakers in North America. On July 1st 2001, BBC World Service ended its broadcasts on shortwave to North America. Mark Byford, then the Director of BBC World Service, decided to pull the plug rather abruptly instead of quietly phasing out the service. It caused quite a commotion in shortwave-listening circles. As programme director at Radio Netherlands at the time, I was rather curious to see what would happen if we hired the same BBC transmitting facilities from Merlin Communications for a short period after sign-off to see what the reaction would be. I made a simple shortwave showcase programme explaining that there were other stations on the dial apart from the BBC. The programme got a satisfactory response, so much so, that after two weeks we decided to add a regular morning broadcast to North America, following on from the success that the RN Latin American service had enjoyed. At the time, there were high hopes for Digital Radio Mondiale, a digital standard for AM broadcasting. I also pointed out in the programme that broadband was not available for the majority of the audience which is why shortwave still made sense. The situation is very different today. Today, shortwave broadcasting to North America makes no economic or strategic sense at all. But it was fun while it lasted. 

Direct download: SWofPublicity.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 3:45 PM

In 1993 I made a summer series of five 30 minute programmes on the history of recorded sound. The series was inspired by a visit to the Museum in Utrecht, which then was called From Singing Tower to Street Organs. The museum is still there. I then discovered people who were collecting pianolas, gramophones and jukeboxes. Of course, it wasn't just the devices. It was the stories that went with them. I've re-released them here as high quality MP3's.

Although not a Media Network show, I have had requests from people to put these documentaries into the collection, since they have a connection with communications. This fifth programme explores an unusual hobby in the Netherlands, importing and restoring jukeboxes. I was intrigued at the way they get around the problem of the different phase in the power lines - 60 Hz in North America, 50 Hz in Europe. This was the final and concluding part of the radio series. The earlier episodes are also on line. Let me know what you think!

Direct download: MarksonMechanics5JukeboxesHQ.mp3
Category:Marks on Mechanics -- posted at: 2:00 AM

In 1993 I made a summer series of five 30 minute programmes on the history of recorded sound. The series was inspired by a visit to the Museum in Utrecht, which then was called From Singing Tower to Street Organs. The museum is still there. I then discovered people who were collecting pianolas, gramophones and jukeboxes. Of course, it wasn't just the devices. It was the stories that went with them. I've re-released them here as high quality MP3's.

Although not a Media Network show, I have had requests from people to put these documentaries into the collection, since they have a connection with communications. This fourth programme examines gramophones and phonographs in the company of a local collector, Fred Haanebeek. The final part of this series is released tomorrow.

Direct download: MarksonMechanics4gramophonesHQ.mp3
Category:Marks on Mechanics -- posted at: 2:00 AM

In 1993 I made a summer series of five 30 minute programmes on the history of recorded sound. The series was inspired by a visit to the Museum in Utrecht, which then was called From Singing Tower to Street Organs. The museum is still there. I then discovered people who were collecting pianolas, gramophones and jukeboxes. Of course, it wasn't just the devices. It was the stories that went with them. I've re-released them here as high quality MP3's.

Although not a Media Network show, I have had requests from people to put these documentaries into the collection, since they have a connection with communications. This third programme looks at player pianos or pianola's. I was amazed at the number of people in the Netherlands who were collecting at the time. I was particularly impressed by the recordings of Gustav Mahler playing his own compositions. He recorded the rolls in 1908 if I remember correctly. It's obvious that he was a better composer than performer though. Part 4 tomorrow. Enjoy!

Direct download: MarksonMechanics3Pianolas.mp3HQ.mp3
Category:Marks on Mechanics -- posted at: 2:00 AM

In 1993 I made a summer series of five 30 minute programmes on the history of recorded sound. The series was inspired by a visit to the Museum in Utrecht, which then was called From Singing Tower to Street Organs. The museum is still there. I then discovered people who were collecting pianolas, gramophones and jukeboxes. Of course, it wasn't just the devices. It was the stories that went with them. I've re-released them here as high quality MP3's.

Although not a Media Network show, I have had requests from people to put these documentaries into the collection, since they have a connection with communications. This second programme looks at Bells in the belltower. If you come to the Netherlands you'll still find carillions being played by hand or by machine. Part three released tomorrow. Enjoy.

Direct download: MarksonMechanics2BellsHQ.mp3
Category:Marks on Mechanics -- posted at: 2:00 AM

In 1993 I made a summer series of five 30 minute programmes on the history of recorded sound. The series was inspired by a visit to the Museum in Utrecht, which then was called From Singing Tower to Street Organs. The museum is still there. I then discovered people who were collecting pianolas, gramophones, phonographs and jukeboxes. Of course, it wasn't just the devices. It was the stories that went with them. I've re-released them here as high quality MP3's.

Although not a Media Network show, I have had requests from people to put these documentaries into the collection, since they have a connection with communications. This first programme looks at all kinds of clocks that perform melodies. Another one all this week to complete the series. Enjoy.

Direct download: MarksonMechanics1ClocksHQ.mp3
Category:Marks on Mechanics -- posted at: 2:00 AM

This edition was recorded in Cannes France and nearby Monaco. We look at the state of the music industry in 1996 (they still don't really understand the Internet do they?) and visit Radio Riviera, a radio station targeting British expats living in the South of France. 15 years later the station is still there although the website looks as though it was built in 1996 and all they changed was the copyright notice. I love the story about the shortwave site, formerly used by Trans World Radio Monte Carlo. The Germans built it originally to blast into North Africa during the war. 

Direct download: MN.01.02.1996.MIDEM.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:49 PM

Six months ago we took you on a tour of a special exhibition being held in the Netherlands Broadcasting Museum on the south-side of Hilversum. The great thing about the museum is that part of the collection always changes. The popular exhibition on off-shore radio which we covered last year has now made way for an equally fascinating portrait of wartime radio. It covers the period of German Nazi occupation, starting on May 10th 1940 when German troops crossed the Dutch border.The exhibition looks at the powerful influence that radio had and the way it was used by the Germans and Allied forces to persuade. As you walk through the exhibition there are headphones attached to many of the glass cabinets. They bring the past to life. Arno Weltens has designed the exhibition and he started our tour by explaining that after the bombing of Rotterdam on May 14th 1940 and the capitulation of Dutch forces hours afterwards a German infantry patrol headed for the centre of Dutch broadcasting on Wednesday the 15th.

Direct download: MN.04.05.1995.RadioHilversum.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:20 PM

This week most of the programme focussed on a profile of the new South African external service, Channel Africa. Lebona Mosia was its first director and he visited Hilversum in April 1996 to discuss possible cooperation. He had worked as a broadcaster on the anti-apartheid clandestine station Radio Freedom which beamed programmes into the country from neighbouring Zambia and Madagascar. Following the change of government, Radio RSA was renamed Channel Africa and went through a major period of change, having much less money than before. The programme also includes an interview with the then boss of Sentech, Neil Smuts, who explained that the Meyerton shortwave centre was being prepared for jamming operations when the regime collapsed. 

Direct download: MN.11.04.1996.ChannelAfrica.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:48 PM